IRONY ALERT! Ben Rhodes Decries Trump’s ‘Corrupt’ Foreign Policy to Chris Matthews

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That’s right, folks. On Tuesday’s Hardball, MSNBC contributor and former Obama administration lackey Ben Rhodes bemoaned President Trump’s foreign policy as “fundamentally corrupting,” “not how our government is supposed to work,” and “a criminal enterprise...that...was not in the U.S. national interest” that’s unrivaled in our history.

So, yes, the guy who sent Iran pallets of cash, cozied up to the same Iranian regime that’s admitted to now firing on protesters, and openly bragged about corrupting and lying to the press.

 

 

Rhodes didn’t waste time, first telling Matthews that the House Intel Committee’s report showed that the Trump Ukraine policy “is not how our government is supposed to work” in that it’s been a “corrupt scheme,” “criminal enterprise,” and “not in the U.S. national interest.”

He had plenty of praise for Schiff though (click “expand”):

And I thought where Chairman Schiff is very powerful is making the case why we have to act and act urgently because this is not how government works, Chris. The Republicans want to make it seem like well, everybody does it, everybody's a little corrupt. Well, no, actually. We've never seen anything like this quite in American history where a President of the United States is essentially setting up a shadow foreign policy apparatus. That’s all laid out in his report for the people who will carry out his personal agenda, not the national agenda and that's really at the heart of this whole thing, Chris. Not only is this an abuse of power but urgently raises the question whether we have a government that is acting in the national interest or in the personal political interest of the President and the Republicans give this a pass, they’re essentially saying we are okay with this and we as Americans can't have confidence that the President won't solicit further foreign interference in the 2020 election and won’t continue to politicize important foreign relationships like this. 

Suggesting he has concern for Republicans, he fretted that their refusal to go along with throwing Trump out of office had illustrated not only “where the Republican Party is,” but proof via Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) that the right’s only concern is “an entire media world” that don’t believe institutions and responsibilities other than supporting Trump.

If that’s the case, then what was MSNBC and nearly every other major paper and national TV outlet for the Obama administration?

But wait, there’s more!

At the end of the B-block, Rhodes warned that no one should lose sight of “how fundamentally corrupting this is to our system” and if Trump wasn’t removed “to restore...accountability and order and stability,” then there will be “no semblance of checks and balances.”

Well, Congress stood by as the Iran and Paris climate deals were pushed through by the Obama administration. But as the left made abundantly clear, things like the Constitution, federalism, and checks and balances are of concern to them when the opposing party was in power.

Tuesday’s Hardball nonsense wasn’t restricted to Rhodes. Matthews wondered in the A-block whether the House Intel Report from Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) would “be in the history books for all-time” as a definitive account of Trump’s impeachable offenses.

He also had this gripe about how, if the previous administration were under the gun, Republicans would be firmly in the impeachment camp (click “expand”):

And I think any Republican who's thinking about this, who takes a pause to think and not just to follow must admit to himself or herself that Obama had done this — Barack Obama had done this kind of thing, it's hard to think what they wouldn't do to him and they have to admit that about themselves. Just everybody who’s a Republican now, just admit to yourself, you don’t have to put out a statement, that if Obama had done this stuff, had cut a deal against American interests for his own political interests, you'd be nailing the guy and you wouldn't be worrying about it. You wouldn't feel hesitant, you'd be nailing him. That's the truth. Live with it.

Sure, the liberal media have trotted out these lines for years now. But the reality they often forget is the fact that the Democrats would be staunchly against it, rendering this line of argument pointless.

Just after the bottom of the hour, Matthews compared House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to “Job in the Old Testament” as he’s had to put up “with all these crazy people” (i.e. Republicans) “behaving around him.” Yikes.

Minutes later, Matthews continued his bizarre analogies, comparing Republicans to unruly fans at NBA games who wave pool noodles, faces, or other objects behind the opposing team’s hoop in an attempt to distract free-throw shooters.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on December 3, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
December 3, 2019
7:04 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I'm holding the report here, congressman. Is this how it's going to read? I'm asking this dead seriously. Is this where we’re going to get the wording in what used to be the Encyclopedia Britannica. What’s it going to be in the history books for all-time? This is the report that's going to say why Trump faced impeachment, right? 

CONGRESSMAN ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): This report will stand the test of time, Chris. It's just a question will my Republican colleagues stand the test of courage. 

(....)

