Nets Try to Keep Impeachment Dream Alive, But Some Reporters Express Doubt

In the wake of the “disaster” that was the Democratic-led House hearings with Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday, some in the liberal media were honest about how it blew up in their faces. Yet, during the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC, the liberal media were desperately holding onto the dream that Mueller would help Democrats impeach President Trump. But there were a couple of correspondents who weren’t convinced.

At the top of the CBS Evening News, floundering new anchor Norah O’Donnell energetically pitched the hearings as totally bad news for the President (click “expand”):

Good evening. We've got breaking news tonight with reaction still coming into the Mueller hearings. It was quite a day here. At one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller answering questions for the first time about his investigation of President Trump, and at the other end, the President, watching it all on TV, fuming and tweeting.

It was six hours of testimony before two House committees, and Mueller made one thing very clear: He did not clear the President of wrongdoing, as Mr. Trump has claimed time after time. But he also left any action against the president to Congress or to prosecutors after Mr. Trump leaves office.

At the end of the first report, chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes talked about how Democrats were getting ready to investigate Trump’s alleged financial relationship with Russia. “[I]f the House does pursue impeachment, Democrats want to do it with the strongest hand possible,” she concluded.

For her report on ABC’s World News Tonight, senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce hounded on how “Mueller did not reach a conclusion on obstruction because the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel says a sitting president cannot be indicted.” And she was eager to share how Trump could still face criminal charges after he leaves office with this soundbite:

CONGRESSMAN KEN BUCK (R-CO): You could charge the president of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?

MUELLER: Yes.

Again and again, Democrats went back to the report to highlight the ten incidents of possible obstruction by the President, including when Trump allegedly ordered his former White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller,” Bruce touted.

 

 

NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt shared an excitement similar to O’Donnell’s as he kicked off the program (click “expand”):

Good evening. He was the reluctant witness, Robert Mueller who for two years had the country holding its breath went public today testifying about his Russia report. The former Special Counsel as promised didn't stray much beyond his written report, but none the less made headlines. Acknowledging President Trump was untruthful in his written answers to investigators, calling the Trump campaign's embrace of WikiLeaks problematic, and firmly rejecting the president's characterization of the report as a hoax which is exactly what the President called it again late today.

“Robert Mueller arrived amid great hopes by Democrats that the hearing would spread his report’s message to the millions who’ve never read it,” boasted NBC Justice correspondent Pete Williams.

Judging from his lack of knowledge about what was actually in the report, Mueller himself might be included in those millions who’ve never read it.

But not all the network correspondents were convinced about the alleged damage the hearing did to President Trump. CBS chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett told O’Donnell that there was no “electrifying moment from Robert Mueller,” “even by the concession of Democrats.”

According to Garrett, House Democrats were exhibiting two of the signs that you’re losing a fight in Washington: explaining and begging. He elaborated:

And Democrats-- Nancy Cordes made reference to this, had a press conference after to explain what happened. In Washington, when you're explaining, you're losing. And at that press conference, one member of the Democratic Party said he was begging the American public to listen to what's happening. When you're begging after a hearing like this, you probably didn't lay down the foundation you'd hoped to lay down.

There was a similar admission on ABC where chief White House correspondent Jon Karl suggested that “nothing that he said today changes the calculus on impeachment. Democrats had high hopes for Robert Mueller, but David, after today, it is hard to imagine any scenario where it is Robert Mueller that brings down Donald Trump.”

Although, it could be argued that Karl was suggesting that Democrats just needed to find another way to get rid of Trump.

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s World News Tonight
July 24, 2019
6:33:22 p.m. Eastern

(…)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D): And what about total exoneration? Did you actually totally exonerate the President?

ROBERT MUELLER: No.

MARY BRUCE: But Mueller did not reach a conclusion on obstruction because the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel says a sitting president cannot be indicted. But can he be charged after he leaves office?

REP. KEN BUCK (R): You could charge the president of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?

MUELLER: Yes.

BRUCE: Again and again, Democrats went back to the report to highlight the ten incidents of possible obstruction by the President, including when Trump allegedly ordered his former White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller. When the request was reported in The New York Times, McGahn said the president told him to deny it.

(…)

6:36:41 p.m. Eastern

DAVID MUIR: So, Mary, where do Democrats go from here?

