NBC Eagerly Hypes ‘Mounting Pressure’ on Dems to Impeach Trump

On Thursday, NBC’s Today show was giddy with excitement over the possibility that House Democrats may soon start impeachment proceedings against President Trump in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Wednesday press conference. While hosts and correspondents repeatedly hyped “mounting pressure” on liberal lawmakers to begin the process, the journalists themselves eagerly joined the pressure campaign.

“Mounting pressure. Growing calls to start impeachment after Robert Mueller breaks his two-year silence,” co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed at the top of the broadcast. Moments later, as the coverage began, she added: “A lot of Democrats feel the Special Counsel put the ball in their court when it comes to possible impeachment.”

 

 

In the report that followed, White House correspondent Peter Alexander emphasized: “The now-former Special Counsel’s remarks adding fuel to the drumbeat of Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry to begin.” As the taped portion of the segment started, Alexander further pushed the narrative: “This morning, after Robert Mueller’s dramatic public statement, his first two in years since the start of the Russia investigation, pressure is intensifying among Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.”

The headline on screen melodramatically blared: “Mueller’s Message Shakes Washington; Dems Push for Impeachment as Trump Says ‘Case Closed.’”

Minutes later, the reporter framed a soundbite of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders by declaring: “The White House says it’s bracing for the possibility of impeachment.” A clip ran of Sanders answering media questions: “We’re always prepared, but I don’t think the American people deserve that.”

Alexander touted “Several 2020 candidates already seizing on Mueller’s remarks” and particularly highlighted frontrunner “Joe Biden for the first time saying impeachment may be ‘unavoidable if this administration continues on its path.’”

After Alexander, co-host Craig Melvin turned to congressional correspondent Kasie Hunt and wondered how House Democrats were responding to all the impeachment “pressure.” Hunt set the scene: “Really all eyes on Nancy Pelosi. And the pressure is really building on her to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump. There are already at least 40 Democrats who say that they are open to launching these proceedings.”

While acknowledging that some Democrats were “worried that launching an impeachment inquiry could hand President Trump re-election in 2020 ” and even “potentially lose Democrats the House,” Hunt still laid the case for impeachment on thick:

Now, that said, the members who are thinking about changing their minds, the ones who’ve been reluctant to support an impeachment inquiry, some of them are starting to think about history and how it’s going to treat this moment. What are they going to tell their grandchildren about how they decided to act?

Following Hunt’s appeal to “history,” Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd appeared on the morning show to offer his own overly-dramatic analysis. He went so far as to compare the impeachment question to the decision of whether to go to war with Iraq:

Look, I equate this, Savannah, the last time we’ve seen Democrats at least have a dilemma like this was the Iraq war vote, and it was back in 2002. And it’s a similar situation. The politics of the moment basically said you got to stick by the president, you gotta do this. There was concern, what’s this going to look like five years down the road? Well, five years down the road, that Iraq war vote was viewed very differently, particularly among many Democrats, as it is today.

Todd turned up the pressure and warned Democrats:

Okay, if you don’t do impeachment, you’re making a political decision, and that’s the politics of the moment. What is this going to look like if something else pops up in two months and we haven’t done this? Or if he wins re-election and you didn’t do this. What’s that gonna look like then?

Introducing another report on the topic early in the 8:00 a.m. ET hour, Guthrie announced: “Robert Mueller’s first public comments on his Russia investigation have given Democrats new momentum to talk of impeachment.”

The media often pretend to be bystanders when it comes to framing news coverage. Thursday’s Today show maintained that tradition as reporters talked of all the “pressure” on Democrats to impeach Trump while ignoring the fact that journalists were the source of much of that pressure.

Here are excerpts of the broadcast’s May 30 coverage:

7:00 AM ET TEASE

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Mounting pressure. Growing calls to start impeachment after Robert Mueller breaks his two-year silence.

ROBERT MUELLER: If we had, had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.

GUTHRIE: This morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding the line.

NANCY PELOSI: We want to do what is right and what gets results.

GUTHRIE: But are cracks in the Democratic leadership starting to show?

REP. JERRY NADLER [D-NY]: All options are on the table and nothing should be ruled out.

