John Berman Spins IG Report for Clinton in 'New Day' Interview

On Friday’s edition of New Day co-host John Berman had Congressman Matt Gaetz (R) of Florida on to ask him about his thoughts on the Inspector General’s Report regarding the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe. In the interview, Berman was quick to paint the failed 2016 Democratic nominee as the victim of the FBI’s actions while making excuses for the bias against the Trump campaign.

 

 

Berman’s initial line of questioning was all about whether Clinton was hurt by the FBI’s actions. Congressman Gaetz’s consistent response was that while it might have hurt Clinton, the real meat of the report was the clear bias against the Trump campaign demonstrated by certain FBI employees. Still, Berman kept pushing for a defense of Clinton. His first three questions were as follows:

Are you concerned that James Comey, the FBI director, treated Hillary Clinton unfairly during the e-mail investigation?

(....)

Did that hurt the Clinton campaign in the days before the election?

(....)

So you think the fact that this was held back, the Weiner laptop news was held back, actually may have hurt Hillary Clinton when all it all comes out?

Once the conversation was grudgingly shifted to the FBI bias against Trump, Berman still managed to pull the conversation back to Clinton:

I'm just reading you the language the IG used so the American people can hear what it is and make that judgment for themselves they also said, by the way, when it comes to the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, “We found no evidence that the conclusions by the prosecutors were affected by bias.” Those are the two different ways that "bias" is used as a word in this. But I keep asking about the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe in this case because it does seem that you are open to the possibility that the net impact of all these decisions were made, it's possible, you're leaving open the possibility that it did have a negative impact on the Clinton campaign.

While he was quite determined to make a victim out of Clinton, Berman was quick to make excuses for the bias against the Trump campaign. He asserted that even though it was clear that Lisa Page and Peter Strzok despised Trump, their bias was reflected “In terms of the things that they did. What they could have done was leak the fact that President Trump, the candidate, was under – his campaign was being investigated they were looking into the possibility of Russian collusion.”

Gaetz responded:

GAETZ: I don't think that we give the FBI a gold star for not leaking. That's their job. You don't get extra credit for doing your job. Here you saw persistent examples of the very people who should have been holding Hillary Clinton accountable demonstrating their bias in favor of Hillary Clinton. It's a different question whether or not --

BERMAN: Where, where --

GAETZ: Hold on. I let you finish your question. Let me finish my answer. So whether or not they were effective in helping Hillary Clinton is a different question as to whether or not they wanted to help Hillary Clinton. I think that likely Peter Strzok believed that delaying on the Weiner laptops was helping Hillary. At the end it may have ended up hurting her. We don’t know. But that's why the processes are so important. That’s why we should follow them in any circumstance so we don't have to come back and Monday morning quarterback those decisions.

Later the Congressman brought up how the report’s findings showed questionable motives to the opening of the Trump Russia investigation. Once again, the excuse wheels start turning in Berman’s head:

BERMAN: Again Trump and Russia, there's a separate IG investigation into that. This investigation deals with the Hillary Clinton email probe.

GAETZ: Well, it mentions Russia too.

BERMAN: It does come up, but it doesn't reach any conclusions about the Russia investigation.

GAETZ: No, it concludes that you can't exclude bias as a factor in prioritizing the Russia investigation. That's one hell of a conclusion. [ Overlapping speakers ]

BERMAN: But at the same time it opens up the possibility that that actually helped Donald Trump. Again, all I'm saying --

GAETZ: You think it helped Donald Trump to open up on Russia and prioritize this?

Berman set out with a clear agenda to paint Clinton as a victim of the FBI’s behavior and deny any possibility of Trump being hurt by the FBI’s actions.

A transcript of the relevant segment is below.

CNN's New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman

6/15/18

8:16: 25 - 8:26:48

JOHN BERMAN: I'm sure that you've had 24 hours to digest it, you’ve read the report. Are you concerned that James Comey, the FBI director, treated Hillary Clinton unfairly during the e-mail investigation? Those decisions to give that news conference, the decision to release that letter to congress in the days before the election, do you feel that was unfair to Hillary Clinton.

FLORIDA REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN MATT GAETZ: I think it was unfair the American people that James Comey repeatedly violated FBI procedures and that the protocols and processes that we rely upon for the most extraordinary of circumstances like the investigation of a presidential candidate weren't followed. Look, I think that that was bad for all of us. Hillary, Trump, the entire campaign and the country.

BERMAN: Did that hurt the Clinton campaign in the days before the election?

