If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and smells to high heaven like duck poop....
Trump advisor Rep. Jack Kingston was on CNN's New Day, and Chris Cuomo wasted no time asking him why the Trump campaign was pursuing the line that "we don't know" if the Russians had anything to do with the election hacking.
As you read the transcript below, keep in mind the following questions:
- Can a Congressman who left office two years ago and was an adviser to the Trump campaign actually pretend he is travelling the world including Russia, merely as a "private citizen"?
- Can that former Congressman pretend that "we don't really know who hacked the DNC" and "it could be multiple people" means Putin doesn't have any explaining to do? And Trump shouldn't ask because he won?
- When James Clapper didn't "show up" for a House Intel briefing last week, but instead called the committee's chairmen four times to explain what was going on, does that mean we can tell the voters that this Putin guy is a nothing-to-see-here distraction?
- Did the former Congressman come on CNN to speak the magic words "MoveOn.org" expecting that would make the issue of Putin's hacking a US election disappear?
- So now that Trump is President, Fortune 500 companies represented by yuuge law firm Squire Patton Boggs and their staff of former Senators and Congressman get to set all US foreign policy? Or just policy vis-a-vis Russia?
- And tell us, Jack: Does working for humongous law firm and lobbying agency Squire Patton Boggs, currently the third-largest lobbying firm in the U.S., come with dental?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: So, with the Electoral College doing a direct vote today, do you think that will end the need for this silly spin coming out of the Trump team about the uncertainty of whether or not Russia was involved with the hacks and that president Obama's acknowledging the hacks because of pressure from the Clinton camp. This is silly. We had on October 7 Clapper came out and coordinates with all the intel agencies. He said Russia is behind the hacks. Forget about why they did it for now. Shouldn't the president-elect acknowledge the threat of Putin and these hacks?
JACK KINGSTON: Well, I don't think the pressure is on him to really have to acknowledge it either way. If Congress could do its job it would make a huge difference. As you know, the House Intel Committee tried to have a hearing with Clapper just Thursday. And he would not show up. Which I got to say, Chris, as somebody who served in Congress for 22 years, that is absolutely outrageous. The executive branch is funded by the legislative branch and they have to have an oversight and they show up. So, if the CIA has such compelling evidence, they need to come forward without any equivocation and say, look, here's what I got. We are on the same page with the FBI, which in my estimation has yet to be determined. Clapper is the one saying the FBI is on the same page as he is. Comey has not said that yet.
CHRIS CUOMO: Jack, couple of things. You know better. There is a difference between someone having coming forward with evidence of a crime and having intelligence reveal its sources and methods. You know there is a significant difference in the danger of exposing those two different types of information. And, also, just for point of fact, Nunez may have wanted Clapper to come out and expose methods and sources. Clapper didn't want to do that. But Clapper said he tried to call Nunez three times. Which makes Nunez look like he was trying to score some political points and pull a stunt and not actually get information from Clapper. He could have done that on the phone. He didn't need the hearing for it.
KINGSTON: I know devon Nunez and Peter King. I know you do. You've interviewed them before. These are really serious guys and to have a classified hearing is nothing to them. It's a well-swept room and no bugs in it and they can talk about anything they want inside that room. Devin Nunez and Peter King, as well, who have a track record of keeping confidential information, classified information. They deal with it on a weekly basis. So, to me, for Clapper not to step forward is really disturbing. But, remember what president Obama said on Friday. He said that there was evidence that hacking took place on DNC and on John Podesta's e-mails. There was no evidence that it disrupted or affected the election results and there is this kind of perception that they broke into the voting machines in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania or anywhere else and they swayed the outcome and that's not true. What they did is they embarrassed the DNC and we also know about hacking that you make it look like somebody else did it. And it's highly unlikely that only Russia was doing it. There is probably hacking going on all over the place from countries, as well. And lone wolf actors.
CUOMO: A couple things. One, the Clapper came out October 7th, again. This is what they do. They're very confident that it was Russia. They know how to see when it's Russia. We've talked to people who were involved in the investigation. I don't think we need to muddy those waters absent new information. Secondly, you're right. It wasn't about what they did to the election machines and the actual polling places, but part of the reason people think that goes back to the Trump campaign because they were advancing theories about the concern of that and about Soros and his ownership of the machines. That was coming from Trump's team and the surrogates around him who were spreading that BS in the days leading up to the election. So, they have to own that, too. Those chickens are coming home to roost.
(Say the magic words, Jack!)
KINGSTON: But the irony is the Clinton team and MoveOn.org and this guy Clayton or whoever is behind this Americans United group or whatever it's called that hired the Hollywood actors to try to sway the electors and all the intimidation that is going on. They are the ones now not accepting the results of the election and putting democracy in a spin. To use their own words. Also, Chris, remember, October 7th, why wasn't the president acting at a higher level then? Where was the bipartisan Senate outrage? Where were those senators who now come for hearings on October 7th because what evidence has changed? If the evidence was out there on October 7th, surely they should have been jumping up and down.
CUOMO: Politicians doing the right thing does not mean the evidence is not there. Certainly to the satisfaction of the intel community. Let me ask you about something else. You just took an important trip over to Russia. You went as a private citizen. People have to know that. You're a senior adviser and went there as a private citizen, understood. You said while you were over there that, hey, we should look at these sanctions because they haven't had their intended effect.
CUOMO (continued): What does that mean? They were just put in in 2014 and they were aimed at targeted individuals and entities that we see as bearing responsibility for the obvious illegal incursion by the Russian government into Ukraine. How do we know they haven't been effective? Why would you want to remove them?
KINGSTON: Well, two things, Chris. I'm glad you have said that. But I will reiterate that I was there as a private citizen. I work for a law firm that has been there for 20 years and we did post-election reviews in Brussels, London and Sydney, Australia, and Washington, DC. This was just part of that. We would have done that if Hillary Clinton was the winner.
KINGSTON: I'm no longer an adviser to the Trump campaign that ended with the election.
KINGSTON: But what my statement was that the sanctions have been in place long enough to know if the results that we wanted were achieved and that's a far more tame statement than the one I got credit for. The point being that, has Putin withdrawn from Crimea? Have they straightened out their relationship with the Ukraine and a legitimate question to ask...were those sanctions effective? If they weren't effective, do you double down on them or withdraw them and get more of an international community pressure to join the sanctions? My point was that if you look at the results because they've been in place, are you where you wanted to be? And I think that we're hearing, for example, Lindsey Graham said he wants to bear down, double down on the sanctions and I think, you know, that's a legitimate discussion, as well. But what I was trying to do. You look at Russian-American relationships. They have not been great under Obama. The new administration has the opportunity to come in there and how can we address Crimea and the Ukraine and address Syria where there is so much human suffering going on. And utilize our relationships that have worked. We have American businesses that have been in Russia for 20 and 30 years and these are Fortune 500 companies that do $50 billion worth of work in Russia a year. Can that not be used as a conduit for communication and some cooperation and a positive sense? I think most Americans will say we need to have a new and a better chapter with Russia.
end of transcript.
Reagan. Is. Spinning. In. His. Grave.