MSNBC's "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough blasted Sen. Angus King (I., Maine) on Thursday for the way Democrats asked President Donald Trump's CIA director nominee Gina Haspel questions during her Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing.
Haspel was grilled by Senate Democrats on Wednesday for her involvement in the CIA's post-9/11 torture program during the early 2000's, which prompted Scarborough to ask King, who caucuses with the Senate Democrats, whether the grandstanding was "just a sideshow" for his political base.
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King said he did not believe Haspel was forthcoming in her explanation behind her role in the 2005 decision to destroy CIA interrogation tapes, which reportedly showed the interrogations of two men.
"But senator, Joe Scarborough here, when you were asking her that question, you knew the answer to that question, right?" Scarborough asked.
King said he thought he knew what her answer would be but he wanted to give her the opportunity to be forward with a response, noting he asked the question three times.
Scarborough continued to push back, questioning why Democrats asked the questions the did when they often knew they wouldn't receive a response during an open hearing because of the classified nature of the information.
"There is also a lot of information that you could have gotten if the cameras were turned off and people were taken out of the room," Scarborough said. "Dianne Feinstein asked a question that she knew she could not answer in a public committee hearing and also knew that if the room were cleared and the cameras were turned off, you all could get the information."
"Was this just a sideshow for your base?" Scarborough asked.
King pushed back against this characterization, saying Haspel wasn't any more forthcoming during a closed session after the confirmation hearing.
He released a statement on Wednesday voicing his opposition to Haspel's nomination.
"The difficulty of these decisions is that I cannot vote for half a nominee. I cannot support Acting Director Haspel’s decorated career with CIA without also condoning her involvement in the destruction of videotapes showing detainee interrogations," King said