President Donald Trump and his allies keep waging a desperate fight against the impeachment case that House Democrats are building — and the president’s camp just keeps losing. This weekend on Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd confronted prominent Trump ally Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) about his baseless past insistence that maybe Ukraine is the true culprit behind 2016 election meddling. He’s a United States Senator with global visibility and the resources of government at his disposal, and when Todd asked if he was concerned about getting “duped,” he vaguely pointed the host to — wait for it — “the articles.”
Kennedy had previously attracted scrutiny for claiming that Ukraine possibly perpetrated the email hack-driven misinformation campaigns against Democrats in the 2016 election cycle, which there’s absolutely no evidence for. The entirety of the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia did it. This weekend, Kennedy claimed that his suggestion otherwise was based on him misunderstanding the original question to be about election meddling in general, but he didn’t stop with the conspiracies.
He insisted, referring to the Ukrainian president at the time of the 2016 election cycle:
‘The fact that Russia was so aggressive does not exclude the fact that President Poroshenko actively worked for Secretary Clinton.’
‘You realize the only other person selling this argument outside the United States is … Vladimir Putin.’
Kennedy doesn’t seem to care, although literally just the other day, former top Trump adviser Fiona Hill insisted during public Congressional testimony that Russian intelligence services were pushing the conspiracy theory that Ukrainians were the true meddlers. Apparently, Kennedy didn’t have the television on for that testimony.
Amazingly, he admitted to something along those lines this weekend, telling the Meet the Press host that he did not even attend a recent Senate briefing about Russia’s efforts to deflect blame for their election meddling.
At another point, Todd asked the prominent Trump defender “if he’s “at all concerned” that he’s been “duped” by Russia President Vladimir Putin into believing former Ukraine President Poroshenko “worked for” Hillary Clinton.”
Kennedy bluntly replied:
‘No. Just read the articles.’
It’s not immediately clear what articles the Senator was referring to.
WATCH: @ChuckTodd asks @SenJohnKennedy if he is “at all concerned that he has been duped” into believing that former Ukraine president worked for the Clinton campaign in 2016 #MTP #IfItsSunday@SenJohnKennedy: “No, just read the articles.” pic.twitter.com/A0rLu03F8j
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) December 1, 2019
The belligerent, flippant lines of attack mirror the behavior from the president himself. According to a call record that the White House itself released, Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into a completely baseless conspiracy theory that a Democratic email server had ended up in Ukraine. There is no evidence for this — the tech security company that Trump mentioned is, in reality, not even Ukrainian. That didn’t stop the president from rushing full speed ahead with his nonsense anyway!
Now, he’s facing impeachment over some of his most recent behavior. Following the emergence of a whistleblower complaint chronicling a Trump team plot to exchange military aid and a summit in D.C. for dirt on the Bidens from Ukraine, House Dems launched the inquiry that culminated in the recently concluded first round of public impeachment hearings. The Intel Committee handled those and will reportedly circulate a report to its members about its findings this week.