Nets Lament Mueller ‘Blunted Momentum’, Didn’t ‘Move the Needle’ for Impeachment

The day after the disasters that were the Democratic-led hearings with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the liberal broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) seemed crestfallen that their high hopes for President Trump’s impeachment were puttering out.

Their Thursday flagship evening newscasts reflected that mood as they talked about the hearings not having the “punch” needed to push certain Democrats to back impeachment, leaving a “divide” in the party.

Democrats are still very divided about how to move forward. And Capitol Hill sources tell NBC News there's broad agreement the Mueller hearings did not deliver the kind of punch they were hoping for to start impeachment proceedings, and that it actually may have blunted momentum,” NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker told anchor Lester Holt during NBC Nightly News.

Welker did note the “Democrats who are not ready to give up on impeachment”, but those Democrats would have to contend with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Ultimately, it's up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who had a meeting with Democrats last night, made it very clear she's not on board with the idea,” she explained.

“Meanwhile, President Trump believes the hearings were a win for him,” Welker added. Except, it was more than just the President. Many on MSNBC correctly identified the hearings as a disaster for Democrats.

On ABC’s World News Tonight, senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce was in spin-mode as she boasted about how “Democrats today were eager to pivot back to their agenda” and “Mueller's testimony adding new fire to the impeachment debate.

Um, no serious person thought the hearing put “new fire” into the push for impeachment. Bruce’s colleague Terry Moran declared “impeachment’s over” after the first hearing.

 

 

Bruce then lamented that the “hearing [was] not enough to move the needle for Speaker Pelosi,” and seemed to huff about how the hearings only netted “just three new Democrats have come out to support impeachment, bringing the total to 95.”

She tried to salvage the fight but suggesting Republicans weren’t trying to stop Russia from meddling in our elections (click “expand”):

BRUCE: Today, Republicans grappling with Mueller's stark warning that Russia is still meddling in our elections.

(…)

BRUCE: But Republican leader Mitch McConnell today blocked several bills that would boost election security. [TO STEWART] Are Republicans doing enough on this issue on election interference?

CONGRESSMAN CHRIS STEWART (R-UT): We're trying to.

BRUCE: What does that mean? [TO GRAHAM] Is the president doing enough to draw attention to this issue? To the fact that Russia is meddling and it needs to be stopped?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: No.

BRUCE: No?

As for the CBS Evening News, floundering new anchor Norah O’Donnell began the segment by in part admitting “Mueller's appearance on Capitol Hill yesterday was not quite what Democrats were hoping for and did not make impeachment any more likely.”

CBS congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes noted that Democrats had a debate on their hands “one day after a long-awaited, but low-key appearance by Robert Mueller.” Talk about an understatement.

Cordes followed up that notation with an interview with a Democrat that wasn’t swayed towards impeachment (click “expand”):

CORDES: Did it change your mind at all when it comes to impeachment?

CONGRESSMAN DEAN PHILLIPS (D-MN): Not specifically, because I read the report.

CORDES: Minnesota Democrat Dean Phillips says he's close to a tipping point, but the hearings did not push him over.

PHILLIPS: I hear people protesting in my office that I should do it now. People say that I would be out of my mind if did so. I think there's a lot more to learn, and that's exactly what we're doing, and it's a process.

In wrapping up the segment, Cordes echoed Bruce and slimed Senate Republicans. “Senate Democrats tried to push through more funding for election security today after that warning from Robert Mueller about Russian meddling. But the bill was blocked by GOP Leader Mitch McConnell,” she said. “He called it one-sided, Norah, and said the Trump administration has already done a lot to boost election security.”

Clearly, they’re not thrilled with the lack of progress on impeaching President Trump.

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

ABC’s World News Tonight
July 25, 2019
6:37:41 p.m. Eastern

DAVID MUIR: We turn next this evening to the divide on Capitol Hill among Democrats. Do they move forward with impeachment one day after Robert Mueller testified before the American people, saying he did not exonerate the President? ABC's Mary Bruce tonight on the hill.

[Cuts to video]

MARY BRUCE: Less than 24 hours after Robert Mueller was sworn in, Democrats today were eager to pivot back to their agenda.

SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: We will own August, for the people. We will own August.

BRUCE: Mueller's testimony adding new fire to the impeachment debate.

(…)

BRUCE: But that hearing not enough to move the needle for Speaker Pelosi.

MANU RAJU: Are you going to discourage your members at all from announcing their support for an impeachment inquiry?

PELOSI: Never have done that. I have never done that.

BRUCE: Since the Mueller hearings, just three new Democrats have come out to support impeachment, bringing the total to 95.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D): The jury that I care the most about is the jury of the American people. And what message an impeachment that results in an acquittal in the Senate will leave for future generations.

BRUCE: A question even supporters of impeachment are struggling with.

JAKE TAPPER: Why impeach the President if it is going to fail in the Senate?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D): Because we have an obligation under the Constitution of the United States to operate independently one branch or another, or one House or another.

BRUCE: Today, Republicans grappling with Mueller's stark warning that Russia is still meddling in our elections.

(…)

BRUCE: But Republican leader Mitch McConnell today blocked several bills that would boost election security.

Are Republicans doing enough on this issue on election interference?

REP. CHRIS STEWART (R): We're trying to.

BRUCE: What does that mean?

Is the president doing enough to draw attention to this issue? To the fact that Russia is meddling and it needs to be stopped?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: No.

BRUCE: No?

[Cuts back to live]

MUIR: And you'll keep asking the questions.

(…)

 

CBS Evening News
July 25, 2019
6:37:40 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: Breaking news, the Senate Intelligence Committee reported today that Russia targeted election systems in all 50 states in 2016. And it went mostly undetected. Now, this follows the warning yesterday from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller that the Russians are still meddling in the U.S. elections process. Mueller's appearance on Capitol Hill yesterday was not quite what Democrats were hoping for and did not make impeachment any more likely. So as Nancy Cordes reports, the Democrats are regrouping.

[Cuts to video]

NANCY CORDES: Democrats debated today where to go from here.

ROBER MUELLER: Can't get into that.

CORDES: One day after a long-awaited, but low-key appearance by Robert Mueller.

Did it change your mind at all when it comes to impeachment?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS: Not specifically, because I read the report.

CORDES: Minnesota Democrat Dean Phillips says he's close to a tipping point, but the hearings did not push him over.

PHILLIPS: I hear people protesting in my office that I should do it now. People say that I would be out of my mind if did so. I think there's a lot more to learn, and that's exactly what we're doing, and it's a process.

CORDES: The next step in that process: Democrats going to court to force former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify.

(…)

CORDES: Today, Republicans shrugged off the obstruction talk.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY: We watched it. We heard it. We've read it. What more can they make up?

[Cuts back to live]

CORDES: Senate Democrats tried to push through more funding for election security today after that warning from Robert Mueller about Russian meddling. But the bill was blocked by GOP Leader Mitch McConnell. He called it one-sided, Norah, and said the Trump administration has already done a lot to boost election security.

O’DONNELL: All right, Nancy Cordes on capitol hill. Thank you.

 

NBC Nightly News
July 25, 2019
7:08:35 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: One day after Robert Mueller testified before Congress, Democrats tonight are still debating whether to pursue impeachment of the President. White House correspondent Kristen Welker is here. Kristen, this is a big split among Democrats and it didn't change because of yesterday.

KRISTEN WELKER: It certainly is Lester. Good evening. Democrats are still very divided about how to move forward. And Capitol Hill sources tell NBC News there's broad agreement the Mueller hearings did not deliver the kind of punch they were hoping for to start impeachment proceedings, and that it actually may have blunted momentum.

But there are still Democrats who are not ready to give up on impeachment. Ultimately, it's up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who had a meeting with Democrats last night, made it very clear she's not on board with the idea.

Meanwhile, President Trump believes the hearings were a win for him as Democrats, Lester, are preparing to file a lawsuit to try to force the President's former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify. He was a key Mueller witness.

HOLT: All right, Kristen, thank you.

NB Daily Events Mueller Report Trump Impeachment 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 Kristen Welker Donald Trump

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