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TRAINWRECK: Guthrie Repeatedly Shuts Down Harris Hackery

trainwreck:-guthrie-repeatedly-shuts-down-harris-hackery

During an unusually contentious interview with Vice President Kamala Harris on NBC’s Today show Thursday morning, co-host Savannah Guthrie repeatedly shut down the Democrat’s attempts to filibuster with White House talking points and left-wing political spin. Harris got visibly irritated several times as Guthrie grilled her on President Biden’s disastrous Wednesday press conference and even cut off the VP’s rambling answers.

The tough exchange began with Guthrie referencing Biden’s dangerous suggestion during the presser that the U.S. would tolerate Russia launching a “small incursion” into Ukraine: “Did the President essentially give the green light to Vladimir Putin to take a piece of Ukraine, to take a bite out of Ukraine?” Harris bizarrely claimed: “I will tell you that the President has been very clear….the posture that we have taken is grounded in the respect and the value we place in sovereignty and territorial integrity….the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Guthrie interrupted and called out the obvious contradiction: “Of course, and I’m so sorry to interrupt but it is – it is less than clear because 30 minutes after the news conference, the White House Press Secretary had to actually clarify the President’s remarks.” Harris sneered: “Savannah, I’m being clear with you right now….And so, if you’re interested, I’ll continue to be clear.”

In a series of follow-ups, Guthrie continued to press:

> “Is there any amount of land that Russia could take that the President would allow, turn a blind eye to, not issue those, quote, ‘severe sanctions’ he’s been threatening for that massive full-scale invasion?”

> “The President said yesterday, among other things, that he thinks that Putin probably will invade Ukraine. Later he said he wasn’t sure, but he said, ‘he probably will go in.’ Is that, for all intents and purposes, acknowledging that this threat of severe sanctions that the administration has made, is having no effect on Putin? That he’s actually not deterred by it?”

> “The President also openly talked about division within NATO countries and NATO allies about what to do in the event of a Russian incursion. How damaging is that, when the message that’s being preached overseas at this moment, by our Secretary of State and others, is that NATO stands united?”

Wrapping up the topic, Guthrie demanded: “I know the White House tried to clarify it and clean it up afterwards, but was the damage done? You can’t un-ring the bell. Is Vladimir Putin likely to listen to a later statement from the White House Press Secretary or the words of President Biden?” A frustrated Harris replied: “I will repeat myself, and I’m Vice President of the United States, and the President and I work closely together and I know his position because he has been consistent in that regard.”

Guthrie then turned to how Biden “openly cast doubt on whether the 2022 midterm elections would be legitimate.” She asked the Vice President: “Is he really concerned that we may not have fair and free elections?”

Harris tried to dodge by still lobbying for failed attempts by Democrats in Congress to impose a federal takeover of elections:

The President has been consistent on this issue…there are two bills, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, that have been the solution that has been offered to address the fact that around our country, states have put in place laws that are purposely making it more difficult for the American people to vote. Laws which will be felt by at least 55 million Americans, regardless of their party affiliation, their race, their gender or their geographic location. And so, we have been clear –   

Guthrie shut down the talking points: “Well, to the point though, because those bills were debated – the bills were debated and they didn’t pass.” Harris whined: “If I may finish, if I may finish – ” Guthrie continued: “Of course, but the specific question, if you don’t mind. Does he think, now that these bills haven’t been passed, that the ’22 midterms won’t be legitimate or fair or free?”

Harris kept complaining: “Let’s not conflate issues….let’s not be distracted by the political gamesmanship…”

Referring to the failed, radical voting legislation, Guthrie noted: “…should you have been more willing to compromise to try to get all Democrats on board? These initiatives failed because Democrats weren’t united, let alone Republicans. Was that an error, as you look back on this year?”

Harris began her answer by touting: “Well, when I look back on this year, I think about things like the bipartisan infrastructure law.” Guthrie cut in: “Well, doesn’t that show Republicans were willing to help? If the initiatives were good?” Harris again wailed: “Please let me finish, please let me finish.”

Moments later, as Harris continued to ramble on about infrastructure, Guthrie told her time was up: “Well, Vice President Kamala Harris, I am way out of time. Next time they’ve got to give us an hour so I don’t have to interrupt and you can go as long as you want. But we are out of time. I so appreciate the back and forth and you answering the questions.”

After the exchange, Guthrie joked to her fellow co-hosts: “She and I, we should go on C-SPAN, you know? We can both go on as long as we like.”

Viewers are used to seeing liberal media hosts like Guthrie go after Republican politicians with this kind of aggressive questioning, but seeing a Democrat on the receiving end is quite rare. In fact, this was the second week in a row that Harris had a disastrous appearance on NBC’s Today show.

Here is a transcript of Guthrie’s questions to Harris during the January 20 interview:

7:07 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Joining us now, the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris. Madam Vice President, good morning, it’s good to see you.

KAMALA HARRIS: It’s good to see you, Savannah, thank you.

GUTHRIE: Well let’s just start right there with Ukraine. The President was pretty clear: “Russia will be held accountable if it invades, and it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having to fight about what to do and what not to do.” Did the President essentially give the green light to Vladimir Putin to take a piece of Ukraine, to take a bite out of Ukraine?

