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MSNBC Host Calls Out Waters for Speculating About Chaffetz Connection to Russia Without Evidence

• April 25, 2017 10:12 pm

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MSNBC host Chris Hayes called out Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) on Tuesday for speculating, without providing any evidence, that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) is not seeking reelection because of illicit connections to Russia.

Hayes asked Waters to comment on what she thought the House Oversight Committee chairman was doing since he had declared last week that he was not running for re-election in 2018. Chaffetz also made news Tuesday when he and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) addressed the press about former Trump White House national security adviser Michael Flynn's dealings with Russia, calling them "extremely troubling."

Waters said she didn't know what Chaffetz was up to, but added "there is a lot of speculation" about what he's doing.

"There are those who are told that he's trying to position himself to run for higher office, and I think it's for governor," Waters said.

Waters then tried to push the baseless theory that Chaffetz is somehow connected to Ukraine and Russian officials and that he may not be seeking re-election to conceal this.

"There are those who think that he in some ways has some connections to what is going on in the Ukraine and perhaps in Russia itself and knows something about all of this," Waters said. "I don't really know. I can't say, but he's strange in the way that's he's conducting himself."

Hayes tried to interject several times as Waters pivoted to another theory that Chaffetz might try to throw Flynn under the bus to distract away from his own connections with the Kremlin.

"I don't know, but we need to keep an eye on him," Waters said, after presenting her theories.

" I should say, Congresswoman, I have not seen any evidence produced of that," Hayes said. "I've heard that speculation also, but we'll look for the evidence."

He then ended the interview.

This is not the first time that the Democrats have speculated about Chaffetz's decision not to seek re-election by pushing conspiracy theories. Last week, a Democratic National Committee spokesperson pushed the conspiracy theory that Chaffetz was being blackmailed by Russia, the Washington Free Beacon reported:

Adrienne Watson is the acting deputy communications director at the DNC, and a former spokesperson for David Brock's Correct the Record super PAC and Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign.

After Chaffetz announced he would not seek reelection in 2018, Watson directed her Twitter followers to a tweet from Louise Mensch that said her "sources" told her there was compromising material, or "kompromat," on the Utah congressman.