NBC Rushes to Promote Fired Benghazi Committee Staffer Giving ‘Lifeline’ to Hillary

On Monday, NBC’s Today seized on fired Benghazi Committee staffer Bradley Podliska slamming the investigation as a “partisan” attack on Hillary Clinton as correspondent Andrea Mitchell proclaimed: “...those sensational new charges come against the Republican-led Benghazi committee...from a Republican staff member...”

Mitchell began her full two-minute report: “Increased scrutiny this morning of the congressional committee investigating Benghazi after stunning claims from one of the committee's former investigators, a career intelligence analyst....Podliska, who was fired in June, says he was forced out because he resisted pressure to target Clinton.”

Clips ran of Podliska declaring: “This has become a partisan investigation. I honestly do not believe this investigation was set up to go after Hillary, I believe it shifted that way....As I’ve stated, Hillary Clinton has a lot of explaining to do. We, however, did not need to shift resources to hyper focus on Hillary Clinton.”

After playing soundbites of Benghazi Committee chairman Trey Gowdy blasting Podliska as “a lousy employee” who “mishandled classified information,” Mitchell quickly followed up with more accusations from the disgruntled former staffer:

Podliska’s attorney denies he mishandled classified information and says he plans to file a lawsuit charging that the committee's leadership was, quote, "Not interested in revealing the truth about the Benghazi attacks...but rather they intended to use the Select Committee on Benghazi for their party's political gain." And he claim the committee retaliated against him for taking leave for several weeks to go on active duty in Germany. If true, that would violate a federal law.

Mitchell wrapped up the segment by predicting political gain for Clinton after the well-timed claims: “The dispute could be a lifeline for Hillary Clinton as she prepares for tomorrow night's first Democratic debate. The Clinton camp is calling these allegations explosive against a committee investigation that was already under fire after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that the committee was created to damage Hillary Clinton politically.”

In addition to Monday’s report from Mitchell, on Sunday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kristen Welker offered a nearly three-minute segment pushing the story: “Stunning allegations from Air Force Major Bradley Podliska....The former investigator with the Republican-led committee examining the Benghazi attack says the group's actual target is Hillary Clinton.”

Monday’s CBS This Morning mentioned Podliska, but did not devote an entire story to the subject. Correspondent Nancy Cordes noted:

House Republicans are also dealing with new accusations that the House Benghazi committee has been too focused on Hillary Clinton and the State Department....In a civil complainant, a former committee investigator and Air Force reservest named Bradley Podliska accuses Republican leaders to “pressure him to focus his investigation on Secretary Clinton.”     

ABC’s Good Morning America avoided the Benghazi investigation completely on Monday.

Here is a full transcript of Mitchell’s October12 report:

7:10 AM ET

HODA KOTB: And as Mark [Halperin] said, one issue expected to come up at tomorrow night’s debate will be the ongoing investigation into the Benghazi embassy attack. Hillary Clinton is squarely at the center of that controversy, but now she's getting support from an unlikely source, a Republican investigator on that House committee investigating Benghazi. NBC's Andrea Mitchell also has the latest from Vegas. Hey, Andrea.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Benghazi Bias Against Clinton?; Former Investigator: This Has Become Partisan]

ANDREA MITCHELL: Hey, Hoda, good morning. Indeed, those sensational new charges come against the Republican-led Benghazi committee, do come from a Republican staff member – a former staff member who had been fired.

Increased scrutiny this morning of the congressional committee investigating Benghazi after stunning claims from one of the committee's former investigators, a career intelligence analyst, Air Force Major Bradley Podliska.

BRADLEY PODLISKA: This has become a partisan investigation. I honestly do not believe this investigation was set up to go after Hillary, I believe it shifted that way.

MITCHELL: Podliska, who was fired in June, says he was forced out because he resisted pressure to target Clinton.

PODLISKA: As I’ve stated, Hillary Clinton has a lot of explaining to do. We, however, did not need to shift resources to hyper focus on Hillary Clinton.

REP. TREY GOWDY: It's a damn lie and that’s not a word that I often use.

MITCHELL: In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Trey Gowdy, the committee chairman,  denies Publiska’s claims, saying he was fired for poor performance.

GOWDY: He was a lousy employee. And that was evidenced by the fact he mishandled classified information and he wouldn't do what his supervisors instructed him to do.

MITCHELL: Podliska’s attorney denies he mishandled classified information and says he plans to file a lawsuit charging that the committee's leadership was, quote, "Not interested in revealing the truth about the Benghazi attacks...but rather they intended to use the Select Committee on Benghazi for their party's political gain." And he claim the committee retaliated against him for taking leave for several weeks to go on active duty in Germany. If true, that would violate a federal law.

The dispute could be a lifeline for Hillary Clinton as she prepares for tomorrow night's first Democratic debate.

The Clinton camp is calling these allegations explosive against a committee investigation that was already under fire after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that the committee was created to damage Hillary Clinton politically. Matt and Hoda?

KOTB: Alright, Andrea. Andrea, thanks so much for that.

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