7:11 p.m. Eastern

BEN RHODES: The bottom line is this is not how our government is supposed to work. All the people that we saw testifying at those impeachment hearings, you know, former ambassadors, public and civil servants, they did not want to carry out this corrupt scheme. They knew it was a criminal enterprise. They knew that it was not in the U.S. national interest. They knew it was putting extraordinary pressure on an ally of Ukraine that's been invaded by Russia, so what happened is, in order to carry out this quid pro quo, in order to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political opponents, Trump essentially had to setup a shadow foreign policy through people like Rudy Giuliani, bringing in someone like Gordon Sondland who has no role in Ukrainian policy, outsourcing obviously some of these dirty operative deeds to Devin Nunes because the normal government would carry this out. And I thought where Chairman Schiff is very powerful is making the case why we have to act and act urgently because this is not how government works, Chris. The Republicans want to make it seem like well, everybody does it, everybody's a little corrupt. Well, no, actually. We've never seen anything like this quite in American history where a President of the United States is essentially setting up a shadow foreign policy apparatus. That’s all laid out in his report for the people who will carry out his personal agenda, not the national agenda and that's really at the heart of this whole thing, Chris. Not only is this an abuse of power but urgently raises the question whether we have a government that is acting in the national interest or in the personal political interest of the President and the Republicans give this a pass, they’re essentially saying we are okay with this and we as Americans can't have confidence that the President won't solicit further foreign interference in the 2020 election and won’t continue to politicize important foreign relationships like this. 

(....)

7:23 p.m. Eastern

RHODES: Well, I think, you know, it's a signal of where the Republican Party is today in 2019, right? That Devin Nunes doesn't see the way he gets ahead as doing his job, serving his constituents, serving the institution of the Congress, trying to do right by the Constitution, trying to do right by our national security. He thinks the way to get ahead is to be the most pro-Trump guy up there, to spout the craziest conspiracy theories, and, Chris, the thing is when he's up there in these impeachment hearings, putting on these performances, when he’s out there trying to dig up dirt, false dirt, by the way, on the Bidens what he's doing is speaking to an audience of one which is Donald Trump. But he also knows that there's an entire media world out there of people consuming this same type of conspiracy theory. He's not thinking about the rest of us. He’s just thinking about Donald Trump and that — that narrow audience going to believe whatever it is Donald Trump tells him to believe and that’s where the Republican Party tragically has come to. They don't have an institution of responsibility. They have responsibility to Donald Trump and Donald Trump's audience. 

(....)

7:26 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Ben, last thought from you because you've been in these businesses, all these different agencies and institutions, and it looks to me we have a band here, a syndicate of people who basically have other jobs, like Congress [sic] or working OMB, former mayor or whatever, lawyer, they all had a mission in life which was to do this dirty deed, to hold up, to shakedown Ukraine for dirt or at least a statement, a declaration of dirt on the guy at the time Trump figured he was running against. 

RHODES: Yeah and I think we have to keep our eye on the ball here which is how fundamentally corrupting this is to our system, that even on a matter of national security, a country like Ukraine that has been invaded by a U.S. adversary, we are using this cast of characters to leverage taxpayer dollars, White House visits to get announcements of investigations into his political opponents. If that is okay in our system, there is no semblance of checks and balances and that's why you need this impeachment process in order to restore any accountability and order and stability to American democracy because if this crowd can run around and carry out schemes like this in Ukraine who knows what we're not see in other parts of our world and if this is validated, who knows what further corruption we could see in our government, so that’s why it's so important for Congress to assert its constitutional role right now. 

MATTHEWS: And I think any Republican who's thinking about this, who takes a pause to think and not just to follow must admit to himself or herself that Obama had done this — Barack Obama had done this kind of thing, it's hard to think what they wouldn't do to him and they have to admit that about themselves. Just everybody who’s a Republican now, just admit to yourself, you don’t have to put out a statement, that if Obama had done this stuff, had cut a deal against American interests for his own political interests, you'd be nailing the guy and you wouldn't be worrying about it. You wouldn't feel hesitant, you'd be nailing him. That's the truth. Live with it.

(....)

7:34 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: Well, the biggest stunt in disrupting the impeachment investigation so far was led by another Republican back this October when Florida Congressman Matt Gates led a group of Trump defenders in storming the secure room where Deputy Defense Secretary Laura Cooper was supposed to testify. According to the Daily Beast, Democrats are bracing for a “circus atmosphere” from the likes of Gates and Jordon, noted: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that she wants Wednesday’s hearing to be somber and solemn...Republicans on the famously combative panel are known for ‘shouting and screaming.’” [INTRODUCES PANELISTS] How can a chairman — I watched — I watched Chairman Nadler sitting there like Job in the Old Testament with all these crazy people behaving around him. He always seems a little bit surprised by their misbehavior, but they are going to be doing points of order like Joe McCarthy. We know it's coming. How do you fight with that — that crapola? 

CONGRESSWOMAN KAREN BASS (D-CA): Oh, I think that the chairman is going to be very well prepared and very strong. He is not going to put up with the juvenile nonsense that you saw in the Intel committee and you know what? When you have members act like that, that is an act of desperation because they have nothing to challenge the report on the substance. 

MATTHEWS: Well, congresswoman, while I have you, you know, you — nothing stops those people behind the basket at an NBA game from waving those crazy things around to screw up the guy doing the foul shot, so they’re not going to stop waving those things. These Republicans will just say it shows they're desperate. No, they're just screwing up the foul shooter. They're screwing up the presentation of what Nancy Pelosi wants to be, solemn.

NB Daily Congress Trump Impeachment Ukraine Iran Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Hardball Video Chris Matthews Ben Rhodes Donald Trump Adam Schiff Devin Nunes Jerrold Nadler
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