GAETZ: You know, so many things happen in a presidential election, it's very difficult to engage in the histrionics but if Peter Strzok had not prioritized the Russian investigation over the Clinton investigation, the timetable seems to indicate Anthony Weiner's e-mail would have come out in September rather than October and perhaps that could have worked its way through the political digestive system before the hours before the election.

BERMAN: So you think the fact that this was held back, the Weiner laptop news was held back actually may have hurt Hillary Clinton when all it all comes out?

GAETZ: I think what I said is there's so many alternate causalities in a presidential election, it’s difficult to nail that down but certainly Strzok prioritizing Russia over the Clinton investigation and the gathering of that evidence was not a good thing for Hillary Clinton, wasn't good for Donald Trump and wasn't good for the country.

BERMAN: Let me tell you what James Comey said about the delay there. He said the FBI had all the information it needed on September 29th to obtain the search warrant and it did not seek until more than a month later. The FBI’s neglect had far-reaching consequences. Comey told the inspector general had he known about the laptop in the beginning of October and thought the e-mail review could have been completed before the election, it may have affected his decision to notify congress. In other words, he wouldn't have told congress, the public may never have known that the e-mail investigation was reopened, so perhaps that may have hurt Hillary Clinton.

GAETZ: It may have. Again, it's a presidential election and a lot goes on. But I think we can all agree that it's a bad thing when the Inspector General says that the lead agent in the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, Peter Strzok, who then becomes the lead agent in the Trump- Russia investigation when he is utilizing and accessing bias to prioritize one over the other. Again that was pretty well reflected in the IG’s report they said they did not have confidence that it wasn’t political bias that led Peter Strzok prioritize Russia over the Clinton email investigation and that threw off the entire timeline and began illegitimate Russia investigation. Remember he said we’ll stop Trump only nine days after he opened up on Papadopoulos and only six days before he was talking with his girlfriend about an insurance policy against the Trump presidency. That is as good an evidence of bias that you could have in a case.

BERMAN: To be completely fair, he said we did not have confidence that the decision to prioritize the Russia investigation was free from bias. He doesn't say they conclusively found there was bias, he said we didn't have confidence that there was no bias. I’m just laying that out there.

GAETZ: That's as bad as it gets in an I.G. Report.

BERMAN: I'm just laying out there what was said.

GAETZ: Yeah, but they don't have confidence that there wasn't bias, that necessarily means that bias was present.

BERMAN: I'm just reading you the language the I.G. Used so the American people can hear what it is and make that judgment for themselves they also said, by the way, when it comes to the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, we found no evidence that the conclusions by the prosecutors were affected by bias. Those are the two different ways that "Bias" is used as a word in this. But I keep asking about the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe in this case because it does seem that you are open to the possibility that the net impact of all these decisions were made, it's possible, you're leaving open the possibility that it did have a negative impact on the Clinton campaign. Yet--

GAETZ: I just don't know. I just don't know.

BERMAN: You're not ruling it out.

GAETZ: Yeah. It's a presidential election.

BERMAN: We agree that you're not ruling it out. Yet you were out here every day saying that the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation and those involved in it were out to get then candidate Trump. It just doesn't seem as if those two things could be happening at the same time.

GAETZ: No. Look, if you look at the text messages between the people who were the senior folks on the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, they're doing everything they can to pave a yellow brick road for her.

BERMAN: No, no, no, no. Hang on, hang on. You don't know -- you say everything that they did. Everything that they did. But they said, they said -- hang on. We're judging the things that they said. They absolutely said the things that they said and we now have that from this inspector general report.

GAETZ: They were for Hillary, they were against Trump.

BERMAN: In terms of the things that they did. What they could have done was leak the fact that President Trump, the candidate, was under – his campaign was being investigated they were looking into the possibility of Russian collusion. They did not do that. In terms of what they did, that was something that didn't happen, correct?

GAETZ: I don't think that we give the FBI a gold star for not leaking. That's their job. You don't get extra credit for doing your job. Here you saw persistent examples of the very people who should have been holding Hillary Clinton accountable demonstrating their bias in favor of Hillary Clinton. It's a different question whether or not --

BERMAN: Where, where --

GAETZ: Hold on. I let you finish your question. Let me finish my answer. So whether or not they were effective in helping Hillary Clinton is a different question as to whether or not they wanted to help Hillary Clinton. I think that likely Peter Strzok believed that delaying on the Weiner laptops was helping Hillary. At the end it may have ended up hurting her. We don’t know. But that's why the processes are so important. That’s why we should follow them in any circumstance so we don't have to come back and Monday morning quarterback those decisions.

