MSNBC Guest Praises Russian Dissident, Wishes Ben Sasse Had The Same Courage


Brandon Gillespie Media Reporter
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Editor’s Note: The article originally described Luce as an MSNBC contributor. Luce has been a guest on MSNBC multiple times, but is not a contributor. He is the national U.S. editor for the Financial Times.

MSNBC guest Ed Luce said in a Monday appearance on “Morning Joe” that Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse should show the same courage “all the time” that has been displayed by Russian dissident Alexei Navalny in his return to Russia after nearly being assassinated.

Luce was discussing the stances that senators have been taking in response to President Donald Trump’s second impeachment and the potential impeachment trial when he brought up Navalny and made the comparison to Sasse.

“Ben Sasse is now saying the right thing. He wasn’t before his re-election last year,” Luce said. “Lindsey Graham, as you quoted at the beginning of the program, said the right thing in 2016. He isn’t now. I would be interested on this MLK day, and on this day when Alexei Navalny, the Russian dissident who the KGB tried to kill, goes back to Russia, knowing full well what he is going back to, showing the kind of courage that I would like to see Ben Sasse show all the time. It’s always the right time to do the right thing.”

Alexei Navalny is the leader of one of Russia’s major opposition parties and survived being poisoned while traveling within Russia in August 2020. After recovering in Germany, he returned to Russia on Jan. 17. The identity of who carried out the assassination attempt, or their association, has not been confirmed.

Trump was impeached for the second time on Jan. 13 after allegedly inciting the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Republican senators have taken various stances, including Sasse who has said he is going to consider the impeachment articles, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who Luce also mentioned, who said he does not think that impeachment would be a good idea. (RELATED: Here Are The GOP Senators Who Could Vote To Convict Trump In Impeachment Trial)

“I think there is going to be a huge test of character and of courage of Republicans who’ve always known who Trump is,” Luce continued. “They cannot pretend that oh it was fine until this happened, as some have been saying. They have always known who Trump is. And I think this will be a fascinating test, including of McConnell of whether they have character.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office has said he will not reconvene the Senate before Jan. 19, meaning that any trial would have to take place after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“Ben Sasse can also start by showing courage by actually calling for the expulsion of Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz,” host Joe Scarborough added. “Six years until he has to run for re-election. And so, yeah, nothing like Navalny going back to Russia where he knows his life is on the line. He can start by actually criticizing his own Senate colleagues by name and calling for their expulsion.”