The Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee decided to end their Russia Investigation, concluding that no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin exists. The hosts and guests on CNN's New Day Tuesday morning did everything they could to discredit the report and the entire House investigation as partisan.
Not even a minute into the show, New Day co-anchor Chris Cuomo ripped into the Republican-led committee for “abruptly ending its Russia investigation”, adding, ”the probe has been assailed as a partisan mess for some time, but now the Republicans have gone all in attempting to clear Trump, breaking with the U.S. intelligence community and announcing that Vladimir Putin did not try to help Donald Trump win when Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.”
Cuomo then introduced CNN Political Analyst John Avlon and CNN Legal Analyst Carrie Cordero. Before letting the panel speak, Cuomo opined: “I mean, from the beginning, it’s been set up to find reasons to defend Trump.” Avlon accused the House Intelligence Committee of “back channeling the White House” and exhibiting a “willful blindness in place because of hyper-partisanship.” Cordero agreed with Avlon that the “investigation that the House has conducted, if we even want to call it that, has been completely partisan.”
Cordero actually had a point about the partisanship of the investigation, she just neglected to mention that the Democrats on the committee have an equally partisan agenda, to fulfill the request of left-wing Congresswoman Maxine Waters to “#Impeach45.”
Avlon later admitted that whether the Trump campaign actually colluded with Russia was still up for debate, but added that for the House Intelligence Committee “to go as far as to say that they don’t believe that Putin wanted Trump to win” showed “what a sham this has become.”
Cordero echoed Avlon’s earlier claims that the committee worked directly with the White House, arguing that the President’s tweeting about the investigation so soon after the House Intel Committee announced its decision to end its Russia probe makes it “pretty clear that they are coordinating in some way” and also “that he was expecting these results and that their investigation was intended to reaffirm what his narrative is about the Russia investigation.” Cuomo also suggested that Republicans covered for the President, saying, “This is part of the White House pressure...to start bringing this to an end. It was easy to get the House to follow their orders.”
At the beginning of the show, Cuomo had referred to the Special Counsel as “the only unbiased authority on whether there was any collusion or any type of crime in connection with the interference.” It must have completely slipped Cuomo’s mind that Mueller has appointed several Democratic donors to his legal team.
Guest co-host Erica Hill left the Trump haters in the audience with a glimmer of hope, “It would almost seem like the Mueller investigation, as everything else is winding down, it is only ramping up and getting broader.” The media seem prepared to respect the outcome of the Mueller investigation. It will be interesting to see if they actually keep that promise should the Special Counsel investigation end up yielding a result other than what they hoped for.
CNN New Day
CHRIS CUOMO: The House Intelligence Committee abruptly ending its Russia investigation. Now, the probe has been assailed as a partisan mess for some time, but now the Republicans have gone all in attempting to clear Trump, breaking with the U.S. intelligence community and announcing that Vladimir Putin did not try to help Donald Trump win when Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. Election. The GOP report insists there is no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Democrats on the Committee objecting to the GOP’s findings and slamming their decision to end the House probe. Let’s be abundantly clear, this report is partisan. It’s a political document that was immediately parroted by the President to proclaim his innocence. The only unbiased authority on whether there was any collusion or any type of crime in connection with the interference will come from Special Counsel Bob Mueller.
CUOMO: Joining us now is CNN Political Analyst John Avlon and CNN Legal Analyst Carrie Cordero. So John, politically, because that’s really what this is all about with the House Intel Committee, you can’t be that surprised that this is where they were going to come out. I mean, from the beginning, it’s been set up to find reasons to defend Trump with the Democrats in dissent but without any power.
JOHN AVLON: Yeah. Surprised? No. Outraged? Yes. For the reason that is, this should be something from the get-go that’s bigger than partisanship but in the House Committee, it’s never been. They’ve been back channeling to the White House. They’ve been digging up dirt on Democrats. And they haven’t found a way to come together. I don’t mind that they say there’s no collusion as much as to say that there’s no evidence that Trump wanted to back, sorry that Putin wanted to back Trump in the election. That’s an insult to the intelligence community, that belies all the facts that have come to bear. That shows that there’s a willful blindness in place because of hyper-partisanship and that denigrates the entire investigation. So, we’re back to the Senate investigation with far more bipartisan credibility and the Mueller investigation. They’re right, Rooney is right, they’ve lost all credibility but that’s a sham and a shame.
ERICA HILL: You talk about what we have left. Obviously, Senate is left. The defining voice on this and the findings will of course be the Mueller investigation but in some ways to John’s point, I mean, Carrie, was there ever really a question that what we were going to eventually learn from the House Intel Committee was going to be anything but bipartisan...I mean but partisan rather?
