CNN’s Bash, Borger: ‘Tragic’ ‘Shame’ House Intel Committee Isn’t Like Iran-Contra, Watergate

As if they were reading talking points from Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff (Calif.), CNN’s Dana Bash and Gloria Borger groaned during Tuesday’s The Situation Room that it was a “tragic” “shame” that House Intelligence Committee Democrats and Republicans haven’t worked together on the probe for Trump-Russia collusion in the same way Congress did with Iran-Contra and Watergate. 

CNN may pass itself off as the “Facts First” network, but it’s important to note that while Republicans cooperated in both investigations, Democrats had massive majorities during both the Iran-Contra and Watergate probes.

 

 

Back to 2018, Borger lamented moments after Schiff and his colleagues appeared on-camera that there has to be a Special Counsel to investigate Russian meddling when, presumably, Republicans should have worked with Schiff. Once again, Schiff is being treated like he’s a non-partisan actor and not the member of Congress representing Hollywood.

“[S]o what has happened here — and I think what — what is tragic here is that the American public has not been able to really watch testimony of people talking about what occurred during the election. I mean, during Iran-Contra, the public and during Watergate the public got to watch people come in, testify before committees and tell the story publicly to the American voters so they could see, understand, digest for themselves,” Borger complained

She added that, with testimony occurring behind closed doors, “the story remains largely untold except for what the media has been able to glean through our own reporting and now we’re going have to wait for Bob Mueller and I think it’s — it’s kind of tragic because I do think that the American public deserved a better explanation than they're getting.”

Blitzer finally spoke to tee up Bash by lamenting that “[i]t’s pretty interesting...to see how divided this House Intelligence Committee has become.”

Bash cited a Republican member who was initially hopefull before the two parties went their separate ways before agreeing with Borger that “it was a different situation” with Congress during Iran-Contra and Watergate.

“I think one of the differences is that here you’re talking about inherently a lot of secretive things. It's classified information when talking about what the Russians did. However, I do believe that on both sides of the aisle, particularly...the Republicans there have taken advantage of the fact that they tend to meet in secret and had witness after witness come who are not talking about classified information...which is a shame,” she concluded.

Blitzer had a simple word of agreement before going to a commercial break: “It certainly is.” 

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on March 13, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
March 13, 2018
6:48 p.m. Eastern

WOLF BLITZER: You know, Gloria, let's get back to this debate that’s underway between the House Intelligence Committee Republicans versus the Democrats. You heard Adam Schiff flatly say he has no doubt there was collusion, there's in evidence the public domain and there’s secret evidence as well. This is going to be a huge fight. 

GLORIA BORGER: It is and it's going to continue in the Congress and it's not going get resolved. You know, there is no way that the Republicans and the Democrats in the House — we’ll see what happens in the Senate — are going to resolve this. I mean, that's why you have a special counsel right now and if the Republicans were lax in deciding subpoenas on bank records, testimony from people, that's fine because — it's not fine but the special counsel won't be lax and so what has happened here — and I think what — what is tragic here is that the American public has not been able to really watch testimony of people talking about what occurred during the election. I mean, during Iran-Contra, the public and during Watergate the public got to watch people come in, testify before committees and tell the story publicly to the American voters so they could see, understand, digest for themselves. In this case, most interviews, most interviews have been done behind closed doors because that's the way the Republican majority wanted it and, therefore, the story remains largely untold except for what the media has been able to glean through our own reporting. And now we’re going have to wait for Bob Mueller and I think it’s — it’s kind of tragic because I do think that the American public deserved a better explanation than they're getting.

BLITZER: It's pretty interesting, Dana, those of us who have covered Congress and you’ve covered Congress for a long time to see how divided this House Intelligence Committee has become. 

DANA BASH: It is and it's something that we have become accustomed to as this investigation has gone on, that this committee splintered early on and never recovered. I remember talking toa Republican on the committee early on who was eager to get to the bottom of what happened and how this Congress can give recommendations for how to prevent it in the future and it was early on very disheartened by the way that the committee has gone. But, you know, that is the situation that we are in. Gloria is right that, during Watergate, and even Iran-Contra, it was a different situation, because a lot of it was out in the public. I think one of the differences is that here you’re talking about inherently a lot of secretive things. It's classified information when talking about what the Russians did. However, I do believe that on both sides of the aisle, particularly the House, the Intelligence Committee, the Republicans there have taken advantage of the fact that they tend to meet in secret and had witness after witness come who are not talking about classified information, but are still not allowed to be — to interviewed in public, which is a shame. 

BLITZER: It certainly is. 


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