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We begin with Treasury Secretary and actor/producer of the hit film Rules Don't Apply, Steven Mnuchin, who appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and NBC's "Meet the Press" to talk about the additional sanctions the Trump administration has put on Iran. But to Mnuchin's dismay, the main story was Trump seeking help from a foreign government (again) to get dirt against a political opponent (again) to win an election (again).

Focusing on "State of the Union," which spares us from Chuck Todd, Mnuchin tried the bold tactic of "I know nothing":

TAPPER: And just, as a general premise, is it OK with you for a president, any president, to pressure a foreign leader, a foreign leader that wants hundreds of millions of dollars from the United States in aid, to investigate a political rival? Is that acceptable?

MNUCHIN: Well, you're -- you're speculating that the president pressured. I don't have any reason to believe that the president pressured...

TAPPER
: He brought it up eight times.

MNUCHIN
: ... in any way. Again, you're speculating. Just...

TAPPER
: That is not speculating. That is in "The Washington Post" and "The Wall Street Journal" that he...

MNUCHIN: So -- so, everything in "The Washington Post" and "The Wall Street Journal," we should assume, is always factual?

TAPPER
: OK. So how many times did he bring it up, then?

MNUCHIN
: I'm not aware.

Mnuchin flopped about when Jake Tapper asked my favorite rhetorical question:

TAPPER: But let me just close by asking, if, for instance, President Obama had pressured a foreign leader, Putin or the president of Ukraine, anyone, and said, I want you to look into Donald Trump Jr. or I want you to look into Eric Trump, international businessmen, both of them, would you not find that inappropriate?

MNUCHIN: Again, I'm not going to speculate on that...

For a second, Mnuchin almost sidestepped that question successfully ... but then he tried to help Trump's little Biden/Ukraine conspiracy and inadvertently hoisted himself by his own petard:

MNUCHIN: What I do find inappropriate is the fact that Vice President Biden at the time's son did very significant business dealings in Ukraine. I, for one, find that to be concerning. And, to me, that is the issue perhaps that should be further investigated.

TAPPER: I don't understand. So it is OK for Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump Jr. to do business all over the world, it's OK for Ivanka Trump to have copyrights approved all over the world while President Trump is president, but while Vice President Joe Biden was vice president, his son shouldn't have been able to do business dealings?

MNUCHIN: Again, I don't -- I don't really want to go into more of these details, other than to say...

TAPPER
: Well, you're just setting a precedent that the president is violating.

MNUCHIN: Again, I think there is a significant difference in what you're saying, OK, or what I was saying between Biden and his son's relationship with the Ukraine oligarch and potential business dealings that the Trump Organization has had which predated his presidency.

Seems the only significant difference is that it's ok for Trump but not others. And like that, Tapper points out both the hypocrisy and projectionism of the Trump administration. For this and Mnuchin swearing more Iran sanctions work, here's the video:

We move on to former CIA Director and current Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Appearing on both ABC's "This Week" and CBS's "Face the Nation," he was asked a very simple question: If the Iran sanctions are working, then why is the situation worsening instead of improving? Pompeo gave the same condescending answer in both, partially because both were asked by women (Martha Raddatz on ABC and Margaret Brennan on CBS, respectively), but it was his answer on CBS that had an interesting caveat:

BRENNAN: This attack on Iran. It seems Iran's behavior is getting worse, not better, based on the Trump administration's campaign. You've been very aggressive with these sanctions. Why do you think sanctioning them leads to better behavior?

POMPEO: Margaret, you-- you start the clock at the wrong point. Nineteen-seven--

BRENNAN
: I'm talking about what happened this summer.

POMPEO
: Nineteen seventy-nine is the trajectory of the Iranian Revolution. Forty years of terror. Forty years of terror.

That's not how it works! You don't get to conveniently choose the point in which the clock starts on history. But since Pompeo decided the "clock" starts on 1979, here's an interesting historical overview of why THAT particular year is interesting:

So Pompeo wants to start at the point where the CIA-installed Shah of Iran was deposed -- or when the consequences of our intervention in another country's government leadership destabilized the region began. Of course, that's a very convenient time to "start the clock" for the former CIA director. But if Pompeo has a problem with 1979, has no one told him about 1986 or Oliver North? Maybe this will help:

Seems rather convenient to leave out the part where we sold weapons TO Iran to fund an illegal war in Central America, which destabilized THAT region and created the migrant refugee crisis Trump ignores or cages in detention camps. Pompeo condescension, here is the video:

We end with former Secretary of Defense and retired Marine General James Mattis. While appearing on ABC's "This Week" to promote his book on leadership, he was asked by Martha Raddatz what makes a good leader.

MATTIS: Well, I think the most important thing that you have to have to be a good leader, is you have to have the ability to build trust, and that starts with listening. I'll put it in George Washington's words: listening, learning, helping and then leading.

But right before this answer, Mattis was asked a very straightforward question that he decided to sidestep:

RADDATZ: Secretary Mattis, I just want to turn to something else that's in the news, and that's the whistleblower investigation. President Trump just said "I hope they can put out that conversation." Should a president be asking foreign leaders to investigate political opponents?

MATTIS: Yeah, Martha, this is not something I have background on. I don't know anything more than what I read in the news. And apparently no one has seen the complaint, so I really prefer to talk about things I know more about.

Leadership, or whatever.

Have a week!

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Michael Mora

Pop Culture observer & Comics fan. Amateur Movie Reviewer. Political Freelance Writer @wonkette. Marine, Husband & Dad. Opinions are mine only.

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