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barr testimony

MSNBC cut into Lindsey Graham's opening statement to fact check his 'no collusion' claim

William Barr MSNBC.

Live fact checks don't necessarily make for thrilling television. But sometimes they're important.

MSNBC cut it into the opening statement delivered by Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) at the hearing where Attorney General William Barr provided testimony about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into 2016 Russian election interference if and the Trump campaign's conduct surrounding the meddling. If that description of the investigation sounds like a mouthful, that's because it has to be — and it's precisely why MSNBC stopped their intended "gavel to gavel" coverage of the hearing.

Graham said during his statement that Mueller found that there was "no collusion" between the Trump campaign and Moscow, but as MSNBC's Brian Williams pointed out, Mueller was not actually investigating collusion. It doesn't actually exist in federal code. Mueller examined existing evidence and determined that it did not conclusively amount to criminal conspiracy with Russia.

MSNBC reporter Nicolle Wallace confirmed this, adding that Graham was offering answers to questions that were not actually "on the table" for Wednesday's hearing, suggesting Graham views his role not as the chair of the judiciary committee, but a "shield" for Barr and for President Trump.