With Impeachment Shiny Object, Media Admit Mueller Was a Flop

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Move over Robert Mueller, the liberal media have found a new love. With House Democrats announcing an impeachment inquiry against President Trump over his phone call with the president of Ukraine, the media promptly dropped the Special Counsel’s inconclusive Russia investigation in favor of the latest promise of Trump’s political downfall. Reporters even went so far as to admit Mueller’s two-year effort was a “confusing” and “convoluted” flop.

“This is also something that happened, right?,” journalist David Gregory said of the Ukraine controversy on CNN’s New Day on Thursday. He then contrasted it with the previous crusade against the President: “In the Mueller investigation, you were trying to prove whether something happened. And there was not proof of collusion in that particular example.”

 

 

Wow, it only took the possible of impeachment of Trump on a completely unrelated matter for CNN to acknowledge that Mueller found no evidence of collusion.

On NBC’s Today show later that morning, White House correspondent Kristen Welker explained that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew the Russia investigation went nowhere: “Our reporting overnight...indicates that she is going to focus this on the Ukraine issue broadly. That she believes the Russia matter really got mired and confusing for voters, the tax issue confusing for folks.”

Appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Never Trump Republican Bill Kristol excitedly declared: “...ironically, the fact that the Mueller investigation’s over, it wildly increases the chances of impeachment. Because in the old days, if this had happened a year ago, the House Democrats would have said, ‘We’ll let Mr. Mueller look into it’...now they have no excuse...the ball is in Congress’s lap.”

Fellow panelist Jonathan Lemire, Associated Press White House reporter, agreed and added: “...also of course, that probe operated in total silence and secrecy and it went on for so long with drips and drabs that the American public was sort of confused as to what was going on.”

During an NBC News special report just prior to live coverage of Thursday’s congressional hearing on Ukraine, correspondent Geoff Bennett described the Democrats’ strategy and how they hoped to avoid the mistakes of the Mueller investigation:

But this hearing is critical, I’m told, for Democrats, as they try to push forward with this new formal impeachment inquiry. The House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, I’m told by several sources now wants to make this Ukraine controversy, this Ukraine question the central focus of this impeachment effort because the thinking is that this is something that is simple and straightforward, the American people can easily digest what Democrats see as the underlying bad act here. And whereas, other issues, such as the President’s tax returns, violations of the emoluments clauses, findings of the Mueller Report, a lot of that stuff is bogged down in the courts. And Democrats generally think that those issues and the hearings they’ve had here haven’t really moved the needle in terms of how the American public views the President. But when it comes to Ukraine, they think that they have the best argument to make here as they try to build a public case against President Trump.

Leading off MSNBC’s Deadline: White House later that afternoon, host Nicolle Wallace proclaimed: “A single individual has accomplished what the dozens of prosecutors and investigators who worked on Robert Mueller’s 23 month-long investigation never managed to do, focus the attention of Congress and the public on allegations of gross misconduct on the part of Donald Trump in carrying out the nation’s foreign policy.”

On CNN’s The Situation Room later that evening, journalist Bianna Golodryga dismissed the Muller investigation, “which became very convoluted and a lot of it took place prior to the President even being in office.”

Even The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah derided the Mueller Report, telling viewers late Thursday night:

The whistleblower’s complaint has accused the President of soliciting foreign interference in America’s election....this entire complaint is only nine pages long, which means people might actually read it. Because you guys don’t remember, but that was one of the big problems with Robert Mueller’s report, it was like 500 pages. Nobody wants to read 500 pages. You could give me the secret to eternal life, but if it was 500 pages long, I’d be like, “Yeah, I’ll just die, it’s fine.”

On Friday morning, CNN’s New Day seized on the same thing. While lecturing Republican senators who said they have not yet read the whistleblower complaint, co-host John Berman announced: “We read the complaint in realtime in less than three minutes.” Fellow co-host Alisyn Camerota eagerly chimed in: “And by the way, I couldn’t stop reading it after that. It’s a fascinating complaint. It’s short. Senators – you know, lawmakers, you can do this. It’s short and riveting.”

