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GOP Rep. Surprises CNN’s Keilar by Likening Russia Investigation to Birtherism

Tom Garrett (R-VA) gave an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Monday, and things took a sharp turn when the congressman drew a connection between the ongoing Russia investigations and the birther conspiracy theories about Barack Obama.

“Imagine if political money, $9 million from the Clinton campaign and the DNC to Fusion GPS, were levied to do an investigation against President Obama as to his origin of birth,” Garrett said. “That would be ridiculous and un-American, and this is too.”

Keilar was taken aback by the comparison, and she noted the outstanding questions on Trump’s potential obstruction of justice, as well the Russia-linked activities of his campaign staff. She also brought up the fact that Trump perpetuated birther conspiracy theories for years before renouncing them in 2016.

Garrett continued to insist that that the Russia investigation is “essentially birtherism,” and he and Keilar launched into a debate on the merits of comparing unfounded rumors with ongoing federal investigations.

“You don’t get to pick the people with whom you’re going to interact,” Garrett argued.

“You do get to decide who you invite to Trump Tower for a meeting,” Keilar countered, referring to Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with Kremlin lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Garrett moved on to say that the “crazy people” perpetuating birtherism didn’t face the scrutiny of the federal government, and he also took issue with the questions and political complications involving meetings between Trump’s people and Russian officials.

“There are Russians in this world. Some of them are good. Some of them are bad. That’s for sure, like any nation. And so any attenuated contact then becomes a smoking gun? That’s ridiculous.”

Watch above, via CNN.

[Image via screengrab]

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