Chris Matthews Apologizes for Comparing Executive Privilege to Virginity: 'Once You've given It Up, You Can't Grab It Back'

Chris Matthews is famous for not pulling any punches, but the veteran broadcaster was forced to apologize after comparing executive privilege to virginity when he interviewed Senator Kamala Harris.

On Wednesday, the 73-year-old asked Harris what she made of the suggestions the White House might assert executive privilege to fight the subpoena issued to Donald McGahn.

Democrats have subpoenaed the former White House counsel to testify before the House Judiciary Committee later this month, but the Trump administration has signaled it might prevent him from doing so.

McGahn's testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller featured extensively in the final report on the latter's investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections.

"How can he [McGahn] say 'I won't make the same testimony in public' claiming executive privilege?" the broadcaster asked Harris on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews.

"I think it is sort of like virginity […] Once you have given it up, you can't grab it back."

Harris, a Democrat from California and a presidential candidate for 2020, did not seem particularly impressed by the metaphor and her look betrayed the awkwardness of the moment.

"I'm not gonna go with you on that metaphor Chris," she quipped back.

The interviewed then continued as normal, until Matthews interrupted it a few minutes afterward to apologize.

"I'm sorry about that metaphor I used before," he said.

"I've been admonished already about it. So I really shouldn't have used it in this context, however."

Earlier in the day, Attorney General William Barr had said it wasn't clear whether former White House counsel McGahn would testify to Congress.

"We haven't waived his privilege," he told Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), during a testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

When asked whether he objected to McGahn testifying to Congress, Barr replied:

"Yes, I think he is a close adviser to the President."

According to the Mueller Report, Trump may have obstructed justice in numerous cases. It also suggests the President asked McGahn to fire Mueller, a directive the former White House counsel refused to follow.

Barr was quizzed at length by a number of Democratic senators after it was revealed earlier this week that Mueller had complained about the way he handled his summary of the investigation.

"There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation," Mueller wrote in his letter in late March, just days after Barr released his four-page summary. "This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations."

Speaking after Barr's hearing, Trump praised the Attorney General for what he described as a "solid performance" and insisted the Democrats were chasing shadows.

"I heard that the attorney general was really, really solid and did a great job today," he said during an interview with Boston Herald Radio.

The Democrats, Trump claimed, "are very devastated because they looked at the report and there was absolutely no collusion and there's no obstruction either."

 Chris Matthews
[File photo] Political commentator, talk show host, and author Chris Matthews discusses 'Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit' at Free Library of Philadelphia on November 3, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images