Chuck Todd: Media Would Cover Hillary Scandal if Not for Trump

As news broke Friday in The Wall Street Journal about Hillary Clinton’s private server containing e-mails discussing classified drone strikes, on NBC’s Today, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd assured viewers that he and his media colleagues would cover the scandal everyday if not for their obsession with Donald Trump’s controversies.

Co-host Savannah Guthrie lamented: “Clinton had a good day yesterday and then this morning she wakes up to another article about her e-mails.” Moments later, Todd proclaimed: “You know, 10 days ago is when the [State Department] IG report came out on e-mails. The last ten days could have been about nothing but e-mails, nothing but negatives about Hillary Clinton. We could be talking about Democratic hand-wringing, but there's Donald Trump. Enough said.”

MSNBC’s Morning Joe crew made a similar argument, actually mocking Trump for failing to keep the focus on Clinton’s scandals as they themselves avoided the topic.

On Today, political analyst Nicolle Wallace used the opportunity to explain the “Republican freakout” over Trump:

...the treasure trove of opportunity to really point to problematic questions about Hillary Clinton's judgment, whether it's her e-mails, whether it’s her conduct and interaction with the Clinton Foundation. And ever since Clinton's alleged foreign policy speech, Republicans have been at Defcon 4 with exasperation over Trump’s sort of refusal to this point to make a disciplined, concerted case about these kinds of topics.

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Despite Trump being in the news, ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning both managed to cover the e-mail scandal revelation as well.

On GMA, fill-in co-host Amy Robach broached the subject at the end of a detailed report on a new revelation in the Clinton Foundation scandal:

AMY ROBACH: And Brian, There is another new report about Hillary's e-mails on the front page of the Wall Street Journal linking them to some potentially sensitive messages about drone strikes overseas.

BRIAN ROSS: That's right. The Wall Street Journal is reporting the ongoing FBI investigation is focusing on these messages sent by American diplomats in Pakistan about pending drone attacks which ended up on her personal e-mail server. But the Journal says the messages were vaguely worded and did not use the term CIA or drone. ABC News has not been able to independently confirm the Journal’s report, Amy.

In a news brief for This Morning, co-host Norah O’Donnell provided a mild assessment of the major development:

The Wall Street Journal looks at some of the messages at the center of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. They concerned whether the State Department opposed specific drone strikes in Pakistan. Sources say the emails were sent between American diplomats in Pakistan and Washington while Clinton was Secretary of State. Some messages were forwarded by Clinton aides to her personal e-mail account. A Clinton campaign spokesman says if the e-mail descriptions are true, then they were probably widely sent within the government.   

Here is a transcript of the June 10 exchange on Today:

7:08 AM ET

(...)

GUTHRIE: Okay, let me bring up a newspaper article this morning, front page of The Wall Street Journal. So Clinton had a good day yesterday and then this morning she wakes up to another article about her e-mails. This one says that State Department officials in Pakistan sent e-mails to CIA officials that cryptically referred to drones, which are supposed to be classified. They did so on an unclassified system, it got forwarded to Hillary Clinton. A lot of information there, but what's the bottom line in terms of the importance?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Clinton’s Lingering E-Mail Issues; Investigation Making Headlines Amid Endorsements]

WALLACE: The bottom line is that the Republican freakout exists on two pillars. One, sort of the tone and tenor of Trump's comments and his candidacy. The second, the opportunity, the treasure trove of opportunity to really point to problematic questions about Hillary Clinton's judgment, whether it's her e-mails, whether it’s her conduct and interaction with the Clinton Foundation. And ever since Clinton's alleged foreign policy speech, Republicans have been at Defcon 4 with exasperation over Trump’s sort of refusal to this point to make a disciplined, concerted case about these kinds of topics.

DALY: Meanwhile, Chuck, Trump waking up this morning to that USA Today report that basically says he stiffed small businesses in the past, the working man, that’s his base. Is that gonna hurt him?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Did Donald Trump Stiff Workers?; Report: Hundreds Accuse Candidate of Not Paying Up]

TODD: It could if it gets turned into a concerted effort. You have to spend a lot of money as a campaign organization to sort of – to sell that topic, to get voters to know that. Think of it as sort of similar to how Bain and Romney.

But very quickly, on Nicolle’s point, you know, this 10-day period, it could have been a lot different. You know, 10 days ago is when the IG report came out on e-mails. The last ten days could have been about nothing but e-mails, nothing but negatives about Hillary Clinton. We could be talking about Democratic hand-wringing, but there's Donald Trump. Enough said.

GUTHRIE: Well, we will see what the next few days hold. Alright, guys, thank you so much, have a great weekend.


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