Chris Hayes Warns Trump Is ‘Openly Colluding’ With Putin to Keep WSJ Reporter Evan Gershkovich Imprisoned in Russia | Video

Trump’s video urging Russia not to release Gershkovich unless he wins is “truly appalling, even by his degraded standards,” Hayes says

Chris Hayes was horrified on Wednesday by statements Trump made about the Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, warning that the disgraced former president “appears to be openly colluding with Vladimir Putin” to keep Gershkovich imprisoned in Russia until for his own political gain.

What the MSNBC host referred to was a disturbing video released Wednesday afternoon, in which Trump claimed that if he’s elected this fall, Putin will release Gershkovich, but not if Biden wins.

Hayes explained that Gershkovich, an American, “has been a political prisoner of the Russian government for over a year… imprisoned on false charges of being a spy. But for all intents and purposes, he is a hostage of Vladimir Putin’s regime.”

Hayes noted that the Biden administration has been negotiating to free Gershkovich since his arrest, but so far without success. Trump’s video, Hayes continued, is “truly appalling, even by his degraded standards,” because he “appears to be openly colluding with Vladimir Putin in the hostage taking of Evan Gershkovich.”

After playing Trump’s clip, Hayes continued, “There are two possibilities here. One is that Trump is lying. He has no actual means of knowing whether that would happen, and if that’s the case, not only is it unspeakably cruel thing to say to people that love [Gershkovich], Trump is also, let’s be clear here, actively hampering the negotiations” for the reporter’s release.

“He is sending a signal to Russia not to free him until after the election, either under the guise of some better deal from Trump, or as a tool to help Trump get elected, which Vladimir Putin absolutely wants to do,” Hayes added. He then reminded viewers of Trump’s calls for Russian interference in the 2016 election, which appeared to have achieved their desired results when Hillary Clinton’s campaign was hacked.

“That’s one possibility, Trump doesn’t have a deal with Putin. He’s just posturing. The other possibility is that Trump actually does have some back channel to Putin, that he is discussing a deal the two of them have already worked out. He seems to be very specific about the timing — ‘after I’m elected, but before I’m sworn in.’ — Now that appears to be what he is implying. At any rate, we have no idea if it’s true. To be honest, it does sound a bit far fetched, but I would note there is absolutely precedent for an American presidential candidate to hold secret back channel negotiations with a foreign government or adversary to influence the outcome of the election.”

To prove it, Hayes first cited Richard Nixon, whose campaign illegally contacted the South Vietnamese government before the 1968 election to convince them to pull out of peace talks with North Vietnam.

“He prolonged me war in order to get elected. The delay and Nixon’s subsequent illegal expansion of the war cost 20,000 American lives and millions of Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian lives,” Hayes explained.

Hayes then brought up the example of Ronald Reagan who, as has now been confirmed by the New York Times, in 1980 managed through his ally, former Texas Governor John Connally, to delay release of hostages held by Iran to benefit Reagan’s presidential run.

“Reagan won, and then a final twist of the knife to [incumbant Jimmy] Carter, the hostages were released just minutes after the new president, Ronald Reagan, was sworn in. All of which is to say, if we look at history, it is perfectly plausible that Donald Trump does have some kind of back channel to Russia,” Hayes continued.

“But at the end of the day, whether Trump is just making things up and trying to influence Russia from afar, that is, to keep Gershkovich hostage, or whether he really does have a secret deal in place to keep him hostage, if Donald Trump really does have any power to get Gershkovich release and isn’t making that happen. Right now, then it is Donald Trump, holding that American hostage,” Hayes concluded.


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