Nets Hype Calls for Barr’s Resignation...From Liberal Media Pundits

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On Monday, the network morning shows predictably all seized on an open letter from former Justice Department officials demanding the resignation of Attorney General William Barr. However, the broadcasts conveniently left out the fact that several of the ex-DOJ employees who signed on to the letter currently serve as professional anti-Trump pundits on CNN and MSNBC.

“Under fire. More than 1,100 former Justice Department officials from multiple administrations call for the resignation of Attorney General William Barr over the Roger Stone sentencing scandal,” co-host Craig Melvin sensationalized at the top of NBC’s Today show. Introducing a full report on the topic minutes later, he claimed that “calls are growing for Attorney General William Barr to step down.”

 

 

As an MSNBC anchor, Melvin should recognize a number of names attached to the letter, since they are pundits who routinely take to the left-wing cable channel to bash the Trump administration. The Daily Caller found several of the signatories work as analysts for CNN and MSNBC or at least make regular appearances on both anti-Trump media outlets.  

Continuing the NBC coverage, White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell proclaimed: “A new round of pressure aimed at the President and his attorney general. Those former DOJ employees are taking a stand and calling out what they say is improper influence that could shake public confidence.”

The reporter later touted how it was “A call echoed by Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.” A soundbite ran of Warren ranting: “Bill Barr should resign. He should leave and he should leave right now.”

Following O’Donnell’s taped report, Melvin noted: “...in addition to calling for his resignation, this letter also called on current Justice Department employees to potentially take action as well, right?” O’Donnell explained:

Very much so, they acknowledge that it is unlikely that Barr would step down, so they’re saying that federal employees who each take an oath across the government should stand up and refuse to carry out any illegal or improper orders and, if necessary, to resign in protest and to make their concerns public. They’re trying to instill a sense of broad responsibility across the federal government as they question whether the White House and the Department of Justice are doing enough.

On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts announced: “To Washington now, where Attorney General William Barr is facing new criticism....More than 1,100 former Justice Department prosecutors and officials are now publicly calling for his resignation.”

Correspondent Cecilia Vega emphasized: “These are folks who worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations now calling on Bill Barr to resign.” She later added: “They’re now calling on Justice Department employees to report abuses of political interference and to resign if they see them.”

Like NBC, no mention was made of how many liberal media pundits were included in the letter.

On CBS This Morning, fill-in co-host Jericka Duncan declared: “Attorney General William Barr faces backlash from hundreds of former Justice Department officials...” Turning to correspondent Paula Reid, Duncan breathlessly asked: “Paula, is the Attorney General’s job in jeopardy?”

While Reid admitted that “There’s no indication that the Attorney General will be out of a job any time soon,” she hastened to add that “the Justice Department is facing a crisis of confidence.” The reporter then hyped: “In a letter released over the weekend, over 1,100 former Justice officials who’ve worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations called Barr’s decision to intervene in the Roger Stone case a ‘grave threat to the fair administration of justice.’”

Again, just like NBC and ABC, CBS made sure to avoid any discussion of the anti-Trump punditry regularly offered by several of those who signed the letter.

The President’s most vocal political opponents are somehow portrayed by press as objective experts who are simply “taking a stand” and trying to “instill a broad sense of responsibility.”

Here is a transcript of the February 17 report on NBC’s Today show:

7:01 AM ET TEASE

CRAIG MELVIN: Under fire. More than 1,100 former Justice Department officials from multiple administrations call for the resignation of Attorney General William Barr over the Roger Stone sentencing scandal, but the nation’s highest law enforcement official doesn’t seem to be backing down. We are live at the White House with the very latest.

(...)

7:08 ET AM

MELVIN: To Washington now, where calls are growing for Attorney General William Barr to step down. This as more than 1,000 former Justice Department officials from both Democratic and Republican administrations are demanding his resignation. At issue, his department’s handling of the sentencing of President Trump’s ally Roger Stone. The democratic presidential candidates are also weighing in on the controversy.

We have two reports this morning, and we start with NBC White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell.  Kelly O, good morning to you.

KELLY O’DONNELL: Good morning, Craig. A new round of pressure aimed at the President and his attorney general. Those former DOJ employees are taking a stand and calling out what they say is improper influence that could shake public confidence.

The President is back here at the White House this morning after taking one of the symbols of his office for a spin.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Barr Under Fire; More Than 1,100 Ex-DOJ Employees Call for AG’s Resignation]

The President’s flare for big patriotic spectacle, like his lap around the track at Daytona, in his limo known as “The Beast”...

DONALD TRUMP: Gentlemen, start your engines!  

