Meet the Press host Chuck Todd confronted GOP Sen. Ted Cruz over the Texas lawmaker’s belief that Ukraine, not Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
On Sunday, Cruz argued that Democrats haven’t proven that Trump violated any laws. He insisted that Trump was just concerned about “investigating corruption” when he pressured the president of Ukraine to announce and open an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
“What I don’t understand is why do you believe that if an American is committing corruption we should have a foreign government to announce an investigation,” Todd stated. “Is that appropriate or do you go to American authorities?”
“So, I believe any president, any Justice Department has the authority to investigate corruption,” Cruz replied. “In this case, there was serious evidence on the face of corruption. The reason Hunter Biden got that position is because his daddy was vice president.”
Todd, then asked the senator whether or not he believed that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
“I do. And I think there is considerable evidence,” Cruz replied.
“You do?” Todd replied clearly shocked. “You do?!” As Todd responded you could hear the people in the studio laughing at Cruz’s response.
Holy crap — you can hear people in the @MeetThePress studio laughing out loud right after Ted Cruz proclaims that he thinks Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. What an embarrassment. pic.twitter.com/TjqoP8R538
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 8, 2019
The intelligence community had briefed lawmakers that Russia had spent almost the entire last year attempting to frame Ukraine for the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 elections. During her testimony in the impeachment hearings, Fiona Hill had criticized Republicans for pushing the “fictional narrative.”
Todd would then remind Cruz about Trump’s smear campaign against him during the 2016 GOP presidential primary.
“Senator, this sort of strikes me as odd because you went through a primary campaign with this president,” Todd noted. “He launched a birtherism campaign against you. He went after your faith; he threatened to quote ‘spill the beans’ about your wife about something. He pushed a National Enquirer story, which we now know he had a real relationship with the editors.”
“I appreciate you dragging up all that garbage, that’s very kind of you,” Cruz barked back.
“Let me ask you this,” Todd continued. “Is it not possible that this president is capable of creating a false narrative about somebody in order to help him politically?”
Cruz then stated “that’s not what happened” and that the transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine showed no wrongdoing. Cruz would go on to claim that he does believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, but that doesn’t mean that Ukraine did not interfere as well.
Cruz then pointed to an op-ed written in 2016 by the Ukrainian ambassador criticizing Trump’s stance on Russian aggression against Ukraine as proof.
“That’s the difference? What you are saying—you are saying a pickpocket, which essentially is a Hill op-ed, compared to Bernie Madoff and Vladimir Putin,” Todd snapped back. “You are trying to equate—make them both seem equal. I don’t understand that.”