Nightly News   |  April 09, 2013

McConnell asks FBI to investigate secret recording about Judd

Ashley Judd, who was considering a run against Mitch McConnell for the Kentucky senate seat he’s held for a generation, became the subject of a meeting between McConnell and his political inner circle. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to some secret recordings which are public that are receiving some wide circulation. we're about to get a glimpse of something called opposition research . the kind of stuff you have to do in politics in order to get to know your opponent and figure out how to campaign against them. these recordings happened to involve the senate republican leader discussing a famous potential opponent who happens to be the actress ashley judd . he says he was bugged. the fbi is now involved. our political director chuck todd has our report tonight.

>> reporter: ashley judd toyed with challenging mitch mcconnell for the kentucky senate seat he has held for a generation.

>> as long as the republicans keep doing really dumb things about women's reproductive health that should help energize girls and women in this country.

>> reporter: it was a challenge mcconnell and his campaign team took very seriously. after opening his campaign headquarters in louisville in februa februa february, mcconnell and his inner circle privately discussed their research on how to attack judd using the kind of blunt language political operatives use all the time but rarely in public.

>> the first person we'll focus on is ashley judd .

>> reporter: what they didn't know is it all would be caught on tape.

>> basically i refer to her as some of the opo research.

>> reporter: they screened this tv clip of her from the 2012 democratic convention .

>> the most diverse delegation in tennessee's history, 90 votes for barack obama .

>> reporter: that's tennessee not kentucky. the core of what could be a ready-made tv attack ad questioning judd's loyalty to the blue grass state. they showed a potential willingness to get personal and nasty.

>> she's, clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. i mean it's been documented. jesse can go in and chapter and verse in an autobiography.

>> reporter: today she put out a statement condemning mcconnell for, quote, the politics of personal destruction . " mother jones " posted 11 minutes of the two-hour meeting today.

>> this is what was given to us, and it's we worked with.

>> reporter: mcconnell believes he was the victim of a bugging operation masterminded by political opponents.

>> also unknown to us at the time were bugging our headquarters, quite a nixonian move. this is what you get from the political left in america these days.

>> reporter: late yesterday the mcconnell campaign hired a security firm to sweep the louisville campaign office for recording devices and guess what? found nothing. today the mcconnell campaign did ask the fbi to investigate and the bureau, brian, is looking into it.

>> chuck todd in our d.c. bureau tonight. thanks.