When a network all but dedicates 24-7 coverage to destroying President Donald Trump and invested so much in the Russian collusion story, special counsel Robert Mueller’s report had to be heartbreaking.
Just ask CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, who complained on-air Friday morning about her spirit being broken.
“I’m sorry if it sounds like they’ve broken my spirit,” Camerota said, in response to Attorney General William Barr seeing no evidence that would warrant obstruction of justice charges against the president.
“That’s what it sounds like!” co-host John Berman chimed in.
The discussion centered on former White House counsel Don McGahn, who was told by Trump to tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller over alleged conflicts, then tried to get McGahn to write a statement saying that it did not happen, according to the Muller report.
“How does Don McGahn going to Congress change anything? I understand that they have lots of questions because they saw ample evidence of obstruction in the Mueller report,” Camerota said. “So obviously, Democrats feel like they need some answers. But at the end of the day, it’s all in the Mueller report. They know that he threatened to quit because he thought he was being asked to commit crimes. How does him going before Congress change anything?”
Berman summarized the Mueller report, saying that McGahn said “the President told him to fire Mueller and create a fake paper trail,” that being Berman’s take on events.
“Absolutely. That sounds like obstruction of justice,” Camerota said. “And they won’t do anything about it.”
(It’s all a moot point anyway, as Trump suggested on Thursday he will use executive privilege to block McGahn from complying with a congressional subpoena.)
Stressing that Barr says it didn’t happen that way, Berman replied: “The only jury that matters in this is the U.S. Congress,” he said. “So the U.S. Congress wants to get Don McGahn in front of them to get his version, to cross-examine Don McGahn on what is in the Mueller report, especially after Bill Barr now.”
“I guess my point, John, and I’m sorry if I sound like they’ve broken my spirit, however –” Camerota said, before Berman cut her off.
“But that’s what it sounds like!” he said. “But I think that’s the goal, too!
“Well, it’s worked, because I think I’m channeling many members of the American public who feel that these past two years have been disheartening for people who believe in justice,” Camerota said, struggling to choke back her emotions.
“The reason that I say that is because you see in the Mueller report ample evidence laid out of obstruction, of what Robert Mueller considered obstruction, but nothing happens.
The problem for the anti-Trump host is that while Mueller did not exonerate Trump on obstruction, he also did not conclude that the president committed a crime — this coming after two years of investigating and spending more the $30 million.
In addition, the evidence Mueller gathered was turned over to Barr, the top cop in the land, the man tasked with enforcing our laws, and he did not feel there was enough to warrant charges.
Barr explained his position to Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., on Wednesday, when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“To be obstruction of justice, the lie has to be tied to impairing the evidence in a particular proceeding,” he said. “McGahn had already given his evidence and I think it would be plausible that the purpose of McGahn memorializing what the president was asking was to make the record that the president was never directing him to fire.”
“And there is a distinction between telling someone, ‘Go fire him, go fire Mueller,’ and say have him removed based on conflict.”