Bias Is As Much About What Isn’t Reported As How News Is Slanted

Newsbusters posted an article yesterday about the report that the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no material evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. You might think that after two years and millions of dollars spent on an investigation, that might be news. You might think that, but evidently the major news media disagrees with you.

The article reports:

It’s been two days since NBC’s exclusive reporting that the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no material evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and as of yet none of the three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) have given it even a single second of coverage in their evening newscasts. Considering these networks have given the Russia probe a massive 2,202 minutes of airtime, their silence on this major development is deafening. 

MRC analysts examining all coverage on ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, and the NBC Nightly News found that those 2,202 minutes spent on the Russia investigation accounted for nearly 19 percent of all Trump-related reporting between January 21, 2017 and February 10, 2019. However none of those three shows have even mentioned the investigation since NBC’s report came out on February 12.

The situation has been much the same on those networks’ flagship morning shows. Neither CBS This Morning nor NBC’s Today have even acknowledged this new information from Senate investigators since the news broke on February 12. ABC’s Good Morning America briefly touched on it in a news brief totaling less than one minute on February 13. 

In that segment, ABC’s Mary Bruce focused only on the public disagreement between Republican Chairman Richard Burr and Democratic Ranking Member Mark Warner. She failed to acknowledge NBC’s reporting that other Democrats on the Committee had agreed with Burr’s finding that thus far, they had found no direct evidence of collusion.

The article concludes:

Over the past two years, broadcast evening news shows have spent more than 36 hours haranguing viewers about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Given their keen interest in the subject, you might expect a bipartisan group of investigators finding “no material evidence” of collusion to be newsworthy. But evidently, you’d be wrong.

And there are still some people who wonder why most Americans do not trust the mainstream media.

Who Has The Transcript? Who Is Leaking The Transcript? Why Is It Being Leaked?

Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about James Baker’s two interviews with House of Representatives investigators last October. The article notes that Republican Rep. Mark Meadows called parts of Baker’s testimony “explosive.”

The article reports:

Republicans intended to make the interview transcripts public. The questioning was not conducted in a classified setting, and Baker had FBI and other lawyers with him the whole time. But the House still had to send the transcripts to the FBI for clearance, just to make sure public release would not reveal any classified or otherwise secret information.

If Republicans hoped for a quick OK from the bureau, they were sorely disappointed. October passed. Then November. Then December. And now, half of January. The FBI still has the transcripts, and there is no word on when the bureau will clear them for release.

Even though the transcripts have not been released, they are in the news.

The article explains:

Two major news stories in the past few days have been based in whole or in part on what Baker told lawmakers. Some news organizations appear to have read the transcripts, or at least significant portions of them, or had them read to reporters by someone with access. Suddenly, the Baker transcripts are hot.

Again, the FBI still has the transcripts and is not yet saying when they will be cleared for release.

It seems as if both The New York Times and CNN have reported on information in the transcripts (along with comments by Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows):

The Baker excerpt, revealing the criminal investigation, is a new and important part of the story of the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation. Release of the full transcripts could shed new light on the FBI’s use of the Trump dossier in the Russia probe. But they remain secret — and it is the FBI that has the final word on whether and when to allow the release of information that is unflattering to the FBI.

The second big story that came in part from the Baker transcript was the New York Times piece last Friday headlined, “FBI Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.”

The story caused intense excitement in anti-Trump circles. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” the Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

In the piece, the bureau’s reasoning was explained by references to … the secret Baker transcripts. The paper said Baker told lawmakers that the FBI viewed President Trump’s firing of Director James Comey as a national security issue. “Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” Baker said in the still-secret testimony, according to the Times. The paper said portions of the testimony “were read to The New York Times.”

Not long after, CNN published an article, “Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was ‘following directions’ of Russia.” CNN quoted significant portions of the Baker transcripts, in which Baker said the FBI wanted to know if Trump “was acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing [Russia’s] will.”

It’s time for the FBI to stop playing games and release the transcripts. If there are rogue elements of the FBI that will be revealed in these transcripts, so be it. It is time that we cleaned up our justice system and brought back transparency and equal justice under the law.