BERMAN: No argument here and that's clearly what this Inspector General report says, that James Comey had a choice whether or not to give that July 5th press conference. He chose to do it and that was the wrong choice. James Comey had a choice whether to deliver the letter to Congress, he decided to, that was the wrong choice the Inspector General said. You keep on suggesting that there was some conspiracy to get Donald Trump and that's just not in this I.G. Report. You say that these agents were trying to help Hillary Clinton. Where's the evidence they were trying to help Hillary Clinton before James Comey gave that July 5th news conference?

GAETZ: Well, the fact that they were texting one another repeatedly saying they thought Hillary Clinton should win the election 100 million to 0 is likely evidence that they didn't just hold that opinion at one time, that it was pervasive throughout the decision-making process these people were engaged in.

BERMAN: But look we don’t’ know that. We don’t know that. Look, you don't -- you don't

GAETZ: Being dismissive of the trump movement to their peril.

BERMAN: There's no question that those texts between Peter Strzok and Page are deeply troubling and the new ones we just saw, deeply troubling. The fact that there are five people is now being looked into, there is no question about that. But in terms of helping Hillary Clinton during the Clinton e-mail probe, that's not here. In fact it says the exact opposite.

GAETZ: Of course it is.

BERMAN: It says the opposite.

GAETZ: No.

BERMAN: It says we found no evidence that the conclusions by the prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations.

GAETZ: So they acknowledge that bias existed, but they don't find the connection between the bias and investigative decisions. I think that's a decision the American people can make and particularly the e-mail from Andrew Mccabe to the Washington office is instructive. Andrew Mccabe rips this case away from the jurisdiction of the Washington field office so a bunch of people at the head shed at the FBI can cook the investigation and that's precisely what happened. If we would have followed our normal processes, you would have had the front line prosecutors, investigators in the Washington, D.C. field office and this is why so many retired FBI agents and current FBI agents were livid with James Comey and were e-mailing him after his really bad announcement saying if they had done the very same things they would have been fired and possibly prosecuted for it and shows the double standard for it. If you don't think there's evidence of that, you need to reread chapter 12. It's pretty clear on the manifestation of that bias as it comes to opening up on Trump and Russia.

BERMAN: Again Trump and Russia, there's a separate I.G. investigation into that. This investigation deals with the Hillary Clinton email probe.

GAETZ: Well, it mentions Russia too.

BERMAN: It does come up, but it doesn't reach any conclusions about the Russia investigation.

GAETZ: No, It concludes that you can't exclude bias as a factor in prioritizing the Russia investigation. That's onE hell of a conclusion. [ Overlapping speakers ]

BERMAN: But at the same time it opens up the possibility that that actually helped Donald Trump. Again, all I'm saying --

GAETZ: You think it helped Donald Trump to open up on Russia and prioritize this?

BERMAN: Hang on, hang on, Congressman. I let you make your case here. In this case where it talks about the fact it could not say with confidence that Peter Strzok did not act with bias when he delayed that aspect of the Clinton investigation, it opens up the possibility that it helped candidate Trump and not Hillary Clinton. All I'm saying is if there was a conspiracy, which you have suggested, to help Hillary Clinton, there is no evidence here.

GAETZ: No. Just because the conspiracy didn't work doesn't mean it didn't exist. Again, the conspiracy is ongoing.

BERMAN: Do you feel -- last question, last question. Do you feel the same way about the trump tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. And Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton? Just because the conspiracy didn't work, it doesn't mean it didn't exist?

GAETZ: No, that's different.

BERMAN: Does the same logic apply there?

GAETZ: No, because there was not an accepted offer. Donald Trump Jr. Did not accept the offer of assistance.

BERMAN: He absolutely did. He said if that's true, that's great.

GAETZ: No, no, no, he did not accept any assistance and did not collude and did not coordinate in any way. These are people making an offer that wasn't accepted and they were engaged on their own for their own purposes and their own reasons. At the end of the day we should not have a Russia investigation ongoing. It was only nine days before Peter Strzok said we'll stop him that he opened on Papadopoulos and only six days after that that she's talking about his insurance policy against the trump presidency. It's one of the reasons why more than half the country believes this is a politically motivated investigation and that number is about to skyrocket as this IG report sinks in with the body politic.

BERMAN: In that case we'll have you on to talk about it as the days go on. Great to have you with us, sir.

GAETZ: Thank you.

NB Daily Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals CNN New Day Video John Berman Peter Strzok


Sponsored Links