MSNBC Badgers GOP Rep With Dem Talking Points on Spying

On Thursday, MSNBC's Hallie Jackson used liberal talking points to grill GOP Congressman Buddy Carter on the way his colleague is leading the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into the Obama administration possibly collecting surveillance of members on then-President-elect Donald Trump's transition team. The Georgia representative, a supporter of Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, is against calls for an independent investigation. Jackson asked Carter, "Is the argument for an independent investigation bolstered now because of what Devin Nunes did?"

"I don't think so. I trust the judgment of Chairman Nunes," Carter responded. "Facts can be stubborn things."

The MSNBC Live host pressed Carter on what Nunes should have done instead of holding press conferences on Capitol Hill and outside the White House to announce what he allegedly found. She badgered Carter, "So you think it was a judgment call, you think it was the correct call?"

"I don't have all the facts as he had all the facts, but he is in the position that he has to make that call," Carter replied. "And, look, it's difficult. I mean, you're going to have some people who criticize you, some people who criticize you on the other side for not having done it."

Jackson demanded, "What do you think he should have done? Where are you on that?"

Carter answered, "Well, again, I don't have all the facts that he had. I don't have all of those at my disposal. If I were in his position and I had all the facts but that's beside side the point. The point is that facts are stubborn on things sometimes and we have to make sure we're doing what is right. This is not a matter of general generals, not a matter of anything except of right and wrong. We are a nation of laws. We have to make sure we're following those laws."

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Jackson also asked Carter, "The President says he's feels somewhat vindicated. Do you think he should feel based on what we know now?"

"Again, this is not a case of investigation. This is a case of right and wrong," Carter responded. "The Intelligence Committee understands that, the President understands that. At the end of the day it's a matter of right and wrong, not a matter of vengeance."

Toward the end of the segment, Jackson cited the latest Quinnipiac poll that says just 19 percent of Americans believe Trump. She asked Carter, "Do you believe him?"

"Whether I believe him or not, I believe the facts and we are a nation of laws and we have to follow those laws," Carter replied. "You can get all the polls in the world, but at the end of the day, what really matters is right and wrong."

Nunes apologized Thursday to Democrats on the committee for his handling of the revelations.

Here is the March 23rd exchange:

MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson

03/23/2017

10:11:51 AM - 10:19:11 AM [7 min., 20 sec.]

HALLIE JACKSON: Standing by, Buddy Carter, Republican congressman of Georgia. We know you're a strong yes on the health care bill. I want to talk about cutting back some of these essential health benefits critics argue it's going to cause more problems than solve. What is your take? 

BUDDY CARTER: I have always been in favor of that. I think the essential benefits are going to have to come out at some point. I think the problem we have right now is the timing of it. We have always said there are going to be three phases to this. And the concern of leadership that has been conveyed to many of us is that if we do this in the reconciliation process, we run the risk of having it kicked out. And if it's kicked out from what we send over there, then the whole reconciliation process is done. And I understand and appreciate the Freedom Caucus members saying, “No, we want it in now, we want it in now,” but running the risk of having the whole this evening fall apart just bus of the timing I think is something that is just a risk I don't want to take at this point. Have I faith. I have faith in the Health and Human Services Secretary that he can do these things, he can remove those essential health benefits. The Freedom Caucus is actually correct. They need to be removed so people aren't mandated as to what kind of insurance they have to have. What good will it do us to be able to buy insurance across state lines when you have ten essential health benefits that apply to everyone? Then, you’re not going to have any decrease in insurance premiums.

JACKSON: Congressman, let me make sure I'm clear on this. Do you believe if this modification happens it would be a bad idea, you don't support this right now support this? 

CARTER: No, no, no. I just want to make sure it's not going to sink the reconciliation process. That is my concern.

JACKSON: How can you make sure about that? 