 

A Summation Of What Robert Mueller Is Actually Doing

On December 1, Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review summarizing what he believes is the goal of the Mueller investigation. His summary makes a lot of sense.

First of all Andrew McCarthy reminds us that this investigation is leading to a report–not a trial. Therefore, the fact that the only charges so far involve lying (which obviously discredits a witness in a trial) is irrelevant. He then notes that the investigation is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation.

The article notes:

This is why, from the beginning of the Trump-Russia investigation, and certainly since Mueller’s appointment on May 17, 2017, we have stressed that the probe is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation. The idea was not to dizzy you with Justice Department esoterica. The point is that we don’t want prosecutors involved until it has been established that a crime was probably committed, warranting use of their awesome, intimidating investigative powers. Our main interest is in the crime we authorize prosecutors to investigate; we are not looking to have prosecutors manufacture crimes through the process of investigating — even if we agree that people should not be permitted to lie to investigators with impunity.

With respect to the president and “collusion,” Mueller does not have a crime he is investigating. He is investigating in hopes of finding a crime, which is a day-and-night different thing.

The article further explains the methods of investigation being used:

Mueller is turning such lies into guilty pleas, for three reasons.

First, he is not going to indict the president, which would precipitate a trial at some point. The convicted liars are not going to be jury-trial witnesses, so Mueller is not concerned about their lack of credibility. The report will detail disturbing — and thus politically damaging — connections between Trump associates and Kremlin cronies. But there will be no collusion crime, and thus no charges and no need for witnesses.

Second, with the media as his biggest cheerleader (other than Jeff Flake), the false-statements pleas create the illusion of a collusion crime, and thus appear to vindicate Mueller’s sprawling investigation. As I’ve previously explained, the game works this way: The media reports that Mueller is investigating Trump–Russia collusion and that dozens of people have been charged or convicted; but the media omits that no one has been charged, much less convicted, of any crime involving collusion between Trump and Russia. The great mass of people who do not follow the news closely come away thinking a Trump–Russia collusion crime is an established fact; by now, Mueller must be tightening the noose around Trump because he’s already rolled up a bunch of the apparent accomplices.

Third, defendants convicted of making false statements are very useful because Mueller is writing a report, not preparing for a jury trial. Convicted liars never get cross-examined in a report. Nor do they give the bumpy, inconsistent testimony you hear in a courtroom. Instead, their version of events is outlined by a skilled prosecutor, who writes well and knows how to make their stories sing in perfect harmony. They will sound far better in the report than they would on the witness stand. We’ve already gotten a taste of this in the offense narratives Mueller has incorporated in each guilty plea. Read the criminal information in Cohen’s case and ask yourself whether Mr. Fixer could have recited matters with such clarity.

Aside from the fact that this investigation has been a colossal waste of money, it is sad that the press so readily signed on to the idea of bringing down a President they did not like. It’s odd that when Donald Trump was a Democrat he got awards for his work in racial harmony, was hailed for putting the first woman in charge of constructing a New York skyscraper, and fought city hall to make sure Mar-a-Lago did not discriminate against either Jewish people or black people. The press loved him then. They laughed at his unfiltered remarks and gladly put him in their social pages. It is amazing how much that changed when he ran for President as a Republican.

It’s Going To Be An Interesting Week

CNS News posted the following headline today, “Glenn Simpson, James Baker, and Nellie Ohr Scheduled to Testify This Week; Simpson Taking the 5th.” My, what an interesting combination of testimonies.

The article reports:

Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, will take the Fifth, refusing to testify, when he appears before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Taking the Fifth does not necessarily mean that you are guilty of anything, but the article speculates on why Mr. Simpson might want to take the Fifth:

Simpson previously has testified before the House intelligence committee and two Senate committees. In response to a subpoena to testify on Tuesday, Simpson’s lawyers sent a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, saying in part that the “inquiry is not designed to discover the truth.”

“The obvious — and at times explicitly stated — goal of this Committee is to discredit and otherwise damage witnesses to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, all as part of an effort to protect a President who has sought to placate and curry favor with a hostile foreign power and who demands that the Justice Department stop investigating him,” said the letter obtained by various media outlets.

