Nets in Hype Heaven: Trump’s ‘Presidency Hanging in the Balance’

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On Wednesday morning, it seemed like all three network morning shows were competing with one another over which could use the most hyperbolic rhetoric to boost the upcoming public impeachment hearings. The words “historic,” “consequential,” and “pivotal” were ascribed to the partisan spectacle as viewers were assured of “the presidency hanging in the balance.”

“The impeachment hearings against President Trump now just hours away,” Savannah Guthrie breathlessly proclaimed at the top of NBC’s Today show. Trying to amp up the stakes even higher, she further declared: “For the first time, witnesses facing the cameras and the country with the presidency hanging in the balance.”

 

 

Moments later, correspondent Hallie Jackson reported live from the committee hearing room on Capitol Hill, excitedly touting how both Republicans and Democrats “have been holding practice sessions for this moment,” and that liberal lawmakers “have even been rehearsing what they would do if Republicans were to try to disrupt the proceedings.”

She promoted how Democrats were “going to use plain English here, words like extortion and bribery, to describe what they believe the President did,” before labeling the day ahead “one of the most consequential days of the Trump era.”

Beginning the taped portion of the segment, Jackson hailed: “History in the House this morning, as impeachment proceedings go public for just the third time in the modern era.”

Leading off ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos was just swept up in the history of it all: “It’s an historic day on Capitol Hill, for only the fourth time in history, an American president now facing impeachment.” Minutes later, the former top Clinton aide piled on:

Impeachment is the ultimate check on an American president. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton survived the process. Richard Nixon resigned, facing certain conviction in the Senate. How this will end for President Trump now in the hands of a deeply divided Congress.

Reporting from the hearing room, congressional correspondent Mary Bruce joined in the histrionics: “Well, this is where history will be made today....For just the fourth time in history, Americans witnessing today public impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives.”

She quickly zeroed in on the partisan political goal of the hearings: “This morning, a pivotal moment for Democrats. Taking the case to the American people, that the President abused his power and should be impeached.”

Following the report from Bruce, co-host Michael Strahan introduced correspondent Terry Moran to look back at “how we got to this extraordinary moment.” Moran heralded: “We talked about an historic moment, and it is, the fate of a president, the judgment of history on the line....This morning, a watershed moment...”

“History in the House. The impeachment inquiry holds its first public hearing with Donald Trump’s presidency on the line,” co-host Gayle King hyped as she opened CBS This Morning, sounding identical to her NBC and ABC colleagues.

Moments later, she gushed: “It’s a big day in Washington, you could call it an historic day for the nation, with the first public hearings on the potential impeachment of the President of the United States....It’s a rare moment when Congress takes on one of the most serious responsibilities under the Constitution.”

Despite the fact that any impeachment proceedings would almost certainly result in Senate Republicans eventually acquitting President Trump, network journalists and Democrats still can dream.

Help fight against the liberal media's impeachment crusade

Here is a transcript of the November 13 opening coverage on NBC’s Today show:

7:00 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: On the record. The impeachment hearings against President Trump now just hours away. For the first time, witnesses facing the cameras and the country with the presidency hanging in the balance. Just ahead, what our latest poll shows about where the country stands.

(...)

7:02 AM ET

HODA KOTB: But first, things are heating up in Washington, and that’s when it comes to that impeachment investigation.

GUTHRIE: Yeah, it’s a historic day, let’s lay it out for you. The hearing will unfold live on national television, beginning this morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time inside a House committee room. The central question here, did the President abuse his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, with crucial U.S. military aid to that country hanging in the balance?

