MNSBC host Katy Tur fact-checked conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday when the commentator tried to claim the New York Times was charging Donald Trump with breaking the law.
The panel discussion revolved around an afternoon report released by the Times in which administration insiders said Trump wanted the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey — but was stopped by his former White House counsel Don McGahn.
Hewitt, who formerly worked in the White House counsel’s office under Bush I and Reagan-era counsel Fred Fielding, initially lauded McGahn for “doing his job.”
Later, however, he interrupted the host and accused her of “conflating” this new report with news that came out last spring, the time Trump reportedly fielded the potential prosecution, about the president’s relationship with the DOJ.
“I’m not conflating,” Tur defended. “Even if the president said it in passing, it’s still the president of the United States who’s made his feeling very clear about what he wants the DOJ to do for him.”
Hewitt countered that although there’s lots of direction a president can give the DOJ, he “cannot order the political prosecution of a political enemy.”
“We can’t conflate what he can and can’t do,” the conservative NBC analyst said. “Don McGahn did his job, I’m very glad to hear that. I’m just not going to rush out and embroider The New York Times‘ reporting with the conclusion the president broke the law and or was doing Watergate-style prosecution of his political enemies.”
“The New York Times is not saying that he broke the law,” Tur rebutted. “I don’t think it took it that far. [It’s] saying that he wanted to do that and was told by his White House lawyer it wouldn’t be appropriate, but this is more about what the president’s intent is and what his desire is.”