“Do you believe Ukraine meddled in the American election in 2016?” Todd asked the senator.
“I do, and I think there’s considerable evidence,” Cruz replied.
“You do?” Todd responded incredulously, with a smirk on his face. At this point, laughter was picked up by the mic. Twitter users assumed someone on Todd’s staff couldn’t hold it in. However, the show is taped before a live audience, making it unclear who had a case of the chuckles.
Todd went on to tell Cruz he found it strange that Cruz, whom President Donald Trump waged war on during the 2016 primaries, wasn’t more aware that this president was capable of creating “false narratives” about people in order to promote himself politically.
Cruz waved it off and went on to insist that Ukraine “blatantly interfered in our election,” but was only able to cite one op-ed, written by then-Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. Valeriy Chaly, as evidence.
The op-ed condemned comments made by Trump hinting that he supported the 2014 invasion of Crimea by Russia, which is recognized internationally as a part of Ukraine. Todd told his guest that an op-ed was of a slightly different magnitude to Russia’s well-documented interference in the U.S. election to help Trump win.
Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate the debunked Ukraine claim during the July 25 phone call that sparked the impeachment probe, and has continued to promote the falsehood since ― despite it being widely discredited by the U.S. intelligence community. A GOP-led Senate inquiry into the matter was also said to have found no evidence to support the claim, according to CNN and Politico sources familiar with the matter.
Keen-eared Twitter users were quick to comment on Cruz’ “laugh track.”
This story has been updated to note the show has a live audience.