On Thursday, the NBC and ABC morning shows rang in the new year by hyping only Republican senators being politically “vulnerable” on impeachment and “potential breaks in the GOP ranks.” There was no discussion of Democratic lawmakers paying a political price for supporting the radical action against President Trump and the coverage even seemed to place them in the driver’s seat of the proceedings despite being in the minority.
While briefly noting that a drawn-out impeachment trial in the Senate “carries risks for both parties,” on NBC’s Today show, correspondent Geoff Bennett spent the entire report focused solely on risks for Republicans.
Following a laughable soundbite of Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claiming impeachment “is about getting to the truth,” the reporter eagerly proclaimed: “If Democrats can convince four Republicans to cross party lines and win 51 Senate votes, they would get to set the parameters and call those witnesses before the impeachment trial starts.”
Bennett specifically highlighted: “Democrats looking to pressure vulnerable GOP senators, like Susan Collins of Maine, who faces a tough reelection.”
No similar mention was made of vulnerable Alabama Democratic Senator Doug Jones, also facing a tough 2020 reelection fight.
On the subject of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refusing to even send the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, Bennett portrayed the obvious political posturing this way: “Democrats still demanding that a fair Senate trial includes documents and testimony from witnesses that have so far been blocked by President Trump.”
“But this morning, there are signs of potential breaks in the GOP ranks,” fill-in co-host Whit Johnson declared on ABC’s Good Morning America. Congressional correspondent Mary Bruce followed: “And now, some Republicans are raising concerns with their own party’s approach.”
Like her NBC colleague, Bruce cited Senator Collins saying “it is inappropriate for either side to prejudge the evidence” as a supposed sign of those “breaks” in Republican “ranks.”
The only acknowledgment of trouble for Democrats on impeachment came in a later GMA report about the 2020 campaign in which correspondent Eva Pilgrim lamented potential scheduling conflicts for the five senators still in the presidential race, who would have to return to Washington to preside over the Senate trial.
Despite polls showing waning support for impeachment, the liberal media are desperately trying to create a narrative of Republicans being the only ones feeling the political heat.
Here is a full transcript of the January 2 report on NBC’s Today show:
7:05 AM ET
LESTER HOLT: And of course, that situation just one issue facing the White House to begin this new year. Lawmakers return to Washington after the holiday break next week, answering a lot of unanswered questions about the President’s impeachment trial. NBC’s Geoff Bennett with that story. Geoff, good morning.
GEOFF BENNETT: Lester, good morning to you. President Trump is welcoming the new year by welcoming his impeachment trial. Mr. Trump says he’s looking forward to the Senate proceedings, which are expected to start sometime this month. But Democratic and Republican lawmakers are still stuck in a stare-down over the terms of that impeachment trial, which carries risks for both parties if it continues deeper into January.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Impeachment Trial Hanging In the Balance; President Says He’s Ready For It as Sides Battle Over Details]
2020 is starting the same way 2019 ended, with a standoff over President Trump’s impeachment trial. The President saying he’s more than ready for it.
DONALD TRUMP: I look forward to it. We’ll see we have absolutely – we did nothing wrong. All you have to do is read the transcript.
BENNETT: Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, now saying he’d be willing to participate.
RUDY GIULIANI: I would testify. I would do demonstrations, I’d give lectures, and I’d give summations, or I do what I do best, I’d try the case. I’d love to try the case.
BENNETT: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the Senate proceedings issued his annual year-end report on the federal courts. Roberts, while not directly referring to the President, offering these pointed and timely words: “We should reflect on our duty to judge without fear or favor, deciding each matter with humility, integrity and dispatch.”
With the impeachment trial expected to begin later this month, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer are currently locked in a sparring match over what it will look like. Democrats want key White House insiders, including acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton to testify as witnesses about withholding aide to Ukraine.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER [D-NY, SENATE MINORITY LEADER]: Let me be clear. This is about getting to the truth.
BENNETT: If Democrats can convince four Republicans to cross party lines and win 51 Senate votes, they would get to set the parameters and call those witnesses before the impeachment trial starts. Democrats looking to pressure vulnerable GOP senators, like Susan Collins of Maine, who faces a tough reelection.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS [R-ME]: I am open to witnesses. I think it’s premature to decide who should be called until we see the evidence that is presented.
HOLT: So, Geoff, what’s the reading on this stand-off. Do we have any idea of when a trial might possibly start?
BENNETT: Not yet, Lester. We hope to get a better idea of the timeline when Congress reconvenes next week. Now a complicating factor here is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has delayed delivering to the Senate the Articles of Impeachment. And I’m told by my sources that she did that in part to give Senator Schumer a bit more time to work out a deal with Senator McConnell about the structure of that trial. But look, this two-week holiday break has apparently led to no new breakthroughs. Democrats still demanding that a fair Senate trial includes documents and testimony from witnesses that have so far been blocked by President Trump. Lester?
HOLT: Alright, Geoff Bennett, thanks.
Here is a transcript of the report on ABC’s GMA:
7:08 AM ET
WHIT JOHNSON: Turning now to Washington, where lawmakers will soon return from recess and start the new year right where they left off, at a stalemate over impeachment. But this morning, there are signs of potential breaks in the GOP ranks. Mary Bruce is on Capitol Hill with the very latest. Mary, good morning.
MARY BRUCE: Good morning, Whit. While the impeachment process is still in limbo this morning, the President is optimistic. He says he’s looking forward to a trial in the Senate, but it’s not clear exactly what that trial is going to look like. And now, some Republicans are raising concerns with their own party’s approach.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Impeachment Stalemate; Battle Rages Over Senate Trial as Congress Resumes]
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to be in, quote, “total coordination with the White House,” but Senator Lisa Murkowski said she was disturbed to hear that. And Senator Susan Collins of Maine says it is inappropriate for either side to prejudge the evidence. And she says she is open to hearing from witnesses.
And that is still the big sticking point here on the Hill. Democrats are demanding to hear from four key witnesses close to the President, while Republicans want a quick trial with no witnesses. And until they can sort that out, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is refusing to send over the Articles of Impeachment for the Senate to consider. So lots of questions here for lawmakers when they return to the Hill next week. Robin?
ROBIN ROBERTS: Still looking for answers. Okay, Mary, thank you.