CNN Panel Dismisses GOP Push on Clinton/Russia As 'Distraction' from Trump

On Wednesday's New Day on CNN, during discussions of the push by congressional Republicans to investigate links between Hillary Clinton and Russia obtaining uranium during the Obama administration, CNN analysts repeatedly described the GOP effort as an attempt to have a "distraction" from President Donald Trump's problems.

Introducing the show shortly after 6:00 a.m. ET, co-host Alisyn Camerota recalled Republican Senator Jeff Flake's speech attacking President Trump. As co-host Chris Cuomo introduced the Clinton/Russia issue, the CNN host immediately painted GOP efforts as an attempt to distract the public:

But for every action, there is a reaction. And House Republicans are trying to turn your attention to new congressional inquiries that they are driving into the actions of the Obama administration. Three House committees are now investigating the Justice Department's handling of the Clinton/email probe and the government's decision on a uranium deal that some in the GOP think that Hillary Clinton engineered.

He added:

This comes as we get more deals on the Democrat pockets that helped fund the infamous Trump dossier. The Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign did help fund research containing allegations about Donald Trump and Russia.

A bit later, Cuomo teased a segment on Clinton and Russia in which he again portrayed Republican efforts as a "distraction." Cuomo:

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Also, House Republicans launch investigations into the woman who was just on your screen -- Hillary Clinton. What's going on here? This seems like an obvious distraction from what's going on in the government right now. How will this play out? We'll discuss next.

Shortly before 6:30 a.m. ET, setting up the discussion, co-host Camerota asked why House Republicans were looking again at the issue of Russia acquiring uranium. CNN political analyst David Gregory also saw attempts at distraction as he responded:

Well, they're doing it because they're, you know, this is the rebuttal, that the real Russia scandal is this, you know, is some kind of sweetheart deal for the Russians on nuclear energy that Hillary Clinton was behind. I mean, you know, this is what the American people are treated to in this back and forth, you know, stories that are difficult to wade through.

He added:

Story lines that are reduced to their simplest form, and that it's, you know, it's basically "on the one hand, on the other hand," that people have to reckon with. And so, look, this is a distraction on the part of, you know, in most cases, allies of the President who are pushing back against all of these narratives.

Cuomo went along with the premise that Republicans are holding an investigation about Russia to counter the one by Robert Mueller that Democrats have been agitating over:

Right. This is why, David, to your point earlier, this is why with Jeff Flake, with Bob Corker, with John McCain, this is why it doesn't sink in the way it does when you heard the words because people don't trust the institution. They say, "This is what they do," Cillizza. You know, they don't like the outcome from the investigation, now they hold their own. They want to look into Russia, 50 of them look, they find nothing.

CNN political analyst Chris Cillizza recalled that the "conservative media" are pushing the Clinton uranium story:

The truth is that this will give -- if you watched or consumed conservative media over the last 72 hours, all they talked about was Uranium One and how this was the real Russia scandal, and so now, look, Congress is a reactive body. True of Democrats and Republicans. They see their base constituents get up in arms about something, they move to address it.

Cillizza then downplayed the uranium issue as just "some stuff" that Clinton and the Obama administration did:

So this will do that, and it will provide a narrative out of Capitol Hill that is not the House and Senate intelligence committee investigating Russia's attempted meddling in the election, right? It will be a "the Clintons and Barack Obama, they did some stuff." I mean, obviously, it's vague. "They did some stuff, and we're going to look into it." It's a lot better story line than talking about Donald Trump and the split within the Republican party.

After Camerota wrapped up the segment, Cuomo made another comment about the timing of the Republican effort: "The old expression, the timing tells you what you need to know. Why did it come out now? Why do you think?"

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NBDaily 2016 Presidential Congress Russia Conservatives & Republicans Political Scandals Russian uranium deal CNN New Day Video Jeff Flake Chris Cuomo Alisyn Camerota David Gregory Chris Cillizza Hillary Clinton Donald Trump