Conservative intellectual Pat Buchanan had to play the role of "fact checker" on MSNBC on Monday after "Hardball" host Chris Matthews claimed live on air that the United States intelligence community has said President Donald Trump "colluded" with Russia.
During the 10-minute interview, Matthews and Buchanan discussed the recent major developments in the Trump administration, specifically the Washington Post report that said Trump leaked highly military intelligence to top Russian officials last week as well as Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey last week.
Just three minutes into the discussion, the two were already discussing the merits of allegations that Trump's presidential campaign colluded with Russia during last year's presidential election to undermine American Democracy and Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Matthews claimed that Trump committed "obstruction" of justice by firing Comey, who was in the midst of a nearly year-long investigation into the allegations. Buchanan, on the other hand, claimed that Comey has "something to answer for" because after such a long investigation "they haven't got a single connection" between Trump and Russia.
"No collusion at all has been proven," Buchanan said.
Matthews fired back and claimed that "17 intelligence agencies say the Russians interfered" with the 2016 presidential election.
"How can you say there's nothing there, Pat?" he questioned Buchanan.
"Well, because they haven't produced it," Buchanan replied, referring to concrete evidence.
"Seventeen agencies said [Russia was] colluding to help get our election—" Matthews responded, again attempting to reiterate his belief that the liberal Trump-Russia narrative has been confirmed by U.S. intelligence officials.
"They didn’t say collusion at all. They said they were hacking. Did Trump hack?" Buchanan shot back. "No."
But instead of addressing the accusation he just made — that U.S. intelligence agencies have said Trump colluded with Russia — Matthews turned the conversation to put Buchanan in a corner, grilling him over whether or not he denies that "Russia was trying to turn the election away" from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Buchanan said he will agree that Russia attempted to "hack" last year's election, but doubled down on his belief that no one has a shred of evidence to prove a Trump-Russia connection.
Indeed, despite Comey confirming in March the FBI's active intelligence investigation into Trump's campaign, no evidence has surfaced that shows a definitive connection between Trump and Russia or that the two were trying to undermine Clinton's campaign.
That, however, hasn't stopped the relentless pursuit of Democrats, who continue to push the narrative of Trump-Russia collusion and continually call on the Trump administration to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate any ties Trump might have to Russia. Those claims have been bolstered by Trump's decision to fire Comey last week, as critics argue that Trump did so in order to suppress Comey's widening investigation of the Russia allegations.
Still, the FBI said just before last year's presidential election in November that despite a thorough investigation, they had discovered no ties between Trump, or any of his associates, and Russia.
On the other hand, the U.S. intelligence community has confirmed that Russia attempted to manipulate the election through cyber warfare by selectively leaking hundreds of thousands of documents, likely through WikiLeaks, that proved damaging to Clinton's campaign.
Watch the exchange below. The relevant portion begins around the 4-minute mark: