ABC Lashes Out at GOP: Claim Memo Helping Putin Meddling Pay in ‘Spades’

The knives came out on ABC during their Sunday morning programming as they made President Trump and the GOP the target of their hyperbolic smear campaign following the release of the House Intelligence Committee memo detailing alleged misconduct by the FBI and Justice Department. And at one point during This Week, host George Stephanopoulos and Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz suggested that the “discord” and “mistrust” sowed by Republicans was ultimately helping Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After reading a statement from Arizona Senator John McCain (R) asserting something similar, Stephanopoulos was in awe of how much of a return Putin was getting for his efforts. “When you think about the investment that Vladimir Putin in intervening – interfering in our election it is paying off every day in spades,” he chided. His slip-up with using the term “intervening” may indicate that he actually believes the Russians changed the outcome of the election since he’s a Clinton lackey.

Raddatz’s agreed with Stephanopoulos and ridiculously asserted that, in a way, he had won the Super Bowl because of Republicans. “He won the Super Bowl. He really-- Putin has won the Super Bowl here. Exactly what he wanted to happen in this country, this discord, this mistrust of institutions is exactly why they operate this way,” she spat.

That moment was really a crescendo in their anti-Republican screed that had been building for most of the morning. During the previous hour, on Good Morning America, correspondent David Wright parroted Democratic Party talking points and claimed: “House Republicans who voted along party lines to release that document of being part and parcel of an organized event to obstruct the special counsel investigation.

 

 

After Stephanopoulos began his show by opining about how “the memo didn’t match the hype” during the opening tease, he wrote off the memo’s central focus which was that the FBI failed to tell the FISA court that the information they were presenting was paid for by Democrats and was the work of a biased foreign agent. “Democrats, whose own rebuttal memo has been blocked by GOP, says that’s simply not true. They're backed by a host of independent experts and [a] statement from the FBI,” he argued.

A short time later, Stephanopoulos turned to Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas for his crafted defense of the FBI. “This is an extraordinary moment and these are extraordinary times with the tension between the White House and FBI seeming to grow day to day and sometimes minute by minute,” Thomas lamented before touting the FBI’s response:

But many believe the Presidents and his allies are engaged in an assault on the integrity of their institution. So, as a result, we're seeing rare moves if not unprecedented moves by FBI officials to push back. On Friday, the 13,000 FBI Agent's Association put out a statement which basically accused House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee of playing politics in releasing that controversial memo.

Stephanopoulos would go on to have former Bush-era Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt Olsen and ABC Chief Legal Analysts Dan Abrams on to fling petty smears at the House Intelligence Committee for writing up the memo.

Just on the four corners of the memo, it's politically motivated, it’s sort of amateurish, it's very short and it really leads to more questions than it answers,” Olsen mocked. And to continue the insults, Abrams claimed the memo “reads like a defense attorney’s brief to try to exclude evidence … This is a relatively weak legal argument, really, coming from the Nunes memo. Because in the end, what they're talking about is motivations. They're not talking about facts they got wrong or laws that were broken.

There was no real analysis of the content of the memo, just blanket dismissals and the lobbing of Democratic insults at Republicans.

The relevant portions of the Transcript are below:

 

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ABC
Good Morning America
February 4, 2018
8:10:31 AM Eastern

(…)

DAVID WRIGHT: The President does claim that newly declassified Republican memo vindicates him in the Russia probe. But the Democrats are blasting back, accusing House Republicans who voted along party lines to release that document of being part and parcel of an organized event to obstruct the special counsel investigation.

(…)

ABC
This Week
February 4, 2018
9:01:45 AM EASTERN

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning. President Trump ramped up his war on the FBI this week signaling he'll do whatever it takes to discredit the Russia probe. He’s already fired one FBI director, forced out a deputy, publicly attacked his attorney general and threatened other officials behind closed doors. And it all broke open Friday when the President declassified that infamous memo from Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. The President and his allies claim it shows the FBI wrongly convinced a judge to approve a wiretap against former campaign adviser Carter Page by relying on a dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign, and for failing to disclose that funding.

Democrats, whose own rebuttal memo has been blocked by GOP, says that’s simply not true. They're backed by a host of independent experts and this statement from the FBI. “We grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

(…)

PIERRE THOAMS: This is an extraordinary moment and these are extraordinary times with the tension between the White House and FBI seeming to grow day to day and sometimes minute by minute. This is what I'm hearing from inside the FBI. They're willing to acknowledge that agents and officials sometimes make mistakes. But many believe the Presidents and his allies are engaged on an assault on the integrity of their institution. So, as a result, we're seeing rare moves if not unprecedented moves by FBI officials to push back. On Friday, the 13,000 FBI Agent's Association put out a statement which basically accused House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee of playing politics in releasing that controversial memo.

(…)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Matt, I want to begin with you, because you’re kind of the man of the moment because for three years under President Bush you oversaw the FISA application process. So your reaction to the memo?

MATT OLSEN: You know, my reaction… Just on the four corners of the memo, it's politically motivated, it’s sort of amateurish, it's very short and it really leads to more questions than it answers. You know, the central claim in the memo that biased information wasn’t was presented to the court, we now know that's not true. And that's actually consistent with my own experience overseeing the lawyers in the Justice Department.

(…)

DAN ABRAMS: This memo reads like a defense attorney’s brief to try to exclude evidence. Because in just about every high profile case I cover, the defense argues that the investigators and the prosecutors had tunnel vision. They were out to get the defendant from the beginning, they never looked at any other possible defendants. They included all sorts of unverified information in warrant applications. This is a relatively weak legal argument, really, coming from the Nunes memo. Because in the end, what they're talking about is motivations. They're not talking about facts they got wrong or laws that were broken.

(…)

STEPHANOPOULOS: When you think about the investment that Vladimir Putin in intervening – interfering in our election it is paying off every day in spades.

MARTHA RADDATZ: He won the Super Bowl. He really-- Putin has won the Super Bowl here. Exactly what he wanted to happen in this country, this discord, this mistrust of institutions is exactly why they operate this way.

(…)


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