Sebastian Gorka and MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle sparred over Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer in Tuesday morning face-off.
The deputy assistant to the president — who when he’s not idling around the White House canteen is doing cable news hits — was appearing on MSNBC to discuss the military campaign in Mosul.
But Ruhle wanted to discuss recent reports that President Donald Trump’s son sought damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign in a meeting with a Russian national with ties to the Kremlin.
“Look, I think Donald Jr.’s statements stand for themselves,” Gorka started, before arguing that he met with “an individual who at the time had no connection to the Russian government” and that the meeting was set up “under false pretenses.”
“Once the discussion began and this individual started to talk incoherently, the topic changed to the issue of Russian adoptions, which was a very hot item under the Obama administration, and at that point the meeting ended,” Gorka claimed.
He added that Don Jr. is not currently part of the administration, “so this is a massive nothing burger.”
Ruhle noted that Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer Don Jr. met with, said on NBC Tuesday morning that the president’s son was seeking damaging information on Clinton.
“Is she lying?” Ruhle charged.
“I have no idea, I never met the woman,” Gorka shot back, before arguing that Democratic party operatives tried to coordinate opposition research on Trump’s campaign with the Ukrainian embassy.
The two engaged in a contentious exchange over Clinton, with Gorka crying pay-for-play and Ruhle holding “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
“And by the way,” Ruhle said, “if it was about opposition research, why would Donald Trump Jr. not come clean with that on Saturday and say this is how campaigns run? To give us this story about orphans when two days later, yep, we wanted information on her. Why? Explain this to me, please.”
Gorka replied that Ruhle “should probably ask Donald Trump Jr.,” but argued that the meeting “was not organized in good faith,” as the Russian lawyer didn’t actually have any damaging information on Clinton.
“So if she had the goods, would you feel better about it?” Ruhle asked.
“Well it’s standard political practice,” Gorka replied.
“No sir, it is not standard political practice to seek information from a foreign government,” Ruhle shot back.
“Would you like to talk about Mosul or continue talking about the nothing burger story?” Gorka charged. “The Hillary Clinton campaign collects dirt on Bernie Sanders. Is that unusual?”
“If these meetings were standard political practice, why wouldn’t Don share that information?” Ruhle asked.
Gorka then moved on to illegal leaks from the administration and intelligence agencies, bashing Ruhle and her “colleagues in the fake news media, CNN and MSNBC, The New York Times and Washington Post” for failing to find “one piece of felonious evidence.”
The MSNBC host next asked about Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit, and reports that the U.S. president accepted Putin’s claim that the Kremlin did not meddle in the 2016 election.
Gorka first said Ruhle “should ask the Kremlin,” before claiming that Trump “pressed the president…on multiple occasions in that meeting, which lasted more than two hours, on the issue of election meddling.”
“It’s a protocol event and we have very important things to talk about such as defeating ISIS,” Gorka continued. “So the president did what had to be done, he called them out and then he moved on.”
Ruhle next asked Gorka about conflicting accounts of the meeting coming from the White House, and the deputy assistant declined to answer, stating “I’m not going to talk about the fine details of a closed meeting” – and Ruhle finally moved on to Mosul.
Watch above, via MSNBC.
[image via screengrab]
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