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Charlie Rangel, Luke Russert Spar Over 'Dumb Question' in Ethics Interview

4 years ago
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New York Rep. Charlie Rangel is 80 years old and facing ethics charges that could derail his career of nearly four decades in Congress, but he's still in fighting trim. Just ask NBC correspondent Luke Russert, who got an apology from the gravelly-voiced lawmaker Friday after a brisk exchange the day before between the two men.

They got into the dust-up Thursday in the Capitol after Russert asked Rangel whether he was afraid of losing his job. "What are you talking about?" Rangel snapped back as other reporters looked on. "You just trying to make copy? How do you think I got my job? I was elected. How do you think I lose it?"

Russert, son of the late NBC political journalist Tim Russert, pressed on, saying Rangel could be defeated at the ballot or removed by his colleagues over charges that he failed to report financial holdings on his public disclosure form and that he used congressional letterhead to raise money for a private center named for him.

New York Rep. Charlie Rangel"What station are you from?" Rangel demanded. When Russert answered, Rangel continued: "Well, you're young. I guess you do need to make a name for yourself." The two men were face-to-face. "Basically, you know, it's a dumb question I'm not going to respond. . . . It doesn't really sound like NBC asking these dumb questions. It just shows what happened to a channel that did have some respect."

On Friday, Rangel thought better of it. He said he "had a very good (phone) conversation with Luke Russert and apologized for the way I treated him on television," according to The Hill newspaper.

Rangel, who represents uptown Manhattan, including much of Harlem, is a Korean War veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart by the U.S. Army. He is running for reelection, but could face trial-like proceedings in Congress as early as September. He already had to step aside as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Click play below to watch the video:

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187 Comments

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John Potterf

Rangel should be punished as he is no better than his constituents who elected him

July 24 2010 at 12:50 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
COMMISSIONER

Luke you displayed good journalism and I am glad you put the tough questions to Charlie Rangle. And as far a you making a name for yourself, Russert is a long standing name of great journalism and this is coming from a Conservative. Keep it up and may you have many years os success

July 24 2010 at 11:01 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
John Williams

I am proud of Luke Russert. I used to be a news junky but bailed out when Luke's dad, Tim Russert, died. Tim was the only newsman who seeked the truth no matter where it lead. Luke, do your time as a reporter and I look forward to the day that you take up your dad's sword. I will be watching intently...

July 23 2010 at 8:33 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
raytooo

We need term limits. These career politicians will never be voted out by the electorate that is beholden to them for their livelyhood. Hope this is civil enough to get published.

July 23 2010 at 8:29 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
Jen

Let's see if this is a show or based on uncovering the facts.

July 23 2010 at 8:20 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
wmartinws

Rangel thought that Russerrt was with Fox, thats why he ask him what station he was from. Guess he's not use to any other station asking tough questions of a Democrat! I'll bet if he was from Fox, there wouldn't have been any apology!

July 23 2010 at 7:40 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
oldengineera2

Honorable military service is good. Cheating on taxes when responsible for authoring the tax code for all of us is not. Honor the good, prosecute the crooked behavior. This time, I'd like to see prompt due process, not a Sharrod kangaroo verdict.

July 23 2010 at 6:49 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
Dennis

LUKE, LUKE, LUKE---I'm a fan of good reporting-strong performance by Luke Russert up against a suave escape artist trying his old tap dance around a question--but there is no escaping now -- Nice work Luke

July 23 2010 at 2:01 PM Report abuse +42 rate up rate down Reply
fossilh

What does being a Korean War vet and being awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart have to do with being corrupt? These charges should have been investigated when they first surfaced. Rep. Rangle would probably be elected as long as he is on the ballot, no matter what he did or does. He should be facing criminal charges not just a Congressional ethics panel.

July 23 2010 at 1:59 PM Report abuse +45 rate up rate down Reply
kelleyscopies

Wow! Old fashioned journalism... How refreshing. Ole Charlie didn't see that comin'.
REMEMBER NOVEMBER!!!

July 23 2010 at 1:59 PM Report abuse +42 rate up rate down Reply

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