During an interview Tuesday on MSNBC, host Katy Tur asked Republican Rep. Chris Stewart whether President Donald Trump could be trying to purge FBI and Justice Department officials while his campaign is under investigation.
The Utah congressman quickly dismissed her questions, suggesting that the two just “see the world differently.”
“And this is one of those cases,” he went on, “where it’s just men are from Mars and women are from Venus.”
Tur, cutting him off, appeared stunned. “I’m sorry. Hold on,” she said. “You think we see the world differently? I just laid out a number of facts.”
“Well, let me respond to them,” Stewart countered. “People can say or look at things and claim facts or claim their interpretations of facts, but clearly they have different views on that.”
The congressman, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, took heat for the reply on social media. “So her point was irrelevant bc she doesn’t understand your point bc she’s a woman?” asked one man. Someone else called him “another sexist politician.” A third individual said he was “disappointed by the way [Stewart] spoke to Katy Tur.”
Stewart’s office did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
The nine-minute interview focused on a secret memo Republicans on his committee voted to release Monday — despite warnings from the Justice Department that it would be “extraordinarily reckless” — which includes claims based on classified information from the Russia investigation.
“There are meaningful facts laid out in this memo,” Stewart said on MSNBC.
Tur pressed him on whether that “version of events” could help Trump put Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in “a bad light.” Her questions come less than a week after The New York Times reported the president tried last year to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who oversees the investigation into his campaign, before backing off. He also reportedly considered dismissing Rosenstein at that time.
Trump has already fired FBI Director James Comey. And Deputy Director Andrew McCabe stepped down Monday after months of Trump mocking him on Twitter.
“How do you not see this as a deliberate purge of everybody who the president doesn’t like or who could potentially threaten the president in a Russian investigation?” Tur asked Stewart.
After dancing around how he view things “differently,” the congressman responded: “Are you proposing that Mr. McCabe resigned because of Donald Trump? Because I think that would be silly. For heaven’s sake. The FBI is independent. Mr. Trump can’t fire him or hasn’t threatened to fire him.”
McCabe possibly stepped down, Stewart suggested, because of what’s in the memo (which Trump will have the final say on whether to release).
The congressman also tweeted after his interview that MSNBC’s John Heilemann entered “crazy territory” by “suggesting [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] @DevinNunes is a secret agent for #Russia. Tin foil hats for all my friends!”