Did NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell ask Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton a softball question fed to her by a leading Clinton campaign official Wednesday evening? It sure looks that way.
The concern is utterly reasonable because of Mitchell's track record of running interference for Hillary Clinton's campaign and liberal politicians and causes in general.
After Wednesday's third and final presidential debate, as Clinton began taking questions from the press on the campaign's jet, Clinton traveling press secretary Nick Merrill was seen typing something into his cellphone. He then reached over and showed the phone's display to Mitchell. After looking at it and making eye contact with Mitchell, Merrill pulled his arm back with what appeared to be a smug grin.
Here is the 14-second sequence showing what transpired:
As seen in the three-minute segment which follows, which also includes the opening 14 seconds shown above, Mitchell waited for Mrs. Clinton to finish her non-answer to the current question (more on that shortly). She then asked Mrs. a softball question about terms Donald Trump had used to describe her during the debate:
Transcript (from 0:14 to 2:00, beginning with the question and answer which preceded Mitchell's question):
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS: Will you accept the results of the election?
HILLARY CLINTON: You know, it was horrifying what he said on the debate stage tonight.
You know, our country's been around for 240 years. Um, and, y'know, we are a country based on laws, um, and, we've had hot, contested elections going back to the very beginning. Uh, but one of our hallmarks has always been that we accept the outcomes of our elections. We do the best we can to have free and fair elections, which we do. Uh, and somebody wins and somebody loses.
So what he said tonight is part of his whole effort to blame somebody else for his campaign and for where he stand in this election. As I said, uh, whenever he is losing, he says the system, whatever the system is, whether it's, uh, you know, being in court about Trump University, or losing the Iowa caucus and the Wisconsin primary, or losing Emmys for goodness sakes, he says that it's rigged against him.
ANDREA MITCHELL: How did you feel, how did you feel when he said, y'know "nasty woman, nasty woman," and "you're a puppet," and the issue of Vladimir Putin?
HILLARY CLINTON: I just didn't pay attention to that. I was very concerned that even now after 17 intelligence agencies in our government, both military and civilian, have confirmed that Russia has engaged in cyberattacks against Americans, that he refused to admit that it's true and condemn it for what it is, which is a blatant effort to try and interfere in our elections.
Note that when given a chance to answer a direct "yes or no" question about whether she would accept the results of the election, Mrs. Clinton did not provide her own answer. Instead, she repeated her criticism of Trump for saying twice — based on legitimate concerns about the integrity of the elections process, a "so dishonest and so corrupt" establishment press which is actively working to discredit him and elevate Mrs. Clinton, and recent reports of DNC-directed attempts to disrupt and foment violence at his campaign events, that "I will look at it at the time."
Given that Mitchell added something about Vladimir Putin at the end of her question, it's reasonable to infer that she wanted to make sure that she got both the question Merrill appears to have suggested and the one she appeared to originally want to ask about Putin out there at the same time while she had the chance.
Readers here should also see how Mrs. Clinton abruptly wrapped up the session in the videos closing seconds, beginning at the 2:40 mark, shaking her head and waving her hands and clearly not liking the Fox line of questioning:
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX: Are you worried about Democratic operatives are supposed to, if they are found to have —
CLINTON: I know nothing about this, I'm not, y'know, I can't deal with every one of his conspiracy theories, but I hope you have something to eat and something to drink on the way back to New York!
Mrs. Clinton claims to "know nothing about" damning Project Veritas videos released earlier this week, but she betrayed an instant knowledge of their existence, and therefore surely generally knows something about their content.
As to Mitchell and the charge that she was the recipient of the planted question, she told the Daily Caller that it not only didn't happen, but that it "would never happen":
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to both Merrill and Mitchell. Mitchell responded with a strong denial of any impropriety.
“I was on live and couldn’t see in the crush of the gaggle – but no way would anyone try to give me a question,” Mitchell said. “That would never happen.”
Well, some of us thought it "would never happen" that an NBC reporter would try to falsely claim that Juanita Broaddrick's claim that Bill Clinton raped her in 1978 has been "discredited." But Andrea Mitchell did. NBC has since scrubbed Mitchell's "discredited" reference.
Some of us also thought it "would never happen" that an NBC reporter would try to falsely claim "that allegations that Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile leaked town hall questions to the Clinton campaign have been 'completely knocked down.'" But Andrea Mitchell did that — on Thursday.
Some of us have also thought it "would never happen" that an NBC reporter who is supposed to at least try to be objective would have a track record so full of objectivity failures and blatant bias that it has been the subject of dozens of NewsBusters posts — just this year. But Andrea Mitchell has earned each and every one of them.
Andrea Mitchell has earned the suspicion about what happened on the Hillary Clinton campaign plane on Wednesday.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.