Media Reach Peak Meltdown Over Comey Memo, Russian Disclosure
Fresh pair of Trump controversies has press demanding impeachment, suggesting people will die
Frenzied for months in the pursuit of a smoking gun to fatally topple the credibility of the administration, the media have become apoplectic over a quick succession of controversies now beleaguering the Trump White House.
Following a week dominated by press outrage over the firing of FBI Director James Comey, and defiant follow-up remarks made by Trump, The Washington Post alleged Monday the president improperly disclosed classified information to Russian officials during a meeting on May 10.
“If the president asked the FBI to end the investigation into Michael Flynn … it would be an obstruction of justice, and potentially that could be impeachable.”
Trump reportedly spoke about intelligence — obtained by Israelis, according to The New York Times — regarding an alleged ISIS plot to use laptop computers as hidden bombs. The intelligence was classified, although a U.S. president can declassify material and speak with foreign leaders about such information, especially when it involves potentially imminent terrorist threats.
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, said the president did not divulge “sources and methods” to the Russians. McMaster noted on Tuesday that a Russian airliner was blown up by Islamic terrorists in October 2015, and suggested a mutual concern took over the meeting.
But the media and Democrats, pretending to be born-again, anti-Kremlin security hawks, threw a major hissy fit. There is no denying the Trump revelation to Russia may be serious — yet it may also be routine, as a presidential matter — but the media badly overplayed the story.
And the media were generally proud they overplayed it. At The Washington Post, the newsroom broke into applause as the story surpassed the Post's own record for most readers-per-minute originally set by the "Hollywood Access" story, according to Glenn Kessler, the Post's "fact checker" columnist. The "Hollywood Access" story was the Trump scandal during the campaign in which the Post discovered an 11-year-old audiotape of Trump engaging in lewd talk with Billy Bush.
Bashing Trump is good business, and the newsroom has gotten the message.
And there are other messages being sent. At CNN on Tuesday, Trump supporter and former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie was told on air not to question sources and reporters about anonymous sources.
Here are some more examples that appear to prove that the media have long since left behind reporting — increasingly, even purportedly neutral anchors and hosts are on an open mission to expel Trump from the White House.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer wasted no time late Tuesday in taking the second major controversy to strike the White House this week and use it to demand the impeachment of the president.
The New York Times reported late Tuesday that fired FBI Director James Comey had generated a memo to record that Trump had asked him to consider ending the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
CNN's legal analyst, extreme liberal Jeff Toobin, said the memo could prove an impeachable offense.
Blitzer then ambushed the next guest, and asked about — the holy grail for the Left in their long war with Trump — impeachment.
"You heard Jeff Toobin say, if this is true, if the president asked the FBI to end the investigation into Michael Flynn as former national security adviser, you heard Jeffrey Toobin say it would be an obstruction of justice, and potentially that could be impeachable," said Blitzer. "An impeachable offense."
Blitzer's guest, Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, said it could be. Never mind that impeachment needs an underlying offense. No one knows yet if the memo exists, or if Trump's "hopes" can be illegal. No one even knows for sure if Flynn has committed a crime that the Department of Justice intends to prosecute. Also, CNN forgets the acting director of the FBI — Comey's former deputy — Andrew McGabe — told a Senate panel last week that no, Trump never tried to impede the so-called Russia investigation, which involves Flynn.
Nevertheless, Blitzer didn't ask only King. The next guest brought on by the CNN anchor, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), was also asked pointedly if the report could constitute an impeachable offense.
How Do We Undermine Trump With Trump Voters?
During a media panel called 92Y on Monday night, CNN "Reliable Sources" host Brian Stelter and a panel guest unwittingly exposed a major objective for the anti-Trump media.
Stelter was moderating a panel discussion with British journalist Harold Evans, Time magazine's Nancy Gibbs, and the infamous Dan Rather.
Stelter, discussing the Washington Post story on disclosures to Russian officials, asked Rather if Trump is "competent to be president."
Rather called the behavior described by The Post as "dangerously reckless."
Evans, the editor of The Sunday Times from 1967 to 1981, then asked: "How do we get the Trump voter to believe it?"
The admission of that goal, tweeted by Stelter, brought an immediate rebuke from Amy Walter, editor of the Cook Political Report.
"That's not job of media," tweeted Walter. "Job is to give info and facts not to MAKE anyone believe/behave certain way."
Perhaps the most bizarre example of post-Russia hysteria was the ever-odd Brooke Baldwin of CNN, who anchors the liberal-leaning network from 2 to 4 p.m.
Baldwin mistook what McMaster said on Tuesday, suggesting Trump didn't know the sensitivity of information shared with the Russians.
But that's not what McMaster said. What McMaster said was Trump didn't know the source or where it came from. That's a key difference, because it indicates Trump did not know he was discussing sensitive material given to the United States by Israel.
Indeed, as Byron York of the Washington Examiner re-emphasized on Twitter, the information was flagged by the National Security Council after Trump's Russia meeting as too sensitive to discuss.
Baldwin then zeroed in on Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), asking him if people would die because of Trump's leak.
When Zeldin said no, Baldwin lost it, grilling him on why.
As of Tuesday night, a new hysteria had just begun, shifting the topic from Russia back to Comey. Trump was reportedly considering a staff shake-up, even a new press secretary.
A watchdog of media bias said a staff shake-up won't change the anti-Trump hysteria.
"I believe it doesn't matter who the spokesman is, [Trump aides] are target practice," said Tim Graham, director at the Media Research Center, in an email to LifeZette. "You can't 'fix' it with a new spokesman."