MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle played attack dog for Democratic Sen. Mark Warner with the news that he had extensive contact with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch in March of 2017 to get in contact with dossier author Christopher Steele without a "paper trail."
Ruhle took a tweet from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and twisted it to somehow suggest Fox News reporting on this story was somehow "fake" and "untrue." She insisted calling it "nonsense" was an "understatement." Her guest, Clint Watts, then added to the fact-mangling by making the now-common liberal error that somehow the Steele dossier was funded by Republicans (through the Washington Free Beacon). They hired Fusion GPS, but Steele came to Fusion after that.
STEPHANIE RUHLE: I want to turn now to a tweet from the president where he said, quote,
"Wow! Senator Mark Warner got caught having extensive contact with a Russian lobbyist for a Russian oligarch. Warner did not want a “paper trail” on a “private” meeting in London. He requested with Steele of fraudulent dossier fame all tied into crooked Hillary."
So this was President Trump's tweet. Marco Rubio, fellow Republican, quickly shut the president down, tweeting,
"Senator Warner fully disclosed this to the committee four months ago, has had zero impact on our work."
President Trump was retweeting a Fox News report. So to president trump who talks, who complains so much about fake news out there, you've got a fellow Republican who's on the committee who said Mark Warner already told us this and it's a nonstarter. What do you make of this?
CLINT WATTS: There's so much nonsense with this hashtag hysteria around every week trying to discredit one of these investigations.
RUHLE: But isn't nonsense an understatement here?
RUHLE: The president, with exclamation points and screaming, is saying something that's just untrue.
WATTS: Completely false. And why wouldn't they look at the dossier? I mean, the dossier's been out for a year now. Warner is part of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence looking into Russian collusion.
RUHLE: And he's not keeping it a secret.
WATTS: No. And this was a document initially funded by Republicans before Democrats and delivered to the FBI by a Republican. Remember John McCain one of the people advocating the FBI look at this.
The only words in the Trump tweet that might be challenged as "untrue" are Warner "got caught." They could say Warner disclosed the contents to his fellow senators, so he wasn't "caught." But for everyone who's not serving on an intelligence committee, it was new information, and the optics strongly suggest a secret partisan mission -- no "paper trail," a private meeting in London.
Larry O'Connor rebutted the liberal media's Rubio defense in The Washington Times.
He noted Warner's disclosure to his fellow senators came half a year after he sent the text messages to Adam Waldman, the lobbyist for the Russian oligarch. He also argued that attacking Fox for "fake news" is especially wrong since the story itself mentions that other Senators were made aware of the texts last October.
And the "zero impact on our work" argument?
So what? Rubio is defending against an allegation that no one ever actually made. In Henry’s initial report and in the reaction to the report, not one person has made the claim that Warner’s contacts somehow impeded the work of the Intelligence Committee. No one cares if it has had an impact on the committee’s work. No one thinks Warner was trying to impact the committee’s work. It is a complete non-sequitur....
Rubio’s “defense” doesn’t answer any of these relevant and legitimate questions. It only accomplishes one thing: It provides a fig leaf to reporters giving them an excuse for not pursuing the story or asking these and many other questions associated with the report.