GUTHRIE: Just ahead, Congress’s likely next moves as the President says case closed.     

(...)

7:02 AM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: He only spoke for roughly nine minutes yesterday, but the fallout over Robert Mueller’s first-ever public remarks on the Russia investigation is our top story.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: A lot of Democrats feel the Special Counsel put the ball in their court when it comes to possible impeachment.

(...)

7:03 AM ET

(...)

PETER ALEXANDER: The now-former Special Counsel’s remarks adding fuel to the drumbeat of Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry to begin.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Mueller’s Message Shakes Washington; Dems Push for Impeachment as Trump Says “Case Closed”]

This morning, after Robert Mueller’s dramatic public statement, his first two in years since the start of the Russia investigation...  

ROBERT MUELLER: I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner.

ALEXANDER: ...pressure is intensifying among Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

(...)

7:05 AM ET

ALEXANDER: The White House says it’s bracing for the possibility of impeachment.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: We’re always prepared, but I don’t think the American people deserve that.

ALEXANDER: If it happens, it would begin in a House Judiciary Committee run by Jerry Nadler.

REP. JERRY NADLER [D-NY]: All options are on the table and nothing should be ruled out.

ALEXANDER: Several 2020 candidates already seizing on Mueller’s remarks. Former Vice President Joe Biden for the first time saying impeachment may be “unavoidable if this administration continues on its path.”

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN [D-MA]: It is our constitutional responsibility as members of Congress to bring a judgment of impeachment against this president.

(...)

7:06 AM ET

KASIE HUNT: Really all eyes on Nancy Pelosi. And the pressure is really building on her to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump. There are already at least 40 Democrats who say that they are open to launching these proceedings.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Pelosi Under Pressure; Dem Leader Facing Increased Calls for Trump Impeachment]

And Robert Mueller seems to be pretty direct, according to my sources, in saying that it was Congress that really needed to take action. But so far, Nancy Pelosi is really holding the line. She says that she wants an ironclad case against the President. And privately, many more moderate members of her caucus, they’re still worried that launching an impeachment inquiry could hand President Trump re-election in 2020. Could potentially lose Democrats the House as well.

Now, that said, the members who are thinking about changing their minds, the ones who’ve been reluctant to support an impeachment inquiry, some of them are starting to think about history and how it’s going to treat this moment. What are they going to tell their grandchildren about how they decided to act?

(...)

7:07 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Chuck, what are the politics of this? People look past – at past impeachments. They see how that played out in the polls. What is Nancy Pelosi’s viewpoint here? What is she thinking about?

CHUCK TODD: Well, look, she is clearly representing what is a majority of her conference. And I think that’s important there. She – if a majority of Democrats wanted to start impeachment, she would – I think she’d already be there.

Look, I equate this, Savannah, the last time we’ve seen Democrats at least have a dilemma like this was the Iraq war vote, and it was back in 2002. And it’s a similar situation. The politics of the moment basically said you got to stick by the president, you gotta do this. There was concern, what’s this going to look like five years down the road? Well, five years down the road, that Iraq war vote was viewed very differently, particularly among many Democrats, as it is today.

And I think that’s – that is what Kasie was pointing to. When you’re starting to have – those are the conversations with some House Democrats. Okay, if you don’t do impeachment, you’re making a political decision, and that’s the politics of the moment. What is this going to look like if something else pops up in two months and we haven’t done this? Or if he wins re-election and you didn’t do this. What’s that gonna look like then?

(...)

7:30 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Pressure intensifying among Democrats this morning to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump. This comes in the wake of Robert Mueller’s public statement yesterday.

(...)

8:02 AM ET

GUTHRIE: Robert Mueller’s first public comments on his Russia investigation have given Democrats new momentum to talk of impeachment. NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander has overnight reaction to the Special Counsel’s remarks and a tweet just in from the President this morning. Peter, good morning.

PETER ALEXANDER: Yeah, Savannah, we’ll share the significance of that tweet in a moment. But first, the pressure is intensifying on the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin these impeachment proceedings as the drumbeat of Democrats is growing.

(...)

NBDaily Congress Mueller Report Push to Impeach Trump Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats NBC Today Video Savannah Guthrie Peter Alexander Kasie Hunt Chuck Todd

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