Arizona’s appointed, not elected Senator Martha McSally called a CNN reporter a “liberal hack” and refused to answer his questions on Thursday in the halls of Congress. Feeling the pressure on impeachment? GOP Sen Martha McSally Calls CNN Reporter ‘Liberal Hack,’ Shuts Down Impeachment Trial Question:
Right-wing hack Martha McSally went on Twitter later in the day to confirm and share the exchange.
“You are,” McSally wrote in response to CNN’s Manu Raju about the moment she called him a “liberal hack.” She later included a video of the encounter. Raju, the network’s senior congressional correspondent, followed up a half-hour later with the CNN video of the incident.
“Sen. Martha McSally, a Republican facing a difficult election race, lashed out when I asked if she would consider new evidence as part of the Senate trial. ‘You’re a liberal hack – I’m not talking to you. You’re a liberal hack.’ She then walked into a hearing room,” CNN’s Manu Raju tweeted initially on Thursday.
Here’s a clip.
Her refusal to answer a question about the impeachment comes as the Senate prepares to begin its impeachment proceedings. Congress impeached President Donald Trump in December and sent articles of impeachment to the Senate on Wednesday.
Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani accused of being involved in the attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son in order to boost Trump’s re-election efforts, told Rachel Maddow on Wednesday that Trump “knew exactly what was going on.” He also said more documents related to the accusations against Trump will be released.
A representative for CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment on McSally’s characterization of the reporter.
Politico’s Jake Sherman commented on the interaction, calling it a “strange answer to a great reporter asking a question that literally every senator” was being asked Thursday.
Sherman also pointed out that McSally’s predecessor — the late Sen. John McCain — had a funny relationship with Raju. He pranked him in the halls of Congress a few years ago while Raju did a live report, sneaking up behind him to make a silly hand gesture as he spoke.
Martha McSally does not have the sense of humor, nor the (occasional) integrity of Senator John McCain. She is a complete embarrassment to the state of Arizona.
If Martha McSally does not vote to hear from witnesses who have first-person knowledge of the facts, witnesses who were prevented from testifying before the House by President Trump asserting a bogus assertion of “absolute privilege,” and does not want to see additional documentary evidence that the Trump White House refused to produce to the House — Article II of the Articles of Impeachment for obstruction of congress — then she is a willing participant in a sham impeachment trial and a coverup by lawless Republicans.
McSally is unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate.
UPDATE: Greg Sargent of the Washington Post comments, GOP senator’s vicious outburst shows the corruption of Trump’s defenders:
If you were a United States senator who just snapped angrily at a reporter for politely asking whether compelling new information about a matter of great import to the nation was weighing on your understanding of that consequential matter, you probably wouldn’t see this as something to advertise.
But then again, you’re not Martha McSally of Arizona. McSally just did exactly this — yet she is now treating it as a badge of honor; as something to boast about.
In a perverse way, it’s fitting that this episode is going viral at exactly the moment when President Trump’s impeachment trial is getting underway — that is, when Trump’s defenders in the Senate are set to put on a great show of pretending to give serious consideration to the case against Trump, before voting to acquit him.
McSally’s vile little performance puts the lie to that notion as effectively as anything possibly could.
What happened is that CNN’s Manu Raju, a hard-working reporter, dared to ask McSally whether new information surfacing about the conduct for which Trump has been impeached should lead GOP senators to admit new evidence at his impeachment trial.
McSally snidely brushed off the question and called Raju a “liberal hack.” Raju then tweeted a neutral description of what had happened.
McSally then proudly tweeted out a video of the episode[.]
The exchange went like this:
RAJU: Senator McSally, should the Senate consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial?
McSALLY: You’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you.
RAJU: You’re not going to comment, Senator?
McSALLY: You’re a liberal hack, buddy.
There’s been talk that McSally staged the episode to excite the Republican base. And indeed, Republicans are already using it to raise money for her reelection campaign, in which McSally is very vulnerable.
UPDATE: Yes, it was a set up for an appearance on Fox News aka Trump TV. Greg Sargent adds, “Republican politics being what it is in the Trump era, McSally’s office registered the domain name LiberalHack.com almost immediately after the incident. Soon after, the GOP senator asked donors to reward her outburst with campaign contributions. Last night, the Arizonan celebrated the incident on Fox News, as ‘You’re a liberal hack, buddy’ t-shirts went on sale online.”
But, whether or not this was a setup, McSally is now treating this as something that will give her a political boost, which is just beyond pathetic.
Note that it is now seen as “liberal” to merely ask a Republican senator whether she feels any obligation to consider the full set of facts before exercising her constitutional duty to vote on whether articles of impeachment — passed by the elected representatives in the other chamber of Congress — merit removal.
What’s seen as “liberal” here, plainly, is that this question should be asked of Republican senators at all.
Look at the larger context here. Senate Republicans are hoping to pass, with 51 GOP votes, a process in which tough votes on whether to hear new witnesses and evidence are deferred until after opening statements are heard.
In so doing, they are already laying the groundwork to vote against hearing new witnesses and evidence at that point, while pretending they did so as part of a fair process in which they genuinely weighed the case against Trump delivered during those opening statements.
Some will shout that this is the same process used under then-President Bill Clinton. But in this case, Trump has already blocked the witnesses that Democrats want from testifying to the House — such as acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton. This, even though they are the people with the most direct knowledge of the very conduct at issue here, i.e., Trump’s freezing of military aid as part of his extortion plot — conduct Trump claims is entirely innocent.
A handful of GOP senators — such as Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — might end up voting to hear new witnesses and evidence.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will try to get 51 votes against this, in keeping with his blithe promise to run Trump’s trial in absolute lockstep with Trump’s legal team. And McConnell might succeed. Yet he needs to worry about his vulnerable members, so he also wants to make it look as if the GOP Senate is taking its constitutional duties seriously.
So if Republicans succeed in nixing witnesses and evidence, they will then have to make it look as if this was part of a reasonable, considered, fair process.
This is getting harder by the minute, because the passage of time keeps serving up astounding new revelations. We’ve learned that concerns about the legality of the freeze on military aid ran far deeper inside the administration than we knew.
We’ve also learned that Lev Parnas, once a part of Trump’s Ukraine scheme, is now claiming, among other things, that Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani told him to tell Ukraine that the aid was conditioned on doing Trump’s bidding, after discussing it with Trump — a possible criminal conspiracy.
Trump’s GOP defenders in the Senate continue to pretend that none of this is incriminating, and that it doesn’t oblige them in the least to hear from the most direct witnesses to Trump’s motives in freezing that money. Indeed, McSally was snidely brushing off a reporter who dared to ask whether, in light of all this new information, senators have any such obligation.
This cannot be squared with impartiality, as much as senators (almost certainly including McSally) who vote against new witnesses and evidence will try to maintain the contrary. McSally’s outburst usefully ripped off the mask and dispensed with the pretense otherwise.