Lunchtime CNN: Trump’s ‘Shocking Barrage’ Could Warrant Impeachment

If you had felt that CNN would slowly run out of steam going into the afternoon hours overreacting to Monday’s bizarre and troubling Trump-Putin press conference, consider yourself sadly mistaken. Throughout the 1:00 p.m. hour, CNNers remarked that this “truly extraordinary moment in American history” was a “shocking barrage” that could warrant Trump’s impeachment.

“We want to welcome our viewers around the world who are joining us. A truly, truly extraordinary moment in American history. Something I thought I would never see. Up first, the President of the United States delivering a stunning rebuke to his own U.S. intelligence community with the entire world watching,” Wolf Blitzer stated in the open.

 

 

In the first ten minutes, Blitzer correctly reiterated that we all witnessed an “amazing” and “shocking barrage of statements” what was “truly stunning” and “extraordinary” to the point that “[t]he Russians must be high-fiving each other.”

New Yorker writer and longtime foreign affairs journalist Susan Glasser opined with help from a “long-time State Department official” to conclude that what happened Monday were as if the late Muhammad Ali went up “against an amateur boxer and in that scenario, let's just say the President of the United States was not Mohammed Ali.”

Meanwhile, former Obama Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told Blitzer that “if I had a summary sentence to respond, it would be” that “President Trump failed America today” along with America’s “interests in every way.” He added that “it's a sad day for America” and “the world.”

With the press enamored with an unhinged tweet by John Brennan, Blitzer brought it up and Hagel gushed that “[t]here’s no one more knowledgeable, more decent, more honest, more committed to the interests of America than John Brennan” who’s “proven that throughout his career.”

The pair followed up with the implication that Brennan’s tweet called for Trump’s impeachment and Hagel didn’t exactly say he disagreed (click “expand” to read more):

BLITZER: Well, very quickly, before I let you go, Mr. Secretary, high crimes and misdemeanors. That's what John Brennan says. Treasonous. Are we talking, at least from your perspective, I assume from his perspective, impeachment? 

HAGEL: Well, I'll let that stand as it is, as to the responsibilities of the Congress of the United States on impeachment. I would not have said it the way John did. I said it the way I said it. John can say it the way he wants to say it. But as to impeachment, we'll see how this plays out. That's a congressional responsibility and they must — the Congress must do what they think is in the interest of this country, not only for our present but always for our future. 

Speaking to reaction from other countries, Blitzer told viewers that “[p]eople are gasping” while diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinki reported that “to be very blunt, we're hearing words like I feel sick, this is frightening, calling it an abomination and you can say, sure, European allies are going to want to gloat about this...but people are reeling after hearing this.”

Not leaving anyone out, Blitzer predicted to senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju that “a lot of Republicans are so embarrassed, they're simply going to want to stay silent right now” by “not...rush[ing] out and mak[ing] any statements.”

“Truly — truly an amazing moment in American history unfolding as we speak,” Blitzer concluded as his hour of coverage.

Put simply, that hour had quite the lead-in with overreactions to what was, by an objective viewer, a bad look for the country and an affront to the U.S. intelligence community (see examples here and here). 

Speaking of sheer panic, AC360 host Anderson Cooper and congressional liar/former Obama-era DNI Director James Clapper took aim at viewpoints such as ones offered in this space that their public meltdowns are unwarranted. In what was already a softball interview, Cooper invited Clapper to school such skeptics as to why what happened “was so appalling, why you think it was so damaging.”

In the irony category, Cooper and Jeff Zeleny were apoplectic with Trump for not moving on from the 2016 election, which is amusing considering CNN has the same problem with undoing the 2016, finding collusion, and removing Trump from office.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s Wolf on July 16, click “expand.”

CNN’s Wolf
July 16, 2018
1:00 p.m. Eastern

WOLF BLITZER: We want to welcome our viewers around the world who are joining us. A truly, truly extraordinary moment in American history. Something I thought I would never see. Up first, the President of the United States delivering a stunning rebuke to his own U.S. intelligence community with the entire world watching. Not just the intelligence community but the U.S. law enforcement community, including his own Justice Department and his FBI. Standing right next to the Russian leader Vladimir Putin at a joint news conference here in Helsinki, the President simply refused to side with his own U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the Russia investigation. The President described Vladimir Putin's denial, on the other hand, that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election as in, President Trump's words, extremely strong and powerful.

(....)

