WATCH: NBC’s Guthrie Ham­mers Blinken on Giv­ing Iran Bil­lions, More Ukraine Fund­ing

WATCH: NBC’s Guthrie Hammers Blinken on Giving Iran Billions, More Ukraine Funding

NBC’s Today co-host Savan­nah Guthrie has devel­oped a sur­pris­ing­ly strong track for grilling Biden admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials when they make the rounds of the broad­cast net­work morn­ing news shows, par­tic­u­lar­ly on for­eign pol­i­cy. 
Wednesday’s show fea­tured at least the sev­enth install­ment (see past install­ments here, here, here, here, here, and here) as she respect­ful­ly ham­mered Sec­re­tary of State Antony Blinken on Iran, Ukraine, and the alliance between North Korea and Rus­sia.

Guthrie began with the return of five Amer­i­cans held in Iran in exchange for five Ira­ni­ans and unfreez­ing $6 bil­lion in Iran­ian oil sales. After con­ced­ing one should “be elat­ed for” them and their fam­i­lies, “the thornier issue, of course, is at what cost” and if it “put[s] a high­er prices” on the “heads” of Amer­i­cans.
“When you free up $6 bil­lion in order to get Amer­i­cans back, does that not endan­ger Amer­i­cans else­where,” she asked.
Blinken insist­ed “the mon­eys that were freed were Iran­ian funds that they had got­ten from the sale of oil that were stuck in a bank, and, from day one, have been exempt from our sanc­tions” and the U.S. will have “very clear con­trols to make sure they can only be used for human­i­tar­i­an pur­pos­es.”
Guthrie wasn’t hav­ing it:

[M]oney is fun­gi­ble, so the notion is that $6 bil­lion Iran doesn’t have to spend on what­ev­er the Iran­ian peo­ple need is $6 bil­lion they can spend else­where and be up to no good. How — how do you respond to that? They’re sud­den­ly flush with $6 bil­lion in cash they wouldn’t have oth­er­wise.

After more Blinken dither­ing, Guthrie piv­ot­ed to Ukraine with this sim­ple ques­tion in light of strong Repub­li­can resis­tance to fur­ther fund­ing the coun­try: “How hard of a sell is this for Pres­i­dent Zelen­skyy?”
Guthrie kept press­ing, cit­ing the $113 bil­lion …