CNN’s Kate Bolduan and Ana Navarro on Friday railed against former Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston for continuing to downplay Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, with Navarro calling out the avid Donald Trump supporters for “bending themselves into pretzel shapes and not condemning what is clearly wrong, unethical and lacking moral compass and patriotism.”
Discussing news that two more people attended the previously unreported meeting between Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and a Russian emissary, Kingston relied on an oft-repeated GOP talking point to shrug off the latest revelations.
“If you drank Russian vodka, go ahead and report it and pull out everything you think is irrelevant, make sure everybody knows about it,” Kingston said. “I think that’s a mistake this campaign has not done.”
“You think this person is irrelevant?” Bolduan asked.
Kingston started to argue that a meeting about Russian adoption was irrelevant, but Bolduan cut him off. “It was not about adoptions,” she said. “That is not how it was billed.”
“Let me say this,” Kingston began. “A lot of people come in campaigns, people running for office, dogcatcher or school board, somebody is going to say, ‘I have stuff on your opponent.’”
“That are directly connected to the Russian government like a Russian-American lobbyist?” Boulder pressed.
Kingston continued to argue that the meeting was irrelevant and the participants were “minor players,” telling the CNN host that had the discussion been a big deal, the campaign would have scrubbed any reference to it.
That point set Navarro off.
“I think you can collude and be stupid at the same time,” Navarro shot back. “I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. It was stupid to put it in email form—but, the Trumps get away with stuff and they think they can get away with stuff. They have been doing it their entire life. They have been pushing the envelope. They’ve been on the edge of the law their entire life.”
“It’s hereditary,” she continued. “It’s a hereditary condition to push the law to cheat and to lie.”
“This kid has been lying for the last year,” Navarro said of Trump Jr. “He has been lying publicly. He has been lying emphatically. He has been lying with indignation. He has been lying, plain and simple.”
Navarro added the only thing with any credibility are the emails showing Trump Jr. “took this meeting under the pretense he was meeting with a Russian government attorney. So whether she was insane or sane. Whether she was a clown or not. Whether she was a Russian government attorney or whether she was playing one on TV. He took that meeting under the pretense that he was going to get negative information on his father’s opponent from a Russian government attorney.”
“What I don’t understand is people who I know to be decent, people who I know to be smart, bending themselves into pretzel shapes and not condemning what is clearly wrong, unethical and lacking moral compass and patriotism,” she concluded.
Kingston, in response, repeated Trey Gowdy’s line that “saying anything Russian, having a white Russian drink, even, report it. If the word Russian is in it, get it out of the way.”
“Can you not downplay it to that level?” Bolduan interjected. “We’re not talking about Russian dressing, we’re not talking about white Russians. We’re talking about Russians promising to give them information that would help the campaign in the middle of the campaign. It’s not nothing.”
“Whatever interference there was, any meddling did not affect the outcome,” Kingston shot back. “That is something that there is an absolute, positive consensus about it.”
“What Jack just said is not true,” Navarro replied. “There is no evidence there were any votes turned, there is no evidence there was any hacking of the actual ballot boxes of the election systems. That much is true. But whether there was influence that influenced how a human being, how an American voter issued their vote, that, we don’t know. Frankly, probably an impossible thing to measure accurately. We don’t know how many people were affected and influenced by fake news, and that affected how they finally cast their vote and for whom. We just don’t know that.”
Kingston conceded that the “politics are bad,” but argued there’s no evidence of collusion because they did not obtain information detrimental to Hillary Clinton.
“But once Don Jr. said, ‘I love it, I’m in … Once you said ‘I’m in,’ it makes no difference the meeting was bust, that the intermediary brought no goods,” Bolduan explained. “What matters is what Don Jr. thought going into the meeting.”
“There’s not a crime here and a lot of people who are very, very mad about Donald Trump and this is the best thing that’s happened to them in over a year now,” Kingston said.
Bolduan turned to Navarro, giving the CNN contributor the last word.
“Daily we have new shoes dropping on this issue,” she said. “If there is more evidence that will amount to a crime? The likelihood is it will come out.”
“You can be supportive of the judges [Trump] is naming to the Supreme Court and other judgeships,” Navarro continued. “At the same time, that does not mean you have to give up your morals, your principles, convictions, sense of right and wrong. your logic and your brain, and defend the indefensible.”
Watch the vide below, via CNN: