MSNBC host Chuck Todd surprisingly called out the liberal press for questionable sourcing on their stories on Robert Mueller’s investigative report.
During Thursday’s “MTP Daily,” Todd discussed the recent reports by The New York Times and The Washington Post which caused a feeding frenzy on the left over claims that members of Mueller’s team were not pleased with the summary released by Attorney General William Barr.
“This is how the evidence against Mr. Trump was characterized in all of these reports, which, by the way, are all based on anonymous sources. To The Times it was ‘more damaging for the President than Mr. Barr explained.’ To the Post, it was ‘alarming and significant.’ And to us here at NBC News, it was compelling,'” Todd began.
“But, folks, we preached caution when Barr told us what Mueller’s evidence really meant. So, we’re going to preach caution in this case as well,’ he announced.
Mueller had concluded his report at the end of March with no further indictments and Barr summarized that the investigation did not find any evidence that Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated” with Russia in the 2016 election. Barr had announced that the Justice Department would release the special counsel’s report to Congress by “mid-April, if not sooner,” after the redactions had been made in the approximately 400-page document.
After more than two years of collusion conspiracies, the investigation turned out nothing on the scale of what the left had been hoping for, but that didn’t stop The New York Times or The Washington Post from stoking the fire in an attempt that raised the hopes of Trump critics who were convinced there was a cover up.
Todd confronted one of the authors of The Washington Post report on his show Thursday about the use of anonymous sources.
“How nervous are you that we’re basing all of this on anonymous — or people that don’t want to go on the record?” he asked Rosalind Helderman. “You know who they are. But we’re in this situation in the same way that Barr put us in there in the first place where we’re all flying a little blind here.”
Helderman’s dubious reply was that she was confident they had been “accurately describing the attitudes of some members of the Mueller team,” but added that she didn’t have “confidence about exactly what’s in that report and how damning or not damning it is, because we haven’t seen it and that’s just a weird place to be.”
Todd spoke later with NBC intelligence and national security reporter Ken Dilanian who admitted that “it’s even more dramatic than just they won’t go on the record, we’re getting this secondhand.”
“We’re not getting this directly from people who worked for Robert Mueller. We’re getting this from people who spoke to those people,” he said.
Todd even admitted that Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani made looked “credible” in a statement he had made, saying “if there was a significant difference, Mueller would have corrected it as he did with the false BuzzFeed report.”
“The problem that Democrats have of pushing against that statement….is that it is all anonymous people,” Todd noted a few moments later.
“All of us are admitting – Our organization, yours, the Post. It is people who are talking to people who’ve talked to reporters. Right?” he asked. “We’re playing two levels of telephone.”
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