Moments after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd found himself in a fierce exchange with Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) in which he accused the GOP lawmaker of “gaslighting” his audience.
Kennedy said that it’s only fair to investigate the allegations about Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s business activities in Ukraine—along with accusations that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine to pressure the president into launching a probe of the Bidens.
“It’s hard to believe the concern about Hunter Biden by some of these folks making this case,” Todd responded. “If they were so serious about this, I’m trying to figure out why nobody from the FBI has been contacted. Not a single person.”
“I don’t understand why Rudy Giuliani thinks it’s better to investigate an American by outsourcing it to a country that apparently they also didn’t trust,” the Meet the Press host added. “Do you see why I’m skeptical that the Hunter Biden stuff is really that serious? If they were serious about it, you go to the FBI, you don’t go to an oligarch in Ukraine.”
Kennedy said that Todd didn’t know for a fact that the FBI hadn’t been contacted—before parroting the narrative that Giuliani and the president have been pushing since the story of a whistleblower complaint against Trump broke wide open.
This led to Todd and Kennedy tangling for the next few minutes. The MSNBC anchor asserted that there’s no “there there” with Biden-Ukraine, while Kennedy declared that there hasn’t been an investigation of it—likening Hunter Biden to a “bank robber” and calling Trump a “policeman who beat up the bank robber suspect.”
After Todd repeatedly noted that there is no evidence that Joe Biden got a Ukrainian prosecutor fired at the behest of his son, he accused Kennedy of playing an old political game: “We have no idea if it’s true but make them deny it.”
“I agree, Chuck, and if you were right, I would agree with you. If you were right, I would agree with you. But you’re wrong, this hasn’t been investigated,” Kennedy exclaimed. “Just because you think that the—I’m not alleging the vice president did anything wrong. But I’m just telling you the American people are looking at this and going, okay, umm, Mr. Biden—”
“Do you think whataboutism—how does that have anything to do with the president of the United States going to another world leader and saying, open up an investigation on my chief political rival?!” Todd shot back.
After Kennedy claimed that it has to do with “Ukranian corruption,” the MSNBC anchor let out a soft chuckle, retorting: “I am trying to be fair here, but you can’t gaslight us, sir. Don’t gaslight us!”
“I’m not gaslighting you,” the Louisiana lawmaker contended. “I’m telling you the facts. Do you deny those facts, do you think they got Hunter Biden’s name off Zip Recruiter? I don’t. I don’t think the American people do. I’m not alleging impropriety. I’m saying we need to look into it!”
Eventually, Todd would end the lengthy and tense segment by telling Kennedy he wasn’t going to allow a false equivalency to take over” and that he’s “just trying to present this fairly without gaslighting the nation.”