Jake Tapper hosted Kellyanne Conway on State of the Union to discuss Friday’s release of a declassified report showing U.S. intelligence’s conclusion that Russia hacked the election (not only to aid Trump but to settle a Clinton grudge). This report should have put a definitive end to the Trump team’s disbelief that Russia did so — especially following accelerating reports from U.S. intel, along with the FBI and CIA, on the matter — but Conway’s still madly spinning.
We haven’t seen as much of Conway since she shifted from being Trump campaign manager to a senior advisor, and she’ll soon be counselor of the present. Yet the Trump team clearly felt her message was important on this issue, which saw her first downplay the situation by calling Russia’s acts “alleged attacks.” Tapper corrected her on this phrasing, but Conway insisted that hacks weren’t even needed to help Trump win because Hillary Clinton is so gosh darned unlikable:
“Alleged attacks and alleged aspirations to interfere with our democracy failed. And they failed, and we know that because Donald Trump won … but Hillary Clinton, if you look at the CNN polling data for one year before the election. Hillary Clinton was viewed by the majority of America as unlikable, and she was viewed by a higher number, over 60%, as not honest or trustworthy. It has nothing to do with Moscow.”
Tapper had his work cut out for him as always, and although there’s no convincing Conway of anything, he continued to hammer away. Tapper wanted to know why Trump kept invoking WikiLeaks — which passed troves of hacked DNC emails to Russia through a third party — at multiple debates if he thought WikiLeaks wouldn’t impact the election:
“If you listen to what Mr. Trump had to say on the stump all the time, he invoked WikiLeaks dozens and dozens of times to try to suggest that Wikileaks said there were things that Hillary Clinton was doing or had done that were untoward. So I guess what I’m confused about is how can you say that the hacking had no impact on the election when Mr. Trump kept invoking WikiLeaks which was printing, publishing things that the Russians had hacked? Obviously he thought it was going to have an effect on the election.”
In response, Conway did not condemn the actions of WikiLeaks or Russia. She argued that Trump had no idea who was hacking the DNC, and she kept insisting that WikiLeaks wasn’t necessary to make Hillary seem dishonest: “She did that all on her own.” The full 11-minute segment shows several rounds between Tapper and Conway, where he repeatedly had to shut down the same deflection, over and over again.