June 9, 2017

Chuck Todd's interview with Rep. Marsha Blackburn started with a bang right out of the gate when he began with a question to her about James Comey's testimony yesterday and Russia.

Chuck Todd was trying to get some idea of how Blackburn (and Congressional Republicans) feel about Russian interference in our election by mentioning Comey's emotional remarks about it during his testimony Thursday.

"He said a foreign power essentially invade invaded our country," Todd said. "Do you believe this president has done enough to punish Russia for this act of aggression of the United States of America?"

Whereupon Blackburn dissembled like a pro, never batting so much as a false eyelash while gliding right over the actual question.

First, we get the "I think it is so interesting" that Democrats haven't worried about Russian aggression, as though that is a fact. Then we get the rundown of the history of Russo-American relations since the glory days of Saint Ronnie, before she snarks about how interesting it is that "people are just now beginning to figure that out."

Todd interrrupted her reverie at that point by almost shouting at her, "Where is the urgency?"

"I think you are trying to make the point -- hey, Democrats and others did not care about Russia and do now. Why are you saying better late than never?," he asked.

"There is no urgency here, that's what I am confused about."

Blackburn meandered back into her answer about holding a hearing on cybersecurity next week and blah, blah blah, prompting Todd to ask her one more time what exactly she thought should be done about Russia.

Spoiler alert: She never answers that question. Not in this clip, and not for the full seven-minute interview.

Instead, Rep. Blackburn pivoted back to Comey, sliming him.

"Now, on the matter of Jim Comey and his being emotional, it is fair to say what Comey had is what we call in Tennessee an old-fashioned come-apart in front of the Senate Intel Committee, yesterday."

"It seems like he wanted to throw a lot of people under the bus and it seems like he did get a little emotional. I think he has an interesting relationship with the truth," she snarked.

That prompted Chuck Todd to ask her directly whether she was accusing him of committing perjury. Watch them dance.

Todd: "So you believe that Director Comey committed perjury?"

Blackburn: "You just said it."

Todd: "You just said he had a problem with the truth!"

Blackburn: "I said he had an interesting relationship with the truth."

Todd: "What does that mean? Is he truthful or not?"

Poor Marsha was a little stuck on her answer for that, given that she desperately wanted to believe everything Comey said about Loretta Lynch but not so much what he said about Trump.

So instead she pivoted to his "diminishment of himself" and hoped he'd have the guts to stand up to the Attorney General if need be.

There are a lot of things we can say about James Comey. I've said many not-flattering things about him. But I haven't called him a liar. In fact, it is his squeaky-clean "gosh-golly" image that made his pronouncements about Clinton's email server so devastating and maddening.

Watching Blackburn dance on the high wire about whether or not he was honest and true was amazing, and not in a good way.

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