Donald Trump’s surrogates made the cable rounds on Sunday as part of an increasingly desperate effort to defend the president following what was easily the worst week of a fraught presidency.
The Ukraine scandal has spiraled faster than anyone could have imagined, and now Trump faces an impeachment threat that is far more serious than the Mueller probe. The week ended with a subpoena for Mike Pompeo, reports that Rudy Giuliani and William Barr will likely be called to testify and the resignation of Kurt Volker, a key figure at the center of the whistle-blower complaint.
On Sunday morning, Jim Jordan attempted to perpetuate the Joe Biden smear campaign and otherwise amplify the various conspiracy theories being pushed by the administration.
While Jordan was sparring with Jake Tapper, Stephen Miller – seen by many as the most nefarious administration official of them all – spoke to Fox’s Chris Wallace, who this week implored his colleagues at the network to come back to reality.
Miller lived up to his reputation for being cartoonishly villainous. Wallace painstakingly recounted the Pentagon-led process to certify the aid Trump withheld to Ukraine. “If the argument is corruption, why did the President go against his own Pentagon and his own state department?”, Wallace asked Miller.
As you can see, Miller faltered. “Chris, I don’t understand how you can ask that question”, Stephen said, before calling Hunter Biden “one of the biggest corruption scandals concerning Ukraine in the last few years”.
That, obviously, is absurd. As Jake Tapper not-so-patiently reminded Jim Jordan on Sunday, Joe Biden’s efforts to have the prosecutor at the heart of Trump’s conspiracy theory fired were aimed at stamping out corruption, and that effort was supported by America’s allies.
Not only that, it was public in nature. There was nothing clandestine about it, and Hunter Biden himself detailed the situation (and his father’s warning about “knowing what you’re doing”) in a lengthy New Yorker profile published over the summer.
There is nothing secret or conspiratorial about this supposed “conspiracy”. Indeed, the mainstream media (including and especially the liberal media) have been covering this Biden-Ukraine story for a long, long time. Trump accidentally underscored that by tweeting out a mashup video of that coverage earlier this week.
As Miller attempted to shout down Wallace, Chris said “with all due respect, this is an exercise in obfuscation”. As you can see from the video, Wallace continued to press and Miller continued to obfuscate. Stephen never gave even the beginnings of an answer.
And it got worse.
“Enough with the rhetoric, let’s talk about some specific facts”, Wallace said, at one juncture, before asking Miller to explain why Trump is using Rudy Giuliani and a pair of other personal attorneys to press Ukraine to “dig up dirt” on Joe Biden rather than going through the state department.
Again, Miller had no answer. But he did have a “non-answer”, which Wallace lampooned.
After multiple attempts to let Miller respond, Wallace finally lost it. “Stephen, I’m asking you a direct question: Why the president use private attorneys rather than go to the state department?”
Miller couldn’t conjure a straightforward response, even when Wallace suggested he simply say he doesn’t know.
Asked by Wallace to explain, specifically, “how exactly the Bidens broke the law in Ukraine”, Miller couldn’t do it. He could not cite a single, solitary definitive instance of illegality.
When Miller went back over Biden’s efforts to have the prosecutor ousted, Wallace’s rejoinder was even more devastating than Tapper’s to Jim Jordan on the same subject.
“You do realize that the IMF and almost every other government in the west was also asking for that prosecutor to be fired and that in fact – in fact – there was no investigation of Burisma going on at that time”, Wallace asked (and told) Miller.
“I don’t know that to be true”, Stephen said.
“It is true”, Wallace responded.