Former labor secretary Robert Reich smacked down CNN’s Jeffrey Lord on Wednesday after the conservative commentator tried to make light of potential financial ties between Donald Trump and Russia.
Discussing an ongoing effort by Democratic leaders to gain access to Trump’s tax returns, Anderson Cooper asked Reich if accessing the president’s taxes is “a step that Congress should take.”
Reich argued it’s a “very important step that Congress should take,” adding, “I can’t imagine a more important administrative matter than making sure that our president has not been engaged with a foreign power … in basically loading the election in his favor.”
“We need to know,” Reich said noting, “we are in the midst of a potential constitutional crisis, there’s possibly treasonous behavior in terms of staff members—or perhaps Donald Trump himself—working with Russia.”
“Jeffrey, you don’t seem concerned,” Cooper said to Lord, who was laughing at Reich’s assertion.
“No” Lord replied. “There are two words for this, it’s called ‘fishing expedition.’”
Lord argued Democrats only want Trump’s returns to target the president, insisting we’re “way off the mark” with wanting presidents to release their tax returns.
“I just don’t think this is very productive,” Lord later said.
“What could be more productive than to make sure our system of elections in 2016 was not violated in terms of the integrity of that election?” Reich asked, dumbfounded.
Lord tried to insist that no one besides reporters care about Trump’s taxes or potential ties to Russia.
“This just makes no sense at all,” Reich said. "First of all, the assertion that people don’t care is just an assertion.”
“A lot of Americans do have an interest in those tax returns, and they do have an interest in finding out what’s going on,” Reich added.
“I just don’t think it’s a big deal,” Lord replied.
“You don’t think it’s a big deal?” Reich shot back before explaining why it is, in fact, a big deal.
Watch the exchange below, via CNN: