March 5, 2021

Joy Reid refuses to let Trump surrogate gaslight on Trump’s impeachment

Joy Reid and Jack Kingston
Reid and Mehdi Hasan refuse to allow a former Republican congressman to present falsehoods about Trump's impeachment.

Am Joy host Joy Reid is the best around when it comes to refusing to allow Republicans to continue demonstrably false narratives on her show. Such was the case on Sunday when she appeared with former Georgia congressman, Jack Kingston, who was a senior adviser to Trump and a current Trump surrogate.

Kingston attempted to persuade Reid and columnist, Mehdi Hasan, that Trump was treated unfairly in the House hearings. The false narrative has been taken up by Trump’s legal defense in the ongoing senate impeachment hearings.

“As you know, unlike in the Clinton impeachment, President Trump was not allowed to cross-examine witnesses in the House,” claimed Kingston. “That is not a lie,” he said as he laughed.

Reid immediately fired back:

“So here’s the difference between how we do business over here on MSNBC and the way they might do business in other places you appear. You just can’t say things that aren’t true,” said Reid.

Then Hasan responded to Kingston’s remarks.

“Just disappointing, but not surprising to hear Jack open up with a complete falsehood. You know that’s not true that in the House the President was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses or send a lawyer,” said Hasan.

“The lawyers for Trump turned up this week in the Senate and opened with these falsehoods. That shows how weak their defense is that they opened – they didn’t even wait a few hours – they opened with these falsehoods.”

Hasan pointed to the fact that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to Congress declaring that the President would not cooperate in any impeachment inquiry. So it’s not true to say that Trump was not allowed to participate in cross-examining witnesses. Trump chose not to participate.

“Cipollone wrote a letter to Congress saying we don’t want to be a part of this when Jerry Nadler invited the White House to send a council to be a part of the House Judiciary hearing,” explained Hasan.

Hasan then pointed out another Republican falsehood, that Pat Cipollone shared, saying no Republicans in Congress were allowed to participate in basement depositions. In fact, as many as 48 Republicans attended. Twelve Republicans made a show of storming a hearing that they had permission to attend.

“He lied, didn’t he?” Hasan asked Kingston.

“He did not lie,” said Kingston. “This is what he was referring to. As you know, that in the SCIF, in the bottom of the basement of the Capitol, Adam Schiff held hearings in which the President was not allowed to attend or have council present or cross-examine the witnesses. Now that is the truth, isn’t it?”

“No. That is not what Cipollone said. Cipollone said –I quote that Republican members of the House were not allowed to enter the room. That is false, Jack. Can we agree on that?”

Kingston refused to agree. Instead, he pressed Reid to agree that Trump was not allowed to participate. Reid explained that the SCIF hearings were the “equivalent of Grand Jury hearings.” Thus the defendant, in this case, Trump, would not be allowed to attend the hearing.

Calling Republican’s bluff on witnesses

Reid masterfully put the question back to Kingston, since he is arguing for Trump to cross-examine witnesses.

“The Republicans decided they were going to use that as an excuse to claim Donald Trump did not get due process. However, now, Donald Trump has the opportunity to have evidence and witnesses entered into evidence. He will have the opportunity to have his council cross-examine witnesses.”

“Given that you think it’s very important for the President to cross-examine witnesses, do you then agree that there should be witnesses called for the President’s council to cross-examine?”

Kingston refused to agree, pointing to past impeachments of Clinton and Nixon.

“Nixon and Clinton were both allowed to cross-examine witnesses in the House. Schiff and Nadler denied Trump that ability,” said Kingston.

“That is false! You must stop saying things that are false, Jack,” replied Hasan.

Once more, Hasan presented the facts that the President refused to attend. Reid played a clip of Pat Cipollone during the Senate hearings in which he once more alleged that Trump was not given due process in the House hearings, which is demonstrably false.

“Do you agree that Pat Cipollone just lied there on tape?” Hasan asked Kingston.

Distraction and more falsehoods

Kingston refused to answer the question. Later he asserted that Republicans should be allowed to call House Chairman Adam Schiff as a witness on the false basis that Mueller’s report has cleared Trump of any wrongdoing in regards to Russia.

Trump was not exonerated on all charges but Mueller could not indict a sitting president.

“That is not true. Don’t lie about the Mueller report here. Not today. Not today, sir. Nope. I read the Mueller report,” said Reid.

“Don’t try that. I read the Mueller report. That’s not gonna work here. Go back to the question: Why should Adam Schiff be a witness?”

Kingston then alleged that Adam Schiff had “coordination with the whistleblower,” but would not offer any evidence.

Mehdi Hasan then suggested Democrats should “call the Republican’s bluff” and agree to call all witnesses, from Joe Biden to “Jerrold Nadler’s’ Uber driver.”

“You have this weird world of Republicans now. You have to admire how the GOP in the Senate and the Trump administration has taken gaslighting to a whole new level.”

Mehdi goes on to explain how the GOP Senators voted 11 times to prevent witnesses and documents, only to tell the media, “This is boring. We’ve seen nothing new here.” They want to have it both ways, which is utter hypocrisy.

Reid pressed Kingston to aks if he would take a deal to have all the witnesses Republicans want to call, however irrelevant to the case, in exchange for allowing the witnesses that Democrats want, including top Trump officials. Kingston pretty much acted as Mehdi suggested he would as a Republican in 2020.

“I think I would under the circumstance that we go ahead and accelerate this and get it over with,” said Kingston.

The Trump supporter once again pointed back to the Clinton and Nixon hearings, and once more, Reid and Hasan proved it was the White House that refused to agree in the House process.

A frustrated Reid ended the conversation with a compelling statement:

“It’s complete hypocrisy to say that Donald Trump did not have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and have his evidence and then say we don’t want evidence or witnesses. I just showed you, every trial has had evidence. Every trial has had witnesses. You just said you want to interrogate Adam Schiff, so you should accept the idea of having witnesses. That would actually be consistent. Just saying,” said Reid.

See a clip of the interview below:

The background on Jack Kingston and Russia

Kingston appeared on CNN in 2016 to discuss his trip to Moscow with American business executives right before Trump was about to be inaugurated. The trip coincided with a separate Moscow trip by Carter Page, who became well-known during the Russia investigations. Page held a news conference at Russia’s Sputnik headquarters, where he ironically complained “about the proliferation of fake news,” reported NPR.

“You can work with your enemies on a lot of different levels,” Kingston said of Russia.

Kinston explained that he worked for a law firm in practice in Moscow for 20 years and said he was not serving as an emissary for the Trump campaign.

However, Kingston explained why he thought it would be a good idea to lift sanctions on Russia to help big business. The sanctions were imposed on Russia by the outgoing Obama administration due to armed intervention in Ukraine.

See the video below:

NPR reported:

“Although Kingston traveled as a private individual, the former Georgia congressman’s bio on the website of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia didn’t hide his connections to the stars of Team Trump such as Vice President-elect Mike Pence and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.”

As House Speaker Pelosi repeatedly says, “All roads lead to Putin” when it comes to Trump, his administration, and with many of his key supporters.

On Thursday, Fox News played a segment in which Sean Hannity reported that the DOJ believes there was “insufficient predication to establish probable cause” in obtaining a FISA warrant to investigate what Page was doing in Moscow. In stark contrast, the station played only 22 seconds of the trial taking place Thursday, where Chairman Adam Schiff presented his compelling and historic arguments, as Media Matters reported.

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