CNN's Poppy Harlow shut down the GOP's latest false equivalency to spin the Trump Russia story.
The White House’s Russian collusion cover stories are quickly unraveling, which means Republicans and their media supporters keep trying to play the “both sides” game by claiming Democrats were guilty of the similar dirty campaign deed last year.
But CNN’s Poppy Harlow put the brakes on that Monday morning when Republican Rep. Scott Taylor brought up the false equivalency.
“That’s not apples-to-apples,” she told him. “And frankly, you know that.”
The soggy spin goes like this: During last year’s campaign, when Donald Trump’s then-manager Paul Manafort became a lightening rod of controversy, Politico reported there was a Democratic attempt to gather up information about Manafort, including his previous business dealings in Ukraine.
That research included work by a Ukrainian-American consultant to the Democratic National Committee. Some of that legally obtained information was then passed on to journalists who were digging around on Manafort.
That’s it. That’s the whole story, which means the comparison is a mostly hollow one and in no way rises to the level of Trump’s growing scandal. Sen. Al Franken made that point during Christopher Wray’s Senate confirmation hearing last week to become the new FBI director.
One obvious, defining difference, as Politico noted, was that “Russia’s [interference] effort was personally directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin [and] involved the country’s military and foreign intelligence services.”
Further, “There’s little evidence of such a top-down effort by Ukraine.”
Additionally, agents of Ukraine’s government never met with senior members of Clinton’s campaign under the guise of deliver dirt on her opponent. Obviously, Ukraine hackers never broke into the Republican National Committee’s emails to steal documents, the way Russian hackers did last year to Democrats.
And no, Ukraine is not seen as a looming enemy of the United States, the way Russia often is today.
All of that is why Harlow stopped Taylor in his tracks when he tried by push the Both Sides spin.
TAYLOR: It’s troubling, it’s inappropriate. I said that also as well, too. So is the DNC, trying to get information from Ukraine. Those are all inappropriate.
HARLOW: That’s not apples-to-apples. And frankly, you know that. That is not the highest levels of the Ukrainian government meeting with members of the Clinton campaign. That never happened. It is not an apples to apples comparison. So I’m asking you, do you believe that it is a violation of civic honor to have had this meeting, knowing that it was from a concerted Russian government effort?
TAYLOR: What I said was — and certainly something that someone else did doesn’t excuse behavior of someone else, let’s get that clear. But sometimes we tend to focus on what’s just going on now and not other facts as well. I said it was inappropriate. I think it’s inappropriate. I think it was a grave mistake. I think the administration, if anyone had contact with Russians or anywhere, get it out there. Get it all out there, just like chairman [Trey] Gowdy said before. No more drip, drip. Get it out there.