CNN Uses Break to Hail Managers for Bashing Fox, Defend Hunter as ‘Irrelevant’ to Case

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Another day, another afternoon break on CNN with an oversized panel pretending to be proud parents of the House impeachment managers trying to undo the 2016 election. In Thursday’s afternoon break, CNN analysts, correspondents, and hosts sang the praises of the “clever,” “good,” and “interesting session” that, among other things, bashed Fox News and defended Hunter Biden.

In the rare semblance of balance, co-host Jake Tapper noted that manager and Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) spent time defending Hunter Biden’s actions on Ukraine when she could have taken a middle ground that, while continuing to opine that he did nothing illegal, could have “acknowledg[ed] that there is something that a lot of people might not like about it, that — whether you call it swampy or distasteful.”

 

 

“[B]y not acknowledging that point, does that cost her any points in terms of the case she's making with the senators that she is trying to convince,” he added.

Chief political analyst Gloria Borger replied by disagreeing and thus agreed with Garcia’s full-blown shrilling (click “expand”)

BORGER: Right, she could have done that, but once you open the door, you know, once there's a sliver, you can drive a truck through.

TAPPER: To what, facts? The truth? 

BORGER: No, because I think that Hunter Biden is — what he did being on the board as we all seem to agree, was not wise. It’s irrelevant to the case, so — to the case at hand, and I think she was trying to stick to the case at hand. 

TAPPER: Sure. 

BORGER: And I — but I do agree with you that if there were some clever way to say, I know what you're thinking about Hunter Biden and do it that way and raise the —

TAPPER: Quote what Hunter Biden said. 

BORGER: — but even raising the Trump kids would have been taken the wrong way by a lot of people in the Senate.

Borger then gushed that Garcia was “so good at....rebutting the Fox News theory of impeachment, and that's what she was doing, even using Fox News polls.”

Keeping the party going, both Inside Politics host John King and senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson hyped that Garcia was “clever.” For Henderson, she added that “these presentations much better, particularly than the earlier ones were yesterday” (which, aside from a few outliers, was misleading seeing as how CNN thought Wednesday was a rousing success).

Henderson continued (click “expand”):

They featured Lindsey Graham in one of the clips, him essentially saying that impeachment didn't require a crime, which of course we know is going to be one of the arguments from the Trump side....Old school Lindsey Graham...So, I mean, yeah, they used Jonathan Turley saying the same thing. Of course he was on the Republican side in this side. 

I thought that was very clever, it went much faster, and I also think as you see the different impeachment managers going from day-to-day, they're getting better themselves, right? I thought Val Demings was — was fine the first day, better the second day and the same thing with Sylvia Garcia. They're clearly getting more comfortable with the presentation aspect of this, which on the one hand is for those senators there, particularly those four senators we keep talking about, but also the American public. How can they put this information — there's a saying down south, put it where the goats can get it and I felt like today that is what we saw. This was very easy for folks to understand. 

Right before the trial resumed, former Obama official/CNN analyst Carrie Cordero complained about Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr joining the President’s legal team after the might have held differing views about the Clinton impeachment, calling it “real intellectual dishonesty.”

In other words, sounds about right for a former Obama official to cry foul.

To see the relevant CNN transcript from January 23, click “expand.”

CNN Senate Impeachment Trial
January 23, 2020
2:58 p.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: This was an interesting session, especially Congresswoman Garcia's comments because she spoke so — at such great length about Vice President Biden and his son Hunter to a lesser degree, and what was interesting about it — first of all, she laid out the case that the President was not actually interested in the allegations of corruption, he was just threatened by Joe Biden and his candidacy in 2020, and she also laid out the case, I think ably so, that when Vice President Biden, as vice president, pushed for Ukraine to remove a prosecutor that was widely perceived by the international community and the western world as being corrupt, Viktor Shokin, that he was doing so because that was in the interests of anti-corruption efforts, and she did a good job with that. One of the things I wonder about with her presentation, she pointed out there's no evidence that Hunter Biden has done anything wrong, but one of the things I wonder about in her presentation is — and we saw this issue with the Republicans not acknowledging — and we talked about it earlier this morning — the Republicans not acknowledging that President Trump did anything wrong at all, that it was a perfect call, and the sacrifices in credibility necessary when you make such a point because even Senator Santorum, who is a strong supporter of the President, says that he doesn't think President Trump should have done what he did. By not acknowledging that even Hunter Biden has said that in retrospect he shouldn't have taken that job and that in retrospect he was only hired because his last name is Biden, by not acknowledging that there is something that a lot of people might not like about it, that — whether you call it swampy or distasteful, by not acknowledging that point, does that cost her any points in terms of the case she's making with the senators that she is trying to convince? The four Republican senators they need to vote to try to get more evidence and I think that's — I think that's a question to — to throw to our panel. Would it have made her case stronger by saying, look, we all know this happens in Washington, D.C. and around the world. People trade in their last name, certainly there are people with the last name Trump that are benefitting from that, including the President.

GLORIA BORGER: She could.

TAPPER: But also people related to the President, but let's, you know, we should acknowledge that Hunter Biden has even said these things publicly. That doesn't merit the President pushing Ukraine for an investigation. 

BORGER: Right, she could have done that, but once you open the door, you know, once there's a sliver, you can drive a truck through.

TAPPER: To what, facts? The truth? 

