Perhaps following a recommendation from a certain media watcher, MSNBC’s Craig Melvin on Tuesday afternoon invited Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), the tea party upstart who in 2014 ousted former majority leader Eric Cantor from Congress, to talk about big-time issues along Pennsylvania Avenue. On the agenda was a vote by the House Intelligence Committee to release a controversial memo that, according to Republicans, shows bias in the way law enforcement has handled the investigation into possible collusion by the Trump campaign with Russians. Also in the news: the decision of Andrew McCabe to resign from his post as deputy director of the FBI.

Venturing into the weeds, Melvin asked Brat whether the memo exposes “an elaborate conspiracy” by the FBI and the courts in approving surveillance of Team Trump. Brat responded:

Yeah, Craig, I think the best way to view it is just, “What’s the magnitude of an FBI director stepping down and a deputy FBI director stepping down and text messages floating between FBI high-level folks?” And if the American people think that’s serious, then the memo probably rises to that severity as well, as it is related to those issues, so you’ve got major-league actions taking place within the highest level of intelligence, and so is that a big deal? I think so. And then you have the press whooping it up, “You know, would you score this, you know, like a ‘Ten Volcano’ or whatever?” The drama doesn’t help; just look at the facts: And when you got major-league people stepping down in major-league positions, that — there’s something going on, and we need to get to the bottom of it.

Bolding added to highlight the point at which Melvin cocks his head, furrows his brow and appears to wonder what this fellow is saying. After Brat concluded his response, Melvin politely owned him: “We should note, congressman, Jim Comey didn’t step down. Technically, he was fired.” The distinction is more than a trifle: Pressure to appoint special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, after all, intensified after Trump dismissed Comey in a genuine Washington shocker.

As Melvin corrected him, Brat nodded with a slight smile, awaiting his turn to speak again.