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WATCH LIVE: TRUMP SENATE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL BEGINS

Chuck Todd and Ted Cruz Clash Over Ukraine: Trump Created a False Narrative About You to Benefit Himself!

Senator Ted Cruz and NBC’s Chuck Todd had an intense exchange on Meet the Press over the media’s role in fueling President Donald Trump’s impeachment firestorm.

As Cruz defended Trump’s dealings with Russia and Ukraine, he bashed House Democrats for the “garbage” report they put out on Saturday to outline the legal argument for proceeding with impeachment. This led to an initial flare-up where Todd and Cruz went back and forth about whether Trump’s conduct meets Constitutional standards for an impeachable misdemeanor.

Cruz segued the conversation toward Hunter Biden’s controversial employment with Burisma, saying “the media ought to care if there is actual corruption” regarding Joe Biden’s son. Todd countered by remarking that “the reason you know this information is the media reported it,” and shortly after that, he asked Cruz “do you believe Ukraine meddled in the election in 2016?”

“I do,” Cruz answered, “and I think there is considerable evidence.”

The conspiracy theory that the Ukrainian government had a top-down campaign to mess with the 2016 election has been rebuked by numerous U.S. intelligence agencies, all of whom determined that Russia was actually responsible. Multiple Republicans have embraced the notion of Ukrainian interference in their defenses of Trump’s actions, even though multiple witnesses before the impeachment inquiry debunked and condemned it as a narrative designed to help Russia.

From there, Todd brought up the numerous false allegations Trump leveled against Cruz and his family when they were competing with each other in the 2016 Republican primary.

“I appreciate you dragging up all that garbage, that’s very kind of you,” Cruz interjected as Todd asked “Is it not possible that this president is capable of creating a false narrative about somebody in order to help him politically?”

“Except that’s not what happened,” Cruz said. He went on to accuse “the media” of playing “a game” and “pretends” no country except Russia interfered in the election. When Cruz invoked an op-ed from former Ukrainian ambassador Valeriy Chaly as proof of their interference, Todd derided that equivalence by saying “you’re saying a pick-pocket, which essentially is a Hill op-ed, compared to Bernie Madoff and Vladimir Putin. You are trying to make them both seem equal. I don’t understand that.”

Cruz’s retort:

“I understand that you want to dismiss Ukrainian interference because A: they were trying to get Hillary Clinton elected, which is what the vast majority of the media wanted anyway. And B: it’s inconvenient for the narrative.”

Watch above, via NBC.

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