Networks Spin Sympathy for Rice to Attack Trump

All three networks gave full reports to the Susan Rice scandal Wednesday morning, but spent the majority of the time deflecting blame from Rice to attack President Trump. Just like yesterday, ABC and NBC offered the most biased coverage, going out of their way to attack Trump for his wiretapping claims instead of focusing on Rice’s history of lying about the unmasking allegations.

On ABC’s Good Morning America, anchor George Stephanopoulos brought on a liberal talking head to back up his defense of the former Obama National Security Advisor.

CNN analyst and Daily Beast editor-in-chief John Avlon laughed off the notion that this was anything but partisan politics at play, and claimed it was merely a “desperate” distraction to keep the investigation into Russia and Trump out of the headlines.

AVLON: This is being pumped up by partisan media as something equivalent to validate the President's claims.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It has nothing to do with the President's claims about wiretapping.

AVLON: Nothing to do with wiretapping at all, but that distinction is not -- is without a difference to most hard-core partisans right now who are desperately trying to defend the President or deflect away from the main investigation.

On NBC’s Today, anchor Matt Lauer began the Rice report by complaining that she was being “dragged” into “the conversation on Russia” by the Trump Administration. After hyping their “exclusive” interview with Rice, NBC got right back to blaming Trump for anything to do with Russia or surveillance.

LAUER: There are also some new twists in the Russia investigation. The White House and Republican lawmakers dragging former President Obama's National Security Advisor into the conversation. Now she's firing back exclusively to NBC's Andrea Mitchell.

After playing the clip of Rice denying she ever leaked intelligence, Mitchell brought the blame game back to Trump.

MITCHELL: It's the latest in a series of charges by the Trump Administration that critics say are designed to distract from the Russia investigation, and justify the president's explosive tweet a month ago: “Just found out that Obama had my wires tapped in Trump tower,” shot down immediately by top Republicans and FBI Director James Comey.

Immediately following this, Mitchell played a “greatest hits” roundup of Comey and other security and intelligence officials denying Trump’s claims of wiretapping, as if to delegitimize the Rice situation as just another unfounded tweet.

CBS This Morning report however, was the most straightforward of the three, offering commentary from both Republicans and Democrats. But CBS didn’t come away with a completely clean slate. They ended their report by shifting the blame back on Trump, just as ABC and NBC did, by airing a prediction from Democrat Congressman Joaquin Castro that some in Trump’s team would end up in jail after this investigation was over.

MAJOR GARRETT: Questions about Rice's actions and motivations have for the moment overshadowed the three ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro told CNN Tuesday evidence may lead to prison sentences for some in Mr. Trump's orbit.

REP. CASTRO: I wouldn't be surprised if, after all of this is said and done, that some people end up in jail.

NB Daily John Avlon Andrea Mitchell Matt Lauer George Stephanopoulos Susan Rice
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