Brian Williams: Could Russia Hearing ‘Dissolve’ Trump Presidency?

During 9 a.m. ET hour MSNBC coverage ahead of the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 election on Monday, anchor Brian Williams wondered if the issue may bring down the Trump administration: “Could this dissolve everything? Could this be an existential threat to this administration, the process that begins today?”

Chief legal analyst Ari Melber responded: “It is always possible that an FBI inquiry can dissolve anything and anyone because of the massive subpoena, research, investigative functions of the bureau and its ability to hand anything over to the DOJ, or in some cases, depending on the scenario, to the public, which has huge ramifications. So the answer is yes...”

He added: “...but, of course we are at – what we’ve been told from the few leaks we have – is a very early stage in an intelligence gathering process.”  

Minutes later, political analyst Nicolle Wallace chimed in: “...this White House expects the headline today to be, ‘White House cleared of collusion charges with Russia.’ That is simply not going to be the case.”

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She then sang the praises of the committee’s ranking Democrat: “I mean, Adam Schiff, there's a great piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning, he's been such a measured voice. He's really the Democrats best and most effective weapon, if you will, in terms of probing these questions about Russian ties...”

During an NBC News special report at the start of the hearing, Today show co-host Matt Lauer similarly gushed over Schiff “laying out a very meticulous, detail-oriented case” on the Trump campaign supposedly colluding with Russia to impact the election – despite a complete lack of evidence.

Here are excerpts from the March 20 MSNBC coverage:

9:37 AM ET

(...)

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Ari Melber is here with us. And, Ari, your area is the law. Could this dissolve everything? Could this be an existential threat to this administration, the process that begins today?

ARI MELBER: It is always possible that an FBI inquiry can dissolve anything and anyone because of the massive subpoena, research, investigative functions of the bureau and its ability to hand anything over to the DOJ, or in some cases, depending on the scenario, to the public, which has huge ramifications. So the answer is yes, but, of course we are at – what we’ve been told from the few leaks we have – is a very early stage in an intelligence gathering process.

And so, I think the key questions that Jim Comey may answer – they will certainly be posed – number one, is there an inquiry? If so, what’s the status of the inquiry. Are you focused on federal crimes, which is one reason the FBI looks into things, or are you focused on intelligence gathering? Which means there may be important things that don't reflect any wrongful conduct by anyone linked to Donald Trump. Two different ways for them to be involved.

(...)

9:45 AM ET

NICOLLE WALLACE: Comey has become the most consequential FBI director in a generation. Republicans feel like Comey is there to stay. So even if the White House is displeased today – and you got a sense from those tweets, I don't know if they were sort expectation-setting for Comey, I don’t know if he was speaking to the media or to Comey himself – but this White House expects the headline today to be, “White House cleared of collusion charges with Russia.” That is simply not going to be the case.

I mean, Adam Schiff, there's a great piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning, he's been such a measured voice. He's really the Democrats best and most effective weapon, if you will, in terms of probing these questions about Russian ties because he has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his Republican counterpart and his Republican counterpart has basically affirmed that there's nothing there on the wiretap charge and has kept these questions and the legitimacy of an investigation into the Russian-Trump team contacts alive.

(...)

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