On CNN, Former MSNBC Host Krystal Ball Slams Hillary Calling Gabbard a Russian Asset

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Appearing twice in as many days on CNN, The Hill’s Rising co-host and former MSNBC host Krystal Ball attempted to breakthrough the CNN machine and their establishment crowd by calling out Hillary Clinton for referring to 2020 Democrat, Congresswoman, combat veteran, and Hawaii Army National Guard Major Tulsi Gabbard as a Russian asset.

Further, Ball attempted to make the argument that if droves of people were repeatedly accused of being Russian assets or ideas or campaigns were deemed Russian-backed, then nothing is. Unfortunately, CNN’s Zuckerbots weren’t interested in this point of view.

 

 

Ball appeared first on Sunday’s Reliable Sources with anti-Trump host Brian Stelter fretting that such political division was what America’s political adversaries wanted. Ball replied that the person to tell that to would be Hillary Clinton and her team (click “expand,” emphasis mine):

You mean like from the Hillary Clinton side? I mean, look, whether you're a fan of Tulsi Gabbard or not, there is zero evidence that she is some Russian plant and I think it just makes the whole Russian conspiracy thing look absurd, that it's gone this far. That you would, as Hillary Clinton, a major figure in the Democratic establishment to this day, baselessly smear an American veteran who served in the Iraq war as a medic, and still serves in the Hawaii army national guard as being groomed by Vladimir Putin, I mean, that's disgusting and absurd.....It helps our adversaries, but there's also this trend now on the left, of which I'm a part of the left, to smear anyone who dares tell the truth about, you know, ugliness that's happening in America or disagree with the sort of military industrial complex or bipartisan, pro-war consensus, to smear those people as Russian plants. It's happened to all sorts of people online and that Hillary Clinton, someone that prominent, would take it to this level a presidential candidate, I just think it's disgusting.

Fast-forwarding to Monday’s New Day, Ball reiterated that, whatever one’s views may be about Gabbard (who, it should be noted, was still an anti-Trump, Assad-apologizing, far-left, pro-impeachment, progressive), it’s more of the same from Clinton making excuses when the Russians didn’t keep her from ignoring Michigan and Wisconsin.

When co-host Alisyn Camerota asked if Gabbard’s policy positions are worth merit (which they were), Ball replied that’s not so much the point as underlining the seriousness of Clinton’s charge, which equated to treason and punishable by death for someone who believed her time as a leader of the Democratic Party has passed.

Ball was opposite CNN and New York Times contributor Wajahat Ali, who made a somewhat reasonable argument against Gabbard, but sullied his case by largely agreeing with Clinton, calling Gabbard “a useful idiot” because Russian-owned media outlets, certain Trump supporters, and racists like David Duke and Richard Spencer have said positive things about her.

Duke had also trumpeted anti-Semitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), but it’s safe to say Ali won’t level those same charges against her.

Ball hit back that those who supported the Iraq War weren’t thought to be Russian stooges, so the same shouldn’t be made against Gabbard and especially because of how she’s a U.S. soldier (and thus someone who’s taken two oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution) (click “expand”):

She's ruled that out and this was — I mean, this is guilt by association. You remember when the right tried to do this to Barack Obama with Rev. Wright, et cetera, et cetera, and because you've been in a room with these people you must believe their views. They must support you and because they support you that means you're out of bounds. It's a red-baiting smear. Look, nobody has been more helpful to Russia than all the people who pushed the Iraq War, okay, to include Hillary Clinton. So does that make her a Russian plant? No, of course not. We can't run around saying oh, because this person supports you, because we don't like your views on this — which again, I'm not supporting her views, but to say she's being groomed by Russia by Russia — to accuse her of treason — an American military veteran who served in Iraq stitching up and mending our brothers and sisters who fell in that war thanks to people like Hillary Clinton, I think that's just wrong....Do not smear and dismiss her as a Russian asset. What is your evidence that Russia is grooming her? I mean, that was the specific language here. That's accusing a veteran of treason, a crime that is punishable by death.

Camerota stepped in to defend Clinton, taking the statement Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill at face value and, in response, Ball took a cheap shot insinuating George W. Bush was a war criminal who escaped prosecution. But dealing with the matter at hand, she noted that “Nick Merrill also said if the nesting doll fits,” so this entire discussion “is absurd” even if you don’t like Gabbard.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s Reliable Sources on October 19 and CNN’s New Day on October 20, click “expand.”

