Bernstein: Only a 'Miracle' Can Save Trump from Criminal Prosecution

For the final guest of CNN’s so-called “Reliable Sources”, host and media janitor Brian Stelter brought on CNN political analyst and Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein to sing the media’s praises and rail against the President. According to Bernstein’s rambling, Trump was “the most authoritarian president in our history” who got his “Roy Cohn” in Attorney General William Barr, and only something “miraculous” could save him.

As Stelter was preparing to bring his guest on, he proclaimed that “many Trump-related story lines are converging, all of them convoluted, but many pointing in the same direction toward presidential abuses of power.

“So, are members of the media living up to this challenge? … Are we living up to this moment in history,” he asked.

After claiming it was the press who were doing a great job and Congress who was failing because they weren’t holding impeachment investigations, Bernstein suggested: “there has been no real bipartisan investigation of the most authoritarian president in our history…” “Probably,” he added as an afterthought.

In going “back to basics here”, Bernstein insisted there was “an ongoing cover-up by the President of the United States” and we would need to wait and see if it was criminal (that suggestion of waiting would get thrown out the window in a few short minutes). “[W]e are in the midst of a continued cover-up by the President and aided and abetted by the Attorney General of the United States,” he added for good measure.

Invoking the specter of McCarthy-era lawyer Roy Cohn, Bernstein asserted that Trump and AG Barr had taken the country “to an unprecedented place.” It wasn’t a “constitutional crisis”, according to him, but “a systemic crisis challenging whether our institutions are able to function in this country to deal with the President of the United States, who is unique in our history, who has nothing but contempt for democratic tradition and the rule of law.” And “the future of American democracy” was on Chief Justice John Roberts’ shoulders.

 

 

Someone nominate Bernstein for a Tony, he deserves it for that Broadway performance. He’s clearly desperate to relive his glory days from over 45-years ago. And he wasn't done yet.

After seeming to suggest a Wall Street Journal report about how former White House counsel “Don McGahn rebuffed White House request to say Trump didn’t obstruct justice” was somehow an affront to journalism by the Murdoch family, Bernstein praised the New York Times report that found the President was $1 billion in debt in the 80s and 90s.

Despite the fact that Trump’s fight with massive debt was widely reported at the time, Trump admitted it in 2004, and brought up in 2016, Bernstein used it to proclaim we “have a grifter President of the United States, a tax cheat, someone who is a fraud in business, which is demonstrable … And now we are seeing the fraudulence through what the press is reporting, today.”

“There's plenty of room for original reporting. And incidentally, if this story were to go in some direction that by some miracle exonerated President Trump, so be it,” he exclaimed. “But so far all the evidence, particularly the Mueller report, is so overwhelming and also this is no exoneration about his conduct in terms of Russia and Russian contacts. That's not what the Mueller report says.”

But that’s a lie. As CNN’s Mary Katherine Ham expertly noted a couple of weeks or so ago, “collusion” was used as shorthand to mean a “criminal conspiracy” between the Trump campaign and Russia. The investigation found zip, zero, nada on that front. And as former AG Michael Mukasey would remind you, the Justice Department doesn’t exonerate, it decides to prosecute or not prosecute based on the evidence. No charges were able to be brought against the President on obstruction of justice, or recommended for later.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN’s Reliable Sources
May 12, 2019
11:46:53 a.m. Eastern

BRIAN STELTER: So many Trump-related story lines are converging, all of them convoluted, but many pointing in the same direction toward presidential abuses of power. So, are members of the media living up to this challenge? Let's ask Carl Bernstein. He’s here with me in New York. Carl, that's the question. Are we living up to this moment in history?

CARL BERNSTEIN: Well, by “we”, you mean the press, I think yes. Our institutions so far the answer is not hardly.

STELTER: You mean the Congress?

BERNSTEIN: Well, the Congress of the United States particularly because there has been no real bipartisan investigation of the most authoritarian president in our history, probably.

Let go back to basics here. We find ourselves in this situation, right now, because there is an ongoing cover-up by the President of the United States. Whether that constitutes a violation of law, whether he is a criminal or not, that’s for down the road. But right now it's obvious to anyone who watches, anyone who looks at the facts, reads the Mueller report, the obstruction part particularly, we are in the midst of a continued cover-up by the President and aided and abetted by the Attorney General of the United States.

Trump said he wanted his Roy Cohn, he’s got him now in the Attorney General. And where this is taking us is to an unprecedented place. It’s not about a constitutional crisis. This is a systemic crisis challenging whether our institutions are able to function in this country to deal with the President of the United States, who is unique in our history who has nothing but contempt for democratic tradition and the rule of law.

So, really where the rubber is going to meet the road is going to be the Supreme Court of the United States. And Chief Justice Roberts has got his table being set for him in a way that may have an awful lot to do with the future of American democracy.

STELTER: You say systemic crisis. Though, I hear his fans saying, “Trump’s just being a tough guy. He’s just holding onto his power, it’s what every president would do.” They would he’s not so different from them past presidents.

BERNSTEIN: Well, he's very different from past presidents.

STELTER: But I feel like Fox News viewers are fed this narrative about Obama and other Democrats that makes them all the same.

BERNSTEIN: Look, we can't do anything about Fox News and what they feed their audience any more -- What we need to do in the press is to continue our reporting. There is wideopen area for reporting. Look what the Wall Street Journal owned by the same person who owns Fox News, Rupert Murdoch—

STELTER: Right, the Murdoch’s.

BERNSTEIN: --reported last week about McCann [McGahn] stiffing the President of the United States, and saying he would not go and tell the Congress of the United States and others that the president had not obstructed justice. Refused to do it. Who produced that story?

STELTER & BERNSTEIN (in unison): The Murdochs!

STELTER: That's a great point.

BERNSTEIN: So, let's continue to do what we do best. Look at the tax story The New York Times did showing us we have a grifter President of the United States, a tax cheat, someone who is a fraud in business, which is demonstrable, which you’ve had on his biographers who say the same thing. And now we are seeing the fraudulence through what the press is reporting, today.

We need to be looking at the relationship of the Trump business organization with Russia and Russians and ethno-Russians. There's plenty of room for original reporting. And incidentally, if this story were to go in some direction that by some miracle exonerated President Trump, so be it!

STELTER: That would be a good thing for the country.

BERNSTEIN: But so far all the evidence, particularly the Mueller report, is so overwhelming and also this is no exoneration about his conduct in terms of Russia and Russian contacts. That's not what the Mueller report says.

(…)

NB Daily Events Mueller Report Conspiracy Theories Political Scandals Trump-Russia probe Cable Television CNN Reliable Sources Video Robert Mueller Carl Bernstein Brian Stelter Donald Trump Bill Barr

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