It seems impossible, but at least one Republican strategist is defending Donald Trump’s bizarre and formerly-undisclosed meeting with Vladimir Putin at G-20 — but that doesn’t mean strategists on the other side of the aisle are taking it lightly.
In a panel assembled by CNN’s Anderson Cooper to discuss the private Trump-Putin meeting, Reince Preibus’s former chief of staff Mike Fields went head-to-head with analyst David Gregory over how commonplace or appropriate the meeting was.
“That is something that sort of happens when you’re president,” Fields claimed — and Gregory barely let him finish before clapping back.
“Actually, it doesn’t,” the CNN analyst said. “When you’re president of the United States, you protect the presidency and you don’t meet with somebody who is responsible for an attack on America without laying some kind of ground rules for how you’re going to respond to that.”
Gregory wasn’t the only panelist to get into it with Shields — New York Times columnist Charles Blow also traded jabs with the former RNC staffer about the meeting.
“How is he trying to hide it if he had the meeting where other people could see it?” Shields asked, in response to Blow’s assertion that nothing of the meeting’s contents are publicly-available.
“We do not know what was said during that meeting, and we’ll never know,” Blow rebutted, as Shields tried to cut him off.
Later, Shields provoked Gregory again by bemoaning the media’s propensity to “pile onto” Trump-Putin stories — but Gregory wasn’t having it.
“We have a conversation that Donald Trump had with Vladimir Putin and now the pile-on begins,” Shields said.
“That’s disingenuous,” Gregory retorted. “It’s not a pile-on — those things are all related. If you don’t share with the American people what you do in the people’s names — no no no — you have to brief the American people when you’re the president of the United States.”
Watch Shields get in three separate parts during the segment below, via CNN.