Crazy MSNBC: House Managers Are Like a Landscaping Team and Schiff Is Vanna White

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Amidst Thursday’s dinner break in the Senate impeachment trial, MSNBC’s panel kept alive the boring, nonsensical, and predictable living love letter to the House Democratic impeachment managers, calling Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) “excellent” and equating his team to a thorough landscaping team mowing a lawn or a captivating episode of Wheel of Fortune (with Schiff as Vanna White).

And when it came to the topic of Joe and Hunter Biden, one panelist denounced discussion of Ukraine and Burisma as “little tinctures of poison that have been put into the well” of the public mind.

 

 

Hardball host Chris Matthews went first, screeching that the managers have been “all sort of embroidering it from different directions” with Schiff having done an “excellent” and “a great job of presenting this case from the point of view of [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky” being up against a “premeditated” “bully” in President Trump. 

“So, I thought what they're doing they're cutting the lawn in different directions and they're crossing each other and they're all trying to catch people with different — like the baseball reference to a New Yorker, you know, trying to grab people in a nice way to catch you with your own spirit about the thing,” Matthews added, throwing in the lawn reference. 

The Beat host Ari Melber reacted by nothing that they’re “trying to break through and connect with this audience that is obviously skeptical” akin to “a brick wall” and, unfortunately, the public can’t see the mood of the Senate chamber.

Matthews concurred that they’re facing “an adamant jury” and also lamented that we can’t see the breaking of “that fourth wall” and which senators (if any) managers are making direct eye contact with.

All In host Chris Hayes further Matthews’s lawn metaphor and was the one who bemoaned the Burisma topic as “little tinctures of poison” (click “expand”):

You know, one of the things that struck me today, crisscrossing the lawn metaphor is a good one, you're going back over the same spots, right, because it is a complicated fact pattern, it’s a large universe of facts. In some ways, I mean, there's a little bit of tension between needing more evidence and we have all this evidence which Republicans like to point out. But I think the evidence is there, right, as much as we should hear from the witnesses, there is a lot of evidence here. 

One thing I thought was fascinating today because it's something I encounter in my role in the show and that we all do which is how do you deal with the Biden conspiracy theories? How do you deal with the kind of little tinctures of poison that have been put into the well when you want to try to encounter it? And I thought the prebuttal today on that was both interesting as a tactical decision and quite effective, right, which is, look, they're going to come out and say this was a legitimate line of inquiry, the president had a legitimate, good faith interest in this, and to actually go through the facts on it, which sometimes I struggle with on the show, right, are we going to get into the Hunter Biden and Burisma stuff and Victor Shokin and well, it was actually it was U.S. policy, yada, yada, yada. I thought very fairly methodically and quite persuasively they said, look, we're not afraid to go there. These are what the facts are on the situation and I thought even if that wasn't the sort of, like, most fireworks laden participate of the presentation, it was a really interesting and I thought pretty well done presentation. 

MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson initially wasn’t as enthused, complaining about how public statements from some senators appear to convey boredom with the process along with the fact that “[y]ou’ve got senators walking in and out of the room when they're not supposed to leave.”

It was at this point that Johnson trotted out his Wheel of Fortune analogy with Schiff playing White. Seriously.

If you want to stop reading this post now, no offense taken. For those that can still stomach that idea, click “expand” to see Johnson explain himself:

JOHNSON: They're not paying attention and particularly today because today is the most dangerous for them. For the audience who doesn’t entirely understand what this — what this — been day one and day two. Day one was like Wheel of Fortune, right? Where you basically — all the puzzle was there, right? And so Schiff just sort of lays out the puzzle and is like, oh, okay, I can solve this. He laid out every piece of evidence that you would need.

MELBER: Schiff — let me see if I’m following you. Schiff is Vanna White? 

JOHNSON: Schiff is Vanna White, yes. 

MELBER: And the Powerpoint are the tiles? 

JOHNSON: The Powerpoint are the tiles. 

MELBER: And they’re made of the House proceeding? 

JOHNSON: The House proceedings, right.

MELBER: Alright, I’m following you. 

JOHNSON: You’re following, right. So there's only a couple of letters missing, that’s the evidence they wanted to bring in, right? So today is the day where they're making the argument about how president Trump has really violated the constitution. Today is Nick Cannon’s Wilding Out. Today is where they’re just going through everything he’s done wrong. When Garcia was talking about how Donald Trump put himself first, I mean, he's not just a bad President. It's like a bad person you don't want to be with in your life[.]

