Chuck Todd interviewed President-Elect Donald Trump's Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. Todd grilled a Republican like a real journalist for a change. Imagine if we had this type of grilling before the election.
Chuck Todd showed what journalism could look like
Chuck Todd showed today he could be a real reporter as he grilled Reince Priebus on the Russian hack and the Trump response by attacking the CIA. He did not let Reince Priebus get away with spinning and his talking points. The snippet is representative of the grilling Reince received.
"The question is about, whether Russia tried to infiltrate our election is some way, shape, or form," Todd asked. "The hacking of the DNC, the hacking of John Podesta. ... You and Donald Trump do not believe Russia was involved in that at all? Is that, that is what your statement's saying Friday night."
Priebus responded with an answer as a method of deflection.
"What I am asking you, Chuck," Priebus asked. "Tell me what the specific source that you have other than the New York Times article that claims that through unnamed sources who they say was also inconclusive. What source are you using?"
Chuck did not bite. Instead, he stated what Priebus inferred.
"What you are saying is that until the CIA comes out and produces somebody on the record," Chuck replied. "Yoy are going to dispute this the entire time."
Priebus answered by denying he is disputing and then disputing.
"I am not disputing it," Priebus said. "I just don't know if it is true or not."
Chuck did not let him get away with it.
"Reince, that means you do not believe the assessments of the intelligence community," Chuck responded.
Priebus did not like that. He got defensive.
"Wait a second," Reince said. "Now you are so 'sequitous' here Chuck. ... You have no source, no conclusive source that you are using other than a false article in the New York Times somehow claiming that this is actually a fact."
Chuck got exactly what Priebus was doing by concentrating his fire on the New York Times.
"You keep jumping on the New York Times, ignoring the Washington report for obvious reasons." Chuck Todd replied. "For obvious reasons because you want to deny the RNC aspect of that."
"I am not ignoring the Washington Post report," Priebus lashed back.
"The Washington Post conclusion had to do with the CIA assessment," Chuck continued exasperatedly. "What I am saying is, do you believe, that the President-Elect believes that Russia was trying to muddy up and get involved in the election in 2016."
Priebus started to spin again.
"Number one, you don't know it," Priebus responded. "I don't know it. There has been no conclusive or specific report to say otherwise."
Todd continued hammering.
"Do you dispute seventeen different intelligence agencies that have assessed that Russian agents were behind this," Chuck continued. "Do you dispute this?"
"Chuck, this is insane," a flustered Priebus responded. "In the same article about the seventeen agencies, the report was inconclusive. You are forgetting the most important piece."
Chuck did not allow him to get away with the slight of hands.
"It was inconclusive about Vladimir Putin, Reince," Chuck responded. "It was not inconclusive that Russian agents were involved. There is a difference. And I understand why you are trying to parse this. There is a difference.
"I am not trying to parse this," Priebus responded. "I don't know who did the hacking, Chuck."
And that is how you conduct an interview. Good job on this one Chuck Todd.