Tennessee GOP Rep. Tim Burchett gives one of the lamest excuses yet following the newly released recording of Trump acknowledging he mishandled “secret” military information that was not declassified, six months after leaving office. Burchett made an appearance on this Tuesday’s Inside Politics on CNN, and after host Dana Bash played the recording of Trump basically admitting to a felony on tape, here’s how Burchett responded:
BASH: Do you think someone who admits to showing classified information to another person who should not be seeing it, is a person who should be elected to be commander-in-chief again?
BURCHETT: Well, I think it’s just Trump being Trump. Honestly, I mean, he’s just showing his New York bravado there, obviously, for a female counterpart. I couldn’t see who it was, but I don’t put a lot of faith in that.
The odd thing about it is, the more people turn up the heat on Trump, the more his numbers go up. It’s almost undescribable. You know when I get hit, I see my numbers plummet.
And so Trump’s just, it’s just just bizarro world. And Trump is obviously the one that always seems to benefit from it. It’s almost uncanny, every time he gets hit with something, I see new polling numbers and he just keeps going up.
I think it shows that the public, at least the conservative base, just doesn’t trust the media and doesn’t trust Washington,, which is unfortunate.
“Trump being Trump.” Who thinks his response would be slightly different if this was a Democrat? Bash continued to push him on whether he actually believes what Trump did was alright, and his follow up wasn’t any better.
BASH: Okay, so that’s your political take. Let’s talk about the legal take, particularly since, I know you’re a member of congress. You understand the importance of classified information, how it should be handled.
This is a former president, who is admitting that he has a piece of paper that is classified, that he cannot declassify because he’s a former president, and basically saying he shouldn’t be showing it. Do you think that’s okay?
BURCHETT: No, of course, not. But all I heard him say in there was that somebody was, the military was wanting to go to war with somebody else, and so there’s not a lot of clarification there.
That wasn’t all Trump said, and he’s going to get a lot of “clarification” before long, but somehow I’m guessing that won’t make an iota of difference and he’ll still be making excuses for Trump, which was made obvious by the rest of his response. First he started rambling about how all classified documents are handled:
BURCHETT: And I’m just playing the attorney here. I’m not an attorney. I actually work for a living. So I’ve never been an attorney. I’ve passed a lot of laws, but I usually have to ask for a lot of attorneys to find out exactly the details of what we just passed.
So, you know, again, I don’t put a lot of faith in that all that. That will come out. That’s one little snippet of the big timeline. But yes, does it bother me that documents, I think we need to refigure this whole deal ma’am.
I think classified documents ought to have a handler, or a specific handler, and when that person is finish viewing those documents, that they stay with that handler who has a very high – because that’s the way Congress is treated. We can’t walk out with it. And so it’s just ridiculous.
You know, and of course, classified briefings, when I first elected, I remember I turned to an old Democrat who was a friend of mine and said let me get this straight, after we get this classified briefing I can probably catch most of this on CNN in 30 minutes. And he said, no Tim, it will actually be about 15 minutes.
After Bash pressed him further, he gave himself an out and said it will depend on exactly what Trump ends up being convicted of, and tried to pretend he didn’t understand how the charges fell under the espionage act. And, of course, he couldn’t end the interview without getting a shot in at Hunter Biden with this false equivalence.
BASH: Well, I know, and I have heard you say that. I believe what you get and what the president gets might be slightly different, but you told my colleague Mana Raju that if the former president is convicted, you do not think he should be president. Do you still feel that way?
BURCHETT: Yes, ma’am. I think if he’s convicted in a court of law, but what’s he going to be convicted of? If he’s convicted of a, if it’s like Hunter Biden, where they give him a slap on the wrist and send him on his way, well, I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s going to be convicted of.
You know, it’s under the Espionage section of the code, but it doesn’t have anything to do with espionage actually. It’s not turning over documents to an enemy.
BASH: Well, I should just say, unfortunately, we’re out of time, that the Espionage Act doesn’t merely say you have to turn it over. There are other portions of the espionage act. We can talk about that and more. I appreciate your time. Thank you so much, sir.
I’d say it’s a safe bet that he’s going to support Trump no matter what. These guys will always find a new reason to weasel out of any principled stance they ever pretended to take.