Rep. Mark Meadows on Friday crashed an MSNBC reporter’s live segment after she said Republicans were “struggling” to defend President Donald Trump from an impeachment inquiry.
Reporting from Congress, NBC News correspondent Leigh Ann Caldwell tried to get the North Carolina Republican to stop for a hallway interview with her, but he blew past her with some aides.
“So he, he’s walking by right now,” Caldwell said, before continuing her analysis. “But Republicans are really struggling to defend the president.”
Meadows then appeared to surprise Caldwell by returning to the frame and refuting her claim to the camera.
“I’m not struggling on anything, so the Republicans are not struggling on anything,” he said.
Caldwell asked if it was getting harder to defend Trump after a number of American diplomats, including Ukrainian embassy chief Bill Taylor, testified to Congress that the president withheld military aide to Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate claims of Democratic corruption.
However, Meadows said it was actually “getting easier to defend the president.” He pointed out that U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker contradicted the claims of a “quid pro quo,” and suggested that other witness testimony that has not yet been released supported Trump.
Meadows, a top House Republican, has been among the fiercest defenders of Trump since Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry in September. The inquiry was prompted by a whistleblower complaint from an intelligence officer over Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
House Democrats this week began the public phase of the process after holding closed-door meetings with witnesses, after which testimony has been selectively leaked. On Tuesday, they announced they would hold public hearings starting next week.