MSNBC Hypes ‘Breakdown-Level Anxiety’ in White House Over Mueller Report

Eager for Thursday’s release of the Mueller report, on Wednesday morning, MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson and the Washington Post’s Phil Rucker could barely contain their excitement at the prospect of scouring the document for any “derogatory” information that may make President Trump “look bad.” Jackson even claimed there was “breakdown-level anxiety” throughout the White House.

“Right now, the political world is waiting for one of the most consequential documents in recent memory,” Jackson breathlessly proclaimed at the top of the segment. Turning to Rucker, she gushed: “And, Phil, can I blow your spot up? You sat down on set and you said, ‘Here we go, one day.’ T-minus one, that’s what we’re at, right? So the countdown is on.” Rucker gleefully added: “We’ve been waiting two years for this.”

 

 

Moments later, the Post White House Bureau Chief excitedly declared:

And the White House, as you know, is bracing for there to be a lot of derogatory, negative, unflattering information about the President, particularly on the question of obstruction of justice. That doesn’t mean it’s criminal necessarily, but it’ll make him look bad.

Jackson hyperbolically announced: “Yeah, one source described it to me as breakdown-level anxiety inside the West Wing.” She wondered: “Are you hearing similar?” Rucker quickly agreed: “I think that’s exactly right....what might be surprising for Trump is how damaging it all is, collectively, in a narrative form.”

Later in the discussion, Rucker further assured liberal viewers:

This is something that could potentially have legs and it’s something that the Democrats in the House, where they have the majority, are gonna want to carry forward. So there might be things in this report that the Democrats then pick up to investigate further or sort of continue on.

Despite the dire predictions from Jackson and Rucker, just two hours earlier, during the 9:00 a.m. ET hour, MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle highlighted a report describing how unconcerned many in the White House were about Mueller’s findings becoming public:

While we all brace for the release of Robert Mueller’s 400-page report, the president and his legal team seem to be treating it as a formality. According to multiple reports, the White House now believes the central findings on collusion and obstruction will not be affected. The Atlantic says, quote, “White House officials are now convinced, for perhaps the first time in the last two years, that Mueller’s investigation poses no political or legal threat to their boss’s job security, not to mention their own.”

Even as many in the media have preemptively warned of Attorney General William Barr orchestrating a “cover-up” of the Mueller report, some journalists are still holding out hope for anything they can use to damage the President.

Here is a transcript of the April 17 exchange between Jackson and Rucker:

11:29 AM ET

HALLIE JACKSON: Right now, the political world is waiting for one of the most consequential documents in recent memory. Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference. We know it’s nearly 400 pages, but we don’t know how much of it we will actually be able to read and how much will be redacted. Let me bring in Phil Rucker, White House Bureau Chief for the Washington Post, and an MSNBC political analyst. Along with former federal prosecutor Kathy Fleming. Thanks to you both for being here. And, Phil, can I blow your spot up? You sat down on set and you said, “Here we go, one day.” T-minus one, that’s what we’re at, right? So the countdown is on.

PHIL RUCKER [WASHINGTON POST]: We’ve been waiting two years for this.

JACKSON: And so has the President, right, and so has his team and his lawyers. Here is how he reacted in the days right after Attorney General William Barr released his summary of principle conclusions. Let’s take that trip down memory lane.

[MONTAGE OF TRUMP DECLARING “NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION”]

JACKSON: Any reason to think the President’s gonna have a different reaction after tomorrow morning?

RUCKER: I imagine, Hallie, he’s going to have the same reaction despite what could be in the report. And the White House, as you know, is bracing for there to be a lot of derogatory, negative, unflattering information about the President, particularly on the question of obstruction of justice. That doesn’t mean it’s criminal necessarily...

JACKSON: Right.

RUCKER: ...but it’ll make him look bad. But they’re still going to point to those top line conclusions that the attorney general drew in the letter.

JACKSON: Yeah, one source described it to me as breakdown-level anxiety inside the West Wing. Are you hearing similar?

RUCKER: I think that’s exactly right. And the thing to remember is that the people in the White House, many of them have been witnesses for this investigation. They’ve told their stories. They know what Robert Mueller knows because they know what they told him. They know which e-mails they handed over. So there shouldn’t be a whole lot of surprises here. But what might be surprising for Trump is how damaging it all is, collectively, in a narrative form.

(...)

RUCKER: Well, it’ll be an important document. And I think it’ll be difficult for the White House to just brush it aside by saying, you know, it’s harassment of the President. This is something that could potentially have legs and it’s something that the Democrats in the House, where they have the majority, are gonna want to carry forward. So there might be things in this report that the Democrats then pick up to investigate further or sort of continue on. And we also could have a lot of redactions in this report. Which could result in a big congressional fight, possibly a court battle that could go on for months to come.

(...)

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