Deadline: White House provided MSNBC late Wednesday afternoon with only the third mention of the bombshell revelation from Special Counsel John Durham on alleged spying against the Trump campaign and early presidency, but they predictably used 16 minutes and 10 seconds to dismiss it as “dangerous disinformation” peddled by “right-wing media.”
Ironically, this came after the first half-hour of the show was spent spinning webs about Donald Trump’s White House visitor logs and January 6 prosecutions. In other words, it begs the question: Do these people ever hear themselves talk?
“Remember Spygate? Well, Trump and his allies never really let it go and they’re back this week. Again, alleging hacking and intercepting...with some new names. None of what they’re alleging is true,” host Nicolle Wallace said in a tease.
She added in a second one that “the spreading” and “dissemination of disinformation by right-wing media is not new and it’s not a bug, it’s a feature, but they’re at it again” by “misrepresenting a court filing and running wall to wall coverage[.]”
Going to break, she described serious coverage of Durham’s filing against Clinton affiliated lawyer Michael Sussmann as a “dangerous narrative.”
Accompanied by a chyron decrying “Conspiracies in Right-Wing Media About Democrats Spying on Trump,” Wallace showed zero irony in lamenting how “Trump and his allies and conservative media have been totally consumed by a story, they say, wait for it, is bigger than Watergate” that “[t]hose of us on earth one may have missed.”
Wallace then summarized the allegation before reading an excerpt from this snarky condemnation from New York Times reporter Charlie Savage and welcoming in said reporter with deranged MSNBC contributor Frank Figliuzzi.
Taking her viewers from their bubble to their cartoonish view of the right, Wallace warned: “[I]f you don’t tune in to the events on earth two, on right-wing media, you don’t know that this is still such a big deal on the right, these conspiracy theories about Trump being spied upon.”
Savage went on a lengthy explanation on his view of the case, insisting a detail about Russian phones in proximity to the White House had long been reported by The Times, arguing the internet data had an unknown time stamp, and downplaying Sussmann’s connection to Clinton.
This was despite the fact that Sussmann was a lawyer with the massive firm Perkins Coie, which worked for the Clinton team, and the filing stating he was billing the campaign for his work on the activity.
The two continued to explain away the case by dismissing the picking up of server data (click “expand”):
WALLACE: Because the data happens when Obama was president, so the most honest effort to strain the facts would be that Obama’s White House was spied on by Hillary’s associates. I mean, I can’t follow the thread out the window from where the good faith effort ends, and the outright lie starts.
SAVAGE: Well, I mean, the whole spying on thing is a very, sort of, tort way of putting analysis of this kind of data. This data exists on internet servers, as I understand it around the world. It’s kind of like phone books that when your computer or your smartphone is going to look up — go to a website, first, it has to ping one of these servers to say, what is the digital address of the thing that I know of as nytimes.com or msnbc.com, or whatever? And it gets a string of numbers. And then that data, which is called DNS data, is kind of an echo. It’s like a looking — some of us looking up this server. It’s — and you can exist in the wild. And in fact, this data that was being analyzed by the cyber-security researchers at Georgia Tech, because DARPA, a military agency that asked these security researchers to look at it for signs of hacking a malicious activity after Russian malware was found in the White House network in 2015 and then Russians hacked, of course, the Democratic Party servers in 2016. So, they were looking for signs that there was some kind of malware pinging weird Russian websites in networks connected with the government, connected with people associated with the campaign....What I don’t fully understand either is that the Obama White House era data — there may be two different issues here and this is still a little bit murky to me, I have to say. Maybe someone had one of these weird smartphones in the White House, totally unrelated to Trump, and then someone else has had one of these weird white phones — Russian phones in the Trump area[.]
Figliuzzi later said that fighting back against Durham coverage was not only “important” but necessary “at risk of peril to yourself.”
“[I]t’s really important to take the time to break this down and get the truth out...[T]here are platforms out there that are all too happy to provide the public the simple explanation to what is otherwise an incredibly complicated story,” he added.
He explained that, by not doing so, people will “default to...dangerous disinformation” that’s placed Hilary Clinton in peril.
Figliuzzi also turned his guns on Durham (click “expand”):
FIGLIUZZI: I expect this behavior of Fox News folks. What I’m really kind of continued — continue to be perplexed by is the conduct of John Durham. The guy should have known that this filing was going on just like fire to disinformation echo chambers, yet, he put this out there. He now has a responsibility. If he were a reasonable prosecutor to come in and say, look, I can’t comment on the case, but I got to tell you, this has been really misconstrued. I didn’t say this, this, and this, and then he just walks away. Will he do that? No. Will — should Merrick Garland come in soon and ask John Durham where in heaven’s name he’s headed with this, particularly with Friday, a hearing coming where Sussmann is supposed to ask the judge to toss the case against him? Would that be a good time then for Merrick Garland to say to Durham, what are you doing and when are you done? Yes.
WALLACE: We’re getting more on what Durham is doing and why this story matters. It’s important to show you the absolute finger in the electrical socket that it caused one Laura Ingraham, more on that on the other side of a break. Don’t go anywhere.
In a second segment, Wallace used a clip of her interview with corrupt former FBI agent Peter Strzok as a way of painting Durham’s probe as a waste when the real problem lies with Trump.
Of note was this admission from Savage about Durham’s case against Steele dossier source Igor Danchenko: “Obviously, the Steele dossier is a fairly discredited document at this point, by far, actually, I would say.”
That would run counter to what Wallace said in February 2018 that the dossier had credibility because “a third of it has been proven true” by someone who’s “credible all over the world” and “an expert in Russia.”
This outright dismissal of spying against Trump was made possible thanks to the support of advertisers such as Stanley Steemer and Wayfair. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from February 16, click here.