“[T]he Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the [Russians] in [their] efforts…” That’s what Attorney General William Barr wrote in his letter to Congress summarizing the Mueller report. Yet, despite the facts compiled after two years of investigations, CNN continues to breathlessly push conspiratorial accusations of collusion between President Trump and Russia.
Over the last two nights, CNN’s prime time hosts have found no shame in continuing to push what had become their obsession for two years.
On Monday night, host Erin Burnett began OutFront by forwarding speculation that President Trump himself and/or members of his inner circle were “compromised” by the Russians. Her proof was California Congressman Adam Schiff (D), who often claimed he had mountains direct evidence of collusion only to be proven a liar by the Special Counsel.
“Our investigation is always focused on counterintelligence issues that is, is the President or anyone around him compromised in some way. That work has to go on,” Schiff said in a soundbite.
“That's a crucial question to imagine that we don't know the answer to,” Burnett exclaimed as if it could be taken seriously. Speaking to CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz, Burnett seemed unsure Robert Mueller ever considered it:
Shimon, obviously we have this four-page summary and then you have this report that we all hope we will get see. But what Chairman Schiff there is saying is the question of whether the President or anyone around him was compromised by Russia is a question that was—that we still are working on. Was that even part of Mueller's investigation answering that question?
Despite admitting that the Special Counsel found no evidence of collusion, Prokupecz suspected, “it was and it continues to be something that the FBI and I think counterintelligence investigators will always look for.”
Early in CNN’s Tuesday prime time line up (AC360), CNN analyst Ralph Peters proclaimed that the debunked Steele dossier still “rings true to me” despite Mueller’s findings. He received zero push back from host Anderson Cooper.
“He won’t criticize Putin, and why doesn’t he want sanctions? Why has he been slow rolling sanctions? Why does he just dovetail with Putin’s view of the world,” Peters whined with no acknowledgment of the administration’s efforts to arm Ukraine in their fight against Russia.
Things got even nuttier Tuesday night when Prime Time host Chris Cuomo emphatically asserted that “there could be ample proof” of collusion in Mueller’s full report. “[C]ollusion is not a crime and Mueller was looking for crimes. That was his essential job. Collusion is a behavior.”
Adding, “Mueller can't show that Trump did nothing wrong”, Cuomo suggested the evidence for collusion, “[a]ll could be folded into the counterintelligence investigation that the AG didn't even mention in miss summary.” Unironially, this ranting came during a segment dubbed, "don't be a sucker".
But again, the summary stated: “[T]he Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the [Russians] in [their] efforts…” That’s where the collusion would be and that’s what the Special Counsel didn’t find.
So much for CNN’s #FactsFirst mantra. CNN appears to have been taken over by their unhealthy obsession. This is CNN.
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront
March 25, 2019
7:02:38 p.m. Eastern
ERIN BURNETT: It wouldn't bother him at all and it would at the least explain the many actions of Robert Mueller. Don't forget, he criminally charged 37 people and entities, 29 of them Russians, six of them Trump associates, 199 criminal counts. This is unprecedented. Paul Manafort alone will spend the next seven and a half years in prison. He was the chairman of a presidential campaign. This will go down in history which is why there is more we need to know and releasing the report will be a big step to understanding how Mueller came to his conclusions.
But whether we see Mueller's full report or not, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says there are still other crucial questions.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Our investigation is always focused on counterintelligence issues that is, is the President or anyone around him compromised in some way. That work has to go on.
BURNETT: That's a crucial question to imagine that we don't know the answer to. Shimon Prokupecz is OutFront live in Washington. Shimon, obviously we have this four-page summary and then you have this report that we all hope we will get see. But what Chairman Schiff there is saying is the question of whether the President or anyone around him was compromised by Russia is a question that was—that we still are working on. Was that even part of Mueller's investigation answering that question?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ: Yes, of course, it was and it continues to be something that the FBI and I think counterintelligence investigators will always look for. But I think it's very clear from what we saw in the Bill Barr report is that they found no evidence that the Russians and people with Trump and Trump campaign colluded with the Russians.
The idea that there may be some kind of, let's say, someone may be compromised or the Russians may have somehow been able to breach the Trump campaign, it's certainly something that everyone wants to know more about because you have so many people when they were asked questions about their involvement with Russians, so many people on the campaign, they had lied about it.
So that had always investigators suspicious of that activity, so that is an ongoing process in terms of what were the Russians up to certainly. But it's very clear from the report that we've seen so far, parts of that we've seen so far, that really the FBI did not find that there was anything criminal that was going on. Now, counterintelligence is very, very different as you know, Erin.
CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time
March 26, 2019
9:55:25 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS CUOMO: Don't be a sucker. Part one and part two. Here's part one. Actor Jussie Smollett’s story is no more believable now after charges were dropped.
In fact, it becomes the word of the day in my opinion. Exonerated. And it takes us to part two of don't be a sucker.
How is the Mueller report case closed when no one has seen the report? These four pages that we saw, these are the AG, Bill Barr's, letter summarizing the report. Didn't stop our President from proclaiming this today.
DONALD TRUMP: It was a complete and total exoneration.
CUOMO: Not today, Sunday. But he'll say it again. And once again, the President can't go with the truth, even when it is on his side. Let's just be straight about this. Mueller said Barr echoed, no charge of criminality. Can't make a case. A criminal case when it comes to the President or his people being involved in Russian interference into our election. That's the good news.
But on obstruction, Mueller went out of his way to apply an unusual standard. And Barr went out of his way to repeat our word of the day. The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
That means Mueller can't show that Trump did nothing wrong, which would be a tough thing to do, with the nonexistence of a fact. And that's not his burden. His burden was to prosecute or not. Not to prove the President innocent. So why did he say it? It's another question we've got to get the answer to. The big point is, the President is wrong again. There's a lot more to know.
Again, the AG didn't use the word "collusion" in his summary. Why? Because collusion is not a crime and Mueller was looking for crimes. That was his essential job. Collusion is a behavior. And there could be ample proof from that kind of behavior in Mueller's full findings. Manafort giving the poll data, Stone's efforts to get stolen e-mails for advantage, the Trump Tower meeting and more! All could be folded into the counterintelligence investigation that the AG didn't even mention in his summary.
What did the President know? What was done by those around him with respect to meetings and contacts with people that we know they knew to stay away from? That could be in the counterintel. Could be somewhere else, could be nowhere. We may know in a few weeks, we're told. We'll be asking on this show all the time. That's our job. You should demand we do our job and that Congress deliver.
Are there more crimes related to Russia to come? No! That part is done. But maybe in the bucket of other probes, maybe.