1:03 p.m. Easter

BLITZER: Truly a barrage — shocking barrage of statements from the President of the United States.

(....)

1:06 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: Matthew, what are you hearing? The President's truly stunning, extraordinary comments. The Russians must be high-fiving each other. 

MATTHEW CHANCE: High-fiving, cracking open bottles of Sovetskoye Shampanskoye, toasting President Trump, I imagine on the way back to Moscow, which they'll be embarking on that journey shortly. 

(....)

1:07 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: Yeah. It's really amazing, shocking I should say.

(....)

1:08 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: Susan, this is a moment in American history where the President of the United States right here in Helsinki not only seems to suggest there are very fine people on both sides, he seems to really go with the leader of Russia in this argument that's going on, a blistering argument, a confrontation with the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement community. 

(....)

1:09 p.m. Eastern

SUSAN GLASSER: I spoke with one long-time State Department official who had been involved for decades in preparing superpower summits between the Soviet Union and then Russia and the United States. Beforehand, he said to me, we all fear that this is something like Mohammed Ali going up against an amateur boxer and in that scenario, let's just say the President of the United States was not Mohammed Ali. 

(....)

1:12 p.m. Eastern

CHUCK HAGEL: But I think if I had a summary sentence to respond, it would be this, Wolf.  President Trump failed America today. He failed America, our interests, in every way. I think what's been said here the last hour and a half on CNN and I suspect other networks about the specifics of why he failed America, and this will be brought out in more detail as we develop the story, is pretty clear. I mean, when you start, Wolf, with this, this was not a golf outing. This was not a real estate transactional kind of arrangement. Meetings are important, obviously. I'm a strong believer in engagement, but engagement must be connected to a strategic interest, a strategic purpose. I don't know what that strategic purpose was. I am now convinced we didn't have one, according to what I have just watched the last couple of hours. So it's a sad day for America. It's a sad day for the world because I will end with this, Wolf. When America is off balance, when America is not leading, the world becomes more dangerous, and the world is off balance. All you need to do is just go to the German foreign minister's comments today. When the German foreign minister, one of our strongest — Germany — one of our strongest allies since World War II, always there with us, says that, in an interview, we can no longer depend on the White House — I thought it was interesting. He didn't say America. He said the White House. So let me end there and go wherever you want to go.

(....)

1:14 p.m. Eastern

HAGEL: Well, I generally agree with John Brennan. There's no one more knowledgeable, more decent, more honest, more committed to the interests of America than John Brennan. He's proven that throughout his career. 

(....)

1:16 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: Well, very quickly, before I let you go, Mr. Secretary, high crimes and misdemeanors. That's what John Brennan says. Treasonous. Are we talking, at least from your perspective, I assume from his perspective, impeachment? 

HAGEL: Well, I'll let that stand as it is, as to the responsibilities of the Congress of the United States on impeachment. I would not have said it the way John did. I said it the way I said it. John can say it the way he wants to say it. But as to impeachment, we'll see how this plays out. That's a congressional responsibility and they must — the Congress must do what they think is in the interest of this country, not only for our present but always for our future. 

(....)

1:17 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: You know, the reaction is really pouring in, you know, Michelle, from all over the world, especially you just heard the German foreign minister, but others here in Europe and we're right in Helsinki right now. People are gasping. They're wondering what is going on with the President of the United States?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI: Yeah, to be very blunt, we're hearing words like I feel sick, this is frightening, calling it an abomination and you can say, sure, European allies are going to want to gloat about this, especially after they were just rebuked by President Trump, which of course you could argue they should never have been rebuked by one of their closest friends, the U.S., but people are reeling after hearing this. 

(....)

1:26 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER [TO MANU RAJU]: Yeah, we'll get a lot of reaction, I'm sure, including from Republicans. Although, I suspect and I know you’ll agree, a lot of Republicans are so embarrassed, they're simply going to want to stay silent right now. They're not going to rush out and make any statements at all. 

(....)

1:48 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: And we're going to see how these senior U.S. officials react and if any of them decide it's time to move on. This is a very, very sensitive moment in American history right now.

(....)

1:56 p.m. Eastern

BLITZER: Truly — truly an amazing moment in American history unfolding as we speak. 

NB Daily Congress Push to Impeach Trump Foreign Policy Russia Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CNN Other CNN Wolf Blitzer Michelle Kosinski Chuck Hagel Donald Trump Vladimir Putin John Brennan
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