When the flak becomes thick, it means that you are getting close to the target. It is becoming obvious to almost everyone that the Special Prosecutor’s investigation is going nowhere because it was a political scheme to interfere with the Trump presidency. Now we are reaching a time when those responsible for the scheme may be held accountable.

The article further reports:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused a request to appear last Thursday, prompting calls by some Republicans to subpoena him:

“He didn’t show up,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said of Rosenstein. “Look, when you’re the guy who in reality is running the Justice Department, and the chairman of the committee that has jurisdiction over your agency asks you to come, you are obligated to come and you’re obligated to come and testify under oath. He didn’t do that.

“So if it takes a subpoena, that’s exactly what should happen. We need him to answer questions about all kinds of issues associated with the Trump-Russia investigation, but specifically the statement that it’s alleged that he said where he talked about actually recording the commander in chief of our great country and he talked about the 25th Amendment.

“That is specifically what I want to ask him about,” Jordan told “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.

Rosenstein has said he was joking when he suggested wearing a wire into the Oval Office with the goal of documenting the alleged dysfunction of the commander in chief.

But according to some press reports, three FBI officials — Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and James Baker — did not take Rosenstein’s words as a joke, believing him to be serious about wiretapping the president in the wake of James Comey’s firing.

It’s interesting that Rod Rosenstein wrote the letter that recommended Comey’s firing.

The article highlights some of the history of the Russian collusion investigation:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused a request to appear last Thursday, prompting calls by some Republicans to subpoena him:

“He didn’t show up,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said of Rosenstein. “Look, when you’re the guy who in reality is running the Justice Department, and the chairman of the committee that has jurisdiction over your agency asks you to come, you are obligated to come and you’re obligated to come and testify under oath. He didn’t do that.

“So if it takes a subpoena, that’s exactly what should happen. We need him to answer questions about all kinds of issues associated with the Trump-Russia investigation, but specifically the statement that it’s alleged that he said where he talked about actually recording the commander in chief of our great country and he talked about the 25th Amendment.

“That is specifically what I want to ask him about,” Jordan told “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.

Rosenstein has said he was joking when he suggested wearing a wire into the Oval Office with the goal of documenting the alleged dysfunction of the commander in chief.

But according to some press reports, three FBI officials — Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and James Baker — did not take Rosenstein’s words as a joke, believing him to be serious about wiretapping the president in the wake of James Comey’s firing.

Hopefully anyone involved in plotting against a duly-elected President will pay a high price for their actions.

The Backtracking Has Begun

I will be in my office doing my happy dance on the day (if it ever happens) that the political left admits that President Trump has been treated unfairly by the instruments of government–his campaign was spied on, he has been investigated for almost two years without a shred of evidence, and evidence against his political opponents has been carefully ignored. I honestly don’t know if there are any Democrats left who will be honest enough to admit any of that even when faced with overwhelming evidence. However, you can already see some Democrats (and deep state Republicans) covering their tracks. This post is based on two articles–one posted yesterday at Breitbart and one posted at The Conservative Treehouse today.

Breitbart reports:

On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” former CIA Director John Brennan stated that he didn’t mean President Trump committed treason when he referred to the president’s performance at the Helsinki summit as “nothing short of treasonous.”

Host Rachel Maddow said, “After Helsinki, you were stark, and even a little bit scary in your criticism of his behavior. You said it rose to treason.”

Brennan responded, “I said it was nothing short of treasonous.”

Maddow then stated, “In this current controversy, that specific comment has been singled out by a number of people as a comment that maybe, by you, crossed the line, that was maybe –.”

Brennan cut in to respond, “Crossed what line?” He continued that he has a right to free speech.

