ABC, NBC Still Celebrating ‘Serious Blow’ to Trump WH ‘Stonewalling’

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On Tuesday, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today continued the liberal media’s attempt to force-feed the American people every twist and turn of the left’s attempt to remove President Donald Trump from office. 

Following up on their Monday night celebrations that a federal judge ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress, the ABC and NBC newscasts boasted about this new “blow,” “scathing judgement” and “setback” in “the White House's efforts to stonewall this impeachment investigation.”

 

 

GMA co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos hyped during a tease ahead of segments with senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega and chief White House correspondent Jon Karl: “Not above the law. The White House takes a blow in court overnight after trying to block key aides from appearing at hearings. A judge now orders former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify in a scathing judgment.”

Senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega followed with a report that could have just as easily had Adam Schiff’s stamp of approval. Here’s an except (click “expand”):

This is a serious blow to the White House's efforts to stonewall this impeachment investigation and we are now likely looking at a major showdown that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. The federal judge delivering a blunt message ordering former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify in the impeachment inquiry saying “per the Constitution, no one is above the law.” The scathing ruling a win for House Democrats faced with repeated stonewalling from the Trump administration, blocking testimony from top aides like McGahn and former National Security Adviser John Bolton, but now the judge saying presidents do not have the power “to kneecap House investigations” and that White House aides “are not absolutely immune” from cooperating with Congress writing, “the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings.”

Over on NBC’s Today, co-host Craig Melvin painted this new “showdown” as proof that “impeachment is moving forward during what’s usually a quiet holiday week in Washington, and now a new federal ruling may put an end to what Democrats see as a White House effort to stonewall their investigation.”

Huh. Notice how Vega just accepted that premise while Melvin made note that’s the Democratic line?

And then, unlike when National Review’s Rich Lowry appeared to promote his new book, Melvin gave NBC legal analyst, ardent liberal, and former Obama official Neal Katyal a solo segment to plug his book, Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump.

Katyal opined that the ruling regarding McGahn was “a huge loss for President Trump,” serving as “a real rejection of what I call in the book the Trump manifesto, the idea that basically as an executive branch, the head of the executive branch, he and his employees are above the law.” 

Go ahead and laugh at someone from a liberal previous administration arguing that the executive branch doesn’t have a large runway.

Looking ahead towards the appeals process, Katyal asserted that “[m]y gut is the Supreme Court doesn’t hear this case” because “[t]he Trump arguments here are pretty weak and the arguments in favor of testimony are very strong and, of course, impeachment is moving full steam ahead.”

Melvin did slightly push back on Katyal’s fervent support for removing Trump in the last question, but Katyal insisted that this can’t wait because the President’s actions warrant going over top of voters (click “expand”):

MELVIN: It went fast. I know where you stand on impeachment. I mean, the title of the book is Impeach, but while you’re here, I want to get to one of the main arrangements from the President’s argument, one of them being that we have an election in 11 months and we should let the people decide. In fact, you write about this in the book. You write: “In a democracy, we have no responsibility more sacred than respecting the will of the people.” Why not respect the will of the people and just let them decide in 11 months?

KATYAL: Well, the will of the people is, of course, electing a president against a backdrop of an impeachment clause in the constitution and what they wants to do [sic], what Trump wants to do is read it out of the Constitution all together. Our founders and I talk about this in the book, were very worried about putting an impeachment clause in all together, but then they said, “well, what if someone cheats on a reelection? What if someone gets help from a foreign government?” And they agreed to put the impeachment clause in the Constitution for that reason and it’s kinda like I say in the book. It’s kind of, look, if you’re accused of cheating in a game of Monopoly, the last thing you do is resolve it by playing another game of Monopoly. Here is the allegation is the President cheated in the 2020 election.

In contrast to all this nonsense still trying to force impeachment as an issue of prime importance even during Thanksgiving week, CBS This Morning offered only a 34-second news brief on the ruling against McGahn and the administration.

To see the relevant transcripts from ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today on November 26, click “expand.”

ABC’s Good Morning America
November 26, 2019
7:01 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Judge Orders Ex-White House Counsel to Testify; “Not Above the Law”]

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Not above the law. The White House takes a blow in court overnight after trying to block key aides from appearing at hearings. A judge now orders former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify in a scathing judgment. What this could mean for the impeachment investigation. 

(....)

7:09 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Developing Story; New Twist in Impeachment Showdown; Judge Rules Ex-White House Counsel Must Testify]

STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to go to Washington now and new developments in the impeachment showdown. In a setback for President Trump, a federal judge has ruled that former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify, saying “presidents are not kings” and calling the White House claim of absolute immunity fiction. Our senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega has the latest. Good morning, Cecilia.

