“Meet the Press” host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddNBC's Chuck Todd: Biden currently battling 'pretty big credibility crisis' 'Highest priority' is to vaccinate the unvaccinated, Fauci says If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE and Louisiana Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R) on Tuesday got into a heated exchange regarding President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE’s interactions with Ukraine's president, with Todd accusing the lawmaker of gaslighting.
The contentious back-and-forth came as Todd questioned Kennedy on MSNBC about the reports that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July phone call to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse clears bill to provide veterans with cost-of-living adjustment On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit MORE's son Hunter Biden over allegations of corruption.
The developments have led to mounting scrutiny regarding the president's alleged efforts to seek assistance from a foreign country to find dirt on a political opponent.
Kennedy pushed back on Todd's questions, repeatedly insisting that the American public also deserved to learn more about Joe Biden's dealings with Ukraine as vice president in 2016.
NBC's Chuck Todd to Sen. John Kennedy on Biden conspiracy theory: "Don't gaslight us, sir" pic.twitter.com/YUPaGsuDPs— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 24, 2019
"I’m not alleging that the vice president did anything wrong. But I’m just telling you that the American people are looking at this and going, 'OK?'" Kennedy said.
Todd quickly shot back that the statement amounted to "whataboutism," before asking, "How does that have anything to do with the president of the United States going to another world leader and saying, 'Open an investigation up on my chief political rival'?"
"Because it has to do with Ukrainian corruption, which is what all of this is about," Kennedy replied, prompting Todd to demand that that Republican senator stop gaslighting.
"It depends on what you view as corruption. You can’t gaslight us, sir," Todd said. "Don’t gaslight us."
“I’m not gaslighting you. I’m telling you the facts,” Kennedy responded before again insisting that matters related to the Bidens needed to be investigated.
Todd later argued that he wouldn't allow a "false equivalency" to take over the debate regarding Trump's interactions with Ukraine.
Trump and his aides have repeatedly tried to cast Joe Biden as corrupt over his efforts as vice president to dismiss a top prosecutor in Ukraine who was investigating an energy company that Hunter Biden sat on the board of.
There is zero evidence that suggests Biden was working in his son's interest during his efforts.
Reports of the president's efforts to persuade Zelensky to investigate the Bidens have led to a surge in calls for impeachment among Democratic lawmakers.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday afternoon announced that the lower chamber would launch a formal impeachment inquiry into the president.
The decision came as many raised speculation as to whether the president delayed hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine as part of his attempts to compel an investigation. Trump has acknowledged speaking Zelensky about Joe Biden but has denied discussing military aid.
The president called the Democrats' impeachment effort "Witch Hunt garbage" following Pelosi's announcement.