A pair of conservative commentators squared off on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” over Republican inaction against President Donald Trump as he moves closer to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Eric Bolling, who was forced out by Fox News over sexual harassment claims, complained that Trump had been treated unfairly by the FBI during an investigation of his ties to Russia — but broadcaster Charlie Sykes said GOP lawmakers allowed the president to get away with constitutional abuses.
“Members of Congress are going to have to realize they’re not just potted plants,” Sykes said. “The senators are incredibly powerful, no senator ever became great by being a lap dog. They’re not simply ciphers, and there are things they could actually do to reassert their constitutional authority without derailing the Republican agenda. without derailing the conservative agenda.”
“It’s sort of time for members of the Senate to look around and say, you know, we’re an important body here, you know,” he added. “The Congress of the United States is a coequal branch of government. We don’t have to take, you know, our cue from Fox News hosts, we don’t have to cower and be afraid of the president’s tweets.”
Bolling challenged Sykes to identify actions Republicans could take to challenge the president, but he didn’t seem especially interested in hearing what lawmakers could do.
“Okay, so what what would Charlie Sykes have the Senate body do differently right now and why?” Bolling said. “I mean, things are — the economy’s popping. I haven’t heard anyone mention ISIS other than a comedy skit in the better part of a year or year and a half. I remember two years ago, journalists heads being beheaded.
Sykes interrupted and asked if he wanted to hear an answer to his question, and Bolling agreed to listen.
“No. 1, bare minimum, they can pass a resolution reaffirming support for our intelligence agencies and making it clear Russia will be held accountable,” Sykes said.
Bolling said those activities had been going on for decades and complained that congressional action would be a “waste of time,” and Sykes again asked him to wait for an answer to his question.
“Do you want to hear my answer?” Sykes said. “They could pass a resolution of censure of the president for his behavior with Vladimir Putin. They could pass a resolution that could trigger sanctions if, in fact, the Russians continue to attack our election process.”
Bolling insisted sanctions were already in place, but Sykes could not be deterred.
“Do you want to hear my answer?” Sykes said. “You asked me a question. They actually could pass legislation that would protect (special counsel Robert) Mueller from being fired.”
He said the Senate Foreign Relations could hold hearings on the NATO alliance and Trump’s threats to that treaty organization, and he said lawmakers could enact new legislation to uphold ethical principles.
“You know, post-Watergate, members of Congress were able to pass very sweeping public integrity and ethics legislation making it clear that no one in this country is above the rule of law,” Sykes said. “There are a lot of things that can be done. The history of the American Congress is rich with examples of members of Congress being willing to push back on the executive, and I think people ought to take a page from that.”
Police in Bolivia pepper spray journalist ‘on purpose’ during live coverage of anti-coup protests
Becoming part of the story she was seeking to cover, international news correspondent Teresa Bo was assaulted by Bolivian state security forces on Friday—shot directly in the face, while on camera, with tear gas or pepper spray.
Perpetrated while she was reporting for Al-Jazeera English in the city of La Paz—where ongoing streets protests erupted this week after a coup forced the resignation of the nation's president Evo Morales—the attack on Bo, which occurred while she was giving an on-camera account of the protests, was caught on film.
Al Jazeera's @TeresaBo has been intentionally tear-gassed in the eyes by Bolivian police while on air. She was simply trying to report what was happening. And, being a total pro, she kept right on doing it. pic.twitter.com/74foN7tvRF
Iran leader backs petrol price hike that sparked deadly unrest
Iran's supreme leader on Sunday threw his support behind a decision to hike petrol prices, a move that sparked nationwide unrest in which he said "some lost their lives".
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed "hooligans" for damaging property and said "all the centres of the world's wickedness against us have cheered" the street protests.
Several people were wounded and dozens arrested in two days of demonstrations that saw motorists block highways and others attack public property in cities across the Islamic republic.
In a speech aired on state television, Khamenei said "some lost their lives and some centres were damaged" in the unrest.
News Hong Kong police officer hit by arrow as protesters dig in at campus
A police officer was struck by an arrow fired by a Hong Kong protester on Sunday, as fierce clashes raged around a campus which has turned into a base for a pro-democracy movement whose unrelenting protests have plunged the city into turmoil.
Protests have tremored through the global financial hub since June with many in the city of 7.5 million people venting fury at eroding freedoms under Chinese rule.
China has repeatedly warned that it will not tolerate the dissent, and there have been concerns that Beijing could send in troops to put an end to the unrest.
HONG KONG POLICE FORCE/AFP / STRINGER A police officer was shot in the leg