In odd defense of Trump, GOP senator says there's 'new evidence' daily

Barrasso's line seems like the sort of thing we might expect to hear from one of Trump's progressive detractors, not one of his far-right supporters.
Image: John Barrasso
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) talks to reporters following the Republican Senate policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol August 1, 2017 in Washington.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file
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By Steve Benen

New reporting from ABC News jolted the political world this afternoon, with news of a purported recording in which Donald Trump told associates, in reference to then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, "Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it."

Among other things, if the reporting is accurate, it shows Trump targeting an anti-corruption crusader, barking orders to a controversial Rudy Giuliani associate he claims not to know.

A reporter asked Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) about today's revelations and whether it might affect the Senate's willingness to consider new information that's relevant to the president's impeachment trial. The Wyoming Republican, who serves as chair of the Senate Republican Conference, replied:

"There will be new evidence every day. There will be something new that comes out every day."

Barrasso's point seemed to be that the House impeachment managers have said they already have a mountain of evidence pointing to the president's guilt, so there's no need for senators to consider the latest revelations, no matter their relevance, and no matter the degree to which they may shed light on Trump's culpability.

There are, however, two rather important flaws in Barrasso's argument. First, when a member of the Senate Republican leadership concedes that there's "new evidence" related to Trump's controversy "every day," it doesn't exactly reinforce the GOP's posture that the president is innocent; the Senate should quickly exonerate him; and there's no need for senators to take the scandal seriously.

On the contrary, if there's "new evidence" that comes out daily, that should give the president's Republican allies -- who seem a little too eager to help cover up the scandal -- a fair amount of pause. Barrasso effectively seemed to argue, "We're constantly confronted with potentially incriminating evidence against the White House, so there's really no point in stopping to consider it, since there's likely to be more of it tomorrow."

Indeed, Barrasso's line seems like the sort of thing we might expect to hear from one of Trump's progressive detractors, not one of his far-right supporters.

Complicating matters, as Vox's Aaron Rupar noted, the Senate GOP leader who complained this afternoon about being confronted with "new evidence" on a daily basis is the same Senate GOP leader who complained this morning and yesterday about not receiving enough new evidence.

In fact, just hours earlier on Friday morning, Barrasso was on both CNN and Fox Business pushing that talking point. "So I think today in the Senate is going to be Groundhog Day again -- the same thing we heard yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that," Barrasso said on Fox Business, adding on CNN: "In some ways it's like Groundhog Day -- about every hour and a half, they start over again."

Those comments echo how Barrasso downplayed the trial on Wednesday, when he told reporters, "Six hours of testimony so far today since I didn't hear anything new, at all."

So, after complaining about the lack of new evidence, Barrasso is suddenly indifferent to the steady flow of new evidence?

MORE: Today's Maddowblog