Nets Tout ‘Damning’, ‘Bombshell’…Closed-Door Testimony Against Trump

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The broadcast networks once again showed that they relied heavily on Democratic leaks and talking points to build out their impeachment coverage. During their Tuesday evening newscasts, ABC, CBS, and NBC touted the testimony of National Security Council staffer Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman as a “bombshell” and “damning” for President Trump. But the testimony was delivered behind-closed-doors to a Democratic-led investigation committee.

The fact that these liberal media outlets were able to categorize the hearing in no uncertain terms meant they were getting the talking points fed to them.

But transparency didn’t matter so long as they could tell their viewers about the “bombshell impeachment testimony,” as anchor Norah O’Donnell did during the opening tease for the CBS Evening News. “We're going to begin with that damning impeachment testimony today from a key witness.”

O’Donnell didn’t try to hide the fact they were getting their information from Democrats. “One Democrat is calling today's testimony ‘The nail in the coffin,’” she went on to boast.

On ABC’s World News Tonight, anchor David Muir and senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce leaned on Democrats to assert that Republicans in the room started a “shouting match” with the witness:

MUIR: But you also have new reporting tonight about the shouting match that broke out inside today's hearing?

MARY BRUCE: Well, David, this deposition got heated, with lawmakers shouting at each other. Democrats are accusing Republicans of pressing Vindman in an effort to reveal who the whistleblower is. But the colonel insists that he is not the whistleblower and says he does not know who that person is.

 

 

After a report on the California wildfires, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt told viewers “[t]here was dramatic testimony in the House impeachment investigation by a decorated war hero who works on the National Security Council and was among those who heard that phone call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart.”

The report was delivered by chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson, who echoed her liberal media colleagues in dubbing it “bombshell testimony” from “a firsthand witness to the explosive conversation that ignited the impeachment inquiry.”

To her credit, Jackson did share the Republican argument that there was no underlining crime because actions by the U.S. and Ukraine showed no quid-pro-quo:

JACKSON: Still, Republicans do argue Vindman's wrong when he says national security was ever at risk.

CONGRESSMAN KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): We are all able to see there was no quid-pro-quo. The money was released. Ukraine did nothing, and no action was taken. Where's the crime?

Because the Democrats were having these witnesses testify behind closed-doors, the public were only allowed to receive the narrative the left and their friends in the media wanted them too.

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

ABC’s World News Tonight
October 29, 2019
6:32:32 p.m. Eastern

(…)

DAVID MUIR: And tonight, what we have just learned from inside the questioning, the shouting that erupted. Were members of Congress trying to get the witness to reveal the whistleblower? ABC's Mary Bruce leads us off from the Hill tonight.

[Cuts to video]

(…)

[Cuts back to live]

MUIR: All right, so, let's get right to Mary Bruce. She live up on the Hill tonight. And Mary, we know Democrats have now unveiled their plans for the public phase of this inquiry, public hearings. I know Republicans could potentially call their own witnesses. That full House vote could happen as early as Thursday. But you also have new reporting tonight about the shouting match that broke out inside today's hearing?

MARY BRUCE: Well, David, this deposition got heated, with lawmakers shouting at each other. Democrats are accusing Republicans of pressing Vindman in an effort to reveal who the whistleblower is. But the colonel insists that he is not the whistleblower and says he does not know who that person is. David?

MUIR: All right, Mary Bruce leading us off again tonight. Mary, thank you.

 

CBS Evening News
October 29, 2019
6:30:20 p.m. Eastern [Opening Tease]

NORAH O’DONNELL: Tonight, bombshell impeachment testimony. A decorated army officer testifies he sounded the alarm about the President's conduct. It's the first testimony from a White House official who directly heard that controversial phone call with Ukraine's leader.

(…)

O’DONNELL: We're going to begin with that damning impeachment testimony today from a key witness. Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman. The National Security Council's top expert on Ukraine is the first official to testify about what he directly heard during the controversial phone call that sparked the impeachment inquiry.

Vindman says what he heard concerned him and he alerted a top White House lawyer. Vindman joins other diplomats and former administration officials in confirming the details of the whistleblower’s complaint. He says he's not, though, the mysterious whistleblower.

One Democrat is calling today's testimony "The nail in the coffin." Nancy Cordes leads off our coverage tonight on Capitol Hill.

[Cuts to video]

(…)

 

NBC Nightly News
October 29, 2019
7:07:36 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: There was dramatic testimony in the House impeachment investigation by a decorated war hero who works on the National Security Council and was among those who heard that phone call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart. Hallie Jackson now with late details on that.

[Cuts to video]

HALLIE JACKSON: Bombshell testimony tonight. For the first time, a firsthand witness to the explosive conversation that ignited the impeachment inquiry.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did the White House try to prevent you from testifying?

JACKSON: Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a combat veteran and National Security Council staffer, was on that July call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president, listening in from the situation room. Then sending up this stunning alarm. “This would all undermine U.S. national security.”

Vindman is telling lawmakers he was concerned about the conversation in which the President asked for political help as Ukraine was seeking key military aid.

(…)

JACKSON: Still, Republicans do argue Vindman's wrong when he says national security was ever at risk.

CONGRESSMAN KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): We are all able to see there was no quid pro quo. The money was released. Ukraine did nothing, and no action was taken. Where's the crime?

(…)

NB Daily Events Trump Impeachment Foreign Policy Europe Ukraine Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Mary Bruce David Muir Norah O'Donnell Lester Holt Hallie Jackson Donald Trump

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