…Brennan answered, “I know what the Russians did in interfering in the election. I have 100% confidence in what they did. And for Mr. Trump to stand on that stage in Helsinki, with all the world’s eyes upon him, and to basically [say] he wouldn’t — he doesn’t understand why would the Russians interfere in the election. He’s given Mr. Putin and the Russians a pass time after time after time, and he keeps referring to this whole investigation as a witch hunt, as bogus, as — and to me, this was an attack against the foundational principle of our great republic, which is, the right of all Americans to choose their elected leaders. And for Mr. Trump to so cavalierly just dismiss that, yes, sometimes my Irish comes out, and — in my tweets, and I did say that it rises to and exceeds the level of high crimes and misdemeanors and is nothing short of treasonous. … I didn’t mean that he committed treason, but it was a term that I used, nothing short of treasonous.”

He does have the right to free speech and he is entitled to his opinion. However, his lack of judgement in making these statements is obvious.

Next we move to The Conservative Treehouse, which reported:

The Associated Press published an interview with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr today where the intensely corrupt Senator Burr tries to reverse all his prior positions, publications and manipulated committee findings, against President Trump.

Richard Burr could be the star of a new television series called, “When Republicans Go Bad.”

The article at The Conservative Treehouse reports:

Burr said there is “no factual evidence today that we’ve received” on collusion or conspiracy between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign. But he said he’s still open on the issue and hasn’t personally come to any final conclusions, since the investigation isn’t finished.

The Senate investigation is the last bipartisan congressional probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and connections to Trump’s campaign. Working with the panel’s top Democrat, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Burr has so far managed to keep the investigation free from the extraordinary acrimony that has plagued work on the House side of the Capitol. The House Intelligence Committee bitterly fought through its entire Russia investigation, which ended earlier this year despite the objections of Democrats.

“From an institution standpoint I want the American people to understand that the Senate can function, even on the most serious things,” Burr said. 

So why are we still spending millions paying politically biased investigators to continue investigating this?

The Investigation Of Russian Collusion Just Keeps Coming Off The Rails

Kimberley Strassel posted an article at The Wall Street Journal yesterday that casts further doubt on the origin of the investigation into President Trump and Russian collusion. As we learn more and more about spying on the Trump campaign and other nefarious activities of our FBI and Justice Department during the campaign, it becomes obvious that the investigation of President Trump was an investigation in search of a crime.

The article states:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes appeared on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday, where he provided a potentially explosive hint at what’s driving his demand to see documents related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Trump-Russia probe. “If the campaign was somehow set up,” he told the hosts, “I think that would be a problem.”

That is definitely an understatement.

The article explains some of things we have recently learned:

Think of the 2016 Trump-Russia narrative as two parallel strands—one politics, one law enforcement. The political side involves the actions of Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign and Obama officials—all of whom were focused on destroying Donald Trump. The law-enforcement strand involves the FBI—and what methods and evidence it used in its Trump investigation. At some point these strands intersected—and one crucial question is how early that happened.

What may well have kicked off both, however, is a key if overlooked moment detailed in the House Intelligence Committee’s recent Russia report. In “late spring” of 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed White House “National Security Council Principals” that the FBI had counterintelligence concerns about the Trump campaign. Carter Page was announced as a campaign adviser on March 21, and Paul Manafort joined the campaign March 29. The briefing likely referenced both men, since both had previously been on the radar of law enforcement. But here’s what matters: With this briefing, Mr. Comey officially notified senior political operators on Team Obama that the bureau had eyes on Donald Trump and Russia. Imagine what might be done in these partisan times with such explosive information.

And what do you know? Sometime in April, the law firm Perkins Coie (on behalf the Clinton campaign) hired Fusion GPS, and Fusion turned its attention to Trump-Russia connections. The job of any good swamp operator is to gin up a fatal October surprise for the opposition candidate. And what could be more devastating than to paint a picture of Trump-Russia collusion that would provoke a full-fledged FBI investigation?

It is definitely ironic that as the Mueller investigation continues, more and more facts discrediting the Mueller investigation seem to surface. If I were Mr. Mueller, I would be in a hurry to wrap this up before the American people find out any more about what was behind the investigation.

The article ends with a statement about leaking and about government transparency:

Whatever the answer—whether it is straightforward, or whether it involves political chicanery—Congress and the public have a right to know. And a Justice Department willing to leak details of its “top secret” source to friendly media can have no excuse for not sharing with the duly elected members of Congress.