When something looks sleazy, the person you want to bring on the air to reassure viewers is that reality-star-turned-politician Sean Duffy, because he's just the kind of clean cut young man the fearful grannies need to calm them down.
Today, Duffy is there to tell the grannies that Erik Prince's meeting with a sleazy middleman with kiddie porn charges in his past to set up a backchannel for Trump to communicate directly with Putin was, well...no big deal.
"What's the big deal about a backchannel?," Duffy asked incredulously. "Prince said he didn't do that, but if he did, there's nothing wrong with that."
Well, you know, there really might be something wrong with it on a number of different levels and as a Congressman, Duffy should have been concerned, since Congress oversees our intelligence community who had the resources to do this in a way that would assure national security. Why didn't Trump want Congress to know? Why didn't Trump want the intelligence services to know? Those are the hard questions Duffy doesn't want to address.
Duffy then did what Republicans do all the time: Slime the guy trying to get to the truth. Today it was Rep. Adam Schiff's turn in the barrel as Duffy deflected the discussion over to hitting him.
"If there was a claim that there was obstruction for President Trump in the investigation, this has nothing to do with that either," Duffy said "So I think Adam Schiff sees the Russian investigation with the Trump and Russia petering out, and he is trying to prop the investigation up."
Yeah, he said this on a week where Paul Manafort was arraigned on a second set of charges in Virginia and MI-6 agents connected to the Steele dossier were hit with nerve gas in England. But it is Fox News, after all, where the narrative must prop up Dear Leader, rather than approach stories with even a small modicum of objectivity.
Katie Pavlich served as the echo chamber for Duffy, leaving Marie Harf to clean up the mess, which she did do rather well.
Harf gently reminded the panel that the real game in town isn't Schiff. It's Robert Mueller, and Robert Mueller is interested in reconciling the conflicts in the Erik Prince stories from various sources.
"If Erik Prince is lying -- I am not saying that he is, he has been accused of that -- Bob Mueller is going to call him in and say why wasn't he just setting up an above-board meeting?" Harf observed. "A secret channel looks shady."
Helpfully, Pavlich jumped on that, too, saying that Trump had the right to set up a backchannel through normal channels."Official channels would have been perfectly fine," she said.
"Then they should have done that," Harf shot back.
Yes, indeed. Leave it to Sean Duffy to serve as a ridiculous apologist for Donald Trump and Erik Prince while whitewashing what is clearly a sleazy and nebulous effort to go outside of the boundaries of secure channels to communicate with Vladimir Putin.
If it was "no big deal," then why not use official channels?