Nets Hype Alleged Trump Audio Only ABC Has Heard, Refuses to Air

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Without providing any evidence, ABC News made headlines on Friday when they claimed they had heard an audio recording of President Trump ordering the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to be fired, something that would supposedly aid Democrats with impeachment. Both CBS News and NBC News pounced on the reporting during their evening newscasts despite the fact ABC had not released the audio or commented on its authenticity.

For something that was supposedly a bombshell uncovered by his own network, World News Tonight anchor David Muir sure kept his distance when he kicked off the program with the report. “And we begin tonight with that reported audio that appears to be a conversation between President Trump and Lev Parnas, the man who the President repeatedly said he does not know. Tonight, ABC News has now reviewed the recording, allegedly made during a private dinner in July 2018,” he announced.

ABC’s chief White House correspondent and White House Correspondents Association president, Jon Karl noted in his report that “ABC News has reviewed a recording of what appears to be a conversation between Parnas, the President, and others.” At no point did he talk about whether or not they were able to authenticate the audiotape.

But, as if it was evidence of its validity, Karl reported that “A copy of the recording is in the hands of the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York.”

The network had not even released a transcript of the audio, but Karl was comfortable with reading select quotes from it (click “expand”):

 

 

Parnas and the President are heard discussing Ukraine and the American ambassador there, Marie Yovanovitch. Parnas tells the President, quote, “if you take a look, the biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador. She's still leftover from the Clinton administration.”

“What, the ambassador of the Ukraine?” the President responds.

“Yeah,” Parnas says, “She’s basically walking around telling everybody ‘wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.’”

The President appears to say to the group, which sources say included a top aide, quote, “Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out, okay? Do it.”

Of course, despite the fact they had not heard the audio, ABC simply reporting they had heard something was enough for CBS Evening News to pounce. “A new report says President Trump was caught on tape at an intimate dinner at his Washington hotel discussing the ouster of a U.S. ambassador with two controversial figures now under indictment,” hyped anchor Norah O’Donnell.

“The recording of a private dinner at the Trump hotel in April, 2018, reviewed by ABC news, reveals Mr. Trump telling former white house aide, John DiStefano, to "Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out," a full year before Yovanovitch was removed,” added CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid. She failed to disclose to viewers that CBS had not reviewed the recording.

NBC Nightly News also pounced on ABC’s reporting, but to the credit of White House correspondent Peter Alexander, he admitted to viewers that “NBC has not heard and cannot verify” the alleged recording. Though, he did note that the audio “would corroborate Lev Parnas’s account of his discussion with the President, who’s repeatedly said he did not know of Parnas.”

It’s worth the reminder that it was just three months ago (October) when ABC was caught trying to pass-off dubiously sources video of a Kentucky gun range as footage from the conflict in Syria.

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

ABC’s World News Tonight
January 24, 2020
6:32:07 p.m. Eastern

DAVID MUIR: And we begin tonight with that reported audio that appears to be a conversation between President Trump and Lev Parnas, the man who the President repeatedly said he does not know. Tonight, ABC News has now reviewed the recording, allegedly made during a private dinner in July 2018.

Parnas and the President, it is believed, can be heard discussing then-U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. The President appears to be demanding she be fired, saying, “get her out.” The audio in the hands of federal authorities. Vice President Pence was asked about it today and tonight here, how he answered. ABC's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl leading us off.

[Cuts to video]

JON KARL: The President has repeatedly denied knowing Rudy Giuliani's former associate Lev Parnas.

(…)

KARL: But ABC News has reviewed a recording of what appears to be a conversation between Parnas, the President, and others. A copy of the recording is in the hands of the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York. Sources familiar with the recording say it was made in April 2018 at a private dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Parnas and the President are heard discussing Ukraine and the American ambassador there, Marie Yovanovitch. Parnas tells the President, quote, “if you take a look, the biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we gotta get rid of the ambassador. She's still left over from the Clinton administration.”

“What, the ambassador of the Ukraine?” the President responds.

“Yeah,” Parnas says, “She’s basically walking around telling everybody ‘wait, he’s gonna get impeached, just wait.’”

The President appears to say to the group, which sources say included a top aide, quote, “Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out, okay? Do it.”

Parnas has described the conversation in recent interviews.

(…)

KARL: But asked about the Parnas recording today, Vice President Pence did not deny its authenticity.

VP MIKE PENCE: The tape that's been released today, in my judgment, will only confirm what people already know, is that the President had concerns and in his authority as president made a decision to make a change.

(…)

[Cuts back to live]

MUIR: A lot more to come on this. Jon Karl with us live with from the White House tonight. And Jon, Democrats leading the impeachment effort on Capitol Hill. No surprise here, responding to news of this recording tonight.

KARL: They sure are. House impeachment manager Adam Schiff said this could corroborate much of the evidence they have presented in the impeachment trial. Meanwhile, not surprisingly, David, a very different view from the White House. A source on the President's legal team telling ABC News tonight, quote, “I don't think that's going to have any impact on the case.”

 

CBS Evening News
January 24, 2020
6:37:04 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: A new report says President Trump was caught on tape at an intimate dinner at his Washington hotel discussing the ouster of a U.S. ambassador with two controversial figures now under indictment. Paula Reid is at the White House with this story.

[Cuts to video]

PAULA REID: There is new evidence tonight of the President's efforts to oust then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. The recording of a private dinner at the Trump hotel in April, 2018, reviewed by ABC news, reveals Mr. Trump telling former white house aide, John DiStefano, to "Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out," a full year before Yovanovitch was removed.

(…)

 

NBC Nightly News
January 24, 2020
7:07:59 p.m. Eastern

(…)

PETER ALEXANDER: All of it comes as ABC News reports it’s revealed an audio recording it says appears to capture President Trump saying of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, quote, “take her out”; speaking to two indicted associates of Rudy Giuliani, who told him Yovanovitch had been bad mouthing him, which she has denied. A year later, Yovanovitch was removed.

The recording NBC has not heard and cannot verify would corroborate Lev Parans’s account of his discussion with the President who’s repeatedly said he did not know of Parnas.

(…)

NB Daily Events Trump Impeachment Foreign Policy Europe Ukraine Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Labeling Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video David Muir Jonathan Karl Donald Trump

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