The most important question in politics today: Who farted?

The way it works at this site with story assignments is “first come, first served.” Ed and Jazz start writing in the morning while I’m busy with headlines so normally they get to cover all the big overnight news before I’m ready to blog.

Imagine my delight, then, upon discovering that the most important story in American politics was still on the board when my shift began, bypassed for such trivial nonsense as [checking] the impeachment of the president and a prisoner swap with terrorists.

Fortunately some of us here still have our news priorities in order. Last night, MSNBC, 7:02 p.m. ET:

Who farted?

Yes, yes, I know, the answer seems obvious. But nothing is as it seems in the Trump era, when we’re subject to so much, uh … gaslighting.

Let’s dispense with the obvious up front. Somebody farted, regardless of what MSNBC would have you believe:

No, my dude, it most certainly was not a mug scraping across a desk. Watch the clip 500 times or so, as I have already this morning, and you’ll realize that it can only be one thing. We all know that sound. It’s the universal human language.

Our prime suspect is Eric Swalwell, a man who once threatened to nuke gun owners who resisted a new confiscation regime. As a Twitter pal pointed out last night, perhaps this was the sort of “nuke” he had in mind. Stephen “redsteeze” Miller made a compelling case in this thread analyzing the video and sound from the clip that Swalwell is indeed the likely culprit. Why was the toot so loud and clear, as if Swalwell’s ass was mic’d up beforehand? Simple, says Miller — they were probably using a boom mic that picked it up. You can actually hear ambient noise around Swalwell as he’s speaking, which you wouldn’t expect if he were wearing a lavalier (a.k.a. lapel mic).

Then there’s the timing:

And then there’s the infrared:

Fine, the infrared is fake. Still, case closed — or is it? Swalwell denies that he cut the cheese, and even denied hearing the sound when it happened. It does seem strange that he managed to maintain his poise during the moments immediately before and after the air biscuit was floated, barely even pausing as he continued his thought. It’s not like that was a minor puff; any one of us who launched a cannonball that size would likely dissolve into hysterics, or at least grin sheepishly, as the walls around us rattled from the impact. Moreover, maybe Swalwell was wearing a lavalier, in which case we’re back to the mystery of how that stank balloon resounded with such clarity and gusto on MSNBC’s audio (click the tweet for the full image):

Cupp makes another fair point. If Swalwell had to cut one, why would he wait until he knew he was on camera to do so? When you’re part of a two-shot interview, logically you’d wait until the other guy is onscreen to do your business.

Which brings us to the other suspect, Chris Matthews. Was Matthews holding it in while he was questioning Swalwell, waiting until the shot had shifted to the congressman so that he could beef off-camera? It stands to reason that MSNBC’s studio would have much clearer audio than a remote interview from the halls of the Capitol, with multiple microphones around Matthews capable of picking up the sound of an errant bit of homemade Limburger. And there’s something that incriminates Matthews in this case that doesn’t incriminate Swalwell — an M.O. There seems to be a pattern of this happening on Hardball, as it turns out:

Burdette is right that rumors were circulating as far back as last year about a certain unnamed MSNBC host blowing poop bubbles incorrigibly in the halls of 30 Rock. And so I ask you: Who seems the likelier culprit here? The ambitious, polished young congressman who’d probably rather risk an intestinal rupture by holding it in rather than damage his career with giggle material for the next 20 years? Or the aging curmudgeonly MSNBC anchor who’s now in his third decade of hosting and just DGAF anymore?

The question answers itself. Matthews should just own it. Full transparency, full accountability. “Yeah, I had Mexican last night. So what?”

Hopefully national media will get on this story and give us an answer. I know they think it’s beneath them to investigate, but I promise this scoop will generate 10 times the clicks that their stories about Alex Vindman today will. For cripes sake, it’s international news. We deserve the truth. Perhaps the only people who can settle it definitively, though, are the MSNBC crew that was on location with Swalwell. If they didn’t smell sh*t, we must acquit.

Exit question: How is it possible that we’re 16 hours past this and Trump hasn’t tweeted about it to dunk on Swalwell and/or Matthews so much as once? What the hell did we elect him for? Are we sure he’s okay?