MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace asked Friday if Republican senator Ron Johnson (Wis.) was in "cahoots" with Russia because of his efforts to "actively denigrate" Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
"The intelligence community has reached an assessment, and it says this: Russia is actively working to, quote, denigrate Joe Biden. My question for you is Ron Johnson, senator from Wisconsin, is also actively working to denigrate Joe Biden. Are they in cahoots?" she asked MSNBC analyst Jeremy Bash.
"I don't know if they're in cahoots, but a senator, an American citizen has the right to participate in the political process," Bash said. "The former KGB operative Vladimir Putin does not have the right."
The discussion came as a top intelligence official said Russia is working to boost President Donald Trump over Biden, while China and Iran would prefer to see Trump defeated. Liberals have criticized Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, for his investigation of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma's hiring of Biden's son Hunter Biden. Trump's political interest in Biden's son and request that Ukraine look into the matter spurred his impeachment last year by House Democrats.
Wallace exhaustively covered Russia investigation developments during the two-year Robert Mueller probe and is one of the most vociferous critics of President Donald Trump on MSNBC. She and her "favorite reporters and friends" on Deadline: White House frequently discuss whether Trump is a witting or unwitting asset of the Kremlin.
Bash said the specter of foreign interference in the election and what he called Trump's "fascist rhetoric" about the election should "scare Americans." Biden has held consistent leads in national and battleground state polls over Trump.
"Unless this election is a landslide in favor of Joe Biden, almost any other scenario I think will result in chaos, and even scarier, potentially violence," he said.
MSNBC recently announced it would extend Wallace's show to two hours in the afternoon.