GOP senator lashes out at reporter for asking about new impeachment evidence

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"You're a liberal hack," Arizona Sen. Martha McSally told CNN reporter Manu Raju in response to questions about the upcoming Senate trial.

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally on Thursday lashed out at a CNN reporter after being asked if she would consider new evidence in Donald Trump's upcoming impeachment trial.

"You're a liberal hack," McSally said to reporter Manu Raju, before hurrying away into a Senate hearing room.

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During an interview on MSNBC Wednesday night, Lev Parnas, a close associate of Rudy Giuliani who was indicted last year for his part in an illegal campaign finance scheme, accused Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Bill Barr, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), and several other people close to Trump of being involved in a pressure campaign to push Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

Prior to his interview, Parnas handed over troves of new evidence to the House Intelligence Committee, including a handwritten note mentioning the need to ask Ukraine's president to investigate "the Biden case."

In December, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. A Senate trial is set to begin next week, but senators, who will act as jurors, are still debating whether or not to hear from witnesses or look at evidence that has emerged in the weeks since the impeachment vote.

McSally's outburst on Thursday was met with criticism, with the organization VoteVets tweeting that the Raju's question was "completely reasonable."

McSally later defended her comments by reiterating her previous claims. "A) you are," she tweeted, referring to her earlier comment calling the reporter a "liberal hack" and posting a video of the interaction. "B) here’s the video."

A spokesperson for CNN issued a statement about the interaction Thursday afternoon, saying it was "extremely unbecoming for a U.S. Senator to sink to this level and treat a member of the press this way for simply doing his job."

"It's clear that Martha McSally has no interest in hearing the facts, uncovering the truth, and being an independent representative for Arizonans," Brad Bainum, spokesperson for the Arizona Democratic Party, said in an email the same day. "It's unfortunate that [her] only goal is to protect her party leaders and her personal political future."

McSally is in a precarious situation, having already been rejected by Arizona voters in 2018. She is running again in 2020 after being appointed to the position by the state's Republican governor to finish out the term of the late Sen. John McCain.

McSally's likely Democratic opponent, former astronaut Mark Kelly, has raised significantly more campaign cash than McSally, and has led in every statewide poll since late October 2019.

McSally was recently caught on tape asking dark money groups to air television ads in Arizona to help her struggling campaign, complaining that she did not have the campaign funds to do it herself.

In the past, McSally refused to rule out accepting foreign assistance to help her campaign.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.