Veteran investigative journalist Michael Isikoff got into a shouting match with MSNBC host Ali Velshi and The Atlantic‘s Natasha Bertrand Friday evening when the pair wouldn’t allow him to make his point about why pundits are missing the forest for the trees when it comes to John Brennan’s clearance revocation.
“In the beginning, this looked like something petty and vindictive,” the host said of Donald Trump’s decision to revoke the former CIA director’s security clearance. “It has since taken on a sinister feel to it. The president has basically said it was about a Russia investigation.”
Isikoff, whose book Russian Roulette documents Russia’s electoral interference efforts in 2016, didn’t seem convinced.
“The John Brennan revocation — I think some of this is a little overwrought,” the journalist said. “The idea that it’s stifling free speech is absurd. John Brennan is going on this network within an hour and is going to speak freely about what he has to say about the president.”
Isikoff then appeared to suggest a disconnect between Brennan’s tweets calling Trump a “demagogue” who engaged in collusion with Russia fly in the face of the former CIA director’s testimony before Congress where he claimed he was unaware of any actual evidence of collusion.
“There are a lot of questions that people that people have within the intelligence community about a lot of what John Brennan has been saying,” the journalist said.
Velshi noted that Brennan never abused his security clearance to make any of his statements, to which Isikoff agreed — but the host pressed on, bringing up that there are 13 reasons for the revocation of security clearances that the former intelligence chief did not meet.
“That’s a weird argument,” the host said — and when Isikoff countered him, he repeated his name over and over in an attempt to quiet him.
“I don’t disagree with that at all,” Isikoff said, referencing the host’s comment about the 13 reasons for revocation. “But John Brennan is not going to suffer because his security clearance is revoked.”
Velshi interjected again, saying “is the nation going to suffer because of this.” Bertrand too tried to jump in, but the veteran journalist raised his voice until they both relented.
“Can I make my point please?” Isikoff said before bringing up the president’s threats to revoke the clearance of little-known Justice Department official Bruce Ohr over the Russia investigation.
“When you talk about basically eliminating anybody’s due process and revoking by presidential edict, somebody who is still in office, and still serving the government,” the journalist said, “that is much more serious.”
Watch below, via MSNBC:
‘Downward spiral’: Trump ripped by prominent conservative for turning America into ‘a pitiful, helpless giant’
Writing in the Washington Post this Wednesday, columnist George Will contends that President Trump's "rhetorical mustard" is starting to lose its flavor. "The entertainer has become a bore, and foretelling his defeat no longer involves peering into a distant future," Will writes.
"Never has a U.S. election come at such a moment of national mortification. In April 1970, President Richard M. Nixon told a national television audience that futility in Vietnam would make the United States appear to the world as 'a pitiful, helpless giant.' Half a century later, America, for the first time in its history, is pitied."
Trump fights Supreme Court order on taxes — will try to block Manhattan district attorney’s access to documents
Attorneys for President Donald Trump have decided to fight the Manhattan District Attorney's subpoena for his tax returns and financial data in an attempt to "block or at least narrow access to the records," The New York Times reports.
The move comes despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling less than a week ago in favor of DA Cyrus Vance and against the president.
Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman adds, "Trump says he will file an amended complaint raising new legal arguments to challenge the NY grand jury subpoena for his tax returns, in light of the latest SCOTUS decision."
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
‘That’s Peter Navarro’: Trump excuses trade adviser’s op-ed smearing Dr. Fauci as ‘wrong about everything’
President Donald Trump on Wednesday waived off concerns about an op-ed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro which took aim at Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States.
In a Tuesday USA Today op-ed, Navarro accused Fauci of being "wrong about everything."
The White House later suggested that Navarro had gone rogue by publishing an unapproved column.
But on Wednesday, Trump declined to admonish his trade adviser.