Raddatz Obsesses Over Obstruction Part of Mueller Report, Tries to Ignore 'No Collusion'

On ABC’s This Week Sunday, guest host Martha Raddatz interviewed Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway; specifically focusing on the conclusions of the Mueller report. Raddatz summarized the President’s reaction to the Mueller report for Conway: “the President says there’s total vindication. Complete exoneration. No collusion. No obstruction.” Not surprisingly, Raddatz wanted to skip right over the “no collusion” part and focus on obstruction.

Raddatz’s interview with Conway followed a two-minute monologue where Raddatz did her best to highlight all the parts of the Mueller report that reflected unflatteringly on President Trump. Nearly all of the quotes she used came from Volume II of the report, which focused on obstruction. Raddatz also talked about how “the Special Counsel’s findings also detail a culture of mistruth at the White House from the top down.”

Raddatz’s attempt to spin the Mueller report in the most negative way possible should not come as that much of a surprise to anyone who watched ABC News’s coverage of Election Night 2016. As it looked like President Trump might actually win the presidency, Raddatz broke down in tears.

 

 

Raddatz’s anti-Trump bias shone through during her interview with Conway. After reading a line from the Mueller report, which stated “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Raddatz asked Conway “how does the President call this complete exoneration?”

When Conway highlighted that the Mueller report found “no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to try to disrupt and spread disinformation about our elections,” Raddatz interrupted her, asking her to let her “go back to...obstruction of justice.”

Even though Conway reminded Raddatz that getting to the bottom of collusion “really was the central premise here,” Raddatz indicated her desire to focus on obstruction once again: “Kellyanne, I want to go back to obstruction of justice and what Mueller concluded.”

As Raddatz proceeded to read the line from page two of Volume II acknowledging that the report “does not exonerate” President Trump again, Conway informed her, “I read it.” As Conway attempted to speak again, Raddatz once again interrupted her and urged her to “stay on obstruction of justice.”

Conway attempted to answer Raddatz’s questions on obstruction of justice by talking about how “there was complete compliance” in the form of “millions of pages of documents” and “500 witnesses.” Raddatz followed up by asking “will you acknowledge that Mueller explicitly refused to clear the President on obstruction?”

Based on the way that Raddatz covered the Mueller report, it would almost seem as if Mueller found President Trump guilty of obstruction. It looks like Raddatz, along with many others in the legacy media, will simply find themselves unable to let go of Russia-gate.

 

A transcript of the relevant portion of Sunday’s edition of This Week is below. Click “expand” to read more.

This Week With George Stephanopoulos

04/21/19

09:01 AM

MARTHA RADDATZ: After nearly two years, the Mueller report has finally been made public; giving us all a chance to review the Special Counsel’s findings. The President’s opinion seems to have changed very little, repeating his now familiar refrain of no collusion, no obstruction. But it’s not so clear cut. Mueller’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. But the Special Counsel’s team did find a “series of contacts between Trump Campaign officials and individuals with ties to the Russian government.” And the report paints a picture of a President who committed acts that were “capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations.” Putting pressure on his White House Counsel to fire Robert Mueller, asking former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself from the Russia investigation and asking the Deputy Attorney General to mislead the public about why the President fired former FBI Director James Comey. But the Special Counsel concluded Trump’s effort to influence the investigation “were mostly unsuccessful…largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.” The Special Counsel’s findings also detail a culture of mistruths at the White House from the top down. The President falsely claiming reports about his administration were fake news, his staff misleading the public multiple times about Comey’s firing. And the President himself dictating a misleading statement to the public about that 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Now, as we brace for what could be a long legal battle over the full report and Congress’s role, these key lines could determine what happens next. “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards…we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” For more on all this, we’re joined now by Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway. Good morning, Kellyanne.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Good morning.

RADDATZ: Thanks for coming in on an Easter morning. The President says there is total vindication. Complete exoneration. No collusion. No obstruction. I want to start with obstruction. You have seen what the Mueller team concluded and I want to go to that ending line, “while the… this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” So, how does the President call this complete exoneration?

