CBS, NBC Tout Dems Painting a ‘Damning Portrait’ of Trump in Trial

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In their Thursday evening reports on the Senate impeachment trial, both CBS and NBC marveled and touted the work of Democratic prosecutors. Together they declared it a “dramatic day” where a “damning portrait” was painted by Democratic prosecutors, and quipped that the time for President Trump’s legal team to speak “can't come soon enough.”

Anchor Norah O’Donnell kicked off the CBS Evening News with another opening tease featuring an oversized plug for their impeachment coverage:

NORAH O’DONNELL: Criminal conduct? Democrats spend day two of the President's trial outlining their charges.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Abuse, betrayal, corruption.

O’DONNELL: Why they say President Trump should lose his job, even he didn't commit a crime.

NADLER: Impeachment is the Constitution's final answer for a president who mistakes himself for a king.

CBS News was the only network broadcaster that began their evening newscast with impeachment. ABC and NBC chose to begin by informing their viewers about the deadly coronavirus outbreak that had made its way to the U.S. from a disgusting food market in China. NBC then covered the day’s testimony in the Harvey Weinstein trial.

“But, we’re going to begin tonight with the dramatic day in the Senate impeachment trial,” O’Donnell announced. “The House managers prosecuting President Trump spent their second day of arguments laying out their case for Article I, and how they say the President abused his power.”

 

 

Just before handing the report off to chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes, O’Donnell seemed to gloat about how hard Trump’s legal team supposedly had it: “Tonight, we're learning when the President's lawyers could start making their own arguments, and it can't come soon enough for the President…”

On the topic of Trump’s defense, Cordes wrapped up the segment by noting there were concerns about timing and their TV audience:

Well, the Democrats get one more day, tomorrow, which would put the President's defense team up at-bat on Saturday. But there are some concerns that their arguments won't get as much attention if they deliver them on the weekend. So there's now some talk, Norah, of a shortened Saturday session, leading to the defense team kicking off its arguments in earnest on Monday.

Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt declared “Democratic prosecutors painting a damming portrait of the President, who they say abused his power.”

“President Trump not responding to questions about impeachment While House Democrats were trying to punctuate their case,” NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander began his report. “For a second day, arguing the President abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens.”

Alexander later commended Democrats for “using Graham's own words from Bill Clinton's impeachment to rebut a key Republican argument: you cannot impeach if there was no crime.” He also applauded how “House prosecutors strongly defended the actions of both Joe and Hunter Biden saying they did nothing wrong.”

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

CBS Evening News
January 23, 2020
6:30:32 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: Criminal conduct? Democrats spend day two of the President's trial outlining their charges.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Abuse, betrayal, corruption.

O’DONNELL: Why they say President Trump should lose his job, even he didn't commit a crime.

NADLER: Impeachment is the Constitution's final answer for a president who mistakes himself for a king.

(…)

6:32:17 p.m. Eastern

O’DONNELL: But, we’re going to begin tonight with the dramatic day in the Senate impeachment trial. The House managers prosecuting President Trump spent their second day of arguments laying out their case for article I, and how they say the President abused his power.

The President is taunting Democrats for refusing to make a deal, allowing him to call witnesses in exchange for letting them call his top aides. This as a new poll suggests a majority of Americans from both parties want to hear that new testimony.

Tonight, we're learning when the President's lawyers could start making their own arguments, and it can't come soon enough for the President, who has spent his time launching an escalating series of attacks on Twitter. Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill tonight. Nancy.

NANCY CORDES: Norah, the House impeachment managers spent today arguing that the President didn't just abuse his power to help his own re-election, but that he did it by employing a Russian narrative that his own aides had tried and failed to debunk.

[Cuts to video]

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Everyone else told the President time after time, "This is nonsense."

CORDES: The spotlight today was on President Trump's motives for pursuing two conspiracy theories-- one about the 2016 election, and one about Joe Biden.

(…)

CORDES: And, they argued, that with Biden leading in the polls by last spring, Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to launch what he hoped would be an embarrassing investigation.

(…)

CORDES: The President defended himself once again today in a torrent of tweets. One Trump confidant tells CBS news that GOP senators have been warned, "Vote against the President, and your head will be on a pike." So far, their heads appear to be safe.

(…)

[Cuts back to live]

O’DONNELL: Nancy joins us from the hill. And the Democrats have had two days now to make their case. Do we know when we'll hear from the President's legal team?

CORDES: Well, the Democrats get one more day, tomorrow, which would put the President's defense team up at-bat on Saturday. But there are some concerns that their arguments won't get as much attention if they deliver them on the weekend. So there's now some talk, Norah, of a shortened Saturday session, leading to the defense team kicking off its arguments in earnest on Monday.

 

NBC Nightly News
January 23, 2020
7:07:19 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Now to the impeachment trial of President Trump. Democratic prosecutors painting a damming portrait of the President, who they say abused his power. And Republicans dropping hints about a key witness they might call. Peter Alexander has late details.

[Cuts to video]

PETER ALEXANDER: President Trump not responding to questions about impeachment While House Democrats were trying to punctuate their case. For a second day, arguing the President abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens.

(…)

ALEXANDER: Democrats suggesting their arguments are swaying Senate Republicans.

(…)

ALEXANDER: But while some Republicans are praising the style of the presentation, including kind words from Lindsey Graham to Adam Schiff outside the chamber overnight, they are still slamming the substance.

(…)

ALEXANDER: On the floor, Democrats using Graham's own words from Bill Clinton's impeachment to rebut a key Republican argument: you cannot impeach if there was no crime.

(…)

ALEXANDER: The President’s defenders dismissing it as an attempt to back up a weak case.

(…)

[Cuts back to live]

ALEXANDER: Also tonight, House prosecutors strongly defended the actions of both Joe and Hunter Biden saying they did nothing wrong. The President's allies quickly pouncing saying that opens the door to possibly calling both men to testify. Lester?

NB Daily Events Trump Impeachment Labeling Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Broadcast Television CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Lester Holt Norah O'Donnell Nancy Cordes Peter Alexander Donald Trump

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