Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland briefly had a moment in the B plot of “As the Ukrainian Whistleblower Turns” on Wednesday when he met with the State Department’s inspector general about a mysterious dossier he was delivering to them and called a media conference right afterward.
His character arc wasn’t exactly the best.
With the eyes of Washington and America on him, Raskin — a member of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees — said the packet was “propaganda and disinformation and spreading conspiracy theories. Those conspiracy theories have been widely debunked and discredited.”
The packet had allegedly been hand-delivered to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo months ago. However, Raskin said the inspector general didn’t know the provenance of the packet or what it meant.
“It raises more questions than it answers,” Raskin said. “The inspector general had no idea where it came from.”
“The inspector general was basically just saying, we’re sitting on this packet of disinformation, which came from some uncertain place,” he added, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
“And again this is my interpretation of it. There may be misconduct by the secretary of state or other State Department employees in distributing this if they know where it comes from and they know that it does not have any authentic source in the White House.”
Well, that’s inspiring.
There were several problems with sharing the information in the packet, which was presumably supposed to buttress the case for impeachment in some roundabout way.
The first is that the inspector general had no idea where the documents came from. That’s not exactly confidence-inspiring, to say the least. And then there was the fact Raskin was sharing specifics that one CNN counterterrorism analyst thought he shouldn’t have.
In fact, neither the analyst, Phil Mudd, nor anchor Jake Tapper thought too highly of Raskin’s presser, with Mudd calling it a “hot mess.”
Tapper wondered what the point of it all was.
“I don’t understand the purpose of the inspector general turning over these documents and I certainly don’t understand the purpose of having a press conference like that if all of this stuff is just unproven, not linked to anybody, no proof of wrongdoing by anybody and all of it is false,” Tapper said.
“Man, are you polite,” Mudd, a former CIA and FBI official, responded. “I will never have your job.
“Let me give you another interpretation. The congressman put his foot in a cow pie and said, ‘Isn’t this cool?’
“What a hot mess that was. They don’t know where this stuff came from,” he continued.
“I could have sent it for all they know. He clearly hasn’t reviewed it. He hasn’t had the time to review it so we don’t know exactly what’s in there.
“He comes to us and says despite the fact that he jumps out to a press conference ten seconds later, it is not clear where this was such an urgent matter and he also says it is not even clear this is relevant to the investigation we have underway.”
So I’m guessing Mudd won’t be a reference on Raskin’s resumé.
Then again, his issues with the Maryland congressman aren’t without merit. Raskin didn’t know how “urgent” the documents were, said that the packet was “amateurish” and noted that it didn’t have to do with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky but former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Raskin even admitted that the whole thing was “nothing relating to the president’s impeachable conduct,” The Week reported.
If even CNN thinks this is nonsense, then it’s nonsense. That corner of the cable news landscape has been given over to 24-hour impeachment talk. They know a letdown when they see one — and this certainly qualifies as a hot mess.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.