February 28, 2023

It happened during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Ukraine military funding.

“Is the Azov battalion getting access to U.S. weapons?” Gaetz asked witness Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy. The Azov battalion, Insider explains, is “a far-right nationalist regiment in Ukraine, and some of its members serve in Ukraine's armed forces.”

“Not that I’m aware of,” Kahl replied, “but if you have information, I'm happy to hear it.”

Gaetz then requested that an “investigative report” by Global Times, claiming that the Azov battalion was “getting stuff as far back as 2018,” be entered into the record.

“Without objection, so ordered,” Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) said.

“Any reason to disagree with that assessment?” Gaetz asked Kahl. Gaetz had a look of self-satisfaction at what he thought was his gotcha question.

But it was Gaetz who was had.

“I’m sorry, is this the Global Times from China?” Kahl asked.

Gaetz started to say it wasn’t but then acknowledged that it was.

"As a general matter I don't take Beijing's propaganda at face value," Kahl responded.

When pressed by Gaetz to say whether the allegation is true or false, Kahl answered that he had no evidence one way or the other. Then he reiterated, "As a general matter I don't take Beijing's propaganda at face value.”

A man sitting behind Kahl looked like he was trying hard not to laugh.

“Fair enough. I would agree with that assessment,” Gaetz conceded.

I imagine some Gaetz staffer got a talking to after the hearing.


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