MSNBC Rolls Out Ben Rhodes For ‘Fact Check Friday’

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When doing a “Friday Fact Check” segment, there are countless options for guests that could provide intelligent thoughts on the complex matters of the day. Given those controversies include what the Obama Administration official was up to during its final days in office, former deputy national security advisor and noted spinmeister Ben Rhodes would appear to be low on at that list, but that didn’t stop from Andrea Mitchell from doing it anyway.

Mitchell was just the latest in MSNBC host to portray former Obama officials as objective sources of information on the unmasking of Michael Flynn. Mitchell led off, “And now for our ‘Friday Fact Check.’ The president is calling it Obamagate, accusing President Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden of conspiring against Michael Flynn. But our own investigation this week as well as new reporting today in the Washington Post and the New York Times prove that’s not true.”

 

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She maintained that the unmasking of Flynn was nothing unusual, because the original target was of the Russian ambassador, and the administration simply wanted to know who the ambassador was talking to, “While the president and supporters are claiming such a request was part of a conspiracy to frame Flynn, in fact those requests are routine. They’re common. They occur thousands of times every year, including this year.”

Even if that is right, it still does not explain why Flynn’s name was leaked. The question of the leak would force Mitchell to ask tougher questions.

Later in the segment, Rhodes defended the administration’s actions, “[The January 5, 2017, meeting] was not at all about giving any guidance or direction whatsoever as related to law enforcement matters. We didn’t do that in the Obama administration, unlike the Trump Administration, which has wildly politicized the Department of Justice, most acutely in letting off the hook somebody who literally pled guilty to lying to the government about his contacts with the Russian ambassador that was causing concern in the first place.”

That’s a bit ironic coming from the administration that had a self-described wingman as attorney general and if the incoming national security advisor talking to the Russian ambassador is “causing concern,” what does that say about the former deputy national security advisor who spends his free time sounding like Javad Zarif on Twitter? 

Here is a transcript for the May 15 show:

MSNBC

Andrea Mitchell Reports

12:29 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: And Now for our “Friday Fact Check.” The president is calling it Obamagate, accusing President Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden of conspiring against Michael Flynn. But our own investigation this week as well as new reporting today in the Washington Post and the New York Times prove that’s not true. This week, President Trump’s acting director of intelligence, Richard Grenell, declassified and turned to the over to the Department of Justice, a list of Obama Administration officials, including Obama and Biden, who had asked for the identity of the person heard on intercepts talking to the Russian ambassador after the November election. That person was Flynn. While the president and supporters are claiming such a request was part of a conspiracy to frame Flynn, in fact those requests are routine. They’re common. They occur thousands of times every year, including this year.

12:34

BEN RHODES: Yes, Andrea, you’re characterizing it correctly. I was in a preceding meeting which was about the investigation of the Russian interference in our election, which was he briefed to Congress at least publicly as well. This was a short follow-on to answer the question specific question you pointed to, can we be comfortable sharing sensitive information. It was not at all about giving any guidance or direction whatsoever as related to law enforcement matters. We didn’t do that in the Obama administration, unlike the Trump Administration, which has wildly politicized the Department of Justice, most acutely in letting off the hook somebody who literally pled guilty to lying to the government about his contacts with the Russian ambassador that was causing concern in the first place.

 

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