ABC, CBS Decry Barr, Trump Blasting FBI for Their Misconduct in Russia Probe

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The Department of Justice Inspector General’s report clearly spelled out gross abuses by the FBI when applying to spy on members of the Trump campaign. Despite those facts, ABC’s World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News were clutching their pearls Tuesday while reporting on how President Trump and Attorney General William Barr were slamming the law enforcement organization for lying and misleading the FISA courts.

Tonight, in an extraordinary set of developments, the President and his attorney general took aim at the FBI director,” CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell rhetorically gasped. “Now, this comes a day after the department's watchdog concluded the FBI was justified in opening an investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign.”

White House correspondent Ben Tracy began the video portion of the segment by whining about how “Attorney General William Barr is once again siding with President Trump, offering a scathing critique today of the FBI’s investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign.”

He added: “Barr is contradicting his own inspector general, who found the FBI acted legitimately and with no political bias in launching the probe into the Trump campaign's potential ties with Russia. The report did, however, find the FBI made significant mistakes in its warrant applications for wiretap surveillance of the campaign.”

While never critically discussing what the FBI’s misconduct was, Tracy tried to discredit Barr by suggesting he was just acting like a crony of the President.

“Barr, who also staunchly defended President Trump after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, is now essentially echoing the President's view that it's all been a hoax and a witch hunt,” he huffed.

 

 

ABC anchor David Muir led into the segment by rambling off a list of talking points to defend that FBI’s error-filled investigation:

And, of course, all of this playing out today as President Trump took aim at his own hand-picked FBI director. Just 24 hours after FBI Director Christopher Wray told ABC News there was no deep state, no spying on the Trump campaign, a notion backed up by the inspector general, finding no anti-Trump bias in the Russia investigation. The President was not happy with either of them.

Of course, Muir was being dishonest when he claimed there was “no spying,” because the report itself details how the FBI had sent people wearing wires to converse with campaign aides and used other types of electronic surveillance.

Seemingly suggesting the meeting played some kind of secret correlation, chief White House correspondent and White House Correspondents Association president Jon Karl noted that “It all comes on a day President Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the White House, tweeting out this picture from the Oval Office…”Karl seemed to take the word of the Russian over his president.

While neither Karl nor Tracy had any sort of professional or career experience in federal matters, NBC Justice correspondent Pete Williams did, having previously worked in the George H.W. Bush administration. In his report, he allowed Barr to denounce what was rotten at the FBI and defend himself:

WILLIAMS: I think a lot of people will hear what you're saying here and think, “well, that's just Bill Barr defending Trump.” Your concern about the FBI's investigation is what? Civil libertarian?

BARR: I think our nation was turned on its head for three years. I think based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by an irresponsible press, and I think that there were gross abuses of FISA and inexplicable behavior that isn't tolerable in the FBI.

Meanwhile, back in February 2018, the networks denounced Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) for releasing a memo warning of the FBI’s misconduct, which was later confirmed by the IG report.

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

ABC’s World News Tonight
December 10, 2019
6:38:57 p.m. Eastern

DAVID MUIR: And, of course, all of this playing out today as President Trump took aim at his own hand-picked FBI director. Just 24 hours after FBI Director Christopher Wray told ABC News there was no deep state, no spying on the Trump campaign, a notion backed up by the inspector general, finding no anti-Trump bias in the Russia investigation. The President was not happy with either of them. Here's ABC's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl tonight.

[Cuts to video]

JON KARL: President Trump took aim at FBI Director Christopher Wray just 24 hours after Wray spoke with ABC's Pierre Thomas.

(…)

KARL: Wray was reacting to the internal Justice Department investigation that criticized actions of lower-level FBI officials, but concluded the probe of Russia and the Trump campaign was launched properly and without political bias. "I don't know what report current director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading," the President tweeted, "But it sure wasn't the one given to me." Wray also rejected another frequent claim by the President and his allies.

(…)

KARL: The interview clearly didn't please the President, who tweeted, "With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI."

It all comes on a day President Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the White House, tweeting out this picture from the Oval Office, saying, election meddling was among the many issues they discussed. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he delivered his own warning to Lavrov.

SEC. STATE MIKE POMPEO: I was clear, it's unacceptable and I made our expectations of Russia clear.

[Cuts back to live]

MUIR: So, let's bring in Jonathan Karl, he’s live at the White House tonight. And Jon, you're learning more about that conversation in the Oval Office between President Trump and the Russian foreign minister?

KARL: David, the White House has put out an official statement about that meeting, saying, quote, “President Trump warned against any Russian attempts to interfere in United States elections.” But just a short while ago, Lavrov himself spoke to reporters here in Washington and was asked directly about the White House statement, and Lavrov said this, quote, “we haven't even actually discussed elections.” So, two very different interpretations about what happened in that meeting.

MUIR: Yes, conflicting reports tonight. Jon Karl, on the breaking headline. Jon, thank you.

 

CBS Evening News
December 10, 2019
6:37:24 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: Tonight, in an extraordinary set of developments, the President and his attorney general took aim at the FBI director. Now, this comes a day after the department's watchdog concluded the FBI was justified in opening an investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign. Ben Tracy reports from the White House.

[Cuts to video]

BEN TRACY: Attorney General William Barr is once again siding with President Trump, offering a scathing critique today of the FBI’s investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign.

A.G. WILLIAM BARR: I think our nation was turned on its head for three years. I think, based on a completely bogus narrative. [Transition] I think that leaves open the possibility to infer bad faith.

TRACY: Barr is contradicting his own inspector general, who found the FBI acted legitimately and with no political bias in launching the probe into the Trump campaign's potential ties with Russia. The report did, however, find the FBI made significant mistakes in its warrant applications for wiretap surveillance of the campaign.

BARR: Oh, it was clearly spied upon. I mean, that's what electronic surveillance is.

TRACY: Barr, who also staunchly defended President Trump after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, is now essentially echoing the President's view that it's all been a hoax and a witch hunt.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It should never again happen to another president.

TRACY: The President and the Attorney General are now at odds with FBI Director Christopher Wray, who says the bureau was right to launch the Russia probe and chafes at President Trump calling his ages the deep state.

FBI DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER WRAY: That’s not a term I would ever use to describe our workforce and I think it’s an affront to them.

TRACY: In a tweet today, President Trump ominously called Wray "The current director of the FBI," adding, “with that kind of attitude he will never be able to fix the FBI”

[Cuts back to live]

Here at the White House today, the President met with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office. The White House claims that President Trump warned the Russians not to interfere in any upcoming U.S. elections. Norah.

O’DONNELL: All right, Ben, thank you.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Labeling Political Scandals Trump-Russia probe Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News Video Ben Tracy David Muir Jonathan Karl Pete Williams Donald Trump Bill Barr

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