Evening Anchor O’Donnell Lets Dem Impeach Managers Sound Off in Interview

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Shortly after they slimed President Trump’s legal team with accusations they weren’t behaving like lawyers, CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell aired portions of a sit-down interview she did with four of the Democratic impeachment managers from the House. The Tuesday segment was little more than an opportunity to give Democrats extra time to make their case against the President, as O’Donnell lobbed softball after softball their way.

The video portion of the report began not with a question but back-to-back soundbites of Congresswomen Val Demings (D-FL) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) going off on Senate Republicans:

DEMINGS: I expect not only leader McConnell, but every member of the Senate who’s taken two oaths, their oath when they were sworn into office and the oath of impartiality, I expect them to take those oaths very seriously and do their job. We want a fair trial.

LOFGREN: When the senators swore impartial justice, they swore to God that they would give impartial justice. And I think that should mean something to them.

That was followed up with a friendly question to lead Manager and Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA). “Chairman, is your committee still investigating, and are you hoping to introduce new evidence during this trial,” she asked.

Despite the fact that many of Schiff’s claims about what evidence would show in terms of Trump’s guilt during the Russia investigation had turned out the be false, O’Donnell sat back and let him claim, without evidence, that the President may have ordered the NSA to withhold information:

 

 

O’DONNELL: You are now accusing the National Security Agency of withholding critical intelligence that could be useful in this impeachment trial. What specific intelligence or intercepts are you looking for?

SCHIFF: We have requested intelligence, relevant intelligence concerning Ukraine as a part of our oversight responsibility. The intelligence agencies, some of them have stopped cooperating. And it's our understanding they're doing this on the instructions of others or with the advice of others.

O’DONNELL: What is it you don't feel like you have and that you need?

At no point did O’Donnell ask about where he was getting that information from. No accountability.

“Would you acknowledge that even if you were to succeed in calling John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney that the President could claim executive privilege,” she asked in one question.

O’Donnell also did a poor job in representing the arguments of Trump’s legal team when looking for the Democrats’ response:

The White House says you failed to allege any crime or violation of the law. What's the crime?

(…)

The President's legal team says he did not obstruct Congress because he acted with extraordinary and unprecedented transparency by declassifying and releasing those call summaries.

Those were the last questions she aired. At no point, did she ask why House Democrats failed to charge Trump with bribery after they claimed that was the crime he was guilty of? From there, the video portion of the segment ended with ranting from the Democrats.

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

CBS Evening News
January 21, 2020
6:37:08 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: We sat down exclusively with four of the Democratic impeachment managers who tell us they believe some intelligence agencies were told to withhold evidence related to Ukraine. It's an explosive charge as today they continue to demand a fair Senate trial.

[Cuts to video]

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): I expect not only leader McConnell, but every member of the Senate who’s taken two oaths, their oath when they were sworn into office and the oath of impartiality, I expect them to take those oaths very seriously and do their job. We want a fair trial.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): When the senators swore impartial justice, they swore to God that they would give impartial justice. And I think that should mean something to them.

O’DONNELL: Chairman, is your committee still investigating, and are you hoping to introduce new evidence during this trial?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We are still investigating, and new evidence has continued to come to light. And if the senators don't allow witnesses, they'll be first in history to prohibit them.

O’DONNELL: You are now accusing the National Security Agency of withholding critical intelligence that could be useful in this impeachment trial. What specific intelligence or intercepts are you looking for?

SCHIFF: We have requested intelligence, relevant intelligence concerning Ukraine as a part of our oversight responsibility. The intelligence agencies, some of them have stopped cooperating. And it's our understanding they're doing this on the instructions of others or with the advice of others.

O’DONNELL: What is it you don't feel like you have and that you need?

SCHIFF: The issue of how Ukraine has responded to the pressure campaign would be very pertinent. If there was more evidence that bears on that question and it's being withheld by the intelligence community at the urging of the President, that is a corruption of the intelligence community.

DEMINGS: The evidence against the President is overwhelming, but the American people deserve to have the complete story.

O’DONNELL: Would you acknowledge that even if you were to succeed in calling John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney that the President could claim executive privilege?

SCHIFF: That privilege, even if one could be asserted, would have to be asserted narrowly.

REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): We also have to look at the big picture of all the arguments that the President and his team are making. They're saying that the president can't be indicted. Then they're arguing that the House can't call witnesses and ask for documents.

Now, they're saying that the president can assert exertive privilege over anything that he wants. So, if you piece all of those arguments together, it leads to the inevitable conclusion that the president cannot be held accountable and is above the law. And I'm very confident that's not what the framers intended.

O’DONNELL: The White House says you failed to allege any crime or violation of the law. What's the crime?

SCHIFF: Indeed, when the Constitution was written, there really weren't a host of federal crimes. Those came later. What they had in mind is crimes against the body of politic, the abuse of power here was the withholding of military aid to an ally at war to help the President to cheat in the next election. As one of the Constitutional experts testified: if that's not impeachable, nothing is.

O’DONNELL: The President's legal team says he did not obstruct Congress because he acted with extraordinary and unprecedented transparency by declassifying and releasing those call summaries.

LOFGREN: He has not released a single document. He tried to obstruct every single member of the administration from appearing before the Congress responding to the subpoenas. This has never before happened in the history of the United States.

SCHIFF: You really have to give them credit for nerve, though, Norah. The argument really boils down to this in their answer: We have to obstruct the Congress to protect the Congress. We have to subvert the Constitution to save the Constitution. We have to violate our national security to further our national security. Those are absurdist arguments, but those are the ones they're making.

DEMINGS: And let's remember, the release of the call record was not about transparency. The release of the call record was about being caught and he had no choice but to release the record, and then try to defend what was indefensible.

[Cuts back to live]

O’DONNELL: And we'll see those house impeachment managers plus their three other colleagues begin open, statements tomorrow.

NB Daily Events Trump Impeachment Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Broadcast Television CBS CBS Evening News Video Norah O'Donnell Adam Schiff Donald Trump

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