Republican Sen. Martha McSally made some impeachment news of her own Thursday when she rejected a question from CNN reporter Manu Raju and called him a "liberal hack." The conservative Arizona senator even tweeted a video of their exchange, in which Raju attempted to ask her in a hallway whether the Senate should consider new evidence in the impeachment trial. The encounter has led to lots of reaction:
- Doubling down: Wolf Blitzer of CNN said McSally owed Raju an apology for her "awful" behavior, reports Fox News. But McSally rejected that in an appearance on the Ingraham Angle on Fox. "You know, these CNN reporters, many of them around the capital, they are so biased," she said, per Mediaite. "They are so in cahoots with the Democrats, they so can’t stand the president, and they run around trying to chase Republicans and asked trapping questions. I’m a fighter pilot. I called it like it is."
- Not answering: Host Laura Ingraham was sympathetic to that point, but she pressed McSally to answer Raju's question. “You can call me a conservative hack, but do you want witnesses, yes or no?" Ingraham asked. She posed the question multiple times ("Pretty easy question, don't you think, senator?") but McSally would not answer directly. “We are going to get to that," she said. "I’m not going to tell everybody what all my votes are gonna be." Eventually, McSally said that if Democrats were allowed to call witnesses, then Trump's legal team should get to call some of their own, per Business Insider.
- From the left: At the Washington Post, Greg Sargent is incredulous at the initial exchange. "Note that it is now seen as 'liberal' to merely ask a Republican senator whether she feels any obligation to consider the full set of facts before exercising her constitutional duty to vote on whether articles of impeachment—passed by the elected representatives in the other chamber of Congress—merit removal," he writes.
- From the right: The exchange "reflects three years of mounting frustration with an overtly partisan media, exemplified by CNN, which has dropped any pretense of fairness and become an organ of the Democratic Party," writes David Harsanyi at the New York Post. He complains that "virtually all questions posed by political reporters these days are framed to support the narratives and assumptions of one political party, the Democrats."
- Calculated? In a piece headlined "The McSally Maneuver" at the Bulwark, a critical Tim Miller writes that McSally's impeachment options are limited. Sure, she could buck her party and vote to hear new witnesses, he writes. "Alternately, she can refuse to engage this impeachment on the merits, reject all additional information that could embarrass Trump, (and) flip the bird to the 'fake news media.'" He points out that her Senate seat is vulnerable, and Republicans already are fundraising for her off this incident. "So which door did you think she was going to pick?"
- T-shirts: McSally's campaign is now selling ""You're a liberal hack, buddy" T-shirts, notes saracarter.com.
- Please, CNN: Brad Slager at the conservative RedState mocks CNN's "full meltdown" over the matter. "It is becoming increasingly obvious that the very worst thing that can possibly happen to a contemporary journalist—at least those working for the cable networks—is that someone dares insult their ego." He poses a question of his own to the network: "Is it considered unbecoming by you that Manu Raju’s question was essentially a direct talking point of the Democrats this week?"
- The race: In November, McSally is facing Democrat Mark Kelly, a former astronaut who is the husband of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords. He currently has a slim lead in the polls, per Real Clear Politics.
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