South Dakota Republican Mike Rounds in a Thursday appearance on CNN had trouble defending his vote to lift sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has been implicated in efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.
Asked pointedly by host Jim Sciutto why he had cast that vote, Rounds began stumbling right out of the gate.
“The original, uh, the original limitations that were put on the businesses that he is actively involved with was designed to change his behavior,” Rounds sputtered. He added that both the Senate Intelligence and Banking committees had signed off on it. “We don’t like it, we wish we had another alternative, but if we don’t lift it, we’re not following our own law.”
“To be fair, those limitations are not as severe as the secretary described them,” shot back Sciutto, citing reporting from the New York Times that showing that Deripaska and his allies would keep a majority stake in the sanctioned businesses. “How is that a fair punishment for an ally of the Russian president who helped Russia interfere in the U.S. Presidential election?”
Rounds then pivoted and said that the vote had been based on inaccurate information, and promised “to take another look at it.”
Watch the video below.
CNN’s Cuomo obliterates GOP congressman who raided SCIF in impeachment hearing
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," Chris Cuomo brought on Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), one of the Republicans who participated in the raid on the secure room where the Intelligence Committee was conducting impeachment hearings. And Johnson's attempt to defend his behavior did not go well.
"Congressman, did you bring a phone in there?" asked Cuomo.
"We headed down that hallway to demand to be able to do our job. That's what we were there for," said Johnson. "There is no classified information being discussed in that room. It is a classified facility, if classified is being discussed, but there was no classified information being discussed there ... You know, a Republican speaker gave that due process and fairness to President Clinton. A Democrat speaker gave that fairness and due process to Richard Nixon. So what do they have to hide, Chris?"
‘He’s long ago left the fact-based world’: Ex-CIA operative takes down Trump’s lies about recapturing ISIS fighters
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," former CIA operative Bob Baer destroyed President Donald Trump's claims that ISIS fighters in Syria have mostly been recaptured.
"Okay. So you heard him, right? They've been largely recaptured and there were only a few who got out," said anchor Erin Burnett. "Unfortunately, it's not true. His own special envoy for Syria and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS an hour before the president said that, said the exact opposite thing about the escaped ISIS fighters."
"We would say that the number is now over a hundred," said Ambassador James Jeffrey in the clip. "We do not know where they are."
‘Ridiculous’ for Trump’s team to ‘feed people this line’ that Ukraine didn’t know about the frozen aid: CNN contributor
President Donald Trump and his associates have recently tried a new defense for the Ukraine scandal, claiming that there couldn't have been a quid pro quo because the Ukrainians were supposedly unaware of the military aid freeze the Trump apparently ordered to force them to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Washington Post journalist David Swerdlick and his co-panelists smacked down that narrative.
"The New York Times reports that the Ukrainians learned in early August that aid was frozen and they were told to reach out to the acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney," said anchor Wolf Blitzer.