On the show again, David Gregory enthused: “It’s not the Mueller Report, it’s a lot shorter.” Camerota replied: “It’s not the Mueller Report. These are the Cliff Notes.”

Boring, confusing, convoluted – those were not the adjectives the media used to describe the Mueller Report just a few months ago as they desperately tried to keep hope alive.

Now that they have Ukraine, apparently the press just don’t need Russia anymore.

Here are excerpts of the media coverage on September 26 & 27:

New Day
09/26/19
6:12 AM ET

DAVID GREGORY: This is also something that happened, right? In the Mueller investigation, you were trying to prove whether something happened. And there was not proof of collusion in that particular example. Here something happened, the President defended what he did.

(...)

6:26 AM ET

GREGORY: Well, there’s a lot of political sensitivity on the part of the Speaker and top Democrats who realize that the charges of them overreaching, the charges of them, you know, doing anything and everything to remove the President from office, when we’re already in an election season. But for them to try to do it precipitously through the impeachment process rather than at the ballot box opens them up to the charges of overreach and partisan witch hunt, all the things the President has leveled at them. I think the Speaker has made the calculation, “Look, there’s something here that’s easy to understand that is relatively easy to investigate. The contours of it are visible. It’s not like the Mueller Report. You know when it started, you know where it ended. You know relatively who’s involved. We can do this pretty fast. And we can make this the hill to die on.”

Today
09/26/19
7:10 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let’s talk about what the Democrats do next, because Speaker Pelosi obviously was reluctant to get to this point, now she's here. The question is whether or not to confine this impeachment inquiry just to this phone call and the whistleblower campaign – complaint and this matter of Ukraine, or expand it out more broadly. What are you hearing about what her strategy is likely to be?

KRISTEN WELKER: Our reporting overnight, Savannah, indicates that she is going to focus this on the Ukraine issue broadly. That she believes the Russia matter really got mired and confusing for voters, the tax issue confusing for folks. So she wants this to be narrow and focused and she thinks the way to do that is to focus on not just this call but all of the President’s contacts with the Ukrainian president and what Rudy Guiliani may have been doing.

Morning Joe
09/26/19
7:14 AM ET

BILL KRISTOL: And final thing I would say is ironically, the fact that the Mueller investigation’s over, it wildly increases the chances of impeachment. Because in the old days, if this had happened a year ago, the House Democrats would have said, “We’ll let Mr. Mueller look into it,” you know. It’s kind of – now they have no excuse to give it to anyone but – the ball is in Congress’s lap. If they don’t impeach, they’re saying this is fine. There’s no – there’s no middle ground at this point.

JONATHAN LEMIRE [ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER]: I think there are some key differences here. The Mueller – also of course, that probe operated in total silence and secrecy and it went on for so long with drips and drabs that the American public was sort of confused as to what was going on. Well, here this, as you said, it’s a shorter timeline, it happened while the President was in office. And I think it’s easier for people to understand.

(...)

7:55 AM ET

LEMIRE: One of the things we’ve been talking about all morning is the differences between what’s happening now and the Mueller probe. And that Russia investigation stretched out over nearly two years, it was sort of slow-moving drips and drabs. One of the things that’s really struck me is just the pace of this, is at how quickly this is going.

(...)

8:39 AM ET

NICOLLE WALLACE: But I think the idea that Mueller didn’t “get him” may have been a premature analysis. Mueller may have gotten him by emboldening him, by getting him to do something so flagrant, so blatant, so simple, so obvious.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: So wrong.

WALLACE: And something that he’s so culpable of in full view, that it actually ends up being the thing that gets him impeached.

(...)

8:45 AM ET

NICOLLE WALLACE: This is the first scandal that ensnares and exposes legal – I guess the Mueller probe did as well. But this is a world of pain for all of the Trump enablers. This is now in black and white, this in public. And where the fact that the Mueller probe was opaque, that witnesses were shuttled into back door entrances and delivery doors, this will happen in full view and that is the part of the scandal that’s of Donald Trump’s making.