CNN’s Reliable Sources
October 20, 2019
11:17 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: There's another Clinton-related story. That's Hillary Clinton versus Tulsi Gabbard. Clinton suggesting on a podcast that Tulsi Gabbard is somehow a Russian agent or something. Now, this seems to me, Krystal, I know you support — you're a fan of Tulsi Gabbard, it seems like a disinformation situation, where the Russians want this kind of disinformation out there.

KRYSTAL BALL: You mean like from the Hillary Clinton side? I mean, look, whether you're a fan of Tulsi Gabbard or not, there is zero evidence that she is some Russian plant and I think it just makes the whole Russian conspiracy thing look absurd, that it's gone this far. That you would, as Hillary Clinton, a major figure in the Democratic establishment to this day, baselessly smear an American veteran who served in the Iraq war as a medic, and still serves in the Hawaii army national guard as being groomed by Vladimir Putin, I mean, that's disgusting and absurd.

STELTER: I just always think to myself, this is what foreign governments want. When there's this kind of — kind of vitriol and venom in American politics.

BALL: But that's — sure, right? It helps our adversaries, but there's also this trend now on the left, of which I'm a part of the left, to smear anyone who dares tell the truth about, you know, ugliness that's happening in America or disagree with the sort of military industrial complex or bipartisan, pro-war consensus, to smear those people as Russian plants. It's happened to all sorts of people online and that Hillary Clinton, someone that prominent, would take it to this level a presidential candidate, I just think it's disgusting.

MATT LEWIS: I just think the truth is that Tulsi Gabbard does advance some of the same talking points that Turkey wants to advance right now in Syria. Some of the same talking points that Russia —

STELTER: Tulsi Gabbard, President Trump, they have that in common.

LEWIS: — they have — they actually have a lot in common, but the other thing I would say, is I do think it's a bridge way too far for Hillary Clinton to imply that she's an asset. That — that to me was crossing the line.

 

CNN’s New Day
October 21, 2019
7:40 a.m. Eastern

ALISYN CAMEROTA: So, Krystal, why is Hillary Clinton picking this fight with Tulsi Gabbard? Why now?

KRYSTAL BALL: Well, I think it's pretty obvious what's going on. You know, in those same comments, Hillary Clinton blames Jill Stein for her loss, which is ridiculous. I don't know if Jill Stein or the Russians made Hillary not campaign in Michigan and Wisconsin and here she has sour grapes over Tulsi Gabbard, backing her primary rival, Bernie Sanders. I mean, it is truly disgusting and absurd to smear an American veteran, a member of Congress, a presidential candidate as a Russian asset and say specifically that they are grooming her, baselessly. To throw out such a wild accusation is pretty disgusting.

CAMEROTA: This is interesting Krystal because I mean, as we said, you were a Hillary Clinton supporter and you're disgusted by what she's doing. Do you think that Tulsi Gabbard deserves any criticism for some of her positions?

BALL: I mean, in fairness, I was actually a Sanders supporter in the primary, just to be clear for your audience.

CAMEROTA: Okay, thank you for that.

BALL: Yeah. Look, I'm not here to defend every single thing that Tulsi Gabbard has done or said but I think what this shows is the insanity of seeing Russia around every single corner that has gripped some of the conspiratorial parts of the Democratic Party. Here's the other thing that's at stake. Whether you like Tulsi Gabbard or not, if you hold unorthodox or anti-establishment or even radical ideas at all, this is a danger because it means you, too, can be dismissed and smeared as a Russian asset. So that's why I think this is so important.

CAMEROTA: Wajahat, is that how you see it? Do you think that Tulsi Gabbard just holds unorthodox comments and that Hillary Clinton has gone way overboard?

WAJAHAT ALI: I think Tulsi Gabbard is a terrible candidate based on her positions alone, but, Russian outlets seem to love Tulsi Gabbard. So does MAGA, so does Steve Bannon, so does David Duke, so does the alt-right’s Richard Spencer and she supports pro-Assad and pro-Russian talking points, especially when she visited Syria in 2017. It took her forever to criticize Assad, the brutal dictator. I wish she was half as critical against Assad as she was — as she is against Clinton in her tweets. Look, Hillary Clinton is aware of the fact that Russia had a disinformation campaign in the 2016 elections to help Donald Trump. They are still actively engaging a disinformation campaign. They will continue this campaign leading up to 2020. As we know, Robert Mueller testified to this point. Tulsi Gabbard can be a useful idiot. In order to be a Russian asset, Alisyn, you don't have to be a witting or a willing participant. Jill Stein was promoted by pro-Russian outlets and bots. And also, let's not forget she was there clapping it up with Putin at the RT propaganda dinner along with Michael Flynn, Donald Trump's first national security adviser. So you have to ask yourself why are pro-Russian outlets, and pro- Russian bots, and MAGA, and Steve Bannon, and Tucker Carlson, by the way, loving Tulsi Gabbard and it could be because they want to see her as a spoiler candidate and in August, on CNN, she said that she is open to considering a run as a third-party candidate. I think she will and I think that might hurt the Democrats.

