Irony abounded on Tuesday as all three network morning shows used Democratic Party talking points to accuse Republican House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes of bias. While advancing a liberal partisan agenda, NBC, ABC, and CBS correspondents laughably told viewers that it was Congressman Nunes who had “lost even the appearance of impartiality.”
On NBC’s Today, correspondent Peter Alexander led off a report at the top of the program by reciting nasty smears against Nunes by his Democratic colleagues: “...this morning, top Democrats are effectively saying the way the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is running his investigation is a sham. They argue, after his latest revelations, that Devin Nunes has simply lost even the appearance of impartiality.”
The reporter breathlessly hyped liberal lawmakers jumping at the chance to pile on the Republican:
A striking new demand this morning from the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat. Adam Schiff calling on the panel's Republican chairman, Devin Nunes, to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, arguing he’s compromised his credibility....Nancy Pelosi quickly following suit, pressing House Speaker Paul Ryan to insist Nunes recuse himself.
Alexander briefly explained: “The controversy follows Nunes’s stunning acknowledgment that he met a secret source last week on White House grounds to review classified documents. That meeting exactly one day before returning to brief President Trump about his claim that U.S. spies may have “incidentally” scooped up communications involving the President and his associates, improperly revealing their names.”
Following the report, co-host Matt Lauer grilled South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham on the topic and demanded that he call on Nunes to step down:
If you take all the questions about this classified information that Congressman Nunes received....And you add to that the fact that he was an adviser to the Trump transition, aren't there enough questions that he should, at the very least, recuse himself from any investigation involving the Trump campaign and Russia?...doesn't he have to recuse himself?
On ABC’s Good Morning America, correspondent Cecilia Vega showed similar sudden concern for objectivity even as did the Democrats’ bidding: “Those calls for him to step down are growing louder. Democrats say he has tarnished Congress’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling....Congressman Devin Nunes facing questions about impartiality.”
She touted: “The backlash swift with Democrats calling on the chairman to step aside....The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee adding to the chorus.”
On CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose introduced a report on the topic by proclaiming: “Top congressional Democrats say the House Intelligence Committee’s chairman cannot be trusted with the investigation of Russian interference in the election....Democrats want Nunes to recuse himself.” Correspondent Jeff Pegues declared: “Democrats are accusing Nunes of trying to shield the President in the midst of the investigation into whether his campaign team coordinated with Russian operatives.”
The liberal media “lost even the appearance of impartiality” long ago and journalists now have the audacity to hurl such a charge at someone else.
A recent Media Research Center study pointed out the hypocrisy of the network evening shows repeatedly demanding evidence of any improper surveillance of Donald Trump or his campaign associates and then scolding Nunes for attempting to offer some.
Here is a full transcript of the March 28 report on Today:
7:02 AM ET
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let's get to our top story first. Growing calls for the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the election. This after it was revealed that he had a secret meeting on White House grounds. As for President Trump, he was very busy on Twitter over the night. We’re going to talk about all of this with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham in just a moment, but first, NBC’s Peter Alexander at the White House with all of it. Peter, good morning.
PETER ALEXANDER: Hey, Matt, Savannah, good morning to you. Overnight, President Trump venting on Twitter. Again dismissing the entire Russia story – [coughs] excuse me – as a hoax. But this morning, top Democrats are effectively saying the way the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is running his investigation is a sham. They argue, after his latest revelations, that Devin Nunes has simply lost even the appearance of impartiality.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Calls Grow For Intel Chair to Step Aside; Secret WH Meeting at Center of Controversy]
A striking new demand this morning from the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat. Adam Schiff calling on the panel's Republican chairman, Devin Nunes, to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, arguing he’s compromised his credibility.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF [(D-CA) HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE]: I think that given his role in the transition team and the events of the past week, it just has too much called into question whether he has the objectivity necessary to oversee this investigation.
ALEXANDER: Nancy Pelosi quickly following suit, pressing House Speaker Paul Ryan to insist Nunes recuse himself. Overnight, the California congressman not backing down.
REP. DEVIN NUNES [ (R-CA) HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR]: Well, I'm sure that the Democrats do want me to quit because they know that I'm quite effective at getting to the bottom of things.
BILL O’REILLY: Alright, well let's hope so, Congressman.
ALEXANDER: The controversy follows Nunes’s stunning acknowledgment that he met a secret source last week on White House grounds to review classified documents. That meeting exactly one day before returning to brief President Trump about his claim that U.S. spies may have “incidentally” scooped up communications involving the President and his associates, improperly revealing their names. Nunes denies coordinating with the President's aides.
NUNES: If I really wanted to, I could have snuck on to the grounds late at night and probably nobody would have seen me, but I wasn't trying to hide.
ALEXANDER: Nunes is defending his decision to review the intelligence reports in a secure facility at the White House complex, but not in the White House itself, because he says the information had not been given to Congress.
NUNES: Probably at least once a week, if not more than that, we have to go to the executive branch in order to read classified intelligence.
ALEXANDER: Fellow Republicans are standing by Nunes.
REP. TREY GOWDY [R-SC]: Whether it's the White House or Waffle House, what difference does it make if the information is reliable and authentic? It just so happens Devin had to do it this way.
ALEXANDER: Meanwhile, the mystery over Moscow’s meddling is growing, with President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner volunteering to testify before senators investigating the Russia connection.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Jared Kushner to Testify; Senate Panel on Russia Ties to Interview Trump Son-in-Law]
Those senators zeroing in on Kushner’s meetings last December with the Russian ambassador and the head of a Russian state-owned bank sanctioned by the Obama administration. A White House aide telling NBC News during the campaign and transition Kushner was fulfilling his role as the “official primary point of contact with foreign governments and officials.”
Also today, the President is expected to take a big step toward reversing President Obama's efforts to combat climate change. President Trump will go to the Environmental Protection Agency to sign an executive order on energy independence, in the words of senior administration officials, that will also initiate a review of the Obama administration's clean power plan that sought to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. A one senior administration official described it to us, the best way to protect the environment is to make sure the economy is strong. Matt and Savannah?
GUTHRIE: Peter Alexander, another busy day at the White House.