A pair of seasoned diplomats will lead off the testimony today. Bill Taylor, the acting Ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. And the political backdrop, a sharply divided country. Our latest poll shows 49% support the President’s impeachment and removal, up slightly from a month ago. 46% oppose it. We’ve complete coverage this morning. We’ll start on Capitol Hill with NBC’s Hallie Jackson, who is inside that hearing room this morning. Hey, Hallie, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Historic Impeachment Hearings; Stage Set for First Public Testimony as Presidency Hangs in Balance]

HALLIE JACKSON: Savannah, I’ll tell you what, I think this is the best view in the House. This is the table where those diplomats will be sitting, you’re gonna have Democrats on one side of the room, Republicans on the other side. And both parties, sources tell us, have been holding practice sessions for this moment. Democrats have even been rehearsing what they would do if Republicans were to try to disrupt the proceedings.

Watch for the GOP to argue that President Trump did nothing improper, but I’m told by Democratic lawmakers that they’re going to use plain English here, words like extortion and bribery, to describe what they believe the President did. I’m told by the White House they have a rapid response team ready to go, you know they will be keyed in on one of the most consequential days of the Trump era.

History in the House this morning, as impeachment proceedings go public for just the third time in the modern era.

(...)

Here is a transcript of the opening coverage on ABC’s GMA:

7:00 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s an historic day on Capitol Hill, for only the fourth time in history, an American president now facing impeachment.

The first public testimony in the impeachment showdown just moments away. Two key witnesses take center stage on live television. What will they say about President Trump and attempts to pressure Ukraine into digging up dirt on his political rivals?

New details just coming in this morning. How the White House is preparing for this historic day. We’re live in the hearing room, covering all the angles this morning.

(...)

7:02 AM ET

ROBIN ROBERTS: But this morning, all eyes are on Capitol Hill, where the impeachment hearings are about to begin.

MICHAEL STRAHAN: Take a live look. That is the committee room where these historic hearings will take place. Two key witnesses will testify this morning. There’s just a few hours away.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Impeachment is the ultimate check on an American president. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton survived the process. Richard Nixon resigned, facing certain conviction in the Senate. How this will end for President Trump now in the hands of a deeply divided Congress. Our senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce starts us off from the hearing room on Capitol Hill. Good morning, Mary.

MARY BRUCE: Good morning, George. Well, this is where history will be made today. In just a few hours, this room will be packed with members of Congress, the press, and the public. And at the center of it all today, two career State Department officials. They are Democrats’ star witnesses in their case against the President. At 10:00 a.m. they will take their seats behind me. For just the fourth time in history, Americans witnessing today public impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives.

This morning, a pivotal moment for Democrats. Taking the case to the American people, that the President abused his power and should be impeached.

(...)

7:05 AM ET

STRAHAN: As the nation prepares for these historic hearings, our senior national correspondent Terry Moran has more on how we got to this extraordinary moment. Good morning, Terry.

TERRY MORAN: Good morning, Michael. That’s right. We talked about an historic moment, and it is, the fate of a president, the judgment of history on the line. But for a lot of Americans, they’ve heard about President Trump and Ukraine, this is a process. How did we get here is the question, you’re absolutely right. And today, for the first time after hearing about all this, Americans become a nation of jurors and they’ll get a chance to hear witnesses and judge them for themselves.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Public Impeachment Hearings Set to Begin; High Stakes for President Trump as Battle Ramps Up]

This morning, a watershed moment as the American public will watch members of Congress fire questions at two senior U.S. diplomats, key witnesses in the impeachment probe. But it’s really President Trump who is in the hot seat.

(...)

Here is a transcript of the opening coverage on CBS This Morning:

7:00 AM ET

GAYLE KING: History in the House. The impeachment inquiry holds its first public hearing with Donald Trump’s presidency on the line. Our team coverage brings you who’s testifying, what’s at stake, and how the White House will respond.

(...)

7:02 AM ET

KING: Welcome to CBS This Morning. It’s a big day in Washington, you could call it an historic day for the nation, with the first public hearings on the potential impeachment of the President of the United States, Mr. Trump, set to begin in just a hours. It’s a rare moment when Congress takes on one of the most serious responsibilities under the Constitution. This morning, in this hearing room, the House Intelligence Committee, will address the issue at hand: Did President Trump withhold military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

(...)

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