Tuesday morning on Good Morning America, ABC failed to lead with the pivotal news that broke last night on the ongoing Russia investigation; that the House Intelligence Committee had concluded their investigation and found no proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.
As to be expected, this important announcement was brushed under the rug by all three networks March 12 on their evening broadcasts, giving under a minute of coverage to the story. ABC gave a more thorough report to the crucial development on their March 13 morning show, but only to dismiss the news as essentially “fake news,” even calling into question the credibility of the committee solely because it was led by Republicans.
Fill-in anchor Cecilia Vega introduced the story by dismissing it as inconsequential, because the really important investigation was still ongoing.
“House Republicans ending their probe saying this they found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. But Democrats on that committee say this is all a move to protect the president... This may be the end of one investigation but that big one, Robert Mueller's probe, that’s still going on,” she reminded viewers, handing off to Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.
“It sure is,” Karl noted, emphasizing that Democrats were still investigating in the Senate as well. Karl sarcastically noted that “not surprisingly” President Trump was “declaring victory on Twitter” before adding that this report couldn’t be trusted because it was “highly partisan.”
“[B]ut as you know, Cecilia, this has been a highly partisan investigation from the start,” he gushed, adding that not a “single Democrat” agreed with the findings. Karl touted Democrat Adam Schiff’s rebuke to “GOP members who lack the courage to stand up to the president,” direly adding that “national interest necessitates” the party find something against Trump.
Vega and Karl ended the report sowing more doubt, alleging that the House’s findings contradict the intelligence community’s probe. “Yeah, remember, the intelligence community found that, in fact, Russia was trying to help get Trump elected. They put out a statement saying they stand by those findings,” Karl stated.
As ABC likes to do, they also singled out a Republican who agreed with the Democrats. Anchor George Stephanopoulos gushed that there was one committee member who disagreed with the findings. “Tom Rooney of Florida who also said this calls into question the credibility of the investigation,” he emphasized. “Not in perfect lockstep with the Republican majority there,” he eagerly noted.
The report, heavy-laden with scornful skepticism was similar to how ABC treated the news last night. On World News Tonight, Jon Karl scoffed, “These are the Republicans that control that committee...The finding is hardly surprising.”
Read the full transcript below:
ABC’s Good Morning America
CECILIA VEGA: We want to turn now to those new developments in the Russia investigation. House Republicans ending their probe saying this they found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. But Democrats on that committee say this is all a move to protect the president. ABC's Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl is in Washington. This may be the end of one investigation but that big one, Robert Mueller's probe, that’s still going on.
JON KARL: It sure is and, of course, the Senate Intelligence Committee is still investigating but the House Republicans, Cecilia, say that their investigation is over, concluding, quote, ‘The Russians did commit active measures in our election in '16 and we think they will do so in the future but adding we disagree with the narrative they were trying to help Trump and we found no evidence of collusion. Perhaps some bad judgment and inappropriate meetings.’
Now, not surprisingly the president is declaring vindication in all caps on Twitter touting the findings: ‘the House Intelligence Committee has after a 14-month-long in-depth investigation found no evidence of collusion’ but as you know, Cecilia, this has been a highly partisan investigation from the start. The Democrats, not a single one of them on the Committee agrees with this. The top Democrat tweeting directly at the president, this was not the finding of the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. President, but only a statement by its GOP members who lack the courage to stand up to a president of their own party when the national interest necessitates it.
VEGA: Yeah, Jon, in all caps from the president but the intelligence community, they are not backing down from their conclusions on this one.
KARL: Yeah, remember, the intelligence community found that, in fact, Russia was trying to help get Trump elected. They put out a statement saying they stand by those findings.
VEGA: Ok, Jon Karl, thanks.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You also have a key Republican on the committee, Tom Rooney of Florida who also said this calls into question the credibility of the investigation, not in perfect lockstep with the Republican majority there.