BRUCE: Well, David, don't expect any imminent action here. Democratic leaders are saying they are going to stay the course. For now, impeachment is still on the table, but David, the clock is ticking. Democrats are going to have to make a decision soon: do they keep up this drumbeat to impeach or do they change course and focus instead of beating Donald Trump at the ballot box in 2020?

(…)

6:38:14 p.m. Eastern

MUIR: So, Jon, bottom line, President Trump believes he has survived Mueller's testimony just fine.

JON KARL: David, he believes he's done more than survived. The phrase I kept hearing all day long from the President's top advisers was that today was an embarrassment for Democrats. Now, Mueller did contradict the President on several key facts, but nothing that he said today changes the calculus on impeachment. Democrats had high hopes for Robert Mueller, but David, after today, it is hard to imagine any scenario where it is Robert Mueller that brings down Donald Trump.

(…)

 

CBS Evening News
July 24, 2019
6:31:18 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: Good evening. We've got breaking news tonight with reaction still coming into the Mueller hearings. It was quite a day here. At one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller answering questions for the first time about his investigation of President Trump, and at the other end, the President, watching it all on TV, fuming and tweeting.

It was six hours of testimony before two House committees, and Mueller made one thing very clear: He did not clear the President of wrongdoing, as Mr. Trump has claimed time after time. But he also left any action against the president to Congress or to prosecutors after Mr. Trump leaves office.

(…)

6:35:10 p.m. Eastern

O’DONNELL: Nancy Cordes joins us from Capitol Hill tonight. And, Nancy, the Democrats got the Mueller testimony that they wanted. Where does it go from here?

NANCY CORDES: Well, Speaker Pelosi just told us that one of the top priorities now is something that was outside of Mueller's purview, and that is investigating the President's finances, particularly his financial relationships with Russian entities. She said that if the House does pursue impeachment, Democrats want to do it with the strongest hand possible. Although, of course, it's unclear, Norah, what if anything they'll uncover in this money probe.

(…)

6:37:11 p.m. Eastern

O’DONNELL: Major, when the special counsel was first named two years ago, Trump said he thought this was going to be the end of his presidency.

MAJOR GARRETT: Yes.

O’DONNELL: He's still in office.

GARRETT: He's still in office and appeared pleased today because the President is very caught up in performance. What was he afraid of today? An electrifying moment from Robert Mueller as the principal witness at the center of this drama. That didn't happen. Even by the concession of Democrats.

And Democrats-- Nancy Cordes made reference to this, had a press conference after to explain what happened. In Washington, when you're explaining, you're losing. And at that press conference, one member of the Democratic Party said he was begging the American public to listen to what's happening. When you're begging after a hearing like this, you probably didn't lay down the foundation you'd hoped to lay down.

O’DONNELL: That being said, Paula, you were just at the White House, too, asking the President about that moment when the Special Counsel said he could still be charged when he leaves office. How did he respond?

PAULA REID: He became agitated. He insisted that Mueller never said that, then he suggested that Mueller recanted, which he didn't. But it's clear the President is upset by any suggestion that the Russia investigation will continue to loom over the White House, even as he tries to use this investigation as a way to rally his supporters ahead of 2020.

(…)

 

NBC Nightly News
July 24, 2019
7:01:43 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Good evening. He was the reluctant witness, Robert Mueller who for two years had the country holding its breath went public today testifying about his Russia report. The former Special Counsel as promised didn't stray much beyond his written report, but none the less made headlines. Acknowledging President Trump was untruthful in his written answers to investigators, calling the Trump campaign's embrace of WikiLeaks problematic, and firmly rejecting the president's characterization of the report as a hoax which is exactly what the President called it again late today. Pete Williams starts our coverage.

[Cuts to video]

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Mr. Mueller, what's your message to the president?

PETE WILLIAMS: Robert Mueller arrived amid great hopes by Democrats that the hearing would spread his report’s message to the millions who’ve never read it. The opening minutes appeared to show that promise with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler zeroing in on what President Trump has said about it.

REP JERRY NADLER (D): The President repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him, but that is not what your report said. Is it?

ROBERT MUELLER: Correct. It is not what the report said.

NADLER: So, the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice? Is that correct?

MUELLER: That is correct.

NADLER: And what about total exoneration? Did you actually totally exonerate the President?

MUELLER: No.

(…)

NB Daily Events Mueller Report Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals Trump-Russia probe Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Mary Bruce Robert Mueller Norah O'Donnell Nancy Cordes Major Garrett Jonathan Karl Lester Holt Pete Williams Donald Trump

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