(…)

HARRIS: On the subject of Ukraine, I will tell you that the President has been very clear and we as the United States are very clear – if Putin takes aggressive action, we are prepared to levy serious and severe costs, period. And I will tell you that part of the posture that we have taken is grounded in the respect and the value we place in sovereignty and territorial integrity, and particular in this case…

GUTHRIE: Madame Vice President, I’m sorry to interrupt –

HARRIS: …the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. So we are very clear and we’ve had –

GUTHRIE: Of course, and I’m so sorry to interrupt but it is – it is less than clear because 30 minutes after the news conference, the White House Press Secretary had to actually clarify the President’s remarks.

HARRIS: Savannah, I’m being clear with you right now.

GUTHRIE: Yes, okay.

HARRIS: And so, if you’re interested, I’ll continue to be clear.

(…)

GUTHRIE: Is aggressive action, just to be – let’s be clear, because there are 100,000 Russian troops amassed at the border with Ukraine and people there are hanging on the President’s every word. Is there any amount of land that Russia could take that the President would allow, turn a blind eye to, not issue those, quote, “severe sanctions” he’s been threatening for that massive full-scale invasion?

(…)

GUTHRIE: The President said yesterday, among other things, that he thinks that Putin probably will invade Ukraine. Later he said he wasn’t sure, but he said, “he probably will go in.” Is that, for all intents and purposes, acknowledging that this threat of severe sanctions that the administration has made, is having no effect on Putin? That he’s actually not deterred by it?

(…)

GUTHRIE: The President also openly talked about division within NATO countries and NATO allies about what to do in the event of a Russian incursion. How damaging is that, when the message that’s being preached overseas at this moment, by our Secretary of State and others, is that NATO stands united?

HARRIS: I will tell you – and I think your audience knows – Joe Biden has been working, as the former head of Foreign Relations and as the former vice president and a senator, in a role of leadership on foreign policy for years.

(…)

GUTHRIE: Before I leave this, I mean, Ukrainian officials reportedly heard these words from President Biden with alarm. I know the White House tried to clarify it and clean it up afterwards, but was the damage done? You can’t un-ring the bell. Is Vladimir Putin likely to listen to a later statement from the White House Press Secretary or the words of President Biden?

HARRIS: I will repeat myself, and I’m Vice President of the United States, and the President and I work closely together and I know his position because he has been consistent in that regard. If Vladimir Putin and Russia takes aggressive action, it will be met with a cost that will be severe.

GUTHRIE: Let’s talk about another comment the President made. He openly cast doubt on whether the 2022 midterm elections would be legitimate. He said, “It all depends.” Which is astonishing, to hear a president question whether our elections will be legitimate. We’ve heard it before, but not from this president. Is he really concerned that we may not have fair and free elections?

HARRIS: The President has been consistent on this issue. And the issue at hand, the issue – I was there last night, in the chamber of the Senate – and the issue is that there are two bills, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, that have been the solution that has been offered to address the fact that around our country, states have put in place laws that are purposely making it more difficult for the American people to vote. Laws which will be felt by at least 55 million Americans, regardless of their party affiliation, their race, their gender or their geographic location. And so, we have been clear –   

GUTHRIE: Well, to the point though, because those bills were debated – the bills were debated and they didn’t pass. The specific –


HARRIS: If I may finish, if I may finish –

GUTHRIE: Of course, but the specific question, if you don’t mind. Does he think, now that these bills haven’t been passed, that the ’22 midterms won’t be legitimate or fair or free?

HARRIS: Let’s not conflate issues. So what we are looking at, and the topic of so much debate last night, was that we, as America, cannot afford to allow this blatant erosion of our democracy. And in particular, the right of all Americans who are eligible to vote to have access to the ballot unfettered. That is the topic of the conversation and let’s not be distracted by the political gamesmanship when what is truly at stake are issues like whether Americans with disability have the opportunity to vote by mail, whether a single parent has the opportunity, with three kids in the back seat, to vote by dropping off their ballot in a drop box instead of having to stand in line with those three kids for hours. These are the issues that are at stake.

GUTHRIE: And the President laid a lot of –  

HARRIS: And their significant and pivotal issues in terms of our democracy.

(…)

GUTHRIE: Speaking of democracy and politics, the President put a lot of blame, yesterday, on Republicans for failure to get some of these key initiatives passed. But, you know, you have a 50/50 tie in the United States Senate, as you are well aware. Did the administration fail to temper its initiatives to meet political reality? In other words, should you have been more willing to compromise to try to get all Democrats on board? These initiatives failed because Democrats weren’t united, let alone Republicans. Was that an error, as you look back on this year?

HARRIS: Well, when I look back on this year, I think about things like the bipartisan infrastructure law. Administrations, both Democrat and Republican, have tried for years to do what –  

GUTHRIE: Well, doesn’t that show Republicans were willing to help?  

HARRIS: Please let me finish, please let me finish.

                        

GUTHRIE: If the initiatives were good?  

(…)

HARRIS: Broadband in that law, is going to be now more accessible and affordable to Americans around the country from rural areas to urban areas. What we are doing now with public transportation –

GUTHRIE: Well, Vice President Kamala Harris, I am way out of time. Next time they’ve got to give us an hour so I don’t have to interrupt and you can go as long as you want. But we are out of time. I so appreciate the back and forth and you answering the questions.

HARRIS: Okay, thank you so much.

GUTHRIE: Thank you.

HARRIS: Thank you.

HODA KOTB: You just needed five more minutes.

GUTHRIE: Or C-SPAN.

KOTB: Or C-SPAN.

GUTHRIE: She and I, we should go on C-SPAN, you know? We can both go on as long as we like.

CRAIG MELVIN: Lots of news there, lots to unpack.  

What do you think?

Written by Newsman

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