Somehow, Fox News’ “chief intelligence correspondent” Catherine Herridge not only failed to report the corrupt, banana-Republican strategy behind Donald Trump’s call for the declassification of Russia investigation material, she also presented it, just as Trump dishonestly did, as a move in favor of transparency.
Herridge’s report was despicable on just about every level but I have to give her credit for how much propaganda she was able to cram into fewer than three minutes.
HERRIDGE: A short time ago, we heard from the president and what he told reporters is that based on what he’s been briefed and what he’s read in the media, he feels it’s just time to throw all the records out there for the American public to decide.
We saw a clip of Trump saying, “I want total transparency. This is a witch hunt. Republicans are seeing it. The Democrats know it’s a witch hunt too but they don’t want to admit it because that’s not good politics for them but it’s a terrible witch hunt…”
FACT CHECK: The so-called witch hunt has secured guilty pleas and convictions from every one of the eight non-Russians charged, including Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who is now co-operating with the investigation; Trump’s former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, also co-operating with Mueller; two campaign advisers, George Papadopoulos and Rick Gates (Gates has also cooperated). Furthermore, Americans approve of Mueller's handling of the Russia investigation far more than they do Trump's.
Apparently, Herridge did not think any of that worth noting. Nor the fact that Trump’s claim to “want total transparency” belies his refusal to release his tax returns.
Even worse, Herridge “forgot” to tell viewers that Trump’s actions are clearly designed to give himself ammunition to undermine the Russia investigation by way of a sneak peek.
Nevertheless, Herridge proceeded to diminish Rep. Adam Schiff’s criticism. Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee spoke about his concerns on MSNBC last night (video below). There, Schiff explained that it was bad enough Trump was interfering in a federal investigation but it was even worse that it was one in which he has been implicated. “In the process, important sources and important precedent to protecting those sources may be violated,” Schiff added.
Schiff also said that some of the materials Trump ordered declassified were considered “gang of eight” material by the FBI and Department of Justice, meaning the material shouldn’t even be shared beyond the chair and ranking members of the intelligence committees as well as the speaker and leaders of both House and Senate. In light of all that, Schiff called on FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates to “fearlessly defend their sources” and refuse to release the material.
Those are extremely serious and potentially consequential comments from Schiff. Yet Herridge condensed her reporting, leaving out why Schiff called Trump’s move an abuse of power and suggested, instead, that Schiff was engaging in partisan obstruction.
HERRIDGE: The House Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, and he really speaks for many in his party – as you mentioned, has called the president’s declassification call “an abuse of power.” Congressman Schiff wants FBI Director Christopher Wray and the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates, who oversees the 16 agencies, to draw a red line and refuse a presidential order, Schiff says, to protect sources and methods.
Herridge failed to mention the serious repercussions that could result from releasing the classified material: As former FBI official Frank Figliuzzi put it, “People die when sources and methods are disclosed, this is not a game.”
That was it for the “balance” to Herridge’s stenography for the Collusion Cover-Up Crew, a group seemingly dedicated to preventing the public from finding out about how Russia interfered in our election and with help from whom. Herridge did her part for the cause by continuing to suggest that it’s Trump and his cronies who are seeking transparency.
HERRIDGE: The president wants those Russia-related texts from former senior FBI leadership released without redactions, so no sections blacked out. These texts are expected to shed more light on two tracks: an effort to build an obstruction case against the president after [FBI] Director Comey was fired, in May 2017, and the so-called insurance policy that’s discussed by [FBI] agent Strzok and lawyer Lisa Page in text messages two months before the presidential election.
Herridge didn’t bother to note that despite the supposed “smoking gun” of the “insurance policy” text, the Inspector General found no evidence that any “improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions … or that the justifications offered for these decisions were pretextual.”
Herridge explained that the documents will be reviewed for redactions by the relevant agencies, then go to the White House where “President Trump can accept or reject the recommendations because he is the ultimate declassification authority based on executive order as well as Supreme Court precedent.”
“Republicans want the results in the public domain in days, not weeks,” Herridge added. She played a clip of Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and ringleader of the #CoverUpCaucus, saying that since Trump has had to “deal with this Russia nonsense” for so long, that the declassification shouldn’t take “more than a few days but we’re ready for it to take more than a few days.”
It seems obvious that reviewing such sensitive and classified documents for redactions by different agencies could not be done in a few days but, predictably, Herridge let the “Deep State Sabotage” suggestion stand unquestioned.
Watch Herridge's astounding bias above, from the September 18, 2018 Outnumbered Overtime. Underneath is Schiff’s appearance on MSNBC’s September 17 2018 The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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