During its live coverage of Attorney General William Barr’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, MSNBC cut into the the hearing multiple times to call the attorney general a liar and claim Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham is nothing more than a “human shield” for President Trump.
Using his opening remarks Wednesday morning to assert that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was allowed to conduct his investigation without any interference, Graham—a one-time Trump critic turned loyalist—parroted President Trump’s oft-repeated mantra that there was “no collusion.”
Almost immediately, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams broke into the coverage to push back against Graham, citing the Mueller report itself.
“We’re reluctant to do this, we rarely do, but the chairman of the Judiciary Committee just said that Mueller found there was no collusion,” Williams said. “That is not correct.”
This prompted Wallace, a one-time Republican operative and Bush White House staffer, to tear into the Judiciary Committee chair while contrasting Graham’s pro-Trump spin with the recent revelation that Mueller sent a letter to Barr complaining that the attorney general confused the public with his initial summary of the report.
“I’m sorry, Lindsey Graham, but your defensiveness is showing,” she exclaimed. “To talk about everything that went into it and in the next breath distort it is a stunning, stunning mischaracterization of what the whole exercise is supposed to be about.”
Wallace added: “Reveals what I talked about before, that he is sitting not as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, but a human shield for Donald Trump and, it would appear, William Barr.”
Later in the hearing, MSNBC once again stepped in to deliver live commentary on the proceedings and provide Wallace an opportunity to call the attorney general a liar. With Williams once again saying they were reluctant to break into the coverage but they wanted to “correct the record” on the Mueller report, Wallace lashed out at Barr.
“So I’m not going to dance around this. He’s lying,” she declared. “He’s lying about what the Mueller report finds around one of the critical flash points in the obstruction investigation.”
Wallace continued: “One of the incidents that was investigated by Robert Mueller and his obstruction investigators was the attempted firing of the special counsel. It was one of the incidents that was under investigation into, really, days before Mueller wrapped up. He’s quibbling with whether removing Mueller and firing him is the same thing.”
She would go on to read aloud the testimony by Trump ally Chris Christie, who recalled a conversation in which the president discussed firing the special counsel. Wallace further highlighted former White House counsel Don McGahn informing the Mueller team that Trump talked about “removing” Mueller several times before once again blasting Barr.
“I think we’ve got an Attorney General lying about what is in the Mueller report around what was the most investigated flashpoints in the obstruction investigation,” she said.
MSNBC, meanwhile, would go on to hold a panel discussion for several more minutes while Barr answered friendly questions from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).