The dumbest man in the U.S. Senate—I said Senate, so sit down, Louie Gohmert—on Sunday told incredulous Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that Russia might or might not have hacked Democratic National Committee servers during the 2016 election, burping out that even though the entire United States intelligence community has determined that it did, “It could also be Ukraine.”
Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy’s intentional disinformation on behalf of Dear Leader, who wishes to exonerate Russia for reasons we can only (richly) speculate on, is precisely the Republican behavior Dr. Fiona Hill warned of in her testimony to Congress: Republicans themselves are parroting Russian-spread, Russian-useful false information in the increasingly grotesque maneuvering to defend Trump via any means necessary.
Now Kennedy, who is both provably dishonest and provably an idiot, has apparently been informed that his Sunday morning bullshit is landing with a weighty thud. So he’s changing his story. “I was wrong,” Kennedy told CNN host Chris Cuomo. “It was Russia who tried to hack the computer. I’ve seen no indication that Ukraine tried to do it.”
Because Kennedy is still, and we cannot emphasize this enough, a dishonest idiot, he claimed to Cuomo that actually, he had misunderstood the question and meant to respond with the nonstupid, nondisinformation-premised not-pro-Russia version. Let’s look at that original Fox exchange.
Wallace: Who do you believe was responsible for hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign computers, their emails. Was it Russia or Ukraine?Actual United States Senator: I don’t know. Nor do you. Nor do any of us.
Wallace: Let me just interrupt to say that the entire intelligence community says it was Russia.
Actual United States Senator: Right. But it could also be Ukraine. I’m not saying I know one way or the other.
There is, even if you are dishonest and an idiot, no part of that exchange that could be misunderstood. Who was responsible for hacking the computers? He doesn’t know, he says, parroting Donald Trump’s preferred line from three entire years ago. Might be Ukraine, he says, parroting Rudy Giuliani’s bizarre new conspiracy theory, the one that seems to keep bringing Giuliani fat checks for dubiously premised reasons. It could also be maaaagical piiiixies.
Kennedy is obviously lying about that. He made a purposeful attempt to spread disinformation on what he thought would be a friendly television program. He thought wrong, and spent the next day being publicly mocked, ridiculed, condemned, and called a Russian toady, all of it deserved, after which his political ambitions suddenly decided that he had done the Russian thing by accident and did not mean it. For now.
Mmm-hmm. He, Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, and all the others just happen to keep spreading Trump’s own claims of possible Russian exoneration by accident. They simply misunderstood the questions. And testimony. And briefings. And classified reports. And unclassified reports. And the What To Know About Russian Election Hacking pop-up book FBI officials commissioned especially for them.
Yet again: Stop treating these people with misguided respect, thinking that their office should shield them from even a fraction of the scorn they so richly deserve. It is precisely because they hold office, and continue to, despite plainly acting against their own nation’s interests in service to their own petty ambitions, that they should be treated with steady and unyielding contempt.