JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Senator Claire McCaskill's campaign has reached out to ABC 30 News over undercover video released Tuesday by the website Project Veritas. The campaign sent a statement by email Tuesday evening, which she also stated during a television news interview with KOLR-TV, claiming that Senator McCaskill's challenger, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley was involved in the video.
It is startling that Josh Hawley would be part of fraudulently embedding somebody in my campaign. He is the Attorney General of Missouri, he's supposed to be going after fraud, not participating in it. I have been very up front about all of my positions. I've never seen somthing [sic] like this in a US Senate race in the state of Missouri.
The statement does not include any denials of what is said in any of the video clips published by Project Veritas. So far, this includes a statement made by a campaign staffer who says that McCaskill would likely support a ban on semi-automatic rifle ban.
When asked for a response to that statement, a McCaskill Campaign spokesperson sent back a new statement, saying that the original statement was, "slightly incorrect". The new statement replaces "would be part of" with "would embrace." ABC 30 News asked if McCaskill is backing off the original allegation against Hawley.
The response also did not answer our question of whether or not Senator McCaskill supports a ban on semi-automatic rifles. We are awaiting responses from the campaign on both questions.
The Hawley Campaign gave ABC 30 a response to McCaskill's statements:
That’s absurd and she knows it. Senator McCaskill can’t fool Missouri anymore. The truth about her partisanship and party-line liberalism is revealed more every day. After completely dismissing rural Missourians by saying she can “give up” on their votes, this new footage shows she just isn’t being honest with us and is rejecting our values. When it comes to voting for conservative judges, building the wall or cutting taxes, Senator McCaskill ignores the will of Missourians and votes with her party bosses.
Hawley first addressed McCaskill's original allegations on Twitter Tuesday night:
Clips released by Project Veritas show several McCaskill campaign staffers telling someone wearing a hidden camera, or are seen addressing multiple people by someone wearing a hidden camera, talking about campaign strategies.
The first video shows McCaskill talking to a reporter about her positions on gun control. McCaskill's gun control positions have been public knowledge and she has voted for gun control legislation, but the campaign does not address the issue in its television or radio advertising.
However, a campaign staffer is then seen and heard saying that McCaskill would likely support a ban on semi-automatic rifles. Carson Pope says in the video clip, “a semi-automatic rifle ban is more so what she would support.”
ABC 30 News asked the campaign Wednesday morning if Senator McCaskill supports a ban on semi-automatic rifles, we are awaiting comment.
Other video clips show staffers talking about distancing McCaskill from Democrats, getting money from Planned Parenthood via third party groups, and an alleged plan to impeach President Trump.
The staffers are seen and heard saying that the campaign cannot be tied to these issues in order to attract moderate Republicans and Independent voters.