Joy Reid had a panel of formidable foreign intelligence experts on today to discuss the attempted normalization of Russian talking points regarding Ukraine, and the lie that it was Ukraine — rather than Russia — who interfered in our 2016 election. David Laufman, former head of counterintelligence for the DOJ, tweeted that any government official who persists in entertaining or perpetuating this possibility is basically "aiding and abetting the enemy." Malcolm Nance, Naveed Jamali, and Sarah Kendzior joined Reid, and she asked her panel for their thoughts on Laufman's assertion.
JAMALI: Look, if you amplify talking points by Russia that are meant to cause a wedge between Russia. Ukraine and the United States, as well as minimize Russia's attack on the 2016 elections, you are acting as a Russian asset. Not an agent, an asset. You are amplifying their disinformation, and he's absolutely right. We have to call this stuff out.
Reid then asked Nance about the spreading contagion of that belief from Trump to the GOP officials in Congress, Devin Nunes in particular. She pointed out that were the GOP in the majority, it would be Nunes, not Schiff, in charge of these hearings, if they were happening at all. Nance had some pretty damning things to say about Nunes and the GOP in general.
NANCE: I believe he KNOWS it is a conspiracy theory that comes from the Kremlin. I think he's COMFORTABLE with working with information that comes with the Kremlin. Because he believes, like all the other Republicans believe, that what comes out of Donald Trump's mouth, that they must follow, almost in lockstep, like the dictator he's trying to be. They do not care about the Constitution of the United States. I will say that flatly. Because their sworn oath to protect and defend this nation, this man Devin Nunes has access to the exact same intelligence the president of the United States does. They don't believe it for personal, political reasons, because they have no problem splitting America up in to a 60/40 nation, where 40% rule as autocrats over the other 60%. That means the Constitution is a piece of paper that they would rather rip up or cut into segments rather than defend this country at all costs. The Russians set this whole thing up, we all know it started in 2016, we have been warning for three years, and now we find Donald Trump believes the words, believes it in his heart, the words of an ex-Communist dictator, KGB officer, rather than any person in America. We are in DANGER with the way these people are thinking.
Joy Reid brought up Moscow Marsha Blackburn, the United States Senator who, in a tweet, accused the decorated military hero, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman of dual loyalty, and alleged connections to the whistleblower. Sarah Kendzior agreed this is indicative of the entire system being undermined, and outlined, as she always does, the dangers that lie therein.
KENDZIOR: You are right. We have a lot of corruption and plutocracy that's made in the USA. And that's opened up vulnerabilities for attacks by foreign powers, such as Russia, which hijacked our country in 2016 through the election of Donald Trump. Now, we are left with, as I've said before, a transnational crime syndicate led by a Kremlin asset and so one of the problems that we have is money into politics, the infiltration of money of foreign backers through proxies like the NRA to Republicans. which means that ALL of them are contaminated. When you are investigating Donald Trump, you end up with investigations into the Republican party, you end up with people who are careerists to corrupt to complicit. But at this point, I think they are afraid. They are not acting on behalf of the American people, they are not acting in accordance to the American Constitution. They are in a crime cult, and that crime cult worships Donald Trump and revolves around Donald Trump.
Reid asked Jamali to comment on the still shocking, yet thoroughly believable notion that Trump really and truly is taking his directions from Vladimir Putin. It seems so surreal, still. Jamali was unequivocal.
JAMALI: He absolutely does. Not in the sense that I think Vladimir Putin is necessarily calling up and saying this is exactly what you say, I think this is exactly what both Malcolm and Sarah have said. Donald Trump actually believes, BELIEVES this debunked, false, fictional narrative that Ukraine somehow meddled in the 2016 election and not Russia. And that is Russian disinformation, Russian talking points. My goodness, Joy, when you have a president of the United States who is not only peddling, but actually believes this, and acting to amplify these beliefs, against the intelligence committee, against what everyone in the U.S. government tells him is not true, what do we call that? He's acting as a Russian asset and he's amplifying talking points put together by the kremlin. It is unparalleled. I don't know how we classify that. Yes, to answer your question, yes, these are talking points. This is disinformation created by Russia, that's being parroted by the president of the United States. I don't know what else to call it.
Putin has known for years exactly who to play, and how to play him. And by extension, Putin is playing every citizen in the United States.