MSNBC's Katy Tur: Fox, Daily Caller Are 'Not Journalists' If They Defend Trump

During Monday’s edition of MTP Daily, the panel went into full meltdown mode over the announcement that President Trump was looking into revoking the security clearances of a variety of Obama Administration officials. NBC national security reporter Ken Dilanian -- no doubt a willing recipient of Team Obama leaks against Trump -- claimed President Trump had an "amen chorus" of journalists at Fox and the Daily Caller defending him. MSNBC host Katy Tur said stop it, they're not journalists!

 

 

DILANIAN: Yeah, Katy, and there’s but there’s a whole amen chorus out there that is arguing with Donald Trump and that’s what’s fueling this. It isn’t just Trump and his tweets, it’s Fox News, it’s The Daily Caller website. There’s a whole cadre of journalists who are essentially making this argument…

TUR: Don’t use that term. They’re not journalists if they’re doing that.

DILANIAN: That’s a great point because the facts, as you’ve just laid out very compellingly, don’t comport with this at all...

In her campaign book Unbelievable, Tur claimed her "honestly pursued" journalism at MSNBC was "objective truth." She also less-than-objectively claimed that Donald Trump exploited the "flicker of misconduct" that was Hillary's private e-mail server as Secretary of State and became the "Arsonist-in-Chief" with it. While the rise of advocacy journalism has made the distinction between activism and reporting a lot less clear, MSNBC, which served as an “amen chorus” for President Barack Obama has no business lecturing people on the matter. 

Tur suggested that President Trump wants to revoke the security clearances of his “political rivals,” in her words, “to distract from the drama.” The discussion about revoking security clearances comes not long after Former CIA Director John Brennan, now a paid NBC and MSNBC analyst, described President Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin as an act of treason; a crime punishable by death in the United States. Tur argued that the revocation of security clearances would have no effect on the comments of officials in the intelligence community such as Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who, according to Tur, said “it won’t have any effect…on what he says and what he writes.”

Considering the fact that MSNBC and CNN frequently rely on Watergate prosecutors and reporters in their round-the-clock, collaborative effort to paint President Trump as Richard Nixon 2.0, it should not have come as that much of a surprise when Dilanian described President Trump’s threats to revoke security clearances as “Nixonian.”

 

 

TUR: Ken, one more thing on the security clearance is what makes this so interesting and seemingly blatantly a political act is that James Comey doesn’t have a security clearance any longer. Andrew McCabe according to his spokesperson doesn’t have a security clearance anymore. Clapper says he hasn’t used his clearance since he left power. This is per something he said on CNN. Michael Hayden says it won’t have any effect on whether, what he says and what he writes.

DILANIAN: Well, they’re saying that, Katy but we shouldn’t minimize this. This is a huge deal. This is Nixonian. This is the President threatening to use his power essentially to punish his political enemies. There’s no other way to look at it.  Because look, Nick makes a great point about former officials going out and trading on their clearances, you know who did that or who appeared to do that? Mike Flynn. And he had a security clearance when he was standing up at the Republican national convention and shouting “Lock her up.”

And look, former officials who lead intelligence agencies are…continue to hold their clearances so they can talk to their successors about very sensitive operations that they may have some perspective on and so they can brief Congress.  There’s a serious public policy reason for that. And the idea that the President would get involved in trying to punish his enemies by revoking their clearances, first of all, it’s never happened in American history, according to experts I’ve been talking to over the last hour, and it’s really troubling to people who deal in security clearances and who are members of the intelligence community.

Tur asserted that Trump's people didn't even seem to check on facts like Jim Comey and Andrew McCabe lost their security clearances when they were fired. Dilanian replied: "Yeah, that’s a great point. I mean, Nixon was at least competent when he tried to use the government to punish his enemies. This operation seems to be not very well founded from its beginning."

America has reached a crisis of confidence in its institutions, specifically the media and the intelligence agencies, as many members of these institutions reveal themselves as partisan hacks openly rooting for one side of the political aisle. It should not come as that much of a surprise that the media has stood up for (and hired) former members of the intelligence agencies as they seek to advance the causes of “#TheResistance.”

See transcript below. Click "expand" to read more: 

MTP Daily

07/23/18

05:04 PM

 

KATY TUR: We’ve got a lot to dive into. Ken Dilanian is an NBC News Intelligence and National Security Reporter. He joins our panel. Nick Confessore is a New York Times reporter and an MSNBC Political Analyst. Zerlina Maxwell is the Director of Progressive Programming at Sirius XM, a former Clinton campaign advisor and an MSNBC Political Analyst. And Noah Rothman is the associate editor at “Commentary” magazine. We’re going to talk about the spin and the reaction in a moment, but I do want to drill down on the evidence that we have here and what we got from this FISA document over the weekend. A lot of it was heavily redacted but here is what we do know. Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government. The FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government. The FBI believes that the Russian government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with  Trump’s campaign. Ken, as I just laid out, these applications were approved under both Obama Administration…the Obama Administration and the Trump Administration by judges appointed by Republicans.