O’DONNELL: ...not putting the brakes on the ongoing drama in Washington, including allegations of political interference at the Department of Justice. This open letter, signed by more than 1,100 former DOJ officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations, reads in part, “Each of us strongly condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s interference in the fair administration of justice.” It’s the latest fallout in the Roger Stone case. The President’s long-time friend convicted of lying and witness tampering. The Attorney General overruled career prosecutors, who then quit in protest, after Barr lowered the recommended prison sentence for Stone.

Some suggest Barr caved to political pressure from the President. Barr denying that in an interview with ABC News, instead blasting the President’s Twitter attacks.

WILLIAM BARR: Public statements and tweets made about the department, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job.

O’DONNELL: Still, the former DOJ officials demand Barr step down: “Those actions and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign.” A call echoed by Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: Bill Barr should resign. He should leave and he should leave right now.

O’DONNELL: But the White House insists President Trump’s tweets that called Stone’s initial recommended sentence “horrible and very unfair” do not equal interference.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Very different to pick up the phone and ask your attorney general to do something in a criminal case. The President hasn’t done that. He said he hasn’t done it. Bill Barr said he hasn’t done it. He hasn’t done it.

O’DONNELL: This morning, the Department of Justice is declining to comment on this open letter. But they do say the Attorney General will agree to testify next month on Capitol Hill, where a lot of these issues will be under scrutiny. Craig?

MELVIN: Kelly O, in addition to calling for his resignation, this letter also called on current Justice Department employees to potentially take action as well, right?

O’DONNELL: Very much so, they acknowledge that it is unlikely that Barr would step down, so they’re saying that federal employees who each take an oath across the government should stand up and refuse to carry out any illegal or improper orders and, if necessary, to resign in protest and to make their concerns public. They’re trying to instill a sense of broad responsibility across the federal government as they question whether the White House and the Department of Justice are doing enough. Craig?  

MELVIN: Kelly O’Donnell from the White House. Kelly O, thank you.

Here is a full transcript of the report on ABC’s GMA:

7:12 AM ET

ROBIN ROBERTS: To Washington now, where Attorney General William Barr is facing new criticism for intervening in the case of President Trump’s long-time confidant Roger Stone. More than 1,100 former Justice Department prosecutors and officials are now publicly calling for his resignation. Cecilia Vega has those details for us. Good morning, Cecilia.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Attorney General Barr Under Fire; 1,100 Ex-DOJ Employees Call for Resignation Amid Stone Sentencing Firestorm]

CECILIA VEGA: Robin, good morning to you. These are folks who worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations now calling on Bill Barr to resign. This is part of that growing fallout, of course, after the Justice Department overruled prosecutors’ seven to nine-year sentencing recommendation for Stone. That reversal happened after, of course, the President blasted the original recommendation publicly.

So now these 1,100 names signed this letter, including the former deputy attorney general under President George Bush, about 50 former U.S. Attorneys. They’re now calling on Justice Department employees to report abuses of political interference and to resign if they see them.

Take a look at what they said. They say, quote, “It is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors who are following established policies in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President.” “Such behavior,” they say, “is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice.”

So far, Robin, no comment from the Justice Department, but meantime, Stone is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday.

ROBERTS: Alright, thank you, Cecilia.

Here is a full transcript of the report on CBS This Morning:

7:13 AM ET

JERICKA DUNCAN: Well, back in Washington, Attorney General William Barr faces backlash from hundreds of former Justice Department officials for reversing a sentencing recommendation for Mr. Trump’s longtime friend and ally Roger Stone. Paula Reid is at the White House. Paula, is the Attorney General’s job in jeopardy?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Barr Backlash; 1,100+ Fmr. DOJ Officials Call Stone Decision A “Grave Threat”]

PAULA REID: Good morning, Jericka. There’s no indication that the Attorney General will be out of a job any time soon, but the Justice Department is facing a crisis of confidence. In a letter released over the weekend, over 1,100 former Justice officials who’ve worked in both Republican and Democratic administrations called Barr’s decision to intervene in the Roger Stone case a “grave threat to the fair administration of justice.”

Now, the Attorney General says the President has never asked him to do anything in a criminal case. But CBS News has learned that Barr’s relationship with the rank-and-file is increasingly strained. And it’s not just about his intervention in the stone case, but also this unusual trend of tapping his U.S. Attorneys to review or reinvestigate matters of significant interest to President Trump. And this includes the evidence that Rudy Giuliani has gathered in Ukraine, the origins of the Russia probe, and most recently, the prosecution of the President’s former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. The President has been vocal about his support for Flynn and CBS News has learned that the President is pleased that Barr has decided to review this case and overall the President is quite happy with Barr’s performance in his job. Tony?

TONY DOKOUPIL: Paula Reid for us. Paula, thank you very much.

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