While discussing allegations on NBC's Meet the Press that Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner may have established backchannel communications with Russian officials, MSNBC’s Joy Reid was surprised to find out that Barack Obama had indeed opened a backchannel with Iran back in 2008.
Schooling her on this forgotten fact was The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel who said recent discussions surrounding Kushner were “divorced from reality” and explained how Obama, the private citizen, had schemed to get a back line of communication with Iran which sowed the seeds of his future nuclear deal with the country, according to The Federalist.
“Let me set the scene for you: It’s 2008, we’re having an election and candidate Obama — he’s not even president-elect — sends William Miller over to Iran to establish a backchannel, and let the Iranians know that should he win the election, they will have friendlier terms. Okay? So this is a private citizen going to foreign soil, obviously in order to evade U.S. intelligence monitoring and establishing a backchannel with a sworn enemy of the United States who was actively disrupting our efforts in the military in the Middle East.”
“So, is that bad judgment?” Strassel asked rhetorically. “Backchannels are completely normal. They happen all the time.”
“I’m not quite sure why, supposedly, having at least a president that’s now elected, setting up a backchannel with the Russians is somehow out of bounds,” Strassel added.
Reid jumped in to opine why Trump’s alleged backchannel and Obama’s backchannel were totally different animals. For her defense, Reid said Iran wasn’t interfering in the 2008 election. So, there!
But later on her own show, AM Joy, Reid made it clear she wasn’t even aware of Obama’s private dealings with Iran by stating she could find only one source on Breitbart that even covered the story. Reid spent considerable time on her show trying to discredit Strassel, but as The Federalist points out, she simply revealed her cluelessness:
She described the longtime American Enterprise Institute scholar and [Breitbart] writer as an “extremist, to be sure, as a sort of anti-Islamic sort of figure on the far right,” and proceeded to attack the idea that Obama established contact with Iran before he was sworn into the Oval Office.
She then quoted an excerpt of New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler’s book “Alter Egos,” explaining what a back channel is. The book explains that Obama did indeed set up a “back channel” to negotiate with Tehran privately. As The Washington Post‘s David Ignatius points out in the very same article that flashed across the screen as Reid spoke, Obama’s back channel with Iran was shrouded in secrecy.
Reid insisted the Obama administration’s back channel with the Iranians is different than the form of communication Trump’s team reportedly established with Russian officials because the former president established this line of communication in league with the State Department, whereas Trump’s team reportedly did not.
Clearly, Reid is much more comfortable sitting amongst her own kind on MSNBC where her anti-Trump agenda isn’t countered by inconvenient facts.