Sen. Martha McSally, Arizona Republican, called CNN reporter Manu Raju a “liberal hack” upon being confronted with a question Thursday involving President Trump’s impeachment.
The exchange occurred in a Capitol Hill hallway as Mr. Raju, CNN’s senior congressional correspondent, asked the senator about newly released material provided by Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani.
“Senator McSally, should the Senate consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial?” asked Mr. Raju.
“Manu, you’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you,” Ms. McSally responded.
Asked a second time to comment about the material, Ms. McSally again called Mr. Raju a “liberal hack” before walking away from the CNN reporter and into a Senate room.
Mr. Raju and Ms. McSally each shared video footage of the interaction afterward from their respective Twitter accounts.
Footage of the exchange has since been shared by a Twitter account operated by Mr. Trump’s re-election team along with a message commending the senator’s response.
“THREE CHEERS for Senator @MarthaMcSally!!!” the Trump War Room tweeted. “THIS is how you handle FAKE NEWS @CNN”
CNN did not immediately return a request for comment.
Several other cable news personalities have since offered their support on social media for Mr. Raju.
“The question was perfectly reasonable and topical, politely asked, and Manu is respected on the Hill by Democrats and Republicans,” tweeted fellow CNN anchor Jake Tapper.
“I’ve never see [sic] a senator treat a reporter like this,” reacted MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, a former Senate aide. “Manu Raju is one of the best Congressional reporters I’ve ever seen, including my years working in the Senate.”
Ms. McSally has subsequently begun fundraising off of the exchange, meanwhile. Her re-election team sent an email Thursday afternoon that linked to video of the senator’s interaction with Mr. Raju as well a website accepting donations for her campaign.
“I’m not in the Senate to play politics, especially not with liberal hacks who profit off of spin,” Ms. McSally said in the fundraising pitch.
The House of Representatives had earlier in the week released material provided to Congress by Mr. Parnas, including text messages relevant to the administration’s interactions with Ukraine at the heart of ongoing impeachment proceedings threatening Mr. Trump’s presidency.
The Senate officially took over impeachment proceedings from the House later Thursday.