On Monday’s “Morning Joe,” panelists were dismayed by GOP officials’ willingness to go along with a conspiracy theory regarding Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election just because President Trump has been promoting it. One even compared it to “living in an alternate universe.”
Willie Geist directed viewers to the latest reporting that suggests “some of the president’s defenders are knowingly taking part in a Russian operation to smear Ukraine and to divide the United States,” adding that NBC News was able to confirm New York Times reporting that “U.S. intelligence officials briefed senators in recent weeks that Russia engaged in a years-long campaign to frame Ukraine for its own meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.”
Highlighting Trump’s comments on Friday’s “Fox & Friends,” Geist said, “being part of a Putin disinformation campaign is not stopping the president or his defenders from pushing or engaging in the debunked conspiracy theory.” He then played a clip of GOP Sen. John Kennedy saying on Fox News Sunday that “it could also be Ukraine.”
“I can’t stress enough how deep a conspiracy theory that was until it reached the White House,” Geist said, noting “Senator Kennedy knows better.”
Rev. Al Sharpton called Kennedy’s comments “frightening” and Hillary Clinton’s former senior advisor Adrienne Elrod called it “extraordinary.”
“We all remember when all the intelligence agencies came together in a very rare statement several months before the election in 2016 declaring that Russia is indisputably meddling in the 2016 election,” she said, before noting that seeing multiple Republicans going against what the intelligence agencies said is like living in an alternative universe.