Chris Hayes Fails to Correct Dem Senator's Claims About Iran

May 17th, 2019 8:14 PM

On the Thursday edition of MSNBC's All In, host Chris Hayes brought on Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on to talk about the situation in the Persian Gulf with Iran and spread some fake news in the process.

Hayes led off with a monologue that said the country was on the "precipice" of the worst foreign policy decision since the Iraq War. Introducing Merkley, Hayes asked if the, "Trump Administration is inflating and bending intelligence to force America into yet another war in the Middle East?"



Merkley declined to comment on Haye's baseless allegation of manipulated intelligence, citing the fact that he would be briefed on Tuesday. He did accuse National Security Advisor John Bolton of "setting the stage in every possible way" for war with Iran.

Merkley's proof consisted of the deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, the deployment of a bomber squadron, and talk of evacuating all non-essential personnel from the American Embassy in Iraq. None of which, of course, prove that Bolton has been setting the table of war as they are not-uncommon responses for administrations of all political stripes to take, but Merkley was not done.

"It all sounds very familiar to me," Hayes interjected. Merkley concurred,  adding that the administration appears to be internationally isolated, "and of course the British are like 'There is no new threat. There’s no new threat.'"

Merkley's comments about the British come from a statement from the deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, Major General Chris Ghika, but by the time Hayes was interviewing Merkley, the British Foreign Office had contradicted Ghika. ".@SecPompeo and I discussed #Iran last week in London and again in Brussels on Monday. We share the same assessment of the heightened threat posed by Iran. As always we work closely with the US," Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted Thursday morning.

Sky News Foreign Affairs editor Deborah Haynes reported that London not only shares the view that Iran poses an increased threat, but that when coupled with the U.S. response, that the Foreign Office is in a '"full crisis mode.'"  As for Ghika, Haynes reported that Ghika was unaware whether he was authorized to disclose such information as the U.K. believes that the increased threat from Iran comes from proxies, giving Iran plausible deniability.

Hayes cited Ghika's discrepancy on Wednesday as proof the administration was way off base and diplomatically isolated. By the time Hayes was interviewing Merkley, Hunt's tweet had been up for almost twelve hours, but on All In scaremongering took precedence over facts.

Here is a transcript for the May 16 interview:

MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes


8:04 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS HAYES: Here we are on the precipice of what would be the most catastrophic foreign policy decision certainly since Iraq, possibly worse. You cannot say you know why this is happening and whose interest it is serving. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon is one of the Democrats questioning whether the Trump Administration is inflating and bending intelligence to force America into yet another war in the Middle East and he joins me now. Your perspective on-- first of all, tell me this: what has it been like on Capitol Hill? I read stories about them sending folks to Capitol Hill. Your colleagues getting intelligence briefings. What is it like up there? 

JEFF MERKLEY: Well so, the Group of Eight got an intelligence briefing today. The rest of us will see that intelligence on Tuesday, but there is a tremendous amount of skepticism. Bolton has never thought there was any solution in Iran except to bomb their nuclear facilities and he did that op-ed, “Bomb, Bomb, Iran” and he explained exactly why they’ll never negotiate. Iran won’t do anything in cooperation. The only solution say military solution and now we see him setting the stage in every possible way and that includes putting the Abraham Lincoln carrier group strike force into the Persian Gulf. That includes putting a bomber squadron close by. That includes doing the diplomatic mission of Pompeo going to Iraq and saying “Don't worry if something happens. We are still your friend here in Iraq.” Despite what's going happen in Iran or might happen in Iran. All evacuating the so-called unnecessary or inessential personnel. All of this sets the stage plus on the diplomatic front, he put out the information “Well there are people in Iran who wish us well, evil or attacks or maybe collaborate or maybe there’s Al Qaeda inside of Iran. 

HAYES: It all sounds very familiar to me. 

MERKLEY: Very, very familiar and of course the British are like “There is no new threat. There’s no new threat.”