Fox News contributor and former GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s assertion that the Trump administration should be applauded for its transparency was apparently so ridiculous that several Fox News hosts took him to task over it on Tuesday.
Noting at the top of Fox News daytime chatfest Outnumbered that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was reportedly listening in on the infamous July 25 call between President Trump and the Ukrainian leader, co-host Melissa Francis pointed out that it was just last week when the secretary denied having any first-hand knowledge of the conversation.
Turning to Chaffetz, who was serving as the show’s “One Lucky Guy,” Francis then asked the ex-Utah lawmaker about an op-ed he wrote for Fox News that insisted Trump’s transparency is driving Democrats nuts and screwing up their impeachment dreams.
“But I am wondering—we are just learning that Michael Pompeo was on the call. Does that fit into the thesis that you have there?” Francis pressed Chaffetz.
The one-time House oversight chair went on to claim that Trump was “Mr. Transparency” when it came to providing Democrats with documents and records, pointing to the release of the call transcript as well as items he provided during the Mueller report. (It should be noted, however, that Trump refused to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and has yet to release any of his tax returns, among other records.)
“Why are we hearing about Mike Pompeo being on the call, though?” Francis pushed back.
“I don’t know that it’s relevant.,” Chaffetz replied.
“You don’t think it’s relevant that the Secretary of State was on that call,” a surprised Harris Faulkner interjected.
Chaffetz, meanwhile, pivoted to impeachment, wondering aloud whether anyone could justify impeaching the president over Pompeo—who is fighting congressional subpoenas related to Ukraine—from being on the call or not. Francis, meanwhile, shot back that this “was about lying” and transparency.
“Actually, it seriously is about judgment,” Faulkner added. “If you are there in that moment, and you have the opportunity to try to turn some judgment wheel, you can do that as Secretary of State. Not everybody on the call can do that.”
She continued: “Certain times in the call that legal experts actually have argued for and against impeachment in this country would have changed some things. Mike Pompeo, former CIA, seems like the type of person who might have done that for the president. That’s why he’s important.”
Chaffetz again argued that Trump didn’t need to release the call transcript before contending that the call itself showed no quid pro quo or the president pressuring Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rivals. Furthermore, he asserted that Pompeo not being upfront about his involvement in the call was a “superfluous issue.”
“If you’re talking about transparency, it is a big detail to leave off,” Francis concluded. “That your Secretary of State was on the call. That it is about, you know, putting everything out there. You’re saying he’s putting everything out there, that would be a detail to put out there.”