BORGER: No, because I think that Hunter Biden is — what he did being on the board as we all seem to agree, was not wise. It’s irrelevant to the case, so — to the case at hand, and I think she was trying to stick to the case at hand. 

TAPPER: Sure. 

BORGER: And I — but I do agree with you that if there were some clever way to say, I know what you're thinking about Hunter Biden and do it that way and raise the —

TAPPER: Quote what Hunter Biden said. 

BORGER: — but even raising the Trump kids would have been taken the wrong way by a lot of people in the Senate.

TAPPER: Sure.

BORGER: So I think it's a fine line. What I think she was so good at was rebutting the Fox News theory of impeachment, and that's what she was doing, even using Fox News polls, which showed how Biden was running ahead of Donald Trump by a substantial amount at the same time that the President was doing this, and that he only did it because Joe Biden was suddenly a contender and that he didn't really care about this until Joe Biden became a contender. 

TAPPER: Right and let me reiterate that just because there is no evidence that President Trump —

BORGER: Yeah. Yes, of course.

TAPPER: — has been interested in ferreting out corruption anywhere. 

BORGER: Exactly. 

(....)

3:03 p.m. Eastern

JOHN KING: The other thing that was, I think, clever on her part was then getting to Rudy Giuliani by playing the clip of Tom Bossert, the President's former national security adviser, Homeland security adviser inside the White House because we all know this, we've talked about this many times, Republicans what they're saying publicly is very different from what they say privately, and they are — they are repulsed and worse by what Rudy Giuliani has done as the President's personal lawyer, not just in Ukraine but around the world, selling his brand by linking himself to the President of the United States and so she's sort of dropping that in there as the Democrats try to make the case come on, we need witnesses. Come on, open your minds. That was poking them at one particular point that does get — asked a Republican to publicly defend Rudy Giuliani, good luck. 

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: Yeah and overall these presentations much better, particularly than the earlier ones were yesterday. The use of videos —

TAPPER: Yeah.

HENDERSON: — the use of slides, 

BORGER: Yeah.

HENDERSON: — I thought it was also clever that they used Republicans, right? They featured Lindsey Graham in one of the clips, him essentially saying that impeachment didn't require a crime, which of course we know is going to be one of the arguments from the Trump side. 

TAPPER: Just to be clear, it was Clinton-era Lindsey Graham — 

HENDERSON: Exactly, exactly. Throwback.

TAPPER: — when Clinton was being impeached. 

WOLF BLITZER: 21 years ago.

HENDERSON: Old school Lindsey Graham, yeah, that's right. So, I mean, yeah, they used Jonathan Turley saying the same thing. Of course he was on the Republican side in this side. I thought that was very clever, it went much faster, and I also think as you see the different impeachment managers going from day-to-day, they're getting better themselves, right? I thought Val Demings was — was fine the first day, better the second day and the same thing with Sylvia Garcia. They're clearly getting more comfortable with the presentation aspect of this, which on the one hand is for those senators there, particularly those four senators we keep talking about, but also the American public. How can they put this information — there's a saying down south, put it where the goats can get it and I felt like today that is what we saw. This was very easy for folks to understand. 

(....)

3:24 p.m. Eastern

TAPPER: How about Ken Starr? Ken Starr, who brought the case against Bill Clinton is actually now making the exact opposite arguments he made before to defend President Trump. 

KING: Notice that Starr here is going to face — his argument we were told by the Trump team is to argue this doesn't reach the historical bar for impeachment, but one of the giant issues here, let's say he argues the specifics of the obstruction count because Ken Starr railed repeatedly — repeatedly against Bill Clinton denying access to things and trying to throw up roadblocks to things and Bill Clinton did some of those things. He did. Bill Clinton's lawyers would say they had every right to do them, but if we're talking about mountain and mole hill, what President Trump has done compared to what the Clinton White House did, they're not in the same universe. 

BORGER: And there's a real danger for Jerry Nadler because the President's lawyers, I'm not going to predict, but it's not a bad bet they would play this same game with Jerry Nadler who said in the Clinton impeachment if they want to play a little video that “there must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an impeachment substantially supported by one of our major political parties. Such an impeachment would lack legitimacy.” So —

HENDERSON: Yeah.

BORGER: If I'm one of their lawyers I'm looking at that video right now. 

TAPPER: Carrie, Carrie, one of the — lawyers are — it is not uncommon for somebody who was a defense attorney to become a prosecuting attorney and make the exact opposite arguments and vice versa. People in the district attorney’s office become very highly paid defense attorneys and make opposite arguments. But politics, hypoc — such — I don't want to say hypocrisy necessarily, if you’re a lawyer, it’s a different thing, but in politics it's judged differently. 

CARRIE CORDERO: Yeah, so I've really been thinking about this particular issue a lot, thinking about the role of lawyers and the fact that lawyers do argue other sides of issues. This strikes me as something different. This strikes me the lawyers who are making constitutional arguments is real intellectual dishonesty because if you are presenting your view as an interpretation of the Constitution, particularly, for example, for Professor Dershowitz who is going to argue as a constitutional law expert, once you put yourself out in the world as an expert on constitutional law, to take a different view of how you interpret it really is not the same as making a different argument on behalf of a client because you're in a litigation. 

NB Daily Trump Impeachment Fox News Channel CNN Jake Tapper Gloria Borger John King Nia-Malika Henderson Joe Biden Donald Trump
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