- Chuck Todd and Sen. Ron Johnson had a heated exchange on “Meet the Press” Sunday when the Wisconsin Republican brought up questions about possible CIA leaks during the Trump-Russia probe.
- “Sen. Johnson, please!” an exasperated Todd bellowed at one point.
- Todd pressed Johnson over his conversations with Trump over Ukraine. Johnson suggested that Todd ask former CIA Director John Brenann about a Peter Strzok text that suggested the CIA was leaking for political reasons.
“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd blew up on Sen. Ron Johnson Sunday after the Republican brought up possible CIA leaks during the Trump-Russia investigation.
“Sen. Johnson, please,” Todd said at one point during the contentious interview. “Can we please answer the question that I asked you instead of trying to make [President] Donald Trump feel better here that you’re not criticizing him?”
Todd invited the Wisconsin Republican on to discuss his comments Friday regarding Trump’s decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine.
Johnson told reporters that a U.S. diplomat told him on Aug. 30 that the aid was contingent on Ukraine’s president opening investigations into whether Ukraine meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.
Johnson told a Wall Street Journal reporter that he was concerned about those remarks and contacted Trump to discuss. He said Trump denied to him in August that he was withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for political favors.
When Todd asked Johnson about that at the beginning of “Meet the Press” Sunday, he sought to shift gears by suggesting that the NBC host should ask former CIA Director John Brennan a question about CIA leaks when he appeared for an interview later in the show. (RELATED: Peter Strzok Suspected CIA Was Behind Inaccurate Media Leaks)
“You ought to ask Director Brennan: What did Peter Strzok mean when he texted Lisa Page on Dec. 15, 2016?” Johnson began, referring to two of the former FBI officials who worked on the Trump-Russia probe.
Todd said: “Senator, what does this have to do with Ukraine?”
Johnson read from a text message that Strzok sent Page in which he speculated that the CIA was behind leaks for political reasons.
“Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they’re kicking in to overdrive,” Strzok wrote Page on Dec. 15, 2016.
A day earlier, NBC News published a story revealing the highly classified detail that U.S. intelligence agencies had spies inside the Kremlin who reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the Russian hacking operation against Democrats during the 2016 election.