CNN Expert Comes Unglued When Guest Defends Trump’s Brennan Decision
CNN counterterrorism expert Phillip Mudd must have missed a dose of his medication on Friday evening; either that, or Trump-defending guest Paris Dennard really struck a nerve when he suggested that former government employees were making a lot of money off their security clearances. Perhaps it was both, but there’s no question that Mudd lost his cool on Anderson Cooper 360.
In a segment that will undoubtedly find a place in any good montage of the most embarrassing CNN moments of 2018, Mudd went berserk when Dennard defended President Trump’s decision to strip former CIA chief John Brennan of his security clearance.
“A lot of these people that have these security clearances – and this is the secret in the swampy Washington, D.C. – they have them and they keep them because it’s profitable for them after they leave government,” Dennard said. “Because if you a security clearance, especially high level security clearance, your contracts and consulting gigs pay you a lot more money because of the access that you have. I hope the president continues to do this, and I hope he adds Omarosa to the list, because if she has a clearance, she too because of her actions should have it revoked.”
What Dennard said about security clearances and their post-government profitability is not news and it is not a secret. Several high-profile defenders of John Brennan have been critical of the president using this very logic as the basis of their anger. They have accused Trump of taking food off Brennan’s table because he didn’t like what the former CIA director was saying about him on Twitter and TV. It is the profitability of a post-service security clearance that makes this a big deal. Because if it isn’t profitable and it doesn’t really matter to Brennan’s financial future that he retain his clearances, then why are we even talking about this? Do you think anyone in the White House was interested in bringing Brennan back as a consultant? Not hardly.
Still, Mudd acted as though this was the first he’d heard of a security clearance being used to further someone’s career.
“Profitable, Paris?” he asked. “When I am required to sit on an advisory board, let me ask you one question, how much do you think I’m paid to do that at the request of the U.S. government? Give me one answer, and you’ve got 10 seconds? How much?”
“How much are you paid for your contracting gig?” replied Dennard.
“ANSWER THE QUESTION,” yelled an unhinged Mudd. “I have no contracts with the U.S. government that pay money. Zero.”
“I’m not talking about your role with the federal government,” Dennard explained patiently. “I’m talking about…the consulting firms that they form, because you get more money when having a consultant — for having the security clearance. Stop acting like that doesn’t happen.”
“That is incorrect,” said Mudd. “I have zero consulting relationships with the U.S. government. Zero.”
You can see what’s happening here, of course. Mudd is specifically and intentionally muddying the waters by pretending not to understand the point that Dennard is making. No fool of any stupidity could possibly miss the point this badly. He’s doing it on purpose to be “right” in an argument where he is very clearly wrong. A technique, by the way, that liberals who hate Trump love to use.
After Dennard made it explicit yet again that he wasn’t talking about contracting gigs with the U.S. government, Mudd resorted to outright lying: “I have zero relationships with the private sector that involve my security clearance. Zero. Zero. I get zero dollars from consulting companies that deal with the U.S. government. Are we clear?”
Uh, and CNN wasn’t the least bit interested in your security clearance when they hired you as an analyst? Ooookay.
But at this point, Mudd, probably realizing how much he’d already humiliated himself, lost his mind completely.
“We’re done. We’re done. GET OUT!!!” he screamed.
Dennard pointed out, reasonably, that it was not Mudd’s place to kick guests off the show.
“It’s not your show,” he said. “I’m staying right here. Don’t be so defensive about this.”
“GET OUT!” he yelled again.
Dennard did not take the invitation and Mudd grew even more red in the face before the host finally had the wherewithal to end the segment and go to commercial.
We’re not sure any larger lessons can be derived from this segment as it pertains to the political situation in America, but it’s always worth highlighting when a CNN regular loses their everloving minds when faced with the facts.