After backtracking and admitting he was wrong for pushing the Russian propaganda that it was Ukraine who hacked the DNC server and interfered in the 2016 election, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy was back at it again on this Sunday's Meet the Press.
As The Daily Beast explained this morning, Kennedy left Meet the Press host Chuck Todd gobsmacked when he claimed that the ex-Ukrainian president "actively worked for Hillary Clinton" and that he was not concerned that he was being duped by the Russians and "selling the same argument as Putin."
At the top of their interview on Sunday, Todd brought up Kennedy’s eventual walk-back of his DNC remarks, asking the Louisiana lawmaker why he backtracked.
“Well, Chris Wallace was interviewing me and he asked me a question. I answered it. I thought he had asked me if Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 election,” the Republican senator replied, reiterating previous excuses he had given. “He didn’t, he asked me if Ukraine was responsible for hacking the DNC computer, which is, of course, a form of meddling. I went back and looked at the transcript and I realized Chris was right and I was wrong so I said I was wrong.”
The NBC News host went on to note that the main criticism Kennedy has faced in recent days is that he is conflating what Russia and Ukraine did during the 2016 election, stating that Kennedy appears to be doing President Trump’s “dirty work” for him.
Kennedy, meanwhile, insisted that there was sufficient evidence that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election on behalf of Clinton, citing a handful of articles to claim that a number of Ukrainian officials “meddled in the election on social media and otherwise.”
Todd would eventually confront Kennedy on the U.S. intelligence community recently briefing lawmakers that attempts to frame Ukraine for Russian election meddling was actually “a Russian intelligence propaganda campaign in order to get people like you to say these things about Ukraine," a briefing Kennedy claimed he didn't attend.
“When does opinion become fact?” Todd wondered aloud. “Does 17 intelligence services saying it, does every western intelligence ally saying Russia did this—I get sort of confused at what point is it no longer an opinion for you?”
After once again noting that a Ukrainian court “smacked down several Ukrainian officials for meddling in our elections,” Kennedy then made a claim that gobsmacked the Meet the Press host.
“Russia was very aggressive and they’re much more sophisticated,” the conservative senator declared. “But the fact that Russia was so aggressive does not exclude the fact that President Poroshenko actively worked for Secretary Clinton.”
“Actively worked for Secretary Clinton?! My goodness, wait a minute, Senator Kennedy,” Todd shot back. “You now have the president of Ukraine saying he worked for the Democratic nominee for president. C’mon. You realize the only other person selling this argument outside the United States is this man, Vladimir Putin!”