CECILIA VEGA: George, good morning to you. This is a serious blow to the White House's efforts to stonewall this impeachment investigation and we are now likely looking at a major showdown that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. The federal judge delivering a blunt message ordering former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify in the impeachment inquiry saying “per the Constitution, no one is above the law.” The scathing ruling a win for House Democrats faced with repeated stonewalling from the Trump administration, blocking testimony from top aides like McGahn and former National Security Adviser John Bolton, but now the judge saying presidents do not have the power “to kneecap House investigations” and that White House aides “are not absolutely immune” from cooperating with Congress writing, “the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings.”

CONGRESSMAN DAVID CICILLINE (D-RH): This is not just about this President. This is about upholding the rule of law. 

VEGA: Overnight, Democrats claiming victory. 

CONGRESSMAN STEVE COHEN (D-TN) [on CNN’s The Situation Room, 11/25/19]: What's good is the judge agreed with us. It’s the law. It’s oversight. It's as American as apple pie. 

VEGA: But the decision not expected to have an immediate impact on the impeachment inquiry. The Justice Department says it will appeal setting up a legal showdown that could go all the way to the Supreme Court, but this morning, the big question, what does the ruling mean for other potentially game-changing witnesses like Bolton? Bolton's lawyer has said his client would not testify unless a judge ruled he was legally allowed to defy White House demands. Democrats argue, this does just that. Sources tell ABC News Bolton's team is now reviewing the decision to determine if it impacts how they proceed and he has already made it clear, he knows a lot about President Trump's pressure campaign on Ukraine at the very center of the impeachment inquiry. So even if these new witnesses emerge, Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff says that he is laying out a timeline and they are moving fast. He says soon after Thanksgiving Democrats plan to deliver this report that will form the basis for these articles of impeachment and if there was any question, George, about which way they are leaning on this, Schiff says his panel has uncovered, “massive amounts of evidence and corrupt intent by the President.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, that report is coming next week, Cecilia, thanks very much. Let's get more on this now from our chief White House correspondent Jon Karl. And Jon, let’s start out with that question where Cecilia left on John Bolton. Nothing is stopping him from testified. He can volunteer to testify right now. The question is will he use the new court case as cover? 

JONATHAN KARL: And of course, this case is about Don McGahn. It is not about John Bolton. But, George, a source close to Bolton tells us that he is looking at whether or not this would apply to his case as well, of course, the judge wrote it in a very broad way and we know that Bolton wants to talk. I think this brings him a step closer to talking to Congress but, George, it also looks like Bolton is likely to wait the results of the administration's appeal on this case before making a decision on that so I wouldn't look for him to testify immediately. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Live on GMA; Trump’s Tax Return Battle; Supreme Court Puts Disclosure of President’s Records on Hold]

STEPHANOPOULOS: Right. That could take weeks or months. Meantime, big decision yesterday from the Supreme Court on President Trump's taxes. They've stayed the subpoena from the House who wants President Trump’s taxes. Two big cases on President Trump’s tax returns to be indicted or at least considered by the court in the next week or so. 

KARL: Yeah, no, this is a temporary victory for the administration because they were ordered to turn over those taxes now but it is a temporary one. The Supreme Court has made it clear if they take up this case and the other related case, they would hear it quickly but quickly by the Supreme Court's standing is not quick compared to Congress. The results of this would not likely — you'd, of course, have a case argued next year, not ruled on until June but that's right in the middle of the presidential campaign. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: The courts were busy yesterday. Another ruling that documents related to this Ukraine inquiry will come out in time for impeachment. 

KARL: Yeah, this is a big deal. This was a Freedom of Information Act request. Some 300 pages of documents on the administration's decision to withhold aid to Ukraine. This is — would be the first time we have seen White House documents on this issue, George. 

 

NBC’s Today
November 26, 2019
7:00 a.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Showdown]

CRAIG MELVIN: Showdown. A federal judge orders former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress. The Trump administration vowing to fight back as House Democrats are even closer to releasing their impeachment report. We're live at the White House. 

(....)

7:06 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Former White House Counsel Ordered to Testify; Judge Rules McGahn Must Comply with House Subpoena]

MELVIN: The impeachment is moving forward during what’s usually a quiet holiday week in Washington, and now a new federal ruling may put an end to what Democrats see as a White House effort to stonewall their investigation. NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker has more information on that. Kristen, good morning to you.

KRISTEN WELKER: Craig, good morning to you and that is right. The ruling is a major setback in President Trump's impeachment strategy after repeatedly blocking top former White House officials from cooperating with the inquiry. Former White House counsel, Don McGahn, has been ordered that he must obey a House subpoena to appear before Congress. Now, McGahn advised the President on all legal issues concerning the administration. A federal judge writing in part, “executive branch officials are not immune” from testifying despite the White House claim that officials are. The judge also adding “Presidents are not kings.” The White House vowing to appeal, saying the ruling “contradicts longstanding legal precedent.” Now, it is worth noting that McGahn was a key witness in Robert Mueller’s investigation into a Russian meddling. Still, it could have major implications for the Ukraine investigations, allowing Democrats to try to get testimony from other top administration official regarding the impeachment inquiry. Officials include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Craig?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: What’s Next in Impeachment Inquiry; Dems Push Ahead with Report as Trump Remains Defiant]

MELVIN: Kristen Welker from the White House this morning. Kristen, thank you. Now, for a bigger look at the impeachment, Neatl Katyal is a former acting solicitor general in the Obama administration. He is also an NBC legal analyst and he has a timely new book out today and it's called Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump. Always good to see, you buddy. Thanks for coming in.

