Wallace, confused by Republicans’ insistence on pushing claims by Putin in “defiance of facts” uncovered by U.S. intelligence officials, was referring to an unfounded claim in a dossier gathered by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele that Donald Trump watched prostitutes engage in “golden showers” in a Moscow hotel room in 2013. Such tapes could be used as blackmail, Wallace was insinuating — though not seriously. But how else to explain Republicans’ strange insistence on stories that serve Putin’s aims?
Wallace guest and Bulwark editor Charlie Sykes accused Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) of coming off as an “addled Russian asset” when he claimed Sunday on MSNBC that former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko “actively worked” for Hillary Clinton to skew the American election on her behalf. When an astounded Chuck Todd asked for the basis for Kennedy’s claim, the senator responded: “Just read the articles” — though he identified no “articles.” An exasperated Todd responded: “C’mon!”
Sykes, a conservative commentator and author, had no explanation for why Kennedy did a “full Devin Nunes,” referring to the California congressman who defends Trump no matter what the cost. “Is this the price now to be paid for currying favor in Trump World?” he asked. He called Kennedy’s — and others’ — Ukraine election claims “flat-out BS.”
The insistence that Ukraine — and not Russia — interfered in the 2016 election serves to distract attention from the Kremlin just as officials warn Russia is already taking action to manipulate the 2020 U.S. election, critics warn.
Former White House Russia analyst Fiona Hill testified last month before the House Intelligence Committee that the story that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election is “a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Sunday called Republican lawmakers the “most important global asset” of Russian intelligence.
Check out the rest of the MSNBC video up top on Republicans pulling the Moscow party line.