Andrea Mitchell Tars DOJ Probe as ‘Widely Denounced Conspiracy Theory’

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On her 12:00 p.m. ET hour on Friday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell derisively dismissed the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe as a politically motivated inquiry that was “elevating what had been widely denounced as a conspiracy theory.”

“But we begin here in Washington, where the Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation into its own investigators,” Mitchell fretted as she led off the show. She further warned viewers: “Elevating what had been widely denounced as a conspiracy theory, into the origins of the Mueller probe, to a potentially threatening new level.”

 

 

Turning to White House correspondent Kristen Welker moments later, the host complained: “...the President, you know, has been calling this a hoax all along. Is this to validate his suspicions, his theory, or is there something more going on?” Welker eagerly cited Democratic talking points smearing the effort:

Well, it has certainly opened up President Trump to that type of criticism, Andrea. Particularly you have Jerry Nadler saying, “Look, this is essentially the President using the Justice Department to attack his political enemies.”

During the panel discussion that followed, Mitchell teed up a clip of former Justice Department official David Laufman accusing the investigation into the Russia probe of having a “political taint.” She then seized on his assertion as she also took a jab at Fox News: “...the whole question that David Laufman raised last night about the taint on this because of all the politics involved and all the conspiracy theories that have been promulgated by one network and by the President.”

It’s pretty stunning that Mitchell would have the audacity to attack Fox, since journalists there have been properly covering the investigation, while she and her liberal media colleagues have either been ignoring the story or downplaying it. In fact, FNC’s Special Report anchor Bret Baier has called out other news organizations for refusing to cover the expanding inquiry into how the Russia investigation began.

On Friday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, it was actually liberal Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Ruth Marcus who urged caution against reporters “jumping to conclusions”:

“We don’t even know” are probably the most important words we can say today....there are reasons for concern but there are also reasons for us to do what we’re not very good at, which is to stay tuned and recognize there is so much we don’t understand about what’s going on here.

Mitchell claimed to agree, despite clearly having already drawn her own conclusions: “A lot we don’t understand, we should not be jumping to conclusions.”    

She then channeled Democratic fears about the investigation: “But Kristen Welker, it has to be alarming to – certainly to the Democrats who are running this impeachment inquiry – that a whole other criminal investigation to some of the former officials who were front and center in the universally-accepted conclusions about the origins of the Russia probe...”

Obviously if the origins of the Russia probe were “universally-accepted” there would be no need for an investigation.

Here is a transcript of the October 25 coverage:

12:01 PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: But we begin here in Washington, where the Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation into its own investigators. Elevating what had been widely denounced as a conspiracy theory, into the origins of the Mueller probe, to a potentially threatening new level.

For two years, President Trump has been calling this a witch hunt and a hoax. Even though Russia's attack on the 2016 campaign to help Mr. Trump’s election was unanimously accepted by U.S. intelligence agencies and the FBI, a conclusion ratified again just this month by a Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee investigation.

What had been considered an administrative review of those conclusions is now a full-blown criminal probe. We don’t know exactly when that started. Giving U.S. Attorney John Durham, the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, specially appointed, the power now to convene a grand jury and subpoena witnesses.

(...)

12:02 PM ET

MITCHELL: Kristen, the White House has been calling this, the President, you know, has been calling this a hoax all along. Is this to validate his suspicions, his theory, or is there something more going on? Do we know who is being investigated?

KRISTEN WELKER: Well, it has certainly opened up President Trump to that type of criticism, Andrea. Particularly you have Jerry Nadler saying, “Look, this is essentially the President using the Justice Department to attack his political enemies.”

(...)

12:05 PM ET

MITCHELL: And we have a piece of an interview that David Laufman, who’s the former head of the counterintelligence division, the national security division, I should say, of the Justice Department, who was speaking to Rachel Maddow last night shortly after this broke. Let me share that with all of you.  

DAVID LAUFMAN: I have high regard for John Durham and for the other former prosecutors and FBI agents he has surrounded himself with to carry out this investigation. I have high regard for him. He’s a distinguished prosecutor. But this investigation, if not born in sin, was born in political taint. And there’s just no mistaking its origins, that this is something the President wanted to see happen to vindicate political grievances about the 2016 election.

MITCHELL: And the President apparently has just been asked about this, whether he knows anything about it, he said he does not, he’s leaving it up to the Attorney General, William Barr. But Matt Miller, having worked at the Justice Department, the whole question that David Laufman raised last night about the taint on this because of all the politics involved and all the conspiracy theories that have been promulgated by one network and by the President.

(...)

12:11 PM ET

RUTH MARCUS [WASHINGTON POST DEPUTY EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR]: “We don’t even know” are probably the most important words we can say today. There are reasons to be concerned. And chief among them is the remarkable degree to which the Attorney General himself has inserted himself personally into this probe, whether it’s an internal probe or whether it’s now a criminal probe. But we also – and I don’t know John Durham as you do – but to believe that we have now – we have now doing something very, very dangerous and very alarming in terms of misusing the criminal process, would also require him to be knowingly going along with that.

We just – there are reasons for concern but there are also reasons for us to do what we’re not very good at, which is to stay tuned and recognize there is so much we don’t understand about what’s going on here.

MITCHELL: A lot we don’t understand, we should not be jumping to conclusions. But Kristen Welker, it has to be alarming to – certainly to the Democrats who are running this impeachment inquiry – that a whole other criminal investigation to some of the former officials who were front and center in the universally-accepted conclusions about the origins of the Russia probe could be trying to countermand the Ukraine investigation that the President has himself launched.

(...)

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