KEN DILANIAN: That’s right, Katy. And before that happened, they went through multiple layers of review within the FBI and then they were sent over to the Justice Department where lawyers took another look at them. Look, this is a rigorous process; the process to obtain a secret FISA warrant against a U.S. citizen. It’s not a joke. Nobody fools around with it. You risk your career if you misrepresent things to the FISA court. And what we see with these documents is that there are reams and reams of redacted pages that people like Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee who’s read the full document, say include all sorts of evidence unrelated to this Christopher Steele dossier that gave the FBI and therefore the judges probable cause to believe that Carter Page was an agent of a foreign power. And remember that’s not even a very high standard, this is not beyond a reasonable doubt, this is a probability of a possibility; enough evidence to believe that they should investigate whether he is an agent of a foreign power. And we should add, he hasn’t been charged with a crime and he denies that he was an agent of Russia, Katy.

KATY TUR: It’s pretty explosive, Nick; just this line alone.  The FBI believes the Russian government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with the Trump campaign. I mean, that alone is something that I imagine anybody, regardless of whether it helps you or hurts you, would want to get to the bottom of. I mean, that’s a pretty big accusation or a pretty big concern at the very least.

NICK CONFESSORE: Look, on top of that, Carter Page has said on CNN that in fact he was an informal advisor to the Kremlin so I’m not sure how many more layers of evidence that we need. I do think it’s important, Katy, to pull back here for a second. Right? The entire counterattack on this right now is based on the idea that because the dossier came from somebody who was trying to discredit Trump, the entire investigation is discredited. And when you think about how thin a read that is, right? It’s… so the dossier is one piece of evidence that went to an application for probable cause this guy might be worth surveilling, that’s it. And it’s actually well supported.

TUR: But Carter Page wasn’t surveilled until October. The investigation started in the spring. It started because another campaign foreign policy advisor was bragging to an Australian diplomat about the Russians having dirt on Hillary Clinton. This is not even…if you want to pan the dossier, fine, but this is not even how the investigation started.

ZERLINA MAXWELL: For me the day that the statement of the offense came out for George Papadopoulos, a name that for many of us were like who is that? The day that that happened, the day that happened is the day that argument stopped having merit, because that statement of the offense articulated the exact timing through which the FISA warrant was approved and what triggered the start of the investigation. And as Nick said, that was him drunk in a bar talking to an Australian diplomat. And so, I think, for now, you know, we’re all serious at this table and so some arguments have merit and there’s evidence to back them up, but I think that what we learned this weekend was Devin Nunes has been lying this entire time and the entire memo that they put out was in bad faith.

TUR: But it’s not just Devin Nunes, it’s the President. I mean, I’m going to ask this and you’re going to laugh at me. Do facts matter with the President? Because look what he’s tweeting.  “Why did it keep everything about Page a secret in October?  Why did the FBI tell the FISA court that Steele’s work was potentially biased because it was commissioned to be used against Trump?” I mean, I’m sorry, these are not the Trump tweets. Sorry.  Moving back up on my page, “The Department of Justice and the FBI misled the courts. The whole FISA scam led to the rigged Mueller witch hunt.”  But that’s not what happened. We just pointed that out, Noah.

NOAH ROTHMAN: Yeah, I mean, I saw a tweet from Representative Jim Jordan today who said, sort of backing up the Nunes memo, that essentially this was a product of an effort to mislead the FISA courts because they never informed the FISA courts about the bias inherent in this, in this dossier.  And it’s right there in black and white in this footnote, which ends up being about a page and a half long, where they expressly say this was the product of an effort to undermine, to discredit Candidate 1, Donald Trump, but we nevertheless believe that it is meritorious for a variety of reasons that are blacked out. Nevertheless, that’s the sentence.  It is right there.  And so you have to assume that they suggest that you haven’t read the documents or perhaps you haven’t read…

 

(CROSSTALK)

TUR: Or you don’t care what they say.

ROTHMAN: Or you don’t care what they say. And that’s very disingenuous.

TUR: But Ken, again this is not how the investigation started. It feels like we’re arguing apples versus oranges.

DILANIAN: Yeah, Katy, and there’s but there’s a whole amen chorus out there that is arguing with Donald Trump and that’s what’s fueling this. It isn’t just Trump and his tweets, it’s Fox News, it’s The Daily Caller website. There’s a whole cadre of journalists who are essentially making this argument…

TUR: Don’t use that term. They’re not journalists if they’re doing that.

DILANIAN: That’s a great point because the facts, as you’ve just laid out very compellingly, don’t comport with this at all and absolutely the investigation started because a Russian agent approached George Papadopoulos and said we have e-mails and incriminating information about Hillary Clinton, nothing to do whatsoever with Carter Page. And by the way, the FBI would have been derelict if they didn’t look at Carter Page. He had already been the target of a Russian intelligence recruitment in a separate case. And then he shows up as an advisor to Donald Trump and then he goes to Russia and meets with Russian officials. How could the FBI not investigate that, Katy?

