Normally, you don’t get much fire from veteran CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. Much of the time during interviews, he almost seems to be just going through the motions while not seeming all that emotionally invested in the current news cycle or story of the day.
That changed on Monday.
Speaking with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who recently brushed off the issue of Russian election meddling by saying “we all do it” while blaming former President Barack Obama for not doing more to stop Russia, Blitzer continued to press the libertarian lawmaker on whether he believed America’s intelligence community and its assessment that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Early on in the interview, Paul tried to pivot away from President Donald Trump siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin over America’s intelligence community, stating that Russia has helped America in the past to stop terror attacks while whining about liberals hating Trump. This led Blitzer to confront Paul as forcefully as you’ll ever see him.
“It’s not a matter of hating President Trump,” Blitzer declared. “It’s a matter of what he did today, what he said today. He met with President Putin as you know more than two hours. Unlike other presidents, especially on foreign soil, he blamed the United States for the bad relationship with Russia.”
He continued, “He declined to back his own intelligence community for its assessment. He declined to support the U.S. He continues — senator, he continues to call the — hold on a second. He continues to call the news media a free press in the United States, the enemy of the American people.”
Blitzer then pointed out that DNI Dan Coats pushed back against the president throwing the intelligence community under the bus, attempting to get Paul to address this rather than the senator’s preferred target of former IC officials. This caused the two to tangle for a short bit with Paul eventually complaining that Blitzer was usually not like this and he needs to allow him to speak.
Later on in the tense interview, Blitzer was determined to get a direct answer from Paul on one question — whether he believed Putin or America’s law enforcement and intelligence communities.
“What I would say is that all power needs to have checks and balances and I think our intelligence community way too much power,” Paul replied. “The fact that Peter Strzok was able to bring incredible bias towards the president –”
Blitzer kept at him, though, leading Paul to eventually just respond to silence after it was clear that the CNN anchor wasn’t going to stop pressing him on the issue.
At the end of the interview, after Paul once again whined about how Democrats were criticizing Trump and that it was going to lead to war with Russia, Blitzer noted that a number of Republicans have gone after Trump as well and all admitted the summit was a “huge blunder.” And with that, Paul decided he was done responding, giving Blitzer the opportunity for one final shot.
“Senator Rand Paul, remaining silent in the aftermath of that,” the CNN host said. “Appreciate it very much.”
Watch the clip above, via CNN.