CNN’s Jim Sciutto grilled Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) Thursday over the congressman’s refusal to accept the intelligence community’s consensus that Russia attempted to impact the election, reminding him it’s his job to “hold foreign nations accountable” when they interfere with the United States.
Yoho insisted he didn’t “want to defend Russia if they had a hand in” interfering with election, before criticizing President Barack Obama’s administration decision to sanction Vladimir Putin in retaliation for Russia’s influence.
Yoho said if we can prove “without a shadow of a doubt that Russia was involved with this … then yes they need to be held accountable.”
“But for President Obama to move unilaterally, 20 days before he’s out of office, without consulting President-elect Trump, I think it’s a misstep in foreign policy,” the congressman added.
Scuitto noted the bipartisan agreement that Russia is behind the attack, asking Yoho, “What evidence does Donald Trump have that that consensus is wrong?”
“That’s a good question and I don’t know, you’d have to talk to Mr. Trump straightforward, but you said ‘if—‘“
“Well, what doubts do you have, if you say ‘if it’s determined that Russia’s behind it?’” Scuitto interjected.
Yoho danced around Scuitto’s question, insisting he’s “not thoroughly convinced” the evidence points to Russia. Scuitto noted Yoho is “expressing the same doubt” Trump is.
“I think if Russia has done this and it’s conclusive, 100 percent conclusive, I think there should be some form of action,” Yoho insisted. “But caution, I want to use extreme caution here because we could look at what President Obama did with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he was funding money through the state department … that interfered with a state’s election. So if we’re going to accuse another state of doing the very same thing that President Obama did, we need to be very careful on what we’re doing.”
Yoho was presumably referring to the State Department funding a series of grants in 2013-2014 for the One Voice Movement, a group that supports peaceful negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Senate Republicans accused the State Department of making political donations to influence the election.
Scuitto said Yoho’s was “an odd point to make for an American.”
“It seems you’re making a point that Vladimir Putin, frankly, has made,” Scuitto said. “You seem to be equating U.S. political action abroad with Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, are you putting those on equal footing?”
Yoho replied that of course he wasn’t equating U.S political action abroad with Russian interference, before arguing the United States also needs to be held responsible for foreign meddling.
Scuitto pushed back: “Is it your job as a member of the house foreign affairs committee to hold foreign nations—particularly adversaries—accountable for interference in our election? Or is it to hold America accountable for operations abroad?”
Yoho dodged the question before circling back on his argument that it’s President Obama’s fault Russia interfered in the election. “The examples we’ve seen of this president interfering with other countries in their politics, it comes back and it’s going to bite us,” Yoho said.
“The other thing is we don’t have a cybersecurity policy—which I find is unconscionable—of what constitutes an attack or an act of war,” he continued. “We don’t have a policy that describes that and we don’t have policy that says what we’re going to do if that does happen and this is something this administration has had eight years to deal with and they have failed to do it.”
When he was’t blaming Obama, Yoho was thrusting blame on Trump’s former rival, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I’m not defending Russia, trust me, I think the election has been held, we have moved on, let’s get on with business,” he said, “If you want to go back to how did we get to this point, well look at Mrs. Clinton having an unsecured server in a room that was unsecured with secret documents and classified information on that.”
Watch the videos below, via CNN:
Ex-White House aide describes Trump’s abusive tantrums when he doesn’t get his way: ‘Not normal at all’
Appearing on MSNBC on Sunday afternoon, former Donald Trump advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman backed up assertions in the book " A Very Stable Genius" that the president is prone to tantrums when he doesn't get his way and becomes abusive to staffers and cabinet members alike.
Speaking with host Alex Witt, Omarosa -- who wrote an insider's account of life in the White House after she was unceremoniously fired -- said there was little in the new book that surprised her.
Digging into her Oval Office days, the former adviser and longtime Trump associate described the president's "zero to 200" screaming jags when displeased.
Ex-Bush aide admits GOP would have removed Obama if he did ‘one tenth of what Trump has done’
A former strategist for former President George W. Bush accused Republican lawmakers of hypocrisy on Sunday for for failing to honestly consider the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Matthew Dowd, a campaign strategist-turned-media-analyst, made the remarks in a tweet on Sunday.
"Deep in their hearts the Republicans in Congress know that if Obama had done one tenth of what President Trump has done they would have voted to impeach and convict him," Dowd wrote. "And Fox News would have been cheering them on. And Trump would have been pushing for it from the sidelines."
Deep in their hearts The republicans in Congress know that if Obama had done one tenth of what president trump has done they would have voted to impeach and convict him. And Fox News would have been cheering them on. And trump would have been pushing for it from the sidelines.
‘Opportunistic’ Trump has an ulterior motive for hyping Virginia gun rally on MLK day: MSNBC guest
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Addressing the rally to be held in Richmond, which has the entire state on edge and forced lawmakers to ban weapons at the event in the name of safety, Thompson told host Joy Reid it was accident that the president linked the rally to a day when Americans celebrate the life of the civil rights leader who was gunned down in 1968 in Memphis.
Asked about Trump's tweets about the rally, the reverend called them disgraceful.