TUR: So today in…because of all this drama, to distract from the drama, who the hell knows, Donald Trump is now saying that he wants to revoke the security clearance for his political, political rivals. Is there a way of looking at this as “hey, he’s got a point. Brennan hasn’t been so nice to him.  Comey hasn’t been so nice to him.”  Is there any generous reading of this for the President?

CONFESSORE: No, not for the President. Look, I think there is an argument to be made that there are a lot of former officials who use their clearances and parlay that in business careers and consulting work. That’s fine, that’s a fair argument to make. That list of people who do that is a very long and it does not stop with the people who are critical of the President. So if Rand Paul wants to say that that’s his argument, that’s fine, Senator Paul has said that. But for some reason the only people who are being threatened are people who happen to also be critics of the President. That’s a bad argument.

TUR: Zerlina?

MAXWELL: I just think the President takes every single critique personally. And I think what is distinct in their critiques of this President, now some of it has been personal but some of it has been about national security and that’s something that we should all care about. We’re sitting in a moment when we’ve had, we have an indictment that lays out in great detail what happened in our election in 2016 and we’re not doing anything to prevent that in 2018 even as Administration officials right now like Dan Coats are ringing the bell and saying we need to be paying attention to this and taking this seriously. And you have a President who’s completely unable to do that because everything he is considering in terms of the Russia attack and all of the facts he views through a prism of how it impacts him and any question about whether the Russians impacted the outcome goes to whether or not he was legitimately elected.

TUR: I don’t know what you’re talking about.  Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said very definitively that the President knows how to separate the two but he’s only talking, when he goes on this witch hunt rant, he’s only talking about the collusion side of things. Is it clear to you, Noah?

ROTHMAN: No, it’s not clear to me. There was another effort actually today to retroactively condition listeners and readers of Donald Trump’s tweets to believe that the reference to the hoax, he tweeted out last night that there was this, the Russia thing is a hoax, basically the entire Russia assault on American interests since 2016 was a hoax. The Press Secretary goes on television today and says, you know, he was clearly referring to the Mueller probe, which is a hoax somehow. I mean, contextually that doesn’t even make sense. But that is the effort to change what he was saying into something that he wasn’t saying.  There’s no agreed-upon set of facts. We’re all looking at the same dossier and coming up with completely different talking points, as though we’re looking at completely different documents. It’s extraordinarily frustrating and suggests that we can’t have an honest conversation about this probe.

TUR: So we can’t decide that this is a banana right here, this cup?

ROTHMAN: A banana or an apple.

TUR: An apple.  No, it’s a cup!  It’s a cup.

MAXWELL: I can’t believe that we cannot have a serious conversation and agree upon a set of facts because facts are not to be agreed upon, they are facts.

CONFESSORE: That cup is a hoax.

TUR: It’s a witch hunt, it’s a hoax.

TUR: Ken, one more thing on the security clearance is what makes this so interesting and seemingly blatantly a political act is that James Comey doesn’t have a security clearance any longer. Andrew McCabe according to his spokesperson doesn’t have a security clearance anymore. Clapper says he hasn’t used his clearance since he left power. This is per something he said on CNN. Michael Hayden says it won’t have any effect on whether, what he says and what he writes.

DILANIAN: Well, they’re saying that, Katy but we shouldn’t minimize this. This is a huge deal. This is Nixonian. This is the President threatening to use his power essentially to punish his political enemies. There’s no other way to look at it.  Because look, Nick makes a great point about former officials going out and trading on their clearances, you know who did that or who appeared to do that? Mike Flynn. And he had a security clearance when he was standing up at the Republican national convention and shouting “Lock her up.” And look, former officials who lead intelligence agencies are…continue to hold their clearances so they can talk to their successors about very sensitive operations that they may have some perspective on and so they can brief Congress.  There’s a serious public policy reason for that. And the idea that the President would get involved in trying to punish his enemies by revoking their clearances, first of all, it’s never happened in American history according to experts I’ve been talking to over the last hour and it’s really troubling to people who deal in security clearances and who are members of the intelligence community.

TUR: Ken, I take all of those points and I don’t disagree with them at all, I’m not arguing with you, but how well thought out was this if James Comey doesn’t have a security clearance any longer or Andrew McCabe doesn’t have a security clearance any longer?

DILANIAN: Yeah, that’s a great point. I mean, Nixon was at least competent when he tried to use the government to punish his enemies. This operation seems to be not very well founded from its beginning.

TUR: It just seems to make it even clearer that it’s a political move rather than a move to, I don’t know, protect security clearances, who knows? Ken Dilanian. Ken, great reporting as always. Nick, Zerlina and Noah, stay with us, we’ve got a lot more. We never even made it to Cohen’s tapes.


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