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber on January 23, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber
January 23, 2020
6:29 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: I think they're all sort of embroidering it from different directions. I thought Adam Schiff, the chair, did a great job of presenting this case from the point of view of Zelensky. Here is a guy, a comedian, who just got into office, a young guy, who was fighting for his country's life. His country’s been invaded already, part has been taken away. Crimea is already gone. The eastern parts invaded by Russians and Russian sympathizers and here he is desperate for help in a President of the United States who’s got him down on his knees and he takes advantage. The bully taking advantage of the weaker kid and then I think — then today I thought that the chairman did an excellent job of talking about the way the premedit — the premeditation and how he approached this, how he went up slowly toward it, built towards it without everybody knowing about it, the premeditated use of his office, abuse of his power. So, I thought what they're doing they're cutting the lawn in different directions and they're crossing each other and they're all trying to catch people with different — like the baseball reference to a New Yorker, you know, trying to grab people in a nice way to catch you with your own spirit about the thing, but I do think that —

ARI MELBER: Let me ask about that, but the baseball reference, Chris, because it's not just baseball. It's him trying to break through and connect with this audience that is obviously skeptical. Remember Dale Bumpers, who was a senator who made the argument for Clinton, he found ways, more frequent than we've seen here but also it was a different time, to be courtly, to make jokes, to try to connect with the Senate chamber. Here it's almost like it seems like, and we only have our overhead camera, they feel like they're addressing a brick wall at times. 

MATTHEWS: Right. I think it's an adamant jury and I think what we can't see is that fourth wall and that's because of the deal they made here. We can't watch the members if they're talking to each other — they can't take a cell phone call but they can definitely skip off to the cloakroom. We're not supposed to see that. So because we can't seep the fourth wall, we can't see who they're looking at and they’re addressing members of the chair [sic] — who’s the first face they see? Mitch McConnell right up front, right in that first booth — first pew and then Chuck right next to him, chuck Schumer, next to him. And they’re looking at the toughest people who already made up their mind. I mean, they have to look at the back to find, where is Mitt Romney? Maybe make some contact to Mitt in the last row, but I think that’s the kind of thing we got, the dramatics of this thing we're not actually seeing on TV. 

(....)

6:35 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS HAYES: You know, one of the things that struck me today, crisscrossing the lawn metaphor is a good one, you're going back over the same spots, right, because it is a complicated fact pattern, it’s a large universe of facts. In some ways, I mean, there's a little bit of tension between needing more evidence and we have all this evidence which Republicans like to point out. But I think the evidence is there, right, as much as we should hear from the witnesses, there is a lot of evidence here. One thing I thought was fascinating today because it's something I encounter in my role in the show and that we all do which is how do you deal with the Biden conspiracy theories? How do you deal with the kind of little pictures of poison that have been put into the well when you want to try to encounter it? And I thought the prebuttal today on that was both interesting as a tactical decision and quite effective, right, which is, look, they're going to come out and say this was a legitimate line of inquiry, the president had a legitimate, good faith interest in this, and to actually go through the facts on it, which sometimes I struggle with on the show, right, are we going to get into the Hunter Biden and Burisma stuff and Victor Shokin and well, it was actually it was U.S. policy, yada, yada, yada. I thought very fairly methodically and quite persuasively they said, look, we're not afraid to go there. These are what the facts are on the situation and I thought even if that wasn't the sort of, like, most fireworks laden participate of the presentation, it was a really interesting and I thought pretty well done presentation. 

(....)

6:49 p.m. Eastern

JASON JOHNSON: I'm amazed — do you really want the quote that’s found from you from 100 years from now to be I'm bored? Because what's what some of these people are saying. I'm bored. Susan Collins can complain about the rules. I think Jerry Nadler was rude to me. You’ve got senators walking in and out of the room when they're not supposed to leave. They're supposed to be arrested by that if we remember what the initial rules are. But here’s the thing. They're not paying attention and particularly today because today is the most dangerous for them. For the audience who doesn’t entirely understand what this — what this — been day one and day two. Day one was like Wheel of Fortune, right? Where you basically — all the puzzle was there, right? And so Schiff just sort of lays out the puzzle and is like, oh, okay, I can solve this. He laid out every piece of evidence that you would need.

MELBER: Schiff — let me see if I’m following you. Schiff is Vanna White? 

JOHNSON: Schiff is Vanna White, yes. 

MELBER: And the Powerpoint are the tiles? 

JOHNSON: The Powerpoint are the tiles. 

MELBER: And they’re made of the House proceeding? 

JOHNSON: The House proceedings, right.

MELBER: Alright, I’m following you. 

JOHNSON: You’re following, right. So there's only a couple of letters missing, that’s the evidence they wanted to bring in, right? So today is the day where they're making the argument about how president Trump has really violated the constitution. Today is Nick Cannon’s Wilding Out. Today is where they’re just going through everything he’s done wrong. When Garcia was talking about how Donald Trump put himself first, I mean, he's not just a bad President. It's like a bad person you don't want to be with in your life and the Republicans don't want to hear that. That's why Lindsey Graham wants to leave the room. That's why they're frustrated when they see Alan Dershowitz because this is the part where the real difficulty of supporting a man like this comes forward.

NB Daily Congress Trump Impeachment MSNBC The Beat with Ari Melber Video Ari Melber Chris Hayes Chris Matthews Jason Johnson Adam Schiff Donald Trump
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