MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace on Monday speculated that members of the Republican Party who are pushing Russian military intelligence talking points maybe be doing so because they are being blackmailed by Vladimir Putin.
Wallace's comments came during a discussion with Charlies Sykes, the founder and editor-at-large of The Bulwark, a conservative news and opinion website.
The two were discussing why people like Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) are brazenly pushing Russian disinformation by repeating the debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who intervened in the 2016 presidential election.
"Why are Republicans playing with, you know, lit matches?" Wallace asked Sykes.
"First of all, the president is facing impeachment not because he betrayed Ukraine, but because he betrayed this country. He sold out this country's democracy and its national security," Sykes replied. "That's a point that I think needs to be made over and over and over again."
"And I think part of the extraordinary thing about this is to get your head around, I think it was John Harwood who wrote a piece saying all roads lead to Vladimir Putin," he continued.
The line actually came from Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi says this photo came as she told President Trump, “all roads with you lead to Putin” notice the expression… https://t.co/vPrfbq9aoU— John Harwood (@John Harwood)1571501160.0
"Think about how many stories that we have had in the last three years that raise the question, 'Why is Donald Trump doing this?' Why is he defending, rationalizing, enabling Russian foreign policy at the expense not just of our allies but of our own position in the world?" Sykes wondered.
"Why doesn't Richard Burr (R-NC) care? Why doesn't Rob Portman (R-OH) care?" Wallace asked.
"Because I think, at the core, they don't really believe in anything," Sykes replied. "I don't know what the other explanation is. They are afraid of tweets?"
"Maybe Putin has a lot of pee tapes," Wallace interjected, referring to the unconfirmed rumors of a salacious sex tape of Trump and Russian prostitutes.