With the current news cycle being so focused on the whole Donald Trump Jr./Russia meeting bombshell, it didn’t seem all that surprising that MSNBC’s AM Joy would begin its program with a debate between two former intelligence officials on the details surrounding the meeting. However, what was surprising was the way the segment eventually went off the rails.
Early on, this seemed to be the standard situation we’ve seen played out seemingly dozens of times now this past week on cable news — conservative guest tangles with host and other guests as he tries to downplay the meeting. However, in this instance, the conservative — former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz — came armed with props. And it eventually set host Joy Reid and MSNBC analyst Malcom Nance off.
Fleitz indicated that publicist Rob Goldstone, who acted as the conduit between Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government, shouldn’t be treated seriously because of his actions on social media. He then held up various pictures of Goldstone dressed as Miss Universe and a pirate.
“The question is whether this person would have been entrusted by the Russian government — here he is posing as Miss Universe — whether the Russian government would trust someone like this with sensitive information about efforts to undermine the US election,” the former House Intel Committee staffer stated. He added that the Russians would never have “entrusted him with a sensitive intelligence operation.”
Nance responded by pointing that Goldstone “is not the player in this game — he’s merely a communications conduit.” He further stated that he was likely used due to the fact that Trump Jr. knew and trusted him.
When Reid threw it back to Fleitz, the ex-analyst continued to hold up a picture of Goldstone dressed as a pirate, claiming that “Mr. Pirate here was not sharing the details of a Russian operation to affect the election.” This led to a tense back-and-forth between Reid and Fleitz that featured the MSNBC host grilling the former John Bolton Chief of Staff and Fletiz accusing Reid of holding a “rigged interview.”
At the end of the exchange, Reid wanted to move on to Nance, leading Fleitz to ask the question: “Oh, I see, so I can’t answer anymore?”
“Let me give you an assist here Fred,” Nance said. “You seem to need the help.”
The discussion would go on for a few more minutes, with Felitz concluding that no one in the meeting thought that the Russian government wanted to help Trump win and that they all thought they were just getting opposition research.
Watch the clip above, via MSNBC.
[image via screengrab]
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