Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy has been trying his level best to pretend at stupidity, of late, and like the glassy-eyed versions practiced by other defenders of Donald Trump's crimes it is less out of choice than necessity. If you're going to argue that Trump, caught red-handed using congressionally mandated military aid to Ukraine to extort personal favors from the Ukrainian government in a grotesque act of corruption that involved White House lawyers, multiple top administration officials, and the almost-complete ability of the William Barr Justice Department to quash what evidence and complaints did come to light, you can only do it by pretending to be unaware of ... everything. The evidence. The statements of top officials, like the White House chief of staff himself. The wider context. Your own surroundings.
Defending a crime considerably worse than Watergate with dismissals that there is nothing to see here requires you to ignore so much that there is no way you cannot come off as a gibbering idiot, a barely functional man-infant plucked from his cradle and thrust into our nation's legislative branch before object permanence even sets in. Sen. John Kennedy was a Rhodes Scholar, an achievement that forever flushes the public value of that particular title down the plumbing.
Kennedy got himself in considerable trouble by pretending last week that we "don't know" if it was really Russia that hacked Democratic National Committee servers during the 2016 elections, because it "could also be Ukraine." This was so stupid and counterfactual that he was forced to immediately backtrack, acknowledging it was indeed Russia. Now the dumbest man in the Senate (I said Senate, so again—sit down, Mr. Gohmert) is back to clean up his clean-up, attempting to resurrect enough of his false, stupid, deeply insane narrative to still function as a possible Trump defense.
Kennedy claimed to host Chuck Todd on Sunday's Meet the Press, that "President Poroshenko actively worked for Secretary Clinton." This is not true. Even Chuck Todd knows this is not true. Expressing absolute bewilderment at the claim, Todd eventually came back with "You realize the only other person selling this argument outside the United States is this man, Vladimir Putin?"
Kennedy's broader argument, attempted, was that well perhaps Russian intelligence agents went to great lengths to sabotage Donald Trump's election opponents and elevate a ridiculous, dysfunctional jackass to our presidency, but Ukraine also "interfered" so six of one, half dozen of the other, what'cha gonna do and so forth.
By this, Kennedy means that individual Ukrainians said bad things about Trump in their own nation's newspapers after Trump's campaign-trail statements appeared to question whether or not their nation should even exist.
That's all. Russia mounted two separate intelligence operations, one aimed at infiltrating Democratic communications to obtain strategy documents, internal polling, and whatever "dirt" could be dredged up or manufactured, and one a social media campaign in which Russian operatives pretended to be Americans to spread malice and political misinformation in key battleground states and demographics. Individual Ukrainians, however, wrote bad things about Candidate Trump.
That's what idiot-boy is going with here, and you can see why (1) that got a rise out of even Chuck Todd, a man who sits in his current chair due to a preternatural tolerance for absorbing other people's stupidity, (2) it makes Louisiana's Sen. John Kennedy look like a rube among rubes, if not worse, to even attempt to make that argument and (3) anyone listening is immediately drawn to wonder whether the sheer stupidity of Kennedy’s take, which coincides perfectly only with Russian propaganda claims intended to again roil the American political waters, is truly a “coincidence” or evidence of something darker.
Because Kennedy’s claim here does not make sense. There's no arrangement of words that would make Kennedy's claim make sense; he can try again on the Sunday shows each week for a decade and he won't get any closer to it. But the defense of Donald Trump brazenly, illegally extorting an allied power for personal election favors absolutely requires pretending at this level of abject stupidity, a stupidity that ignores every bit of evidence in favor of the theory that well, even if he did it, Donald Trump is allowed to commit crimes against nations and peoples who were rude to him.
Which is, admittedly, very Republican. But it doesn't make John Kennedy look any smarter: It just makes him look like a crook who doesn’t understand the difference between legal acts and illegal ones. Or, far more likely, just doesn’t care.