MSNBC’s Ruhle: Will Dems Shut Down Government to Protect Mueller?

During an interview with Democratic Congresswoman Primila Jayapal on Friday, MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle suggested Democrats should shut down the government to force Republicans to back legislation protecting Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It was quite a reversal for Ruhle, who just a few months earlier hammered President Trump for threatening a shutdown if border security legislation wasn’t passed by Congress.

“We are learning this morning new information about how House Democrats will wield their new power once the gavel is officially turned over next year....But right now, the Mueller probe, of course, is front and center. With House Judiciary Committee Democrats calling for an emergency hearing following the firing of Jeff Sessions,” Ruhle proclaimed at the top of Friday’s segment.

 

 

Turning to Representative Jayapal, Ruhle hyped a Politico report detailing a conference call among House Democrats:

Congresswoman, I want to first ask you about the conference call convened yesterday by Nancy Pelosi with the entire Democratic caucus. Politico wrote about it and said this: “It was the first caucus-wide call for the incoming majority and was meant, sources familiar with the planning say, to convey the depth of the crisis moment.” That’s a heavy statement. What can you tell us about the call? What was covered?  

Jayapal responded: “Well, I think that, that’s absolutely right. We are in a position that really could lead to a constitutional crisis. And we needed everybody, including our new members, to understand exactly what has led up to this point.”

Minutes later, after the liberal lawmaker declared that “we need to make sure to protect the Special Counsel’s investigation,” Ruhle pressed: “And how serious will you get to do that? Yesterday, Congressman Jerry Nadler, from New York, talked about trying to force the passage of a bill to protect Mueller. And I wonder, would Democrats be willing to force a government shutdown just to protect Robert Mueller?”

Jayapal avoided giving a direct answer, simply stating: “Well, we certainly have to do everything we can to protect the Constitution.”

At the end of July, following the President threatening a government shutdown if border security legislation wasn’t passed, Ruhle had a very different view of the tactic, arguing it “didn’t make much sense.” She warned the GOP that it would be politically damaging for them in the midterm elections:

 

 

The President is using an old tactic, threatening to veto a spending package if it doesn’t fund his demands. That would mean the government runs out of money and is forced to shut down on October 1st, that is weeks before Election Day....Mitch McConnell knows history and he knows when a shutdown happens on your watch, if you are the political party in power, it hurts your team.

So where was that analysis on Friday as she was urging Democrats to take the same action? What a difference a few months can make.

Here are excerpts of the November 9 segment:

10:17 AM ET

(...)

STEPHANIE RUHLE: We are learning this morning new information about how House Democrats will wield their new power once the gavel is officially turned over next year. NBC News got its hands on a 67-page document showing the Democrats’ plan to prioritize issues far beyond the Russia investigation, including immigration and health care, things people voted for. But right now, the Mueller probe, of course, is front and center. With House Judiciary Committee Democrats calling for an emergency hearing following the firing of Jeff Sessions. Here’s what the incoming House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings said the American people should expect come January.

ELIJAH CUMMINGS [D-MD]: We are to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. And part of that, Rachel, that oath, is about the business of being a check on the executive branch. They should expect that, and I promise you, they will get that.

RUHLE: Joining me now to discuss this and more, Democratic Congresswoman Primila Jayapal, of Washington State, who is also a member of the Judiciary Committee. Congresswoman, I want to first ask you about the conference call convened yesterday by Nancy Pelosi with the entire Democratic caucus. Politico wrote about it and said this: “It was the first caucus-wide call for the incoming majority and was meant, sources familiar with the planning say, to convey the depth of the crisis moment.” That’s a heavy statement. What can you tell us about the call? What was covered?  

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL [D-WA]: Well, I think that, that’s absolutely right. We are in a position that really could lead to a constitutional crisis. And we needed everybody, including our new members, to understand exactly what has led up to this point.

(...)

10:20 AM ET

JAYAPAL: And so, our position as Democrats is this is not a Democratic issue, this is not a Republican issue. This is an issue of our Constitution making sure that nobody is above the law, including the President. Robert Mueller is conducting a special investigation that has produced enormous results already, 33 people who have been indicted. Five of Trump’s top campaign officers, his campaign manager, his deputy campaign manager, his personal lawyer. These are people who have already pled guilty. Not to small charges, but to charges of interfering with the election, charges of obstruction of justice. I mean, these are serious charges that Mueller has uncovered and we need to make sure to protect the Special Counsel’s investigation.

RUHLE: And how serious will you get to do that? Yesterday, Congressman Jerry Nadler, from New York, talked about trying to force the passage of a bill to protect Mueller. And I wonder, would Democrats be willing to force a government shutdown just to protect Robert Mueller?

JAYAPAL: Well, we certainly have to do everything we can to protect the Constitution. Our hope is that Republicans will join us.

(...)


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