NEAL KATYAL: Good morning.

MELVIN: So, this case — the Don McGahn case — this stems from the Russia investigation, but it’s a case that could have implications on the impeachment inquiry. How so? 

KATYAL: So, this is a huge loss for President Trump and the reason it has such huge implications for impeachment is that it’s a real rejection of what I call in the book the Trump manifesto, the idea that basically as an executive branch, the head of the executive branch, he and his employees are above the law. Judge Jackson’s ruling yesterday was definitive in saying, “nah uh, you’ve got to testify, White House employees.” And in this impeachment investigation, there are a lot of witnesses, and the president has gagged the entire executive branch, every employee from coming forward and testify and that includes his National Security Advisor, John Bolton, his Secretary of State, Pompeo. People like that. The ruling yesterday was not just about McGahn. It went further. It’s — 

MELVIN: And his acting White House chief of staff as well, Mick Mulvaney. 

KATYAL: Exactly, Mulvaney. So all these people now if you have to follow the ruling and it’ll be on appeal, of course, but that ruling says these people got to and testify. 

MELVIN: So you just mentioned the appeal. The Justice Department has indicated that it does plan to appeal. Then what? 

KATYAL: So, it’ll I think then move very quickly through the court of appeals and then maybe an attempt at the Supreme Court. My gut is the Supreme Court doesn’t hear this case. The Trump arguments here are pretty weak and the arguments in favor of testimony are very strong and, of course, impeachment is moving full steam ahead and I think the American people need to hear this evidence quickly. 

MELVIN: But to be clear here, the judge yesterday, did not and cannot compel these witnesses to necessary answer questions, correct? 

KATYAL: Well, they —

MELVIN: They can assert the executive privilege. 

KATYAL: They can assert executive privilege and that can be litigated as well and, look, I expect this president who has been hiding and obfuscating so much because he’s afraid of the truth coming out to try and do that, but I think the courts will move quickly just as they did with Richard Nixon and say, hey, you can’t play these games too long. In the book, I talk about that timeline in the Nixon impeachment. Three months start to finish in the executive privilege fights all the way up to the supreme court. 

MELVIN: It went fast. I know where you stand on impeachment. I mean, the title of the book is Impeach, but while you’re here, I want to get to one of the main arrangements from the President’s argument, one of them being that we have an election in 11 months and we should let the people decide. In fact, you write about this in the book. You write: “In a democracy, we have no responsibility more sacred than respecting the will of the people.” Why not respect the will of the people and just let them decide in 11 months?

KATYAL: Well, the will of the people is, of course, electing a president against a backdrop of an impeachment clause in the constitution and what they wants to do [sic], what Trump wants to do is read it out of the Constitution all together. Our founders and I talk about this in the book, were very worried about putting an impeachment clause in all together, but then they said, “well, what if someone cheats on a reelection? What if someone gets help from a foreign government?” And they agreed to put the impeachment clause in the Constitution for that reason and it’s kinda like I say in the book. It’s kind of, look, if you’re accused of cheating in a game of Monopoly, the last thing you do is resolve it by playing another game of Monopoly. Here is the allegation is the President cheated in the 2020 election.

(....)

8:04 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Former White House Counsel Ordered to Testify; Judge Rules McGahn Must Comply with House Subpoena]

MELVIN: A legal setback for trump, finishing touches on the impeachment report and the rough welcome for Michael Bloomberg. NBC White House correspondent Welker joins us now with the three things to watch in Washington today. Kristen, good morning to you. 

WELKER: Hi, Craig. Good morning to you. That’s right. The first big headline we’re watching: A federal judge delivers a major blow to President Trump's impeachment strategy of trying to block top White House officials from cooperating with the inquiry. That judge saying former White House counsel Don McGahn must obey a White House subpoena to appear before Congress. Now, it's worth noting that McGahn was a key witness in the Russia investigation. Still, the ruling could have major implications for the Ukraine probe, allowing Democrats to try to get testimony from other top administration officials. The Trump administration says it will appeal. The second big headline, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff saying he will release the Democrats report on the impeachment inquiry soon after Thanksgiving. In a letter to colleagues, Schiff saying the evidence “conclusively shows the president conditioned military aid to Ukraine on Ukraine announcing investigations into the 2016 election and the Bidens though the President denies that.

NB Daily Congress Mueller Report Trump Impeachment Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Craig Melvin George Stephanopoulos Cecilia Vega Jonathan Karl Kristen Welker Donald Trump
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