CONWAY: The President says that because he’s known from the beginning that there was no collusion. There’s no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to try to disrupt and spread disinformation about our elections and that really was the central premise here. I think ABC was among…

RADDATZ: Let, let me start, let me go back to…

CONWAY: …the first networks to…

RADDATZ: …obstruction of justice.

CONWAY: …ever use the word collusion in July of 2016 mainly because the Obama administration knew what Russia was trying to do and failed to act.

RADDATZ: Kellyanne, I want to go back to…

CONWAY: Yes.

RADDATZ: …obstruction of justice…

CONWAY: Yes.

RADDATZ: …and what Mueller concluded.

CONWAY: He concluded…

RADDATZ: And I’ll read it again…

CONWAY: I read it.

RADDATZ: “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

CONWAY: That’s not really…

RADDATZ: Let’s stay on obstruction of justice.

CONWAY: Respectfully, that’s not really the job of a prosecutor. The job of a prosecutor is to gather evidence and decide whether to indict or to decline to indict. They declined to indict. The President is not going to jail; he’s staying in the White House for more than 5 1/2 more years. Why? Because the…because they found no crime, no conspiracy. That was the central premise. That is what everybody, including your next…next guest Adam Schiff said time and again dozens of times, hundreds of times; in print, on Twitter, on TV, and this…I think there’s a couple other things in the Mueller report that are very important. Not only was obstruction of justice not found, that there was complete compliance, so as the Barr, as Mr. Barr, Attorney General has also said that the sheer compliance, the millions of pages of documents, the 500 witnesses, the 2800 inquiries, the subpoenas, on and on, all of this means that $25 million of taxpayer money, the two years that we’ve been doing this, that they were never interfered or impeded so there was no obstruction on this.

RADDATZ: Kellyanne, we’re getting away from this…

CONWAY: No.

RADDATZ: So you, will you acknowledge that Mueller explicitly refused to clear the President on obstruction?

CONWAY: There is no reason for him to do that or not to do that; for a very simple reason. The central premise here was collusion and there isn’t any and I am really shocked that the same people…

RADDATZ: But he looked at exactly what you were talking about. Two years he looked at obstruction of justice. That’s what he said.

CONWAY: And if he could have charged a crime, he would have because there was enormous pressure…

RADDATZ: So you think this totally exonerates him…

CONWAY: Yes.

RADDATZ: From obstruction of justice?

CONWAY: Yes, I do and the word exoneration was unnecessary in the Mueller report and I would say inappropriate. Just like the May 9, 2017 memo, by the newly confirmed 94-6 Deputy Attorney General Mr. Rosenstein made… Rosenstein made clear that, that FBI Director Jim Comey, the summer before, should never have gone out and said we’re declining to prosecute Hillary Clinton. You just don’t do that. You either prosecute or you don’t. You either bring an indictment or you don’t. And in this case, no one named Kushner, Trump, anybody associated with the campaign…

RADDATZ: Kellyanne, I want to stick, I want to stick to what has happened in this report. The President is now calling the report crazy, Mueller highly conflicted. On March 26th, just a few weeks ago, Trump said he thought Mueller acted honorably. Does he still think that?

CONWAY: I certainly do and I think there’s enormous pressure on Director Mueller and his team to have produced what many, many Trump haters and critics and people who got the election so wrong were hoping they would produce, which is proof that this election never should have happened. Martha, for two years, people denied the electability of Donald Trump and then, for two years, people denied the election of Donald Trump. And I think there are some people who are way too invested in the outcome here and should, and should admit that. They should say that they’re partisan or they didn’t want him, they never saw him, his election coming so they wanted to be able to say I never saw his election coming because they cheated and they stole the election and they were colluding with Russia. The most important…

RADDATZ: Kellyanne, let’s, let’s go back to…

CONWAY: Can we talk about the Russian interference because that is…

RADDATZ: Yes we can.

CONWAY: ...important.
 

 

Events Mueller Report ABC This Week Martha Raddatz Kellyanne Conway
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