Nets Rush to WashPost Story Claiming Trump Shared Classified Intel

Just before the Big Three Networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) went live Monday night, The Washington Post reported that anonymous sources told them President Donald Trump shared classified intelligence with top Russian officials. All three of them rushed to the breaking story and led their programs with it. “Loose lips at the White House? Did the President reveal highly classified information to the Russians in the Oval Office?” speculated Anchor Scott Pelley during the opening tease for CBS Evening News. But they didn’t always care when classified intel was mishandled; Hillary Clinton was a prime example.

Tonight The Washington Post is reporting that President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to the United States when the men met at the White House last week,” Pelley began the show by announcing, before noting that it was information about ISIS plots.

CBS leaned heavily on trying to point out an irony in Trump’s past criticisms of his opponent Hillary Clinton. “Mr. Trump's relentless criticism of Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information may be the main reason that he's President today,” Pelley noted as he handed the story off to Justice Correspondent Jeff Pegues who continued to harp on that point:

During the campaign, you may recall that candidate Trump was critical of Hillary Clinton, who the FBI said mishandled classified information on her private e-mail server. Back in July, Mr. Trump tweeted this: "Crooked Hillary Clinton and her team were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information. Not fit."

Along with their trite use of the word “bombshell,” ABC seemed to create an air of panic around the report on World News Tonight. “Did he reveal highly classified information? Late today, The Washington Post reporting that the President revealed that information to the Russians, during their meeting at the White House,” declared Anchor David Muir during the opening tease. Muir went to Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega who reported that:

So, it’s a very fluid situation here in the West Wing. I just came out from trying to get information from Sean Spicer’s office. His door is closed. There are more than a number of reporters. More than a dozen camped out waiting for information. No comments so far from the White House as this story breaks. I did though David, run into-- with these other reporters-- to National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster. He turned a corner and saw us there and he said quote, “This is the last place in the world I wanted to be,” he then left.

NBC Nightly News didn’t have an opening tease for the story, but Anchor Lester Holt started the show off by saying: “We begin tonight with multiple reports saying President Trump disclosed closely guarded classified information about ISIS to Russia’s foreign minister during a White House meeting last week potentially jeopardizing a valuable source of intel about ISIS.”

Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo acted the same way. “Although the president may not have violated any law, Trump's decision intensifies doubts about his connections with Russia and puts at risk the relationship with the allied country that the sources did not want to identify,” said Telemundo Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart.

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They all seemed to write off the explanation by National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster, who told the press that “The President and the Foreign Minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation. At no time, were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly."

CBS was the only network brazen enough to use Trump’s comments about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails against him. It’s a misstep on their part because as the Media Research Center’s Curtis Houck exposed on January 19, 2016, all three of the networks blacked out an actual bombshell report by an inspector general that confirmed that Clinton’s private e-mail contained classified information. At the time, Houck wrote that:

Tuesday night offered a classic study of the liberal media and what draws their attention as the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC and the Spanish-language networks of Telemundo and Univision all censored from their evening newscasts any mention of a massive development in the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal in favor of ten minutes and 31 seconds of coverage across five segments on Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race.

A couple days after the Clinton news broke, Houck noted in a headline that “ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Covers New Hillary E-Mail Scandal News as World News Tonight Remains Silent.” And not only was World News Tonight remaining silent but so were CBS and NBC.

It’s quite telling that they would eat up the claims from anonymous sources when it’s highly damaging to the Trump administration, but ignore an official letter from a government inspector general when in the middle of a campaign to get Clinton elected. They also didn’t throw a fuss when Clinton publically mentioned the U.S.’s response time to an incoming nuclear threat. 

Transcript below:

CBS Evening News
May 15, 2017
6:30:21 PM Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY [Teaser]: Loose lips at the White House? Did the President reveal highly classified information to the Russians in the Oval Office?

6:31:16 PM Eastern

PELLEY: We're beginning tonight with breaking news. Tonight The Washington Post is reporting that President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador to the United States when the men met at the White House last week. The paper says that current and former U.S. officials say that Mr. Trump revealed details of an ISIS terror threat, details that had been learned by a U.S. ally. Mr. Trump has the authority to declassify secrets, but telling the Russians about the information may have threatened to expose the allied country's intelligence operation. Mr. Trump's relentless criticism of Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information may be the main reason that he's president today. Justice Correspondent Jeff Pegues is following this. Jeff?

JEFF PEGUES: Scott, the meeting in the Oval Office occurred last Wednesday. President Trump spoke with both a Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. According to The Washington Post, the President went off script and began describing details about an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

The information the President shared reportedly came from a U.S. ally and was considered so sensitive that it had not been shared with other countries. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told The Washington Post, quote "The President and the Foreign Minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation." "At no time," McMaster says, "Were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly."

During the campaign, you may recall that candidate Trump was critical of Hillary Clinton, who the FBI said mishandled classified information on her private e-mail server. Back in July, Mr. Trump tweeted this: "Crooked Hillary Clinton and her team were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information. Not fit."

You may also remember that name, Sergey Kislyak. He was in that meeting at the White House with the President, who was also, Scott, a central figure in the FBI investigation into whether Trump campaign representatives were coordinating with the Russians.

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