“The Chairman of the Judiciary Committee just said that Mueller found there was no collusion. That is not correct.”
MSNBC’s Brian Williams interrupted the network’s live coverage of Attorney General William Barr’s congressional testimony Wednesday to dispute Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s, R-S.C., claim that the Mueller report found “no collusion” between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
While the MSNBC host said the network intended to provide “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of the hearing, it was only a few minutes into the hearing when Williams felt it necessary to cut in.
Delivering his opening statement, Graham said Mueller found, “No collusion, no coordination, no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government regarding the 2016 election.”
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Shortly after, Williams cut in to dispute the South Carolina senator’s claim.
“We’re reluctant to do this, we rarely do, but the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee just said that Mueller found there was no collusion. That is not correct,” Williams said.
The NBC News journalist made a semantic argument about Graham’s claim.
“Nicolle Wallace, the report says collusion is not a thing they considered. It doesn’t exist in federal code,” Williams told co-host Nicole Wallace.
Wallace joined Williams in criticizing the Republican lawmaker, claiming he was a “human shield” for Trump and Barr.
“What’s stunning is that Lindsey Graham is offering answers to questions that aren’t on the table today. The question on the table today, after the reporting last night, is why did Barr mischaracterize what was actually in the Mueller report,” Wallace said. “And I’m sorry Lindsey Graham, but your defensiveness is showing. To talk about everything that went in to it and in the next breath distort it is a stunning, stunning mischaracterization of what the whole exercise is supposed to be about. It reveals what I talked about before, that he is sitting there today not as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, but as a human shield for Donald Trump, and it would appear, William Barr.”
“Again, we try to offer just gavel-to-gavel coverage, but that phrase, or the lack of it, it’s absence from federal code,” Williams said. “This ‘no collusion’ mantra is so foundational to why we’re here today that we decided to flag it when we heard him use it yet again. Back into the Chairman and the committee room.”
Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday to explain his handling of the recently released Mueller Report. In a summary of the report to congress, Barr told lawmakers the report did not establish evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives during the 2016 election.
In the aftermath of his summary and later release of the full redacted report, Barr has come under fire from Democrats who claim the report provides ample evidence of wrongdoing.
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