CNN Counterterrorism Analyst Phil Mudd became a bit unhinged when discussing the preliminary report released by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee drawing their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election to a close, arguing that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia. Appearing on CNN's The Situation Room Monday night, Mudd went off the rails, saying "If this report were written on toilet paper, I wouldn't stoop to wipe my ass with it."
Mudd’s profanity should not come as that much of a surprise; neither should CNN’s embrace of profanity in general. Following the report that President Trump described poor countries as “sh*thole countries” during a meeting with a bipartisan group of Senators focusing on immigration, Mudd declared himself a proud “sh*tholer.” He also used various racial slurs, including the N-word, while trying to make the point that America has not become any less racist over the past half century.
CNN’s frequent use of the word “sh*thole” in the days following the President’s alleged remark led Fox News Host Sean Hannity to brand the network “The S***hole Network.” The network used the word 195 times the day after the news first broke.
CNN seems to have no problem with its on-air staff using profanity, but they have a huge problem when President Trump uses profanity. At a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, President Trump described Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd as a “sleeping son of a b***h” as the enthusiastic audience erupted in laughter. Appearing on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday, media critic David Zurawik complained about the President’s comments about Todd, calling them “offensive” and “just plain wrong” in addition to stating that “we lose our ability to function as rationally informed citizens every time we chuckle or smile at something he says!”
During an appearance on Reliable Sources two months earlier, Zurawik seemed to have no problem with CNN’s use of profanity on the air, praising the network for “doing God’s work” by repeatedly mentioning President Trump’s use of the word “sh*thole.” If CNN really wants President Trump to cut back on the profanity, it could lead by example.
The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer
WOLF BLITZER: Breaking news this hour. Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee announcing they’ve found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia and that they’re now shutting down their year-long investigation. All of this without consulting the panel’s Democrats. Let’s bring in our analysts and our experts. Phil Mudd, they say they accept most of what the U.S. Intelligence Community concluded in January of last year but they don’t accept the conclusion that Putin actually was trying to help Trump win the election.
PHIL MUDD: Can you tell me why? Why they say that? They just told us that they conducted an investigation including interviews where the interviewees chose not to answer questions. How the heck can they say got the bottom of this when they didn’t interview people because people came to the table and said we’re not answering? Second question. Two parts of any investigation, interviews and technical information. Is there any evidence they have the capability to look at phone, e-mail, text, financial records, the same stuff Robert Mueller’s looking at. I saw no evidence of that. Third question. Their primary responsibility is, was not determining culpability for wrongdoing in the last election, that’s Robert Mueller. Their responsibility was not to represent party, Democrat or Republican, but to represent people. How do we protect the next election? The last 30 minutes, Wolf, you give me one sentence where somebody spoke about how they are going to protect us instead of saying this is why the other party did something wrong. If this report were written on toilet paper, I wouldn’t stoop to wipe my ass with it. These people owe us more and they gave us less. That’s what I see, Wolf, that’s it.
BLITZER: Gloria, how do you see it?
GLORIA BORGER: It’s hard to follow that. Look, I think that this is a committee that decided it wanted to stop, the leadership of the Committee decided it was done, it did not interview Manafort, it did not interview Gates, it did not interview Flynn, it did not interview Papadopoulos, it did not subpoena bank records, it did not get documents, as, as Phil is talking about. We haven’t heard anything here about obstruction because maybe that wasn’t part of their purview. So I think that what they did was they came out and said yeah, the Russians were bad guys but they weren’t putting their thumb on the scale for Donald Trump. That is an answer to a political question and they have answered it in a political way and they live in an alternate universe from the Democrats who will answer it in a different way, which is why, we were talking about before, this isn’t going to be resolved in Congress. Congress is incapable, incapable at this point of resolving anything the way a serious investigator with the FBI like Bob Mueller can do, and that’s why he’s there.
DANA BASH: Certainly, the House is. I mean, look, let’s just remember this investigation in the House Intelligence Committee has been partisan, has been broken from the start, ever since, as Senator Merkley said to you in the last segment, the Chairman went running with his hair on fire to the White House to tell them something that they already knew, which turned out to be very, very political, which is part of the reason he had to take a step back. This is a shame because, as you said, this is supposed to be the committee that does oversight to find out what went wrong, to fix it in the future. And this is, just the fact, the underlying fact, that Republicans have decided to present the findings on their own without consultation is evidence of how broken it is. And let’s just be honest. The Summary of what Manu was told, of what we now have in front of us, is partisan. And it’s, wouldn’t go so far as to say what you said, Phil, but in a family friendly way, it’s just, it’s not in keeping with the facts that we have seen from the Intelligence Community and it is not in keeping with what everything else we have seen, even from their, their sister investigation over in the Senate, which is bipartisan so far.
BLITZER: And it’s pretty extraordinary, they didn’t even inform and consult with the Democratic minority in the House Intelligence Committee, let them know that this was coming up.
EVAN PEREZ: Right and they had a dry run for this with the whole dossier memo controversy of a few weeks ago. The Republicans on the House Committee clearly found that there was no major penalty for pushing ahead without reaching consensus with their Democratic counterparts on a committee that normally the Intelligence Committee is seen to be less partisan than other committees. Wolf, I think that among other things, and I agree with everything everybody else has said, is that this is a rush job, right? President Trump’s been in office for 13, 14 months, Special Counsel Mueller has only been on the job less than a year, he was only appointed last May, and they’re sort of trying to gallop to a conclusion on something where there’s still a lot of questions.
BASH: I would go even further than rushing, I would say whitewash. I mean, really, I mean the fact that they not only made these conclusions but more importantly, made the conclusions without being able to interview some key players or forcing the issue through subpoena, which they have the power to do on the Republican side, they’re not doing it.
BLITZER: So, so, the Russians are watching. Putin is watching. How is he going to react to this Republican majority report?
MUDD: He’s going to react in the way that he already has. If you have an interaction with the President where the President turns to the American people, who have been told by their intelligence community that the Russians intervened, the President says I talked to him and I sort of believe what he said, what would you do if you were the Russians, the same people who just attempted to murder a former Russian spy in the UK. They’re going to say “what’s the down side to proceeding?” One quick final point, the tragedy is not that the Republicans and Democrats differ on what happened in the last election about Donald Trump, the tragedy is that you have two sides that had an opportunity to say we have differing opinions about whether the Russians were favoring Donald Trump but we have a unified set of assessments on what we do going forward to protect ourselves. That’s the tragedy here.
BORGER: And also, I just want to point out here that over the months, as we’ve been talking about this, there have been lots of conversations about whether in fact there was collusion, collusion is not a crime as Even Perez was pointing out before. But this report says there was no coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians, which actually takes it a step further if, if you ask me and I think it’s actually up to Bob Mueller to try and figure out the rest of that. And this committee, without doing these other interviews, this one part of the committee, without doing these interviews, without getting documents, without talking to some of the key players who may or may not have been available to them without subpoena, and maybe Mueller didn’t want them to interview them, to make these sweeping sort of statements is, is stunning to me and I think beyond what they should do.
BASH: And Gloria makes a good point. Look, this is a political document. It’s just the way it is. But everybody should keep their eye on the Bob Mueller ball because that is a real investigation, a real probe with real interviews and with power that these Republicans in the House had to some extent and chose not to use.