NBC News Special Report
09/26/19
8:55 AM ET

GEOFF BENNETT: But this hearing is critical, I’m told, for Democrats, as they try to push forward with this new formal impeachment inquiry. The House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, I’m told by several sources now wants to make this Ukraine controversy, this Ukraine question the central focus of this impeachment effort because the thinking is that this is something that is simple and straightforward, the American people can easily digest what Democrats see as the underlying bad act here. And whereas, other issues, such as the President’s tax returns, violations of the emoluments clauses, findings of the Mueller Report, a lot of that stuff is bogged down in the courts. And Democrats generally think that those issues and the hearings they’ve had here haven’t really moved the needle in terms of how the American public views the President. But when it comes to Ukraine, they think that they have the best argument to make here as they try to build a public case against President Trump.

Andrea Mitchell Reports
09/26/19
12:56 PM ET

CLAIRE MCCASKILL: But if you start trying to pull all those in and get all that, do we get bogged down? Do we get into another months-long Mueller situation? Where this complaint that we see this morning, in and of itself, is enough to go forward.

Deadline: White House
09/26/19
4:00 PM ET

WALLACE: A single individual has accomplished what the dozens of prosecutors and investigators who worked on Robert Mueller’s 23 month-long investigation never managed to do, focus the attention of Congress and the public on allegations of gross misconduct on the part of Donald Trump in carrying out the nation’s foreign policy.

The Situation Room
09/26/19
5:41 PM ET

BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Also, I think from a public perspective and how this would look for Americans, as opposed to the Russia investigation and the Mueller investigation, which became very convoluted and a lot of it took place prior to the President even being in office.

The Daily Show
09/26/19
11:07 PM ET

TREVOR NOAH: The whistleblower’s complaint has accused the President of soliciting foreign interference in America’s election, which is really bad for Trump. What’s even worse is that this entire complaint is only nine pages long, which means people might actually read it. [Laughter] Hell, if it had a few pictures, Trump himself might even read it. [Laughter] Because you guys don’t remember, but that was one of the big problems with Robert Mueller’s report, it was like 500 pages. Nobody wants to read 500 pages. You could give me the secret to eternal life, but if it was 500 pages long, I’d be like, “Yeah, I’ll just die, it’s fine.” [Laughter]

New Day
6:33 AM ET

JOHN BERMAN: We read the complaint in realtime in less than three minutes.

ALISYN CAMEROTA: And by the way, I couldn’t stop reading it after that. It’s a fascinating complaint. It’s short. Senators – you know, lawmakers, you can do this. It’s short and riveting.

DAVID GREGORY: It’s not the Mueller Report, it’s a lot shorter.

CAMEROTA: It’s not the Mueller Report. These are the Cliff Notes.

Morning Joe
09/27/19
8:05 AM ET

TOM FRIEDMAN [NEW YORK TIME COLUMNIST]: I’m contrasting this to the Mueller investigation. That all happened in secret, behind closed doors, and the President, and later the Attorney General, really were allowed to characterize the whole thing from the very beginning. What strikes me as new here is we’re going to have independent witnesses.

MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle
09/27/19
9:57 AM ET

CHRIS JANSING: How do Nancy Pelosi and Democrats, in the coming days and weeks, build a case that sets up Democrats in the senate?

JULIAN EPSTEIN [FMR. DEMOCRATIC CHIEF COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE]: The most important thing is not overplay your hand. The lesson of the 1998 impeachment is the Republicans completely overplayed their hand and lost the public debate. The lesson, I think, of the Mueller Report in 2017 and ’18 was that the Democrats, the left, and I think the news media, to some extent, overplayed its hand as well in overselling what was going to be in the Mueller Report and they never really had the goods. Here you really do have the goods. You have what looks like an impeachable offense that was committed in plain sight.

NB Daily Congress Mueller Report Trump Impeachment Conservatives & Republicans NBC CNN MSNBC Video Kristen Welker Jonathan Lemire Alisyn Camerota Trevor Noah Donald Trump

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