BALL: No, she's — okay — she's — hold on.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Krystal.

BALL: She's ruled that out and this was — I mean, this is guilt by association. You remember when the right tried to do this to Barack Obama with Rev. Wright, et cetera, et cetera, and because you've been in a room with these people you must believe their views. They must support you and because they support you that means you're out of bounds. It's a red-baiting smear. Look, nobody has been more helpful to Russia than all the people who pushed the Iraq War, okay, to include Hillary Clinton. So does that make her a Russian plant? No, of course not. We can't run around saying oh, because this person supports you, because we don't like your views on this — which again, I'm not supporting her views, but to say she's being groomed by Russia by Russia — to accuse her of treason — an American military veteran —

ALI: That's not — that's not the case.

BALL: — who served in Iraq stitching up and mending our brothers and sisters who fell in that war thanks to people like Hillary Clinton, I think that's just wrong.

ALI: And the same veteran promotes Assad talking points. It took her forever to call him a war criminal. She calls U.S.-backed groups in Syria terrorists. She says it's a regime change. These are all against pro-Assad and pro-Russian talking points and by the way, Tulsi Gabbard is not all of a sudden anti-war. She calls herself a war hawk and she says she's against the terrorists. So she has backed Russian bombing of Syrian civilians. She is also a big fan of Sisi.

BALL: She does not back —

ALI: She's also a fan of Modi, a Hindu nationalist and anti-Muslim extremist. So why are you supporting her?

BALL: — look again, I'm not here — I'm not here to be her spokesperson. I'm not here to support her. I'm here to say deal with her specific policy positions. Do not —

ALI: I am.

BALL: — smear and dismiss her as a Russian asset. What is your evidence that Russia is grooming her? I mean, that was the specific language here. That's accusing a veteran of treason, a crime that is punishable by death.

CAMEROTA: Well, just one — just one second. I just — let me — I just want to be clear about one thing because Hillary Clinton's spokesperson, Nick Merrill, said that that first sentence that Hillary Clinton said, and I'll read it to you: “I think that they've got their eye on somebody who's currently in the Democratic primary,” that she was referring to the Republicans. She was asked about the Republicans and she was basically — I mean, this is according to after the fact — what Nick Merrill says — saying that she thinks that the Republicans will somehow use Tulsi Gabbard as a spoiler. So I don't know that Hillary Clinton said that she was being groomed by the Russians, but —

BALL: Yeah, but Nick Merrill also said if the nesting doll fits. I mean, come on, this is absurd and look, you may not like Tulsi Gabbard — that's fine. I don't have a problem with that, but you cannot just dismiss people that you don't like as Russian plants and you know that this goes so much further than Tulsi Gabbard. I mean, I've been accused of being a Russian plant just for pointing out some of the problems in America. Anyone who stands against the endless wars get accused of being a Russian plant. Anyone who dares to criticize the national security state —

CAMEROTA: Well, it sort of — I mean it sort of —

ALI: No.

CAMEROTA: I mean, Krystal, it does go a little further than that. She — I mean —

BALL: — is accused of being a Russian plant. 

ALI: No.

CAMEROTA: Look, sorry to interrupt, Krystal, but she did go --

BALL: Sure.

CAMEROTA: — to on this so-called secret trip — at least it wasn't authorized by the government — in 2017 to meet — you know, obviously, in Syria to meet with Assad. It was financed by the Lebanese Socialist Nationalist Party. She later had to repay it after criticism. So it's also actions. I mean, it's not just that she takes, as you said, unorthodox positions.

BALL: But here's my point, Alisyn, right. If we can say okay, Tulsi had this meeting that we don't like and that means she should be smeared as a Russian plant and dismissed from the national conversation and yet, we celebrate Ellen being friends with George W. Bush, a man who lied us into war and propagated torture under the American name and was never held accountable for that? I mean, hundreds of thousands of people died in that war and that person is okay in polite society, but Tulsi Gabbard, because she had a meeting, is not.

ALI: I think we should —

BALL: That just doesn't make sense to me.

ALI: — I think we should disqualify Tulsi based on her record, based on her positions, based on her associations and you know who really loves Tulsi Gabbard? Pro-Russian outlets.

CAMEROTA: Okay. On that note, Wajahat Ali, Krystal Ball, thank you for the spirited debate. Great to talk to —

BALL: Thank you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: — both of you.

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