The Biden documents scandal entered its second week Monday and, on the flagship broadcast network morning news shows, ABC’s Good Morning America remained in a defensive mode for Team Biden by repeatedly insisting the White House will be cooperative and transparent with the special counsel, fretting “Republicans...are now pouncing,” and boasting Republicans will never be able to find out who’s been visiting Biden at his Wilmington, Delaware home.
Senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce may have tried to seem tough, but she was her usual self in falling on the grenades. She noted that “the White House is hardly being forthcoming,” but then said in the next sentence that “[t]hey are being extremely cautious” and fretting a “sense of drip, drip, drip” has set in.
After passing along the weekend’s developments with more documents found last week at Biden’s personal residence having triggered “more questions,” Bruce went into attack mode: “Republicans, who have shown little interest in investigating Donald Trump's handling of classified documents, are now pouncing on the President.”
Later, she touted the White House’s propaganda about how they’ll be exonerated, whereas Donald Trump was in deep trouble. Bruce then tag-teamed with co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos to rub Republican noses in the fact that they won’t be able to find out who’s been visiting Biden in Delaware (which he’s spent 163 days since taking office) (click “expand”):
BRUCE: Now, the White House insists they are fully cooperating with the special counsel and they say that is one s of the key differences here, that President Biden, they say, is doing this by the book, working with investigators while former President Trump resisted for months, refusing to turn over those of hundreds of classified documents stored at Mar-a-Lago, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Mary, we heard Republicans asking for visitors logs there, but those don't exist, right?
BRUCE: Yeah, George. No, they don't. We are told that the President's private residence is private, that he doesn't keep an exact track of who is coming and going, so that is something that House Republicans are not going to be getting, George.
This same attitude continued into the second hour with Bruce re-upping her nothing-to-see-here attitude, including her “pounced” line. For his part, Stephanopoulos made sure to tamp down any thought that someone could face charges: “No evidence at all this is an obstruction case.”
CBS Mornings continued to have some tough lines but mixed in with some spin. Co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King said in a tease that Biden was “fac[ing] fresh criticism from both parties as more pages marked classified are discovered” while correspondent Adriana Diaz added at the top of her report that “President Biden was facing a growing storm of criticism for his handling of classified materials,” with “Republican lawmakers...ramping up for investigations, and one Democratic senator...calling the situation embarrassing.”
After emphasizing nothing about this scandal was “public until CBS News asked the White House about it one week ago,” Diaz contrasted the two parties by saying “Democrats say there are key differences” between the Trump and Biden cases “while some Republicans alleged a double standard.”
King brought in chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes for a second segment and fretted that “Democrats keep saying there's a big difference, a big difference, but if you're a viewer sitting at home, I think it may be hard to figure out what the difference is.”
“Moving forward, how do you think this is going to affect the Biden administration,” she wondered, leading Cordes to similar bemoan that “it is certainly diverting attention.”
Cordes also shared the White House spin that Americans don’t care about any of this, which cued King up to fret that this matter was “so unsettling” for her with “the drip, drip, drippity drip” (click “expand”):
CORDES: Now, White House officials I've spoken to insist that the public isn't paying all that much attention to this, that Americans care about other big issues like the economy and inflation. But Democratic lawmakers I've spoken to do worry that this is going to make it much harder to create a contrast with former President Trump and his mishandling of classified documents in the run-up to the 2024 election.
KING: The other thing that's so unsettling, Nancy, is the drip, drip, drippity drip that just keeps coming out about these documents. And the Biden administration keeps saying we're very transparent, this is what we did right away. Do you think they're upholding their end of the bargain about being transparent as they've always promised to be?
CORDES: Well, they've certainly gotten a lot of criticism for their decision not to disclose any of this for two months until after CBS News broke the story last week. And that may be why the President's personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, came out with a statement over the weekend trying to explain the decision.
As for NBC’s Today, they made it about how Republicans are the ones who are “demanding answers.”
“Republicans are ratcheting up pressure on President Biden and demanding answers after the discovery of even more classified documents at his home in Delaware,” said fill-in co-host Sheinelle Jones.
White House correspondent Monica Alba reported that there was “[f]rustration growing this morning inside the White House over the ongoing backlash to the discovery of classified documents.”
Alba said that Biden “stay[ed] silent” over the weekend while “celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr.” in Atlanta and his lawyers largely did the same because, according to personal lawyer Bob Bauer, they can’t be transparent “while [the investigation] is ongoing.”
After recapping the Democratic defense on the Sunday shows that Trump’s Mar-a-Lago case is far worse than Bidens, Alba conceded “that hasn't stopped House Republicans from already launching several investigations.”
Alba wrapped by noting the demand from House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) for a visitor’s log of Biden’s residence since there’s what she called “a potential national security concern when it comes to any individuals with possible foreign connections who might have had access to the documents in recent years.”
While the liberal media should be outraged that there isn’t an official visitor’s log for a place where Biden has resided for nearly half an entire calendar year, they haven’t (leaving it to reporters like the New York Post’s Steven Nelson), and instead framed it as a partisan request.
Monday’s White House spin was brought to you by advertisers such as Aleve (on CBS), Apple (on NBC), and Nature’s Bounty (on ABC). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant transcript from January 16, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).