Thursday morning on Good Morning America, the ABC News team were eager to bash Trump for his comment to the New York Times, stating he “thought” Susan Rice committed a crime in requesting the classified identities of Trump associates, while she was Obama’s National Security Advisor. Cecilia Vega centered her report on Trump’s claim instead of Rice’s actions, before George Stephanopoulos brought on analysts to continue criticizing Trump and defending Rice.
If there was one thing ABC wanted you to take away from watching this morning’s show, it was that Trump had made this accusation “without any evidence.” The news anchors hammered that home five times in the whopping 5 minute, 15 second segment, (a story which NBC only gave a passing 29 seconds, for comparison, and CBS didn’t give any time at all to this morning.)
Anchor George Stephanopoulos slammed Trump’s “evidence-free” claim, right off the bat.
“We move on to new evidence-free allegation from President Trump,” he began, before handing the report off to Vega.
VEGA: This isn't the first time President Trump has accused someone in the Obama Administration of committing a crime without having any evidence to back it up. First that wiretapping claim, now the president is pointing fingers directly at Susan Rice.
“Without offering any evidence,” Vega said again, “the President accusing former National Security Advisor Susan Rice of committing a crime.” After playing Rice’s denial, Vega ended her report by eagerly noting that Trump was still insisting that the Russia story was “a total hoax.”
In case you missed the multiple times ABC slammed the “evidence free” accusation in Vega’s report, the news network thought it was necessary to continue hammering home that point in the next segment. Stephanopoulos brought on analysts Matthew Dowd and Dan Abrams to continue making the same point while a chyron read, “Is there evidence to back up accusation?”
“It almost can't be stressed enough. Unmasking, a term we learned in the last few days, is not a crime,” Stephanopoulos began.
Matthew Dowd then went on attack mode against Trump, accusing him of trying to distract the media from the Russia investigation, with this charge against Rice.
He's got all these other controversies, this smells like a diversion. This smells like I'm going to talk about something else. He's done this numerous times throughout the campaign and throughout his presidency when something else -- when a fire is burning in one place he tries to start a fire in another place.
Stephanopoulos ended the segment by lamenting that the media didn’t know how to “deal” with these “evidence free” claims from Trump anymore.
You know you saw, Dan Abrams, Susan Rice not even responding to this. And I almost wonder sometimes how we should all deal with it given the fact it's the president saying this, yet, making the claims without any evidence at all.