CNN’s Manu Raju seems to have triggered Arizona’s Republican Sen. Martha McSally on Thursday with talk of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, earning a Trumpian insult in the halls of Capitol Hill.
“Manu, you’re a liberal hack,” McSally said, clearly peeved and with undisguised disdain. “I’m not talking to you.”
Watch the video encounter above.
Raju’s alleged hackery? He asked whether the Senate should “consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial?” (The evidence, from Rudolph Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, was released to the public yesterday, just as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow announced her scoop of booking Parnas for an exclusive interview).
Apparently that was a touchy subject for McSally, who responded with the brickbat. The full exchange:
Raju: Senator McSally, should the Senate consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial?
McSally: Manu, you’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you
Raju: You’re not going to comment about this?
McSally: You’re a liberal hack.
Raju got a more considered reply when he asked Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue the same question. “Absolutely not…Because that’s not our job,” Perdue said, before calling the two articles of impeachment “very weak.”
Raju tweeted about the encounter. “Sen. Martha McSally, a Republican facing a difficult election race, lashed out when I asked if she would consider new evidence as part of the Senate trial. ‘You’re a liberal hack – I’m not talking to you. You’re a liberal hack.’ She then walked into a hearing room.”
McSally then tweeted the video with the message “A) You are. B) Here’s the video.”
CNN anchor Jake Tapper came to his colleague’s defense, tweeting, “The question was perfectly reasonable and topical, politely asked, and Manu is respected on the Hill by Democrats and Republicans.”
Tapper later tweeted that he’d contacted a family member of the late Sen. John McCain (McSally was appointed to fill out his term), and was told “There’s no love lost between our family and her.”
The CNN anchor then tweeted, “Among other slights, McSally didn’t mention McCain during the signing of the defense bill named after McCain while he was on his death bed.”
Axios reporter Jonathan Swan also joined in. “I almost never weigh in on this type of nonsense because I think it’s dumb for reporters to take the bait,” Swan tweeted. “Politicians want these clips to go viral. But Manu is one of the better and harder working reporters on Capitol Hill.”
CNN later released a statement on the incident. “It is extremely unbecoming for a U.S. Senator to sink to this level and treat a member of the press this way for simply doing his job.”
Not unexpectedly, the Trump re-election campaign saw things differently, sensing a fundraising opportunity. “THREE CHEERS for Senator @MarthaMcSally!!!,” the Trump War Room account tweeted. “THIS is how you handle FAKE NEWS @CNN. DONATE to Martha NOW”.
Here is the Twitter trail:
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.