ABC Hails ‘Momentous Day’ for Hillary with No Indictment; The ‘Cloud Is Lifted’ for Her, Obama

In the moments following FBI Director James Comey’s announcement on Tuesday that Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges for her private e-mail servers scandal, the cast assembled by ABC News hailed the “extraordinary decision” as “a momentous day” signaling that “a cloud is lifted” for Clinton to continue on with the presidential race and President Obama to give his own thoughts on the matter.

Senior Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas dubbed Comey’s recommendation an “extraordinary decision” and blistering for Clinton but emphasized the early spin that “they looked at precedent and found no case like it where prosecutors would have went for it and did not believe the Justice Department would have gone for it.”

White House correspondent Jonathan Karl described Comey’s statement as “quite a reprimand of her and the way she has handled this” but similarly hyped that “the big headline” is “there is no indictment here, no indictment of Hillary Clinton, no indictment of any of her top aides, no indictment of anybody in this case.”

In a further sign of the strange election cycle, former Bush administration official and ABC News analyst Matthew Dowd opined that what Comey said was “damaging” but he went on to tout it as “simultaneously freeing and damaging” for Clinton that will go down as “a momentous day”:

I think it's damaging. I mean it's interesting. It’s simultaneously freeing and damaging in the course of this. This is going to be dropped in the midst, as you know George, in the midst of a divisive environment where Democrats and supporters of Hillary will celebrate this thing but Republicans and Trump supporters will say see, she did a bunch wrong and that's, I think, going to be is conversation. I think this is a momentous day. You have some of these in the course of the presidential races where races pivot. This is one of those days. Each side has some amount of evidence to make their conclusions accurate. 

On the flip side, longtime ABC/NPR analyst and liberal pundit Cokie Roberts actually was far tougher in ruling that this will be “a hard day for Hillary Clinton” as “[h]er judgement has been called into doubt” for having created a scenario in which those hostile to the U.S. could have hacked into her e-mails.

Along those lines, ABC News chief anchor, Clinton Foundation donor and former Clinton administration aide George Stephanopoulos stated that Comey’s explanation that “hostile actors” could have gotten into her e-mails was “one of the most chilling parts of the press conference” in his opinion.

Wrapping it all up, Stephanopoulos spun to Karl that “even though this report is kind of damning, the announcement of no indictment before that first joint campaign stop kind of clears the decks for [President Obama] as well.”

Karl gushed that “the timing is so extraordinary....to think you have that Air Force One on the tarmac ready to take them down to this first campaign appearance together, but this whole process has been a cloud hanging over the head of Hillary Clinton and her campaign so that cloud is lifted.”

“But as we pointed out — there's so much bad here for Hillary Clinton. But ultimately when they get beyond this, they no longer have to have the possibility of an indictment,” he added.

The relevant portions of the transcript from the ABC News Special Report on July 5 can be found below.

ABC News Special Report
July 5, 2016
11:18 a.m. Eastern

PIERRE THOMAS: Extraordinary decision. The FBI director making clear no charges should be found but he went a long way in making the case the Clinton administration in terms of the State Department was lax in how they handled the classified information, that there were in fact certain classified and top secret information that was sent and received and also, that the officials involved in it should have known that this information was classified and therefore not be sending it, but the bottom line is they looked at precedent and found no case like it where prosecutors would have went for it and did not believe the Justice Department would have gone for it[.]

(....)

JONATHAN KARL: Look, the big news here — the big headline is there is no indictment here, no indictment of Hillary Clinton, no indictment of any of her top aides, no indictment of anybody in this case, but this is quite a reprimand of her and the way she has handled this by the FBI director, to hear the FBI director use a phrase like “extremely careless,” saying this was extremely careless to handle information like this in such a — in a way that could be accessed by hostile actors. He says it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Hillary Clinton's server although they uncovered no evidence that had directly happened but he said that any reasonable person should have known that the information that was being exchanged was extremely sensitive, was classified and should not have been handled in this way. That is — that’s quite not an indictment but a reprimand and a stern one from the FBI director. 

(....)

MATTHEW DOWD: I think it's damaging. I mean it's interesting. It’s simultaneously freeing and damaging in the course of this. This is going to be dropped in the midst, as you know George, in the midst of a divisive environment where Democrats and supporters of Hillary will celebrate this thing but Republicans and Trump supporters will say see, she did a bunch wrong and that's, I think, going to be is conversation. I think this is a momentous day. You have some of these in the course of the presidential races where races pivot. This is one of those days. Each side has some amount of evidence to make their conclusions accurate. 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Cokie Roberts? Who has the more powerful argument?

COKIE ROBERTS: I think this is a hard day for Hillary Clinton. It was one of the most extraordinary things I have seen in my many years in Washington. The FBI director coming out and reading this basically charges even though he doesn't think there should be a criminal charge and saying at the beginning, no one in government knows what I am about to say. That is extremely extraordinary. Her judgment has been called into doubt. The idea that she was in hostile territory and using her private e-mail server and of course, Republicans won't believe ever that Loretta Lynch was not involved in this decision even though she has said she wasn't, the Attorney General. I think it's a hard day for Hillary Clinton.

(....)

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Jon Karl, you cover the White House, of course as well. President Obama campaigning with Hillary Clinton later today in North Carolina and one level even though this report is kind of damning, the announcement of no indictment before that first joint campaign stop kind of clears the decks for him as well. 

KARL: And the timing is so extraordinary. I mean, to think you have that Air Force One on the tarmac ready to take them down to this first campaign appearance together, but this whole process has been a cloud hanging over the head of Hillary Clinton and her campaign so that cloud is lifted but as we pointed out — there's so much bad here for Hillary Clinton. But ultimately when they get beyond this, they no longer have to have the possibility of an indictment. However remote that possibility may have been, it was a possibility, it was always there and now you know, you don't have any more concerns about possible conflicts of interest, of course, the President can be free to weigh in on this campaign with her. So certainly a big cloud lifted but wow, I mean, what a statement there from the — I liked the way Brian put it, an indictment without an actual criminal indictment. This was a tough statement.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Very tough statement from the FBI director, but the bottom line, he said no reasonable prosecutor would do this case. There will not be an indictment of Hillary Clinton — recommendation by the FBI.

Tell the Truth 2016 NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Media Bias Debate Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals FBI ABC Video Government & Press State Department James Comey George Stephanopoulos Cokie Roberts Jonathan Karl Hillary Clinton Matthew Dowd
Curtis Houck's picture


Sponsored Links