Collusion: On Tarmac-Gate, Obama DOJ Finds National Reporters Eager to 'Put It to Rest'

The Right Scoop blog reports a  new email dump from the FBI via a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Center for Law and Justice reveals what appears to be collusion between the media and Obama’s Justice Department to squash outrage about the 2016 meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton on the tarmac in Phoenix.

DOJ public-affairs official Melanie Newman emailed colleagues on June 29, 2016 that an unnamed ABC reporter or producer expressed extreme boredom in the erupting scandal:

I sent the transcript and link to the news clip to the FOX producer. He had already tracked down the video from the presser. He actually thinks they may not run anything on it today but will keep me posted. He doesn’t think it’s news. I also talked to the ABC producer, who noted they aren’t interested, even if FOX runs it.

The story's momentum bowled over that apathy. ABC aired their first tarmac story the next evening, June 30. They aired a handful of stories, lamenting the bad optics (as they assumed no evil intentions) until July 5, when Jim Comey announced he would recommend no charges against Hillary in the email scandal. When Loretta Lynch was hammered with questions by Congress on July 12, ABC offered a 70-word anchor brief:

DAVID MUIR: And one more headline involving Hillary Clinton tonight. Attorney General Loretta Lynch today was grilled on Capitol Hill, hammered for her decision not to charge Clinton for using a private email server.

Lynch deflected most questions, saying she followed the FBI's recommendations. As for her impromptu meeting with Bill Clinton at the airport in Phoenix, Lynch insisted she was not influenced in any way, calling it a, quote, "social conversation."

Lynch was "grilled!" Oh, she was "hammered"! It was so compelling ABC forgot to show any video clips of the testimony.

The FOIA dump also included an email from Washington Post reporter Matt Zapotosky begging for a "hopefully quick" chat to please pesky editors. He announced "I'm hoping I can put it to rest" with more details:

Hey Melanie and Kevin –

Any chance one of you could give me a call for another,  hopefully quick, conversation on this AG-Clinton meeting? My editors are still pretty interested in it, and I’m hoping I can put it to rest by answering just a few more questions about how it came about – who approached who, and who realized they were in the same place?

Many thanks,
Matt Zapotosky | The Washington Post

Zapotosky’s story appeared on page A-6. He noted “A Justice Department spokeswoman provided transcripts of Lynch's comments on the matter at public news conferences but declined to comment further.” Why would she, with the way he emailed her?

The next day, the Post editorial board posted an editorial headlined “It's time to wind down the Clinton email investigation; Loretta Lynch acknowledges a misstep; now, Hillary Clinton should sit down with the FBI so its findings can be made public.”

The ACLJ email sample also includes a note from New York Times White House reporter Mark Landler:

Hi Melanie,

I’m a White House correspondent at the NYT and I’ve been pressed into service to write about the questions being raised by the Attorney General’s meeting with Bill Clinton.

Could you let me know what the DoJ and the AG have said specifically about this meeting, and whether she believes it constitutes a conflict of interest, given the ongoing email investigation?

Thanks & Best,
Mark Landler

This isn't as zealous as Zapotosky in wanted to crumble the story, but it's awfully soft to say "gee, couldn't this constitute a conflict of interest?" Landler’s first story was published July 1, and was placed on page A-17, despite the headline “Lynch and Bill Clinton Meet, and Furor Follows.” An A-17 furor.

Since the ACLJ is led by Jay Sekulow, now a lawyer for President Trump, watch for the media to dismiss this document dump as the fakest of news....they'll be as bored as that original ABC reporter cited above.

Here are images of the newspaper reporter emails:

Tim Graham's picture