TODD: Let me start with something you told the Wall Street Journal late last week. You had said when Mr. Sondland — Gordon Sondland seemed to imply that — the frozen military aid was connected to a promise by Zelensky for investigations, you said, “At that suggestion, I winced. My reaction was, ‘Oh God. I don’t want to see those two things combined.’” Why did you wince and what did you mean by “those two things combined?”JOHNSON: Well, first of all, your setup piece was — you know, typically, very unbiased. But, you know, let me first, before I started answering all the detailed questions, let me just talk about why I’m pretty sympathetic with what President Trump has gone through. You know, I’m 64 years old. I have never in my lifetime seen a president, after being elected, not having some measure of well-wishes from his opponents. I’ve never seen a president’s administration be sabotaged from the day after election. I’ve never seen — no measure of honeymoon whatsoever. And so what President Trump’s had to endure, a false accusation — by the way, you’ve got John Brennan on — you ought to ask Director Brennan what did Peter Strzok mean when he texted Lisa Page on December 15th, 2016?
2. TODD: Senator—JOHNSON: —Special counsel appointed that has hampered his entire investigation—TODD: Senator?JOHNSON: —his entire— his entire— his entire administration. And now, once he’s been— that was proven false, he would like to know and I would like to know and I know his supporters would like to know, where did this all come from? Who planted that false story?TODD: Senator—JOHNSON: Who leaked? You know, I— I have— I have my third letter into the Inspector General of the Intelligence—TODD: All right, Senator—JOHNSON: —Committee, asking to just confirm— just confirm, are you investigating those leaks that Peter Strzok talked about in that—TODD: All right, Senator—JOHNSON: —text to Lisa Page—TODD: —I have no idea why—JOHNSON: We’re gettin’— no, that’s— that’s—TODD: —why—JOHNSON: —a setup. It is entirely—TODD: —why a Fox—JOHNSON: —relevant to this point.TODD: —why a Fox News conspiracy, propaganda stuff is popping up on here.
WATCH: @SenRonJohnson is asked why he winced.@chucktodd: "I have no idea why we're going here. ... Can we please answer the question I asked you instead of trying to make Donald Trump feel better here that you're not criticizing him?" #MTP pic.twitter.com/52ZbGaybhI— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 6, 2019
3. TODD: ... Why did you wince?JOHNSON: ... Because I didn’t want those connected. And I wanted — I was supporting the aid, as is Senator Murphy, as is everybody that went to that initial inauguration. But here’s the salient point of why I came forward. When I asked the president about that, he completely denied it. He adamantly denied it. He vehemently, angrily denied it. He said, “I’d never do that.” So that is the piece of the puzzle I’m here to report today that, unlike the narrative of the press that President Trump wants to dig up dirt on his 2020 opponent, what he wants is he wants is an accounting of what happened in 2016. Who set him up? Did things spring from Ukraine? ...