CARRIE CORDERO: So, the past year’s investigation that the House has conducted, if we even want to call it that, has been completely partisan as John says.And this is such a shame for this committee because, you know, the intelligence committees historically have played a very different role than other committees in Congress. They have the trust normally of the intelligence community, that they will have access to classified information and handle it properly. They generally conduct themselves in a more bipartisan manner because they’re dealing with national security issues and so the Intel Committees have always just been sort of a cut above when it comes to partisanship. What’s happened on the House Intelligence Committee for the past year really prejudged whatever report that came out. And the shame of that is to the extent that there are any useful recommendations, for example, on election security, on working with our partners in Europe on the same threats that they’re facing with Russian interference. It just...they will not have any credibility because of the process through which the House has used.
CUOMO: I mean, look, you can’t be surprised right now whether anything could be dealt with in a bipartisan manner there, especially if it’s existential in any way to the sitting administration. I mean, it just, it doesn’t make sense. I know it’s supposed to work that way but I don’t know when we’ve seen it in a long time, by the way, where you saw a real bipartisan look at something where they came down hard on one side and both sides were together on that condemnation. I just, I don’t remember it. I mean, this one started off with Nunes going to the White House...
CUOMO: ...to basically collaborate with them on what information could come out to help their case.
CUOMO: What else did you need to know?
AVLON: And more recently, a member of the Republican staff digging up dirt on Senator Warner and leaking it to a partisan news organization.
CUOMO: Nunes had to step aside but then somehow was able to come back even into the same investigation.
AVLON: No, I mean look, and there’s the Benghazi investigation which was similarly hyper-partisan but about something fundamentally less impactful to the American trajectory. And look, you know, you can quote Arthur Vandenburg and say partisan ought to end at the water’s edge. And then you can say, you know what, we left that place a long time ago. But at least the Senate investigation is trying to work bipartisan. You know, Burr and Warner have been working aciduously at this. This is something that is bigger than partisanship, people. This is about a foreign power meddling in our election. And again, you can look at the evidence and you may not be a place of collusion versus complicity, that’s a great debate. There’s going to be partisan impacts on what people believe on that. But for them to go as far as to say that they don’t believe that Putin wanted Trump to win based on all the evidence overruling the intelligence community, overruling the evidence that’s there, self-evidently in their face, even beyond simply desiring to sow the seeds of chaos, that just shows what a sham this has become.
HILL: How much of this, too, Carrie, is about undermining Robert Mueller and how much of that will we see moving forward perhaps in more tweets from the President or wherever it’s going to come from?
CORDERO: Well, I think it’s pretty obvious based on what happened last night, with the House Majority releasing some talking points about what their conclusions were going to be and then very quickly, within minutes or an hour, the President tweeting, it looks pretty clear that they are coordinating in some way and so that he was expecting these results and that their investigation was intended to reaffirm what his narrative is about the Russia investigation. The Special Counsel’s investigation will go on its own track, and the Special Counsel has different investigative authorities, doesn’t have to take witnesses who just say “Well, I think I won’t talk to you” as the House Majority apparently did. Some witnesses had more flexibility about whether they would answer questions or not. The Special Counsel’s not going to go down that path. They will use investigative authorities that they have. They will demand witnesses to appear when they need to. And so the result will be different. But they also are looking at a different aspect. They’re looking at potential criminal violations, which will reveal itself in a different way than a report that comes from a Congressional Committee which is supposed to lay out a narrative that gets at actually what happened across the entire event.
CUOMO: And of course Mueller’s got a grand jury, you know, which is an objective mechanism that, you know, we don’t have in any of these political investigations. Of course, we do see here that this is part of the White House pressure, Carrie, to start bringing this to an end. It was easy to get the House to follow their orders.The Senate is supposed to come out in a few weeks. You have to assume that there’s some relationship between those two decisions. And then we heard that the White House was trying to negotiate as part of a sit down with Mueller, a fine-point end to the Mueller investigation. Have you ever heard of that happening, by the way, in a probe like the one Mueller is doing where if you sit down, we’ll promise you that we end the probe at a certain date?
CORDERO: No, that doesn’t happen. So, the, the investigators are going to take their investigation where it goes and they are going to stay within the parameters of the regulations, but they are going to...they have, there’s so many different aspects of that investigation. There is a money piece, there is a DNC hacking piece. There is the Russian influence, we already saw the indictment of Russian nationals and Russian entities for using social media and other mechanisms to try to influence U.S. political opinion. There is the potential obstruction angle. So there’s so many different angles of that investigation that it’s hard to believe that there’s a circumstance where one interview is going to end it all.
HILL: And I would also point out, too, based on what we’ve seen, I know it’s been written about as well, it would almost seem like the Mueller investigation, as everything else is winding down, it is only ramping up and getting broader.