CARTER: Well, that's where we have to trust in leadership to make sure because, remember, the Senate Parliamentarian could rule this out of order. If he rules out of order, what we sent over from the House, then the whole thing's gone, we sink the who reconciliation process. However, if we have a commitment from the Senate that they put it in, that part of it can be taken identity and the process continues on. 

JACKSON: There's two things you hit on there I'd like to follow up on. Congressman, the first is there's still question marks about this bill at I think 10:15 East Coast Time with a vote set for this afternoon. How in the world will you and your colleagues be able to read this thing and know what's in it before voting? Is that not rushing the process?

CARTER: Keep in mind what the questions are. The questions are essentially at what point in the process do we put these things in? That’s what the question is. It's not a question of whether they should be put in. Yeah, there are some people who disagree with, I understand that. But most people agree that this something that's going to happen but what phase is it going to happen? 

JACKSON: There's the argument that's made, trust the senate, but let me tell you what your colleague Charles Dent had to say on this network. Listen.

[ROLL CLIP]

CHARLIE DENT: I've been constantly hearing people over here say the senate is going to tack our bill, consider it and likely pass it. 

JOE SCARBOROUGH: No, they're not. 

DENT: Of course not. Of course not. We know that. It’s ridiculous. And if I have one more senator tell me this bill is dead upon arrival, I think my head is going to explode.

JACKSON: So what do you say, congressman, to a fellow Republican, who is looking at what might happen in the Senate, and say why should I walk that plank? 

CARTER: Keep in mind, this is a bicameral process. That's the way our government was created and was designed to function. This is what Regular Order looks like when you have to pass legislation. To some members of our party, it a little bit foreign. We've been able to do it in the past on to get it to the White House and have it vetoed. But now we've got the opportunity to go through the entire process. So, I'm very optimist being at the end of the day. At the end of the process, I should say, that we're going to have this done.

JACKSON: But not the end of the day? 

CARTER: I don't look that particular timeline. 

JACKSON: Let me ask you about another topic. We heard from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, another one of your colleagues, a couple of minutes ago talking about his decision to brief President Trump on information he says he's learned before briefing other members on his committee or other members of Congress. Senator John McCain called for a select committee to investigate this, this independent investigation. I know this something you don’t support, but is the argument for an independent investigation bolstered now because of what Devin Nunes did?

CARTER: I don't think so. I trust the judgment of Chairman Nunes. Facts can be stubborn things. 

JACKSON: So you think it was a judgment call, you think it was the correct call? 

CARTER: Well, I don't have all the facts as he had all the facts, but he is in the position that he has to make that call. And, look, it's difficult. I mean, you're going to have some people who criticize you, some people who criticize you on the other side for not having done it. So -- 

JACKSON: What do you think he should have done? Where are you on that? 

CARTER: Well, again, I don't have all the facts that he had. I don't have all of those at my disposal. If I were in his position and I had all the facts but that's beside side the point. The point is that facts are stubborn on things sometimes and we have to make sure we're doing what is right. This is not a matter of general generals, not a matter of anything except of right and wrong. We are a nation of laws. We have to make sure we're following those laws. 

JACKSON: Congressman, from the public comment that Chairman Nunes has made, want your take on something. The President says he's feels somewhat vindicated. Do you think he should feel based on what we know now? 

CARTER: Again, this is not a case of investigation. This is a case of right and wrong. The Intelligence Committee understands that, the President understands that. At the end of the day it's a matter of right and wrong, not a matter of vengeance. 

JACKSON: There's a new poll out in Quinnipiac this week saying only 19% of the country believes him. Do you believe him? 

CARTER: Whether I believe him or not, I believe the facts and we are a nation of laws and we have to follow those laws. You can get all the polls in the world, but at the end of the day, what really matters is right and wrong. 

JACKSON: Congressman Buddy Carter, I know it’s a busy day for you as well on the Hill. I also hope you have your running shoes on. Thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

CARTER: Thank you.

 

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