Speed Reads

Hypotheticals

On Maddow, Hillary Clinton playacts a 2020 Democrat asking China to hack Trump's tax returns, to illustrate our 'absurd' political moment

There are a lot of good ideas for protecting America's elections from foreign meddling included in bipartisan legislation, but Senate Republicans, "under orders from the White House," won't consider them, Hillary Clinton said on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show Wednesday night. Clinton suggested that the Trump White House believes Russian interference helped them and doesn't want to ruin a good thing for 2020 — and she tried to gin up a little empathy.

"Imagine, Rachel, that you had one of the Democratic nominees for 2020 on your show," Clinton said, "and that person said: 'You know, the only other adversary of ours who's anywhere near as good as the Russians is China. So why should Russia have all the fun? And since Russia is clearly backing Republicans, why don't we ask China to back us?'" Maddow joined in: "I hereby tonight ask China...." "That's right," Clinton said. "'China, if you're listening, why don't you get Trump's tax returns? I'm sure our media would richly reward you.' Now, according to the Mueller report, that is not conspiracy because it's done right out in the open."

"So, if after this hypothetical Democratic candidate says this on your show, within hours, all of a sudden the IRS offices are bombarded with incredibly sophisticated cybertools looking for Trump's tax returns," Clinton continued, "and then extracts them and then passes them to whatever the new WikiLeaks happens to be, and they start being unraveled and disclosed, nothing wrong with that! I mean, if you're going to let Russia get away with what they did, and are still doing ... hey, let's have a great-power contest and let's get the Chinese in on the side of somebody else. Just saying that shows how absurd the situation we find ourselves in."

Two wrongs don't make a right, of course, but it's food for thought.