Politics

MSNBC Host on Venezuela: Because of Russia, It’s ‘Not Clear Which Side We’re On’ (It Is Clear)

As she speaks, graphic appears showing Pence telling opposition 'we are with you'

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace said Wednesday that because of Russia it is "not clear which side we're on" in Venezuela, as a news graphic flashed showing the Trump administration is firmly supporting the government's opposition.

MSNBC briefly halted coverage of Attorney General William Barr's testimony for Andrea Mitchell to interview White House National Security Adviser John Bolton about the latest in Venezuela, which has been beset this week by violent clashes between Nicolas Maduro's authoritarian regime and opposition protesters. MSNBC anchor Brian Williams echoed Wallace, saying Venezuela was "tied in" with the Barr hearing, which was in part about his handling of Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

"I think one of the conundrums of the Trump presidency is because there's been such a lack of clarity around foreign policy, around some key American adversaries like Russia, when these crisis come to pass, people are disoriented," Wallace said. "It's not clear which side we're on, not that the side we're on is everything. There are civilians on both sides. These stories are very disorienting for people."

"I think these stories land in a very disorienting way to a country that's been sort of pulled into politics on just about everything," she added. "I think if you look at cause and effect, one of the effects of all the fog on the Russia question and the Russia attack on our democracy, if that's the cause, the effect is a lot of confusion around American and Trump-led foreign policy."

Wallace's commentary was strange, given the U.S. has clearly backed opposition leader Juan Guaido and recognized him as Venezuela's legitimate president as he calls for Maduro to step down. Russia has stood by Maduro, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week Russia convinced Maduro not to leave the country for Cuba.

Venezuela has descended into chaos under Maduro's socialist regime, following the collapse of its economy and accompanying food and medical shortages. Maduro began a second term in January, but his "re-election" was widely regarded as a sham. The Trump administration has slapped numerous sanctions on Venezuelan officials and revoked visas of dozens of associates and families tied to Maduro as well.

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, "We are with you" to Guaido on Tuesday and expressed support for the "freedom-loving people of Venezuela" taking to the streets to protest against Maduro.

As Wallace expressed doubt about where the U.S. was sided, a chyron appeared on MSNBC about Pence's expression of support for the opposition.