The media, MSNBC in particular, appear desperate to salvage what little remains of their reputation by trying to insist that Robert Mueller's Wednesday testimony was not a complete dud. On her Friday show, Andrea Mitchell tried to argue that despite the lack of any new revelations, Mueller's testimony was "pretty devastating" for Trump.
While Mitchell declared it to be devastating, other words that have been used by non-Trump fans to describe Mueller's testimony and the hearings include "shaky," "painful," "a disaster," and "a complete failure." Still, the march for impeachment continues. "He's not exonerating the President of the United States," Mitchell declared as if it was a new and insightful observation and not just a rehashing of the debate of whether it was appropriate for Mueller to come to that conclusion as a prosecutor.
After Jeff Mason reported on the White House's take on the hearings, Mitchell then turned to Heidi Przybyla and hyped that 96 Democrats now support impeachment. What Mitchell did not say was that 96 Democrats is barely 40% of the Democratic caucus and that is only one more than Rep. Al Green's impeachment vote got last week.
After Mitchell and Przybyla said that more Democrats may support impeachment after going home and talking to their constituents during the upcoming recess, because polls show Democrats favoring impeachment, Daily Beast columnist Margaret Carlson took Mitchell's "devastating" comments and upped it to "damning," using the word three times, "the report is damning and now his testimony was damning and the summaries are damning."
Carlson predicted that when people see, "Mueller the bronze medal winner, lifelong government service versus the president who has none of those values and none of that background, I think they're going to weigh Mueller much more heavily." Carlson probably meant to say "bronze star" because Mueller was a Marine, not an Olympian, but none of that really matters in the analysis, either Mueller was right or he was wrong, his military career has no bearing on whether "not exonerated" is an appropriate legal conclusion and the odds that anybody's mind was changed by Wednesday's events or that they were even watching the Mueller hearings as if they were the Super Bowl are pretty low.
The media should just cut their losses and admit they were wrong about the Mueller hearings.
Here is a transcript for the July 26 show:
Andrea Mitchell Reports
12:06 PM ET
ANDREA MITCHELL: Jeff Mason, does the White House still believe that they have won this battle, despite the fact that the Mueller testimony, if you look at it in terms of the headlines that came out of it, it's pretty devastating. He's not exonerating the President of the United States. The President of the United States did not generally tell the truth in even his written responses to questions. But do they feel victorious in that they ran out the clock and were able to avoid a personal one-on-one interview?
JEFF MASON: I think the answer to that is yes, Andrea. Everything you say there is right in terms of the commentary -- the facts of what Robert Mueller said, both in his testimony and in the report, but this White House, more than probably any other White House looks at performance. And the president came out at the end of Robert Mueller's testimony and basically declared that performance a dud. This is a former reality TV show host, obviously, who values that very much and also sees the value that Americans put in that in terms of watching things on television and whether or not seeing things on television ends up resonating with voters. So yes, I think they see that as having been a good day for Republicans, as having been a good day for the president and they're ready to move on.
MITCHELL: Heidi Przbyla, with the addition of Katherine Clark, it's 96 members, 96 Democrats. That's not by any means a majority, but it is a significant number.
HEIDI PRZBYLA It's notching up and that's why if you talk to reporters who are on The Hill yesterday who covered the caucus meeting after Mueller's testimony, there were some members who said they felt like there has been some movement by Speaker Pelosi in that she's allowing if more members come out over this recess that she herself may switch positions, because when she says we're not going to move until we have everything we need, she's not necessarily talking about evidence, Andrea, because they're not going to get anymore evidence over the six-week recess. There's not going to be hearings that would expose that or witnesses that are going to come forward.
MITCHELL: But, what she said is that by going to court they think they can get to the tax returns, they can get to the finances that they now know that Mueller did not go into any of those areas.
PRZYBLA: Right, it's a two track process. Maybe they could get things through the court process, that’s a good point, if that process is moving on an expedited, you know, level. But they're also waiting to see what these members experience and encounter when they go back home, because to Donna's point, there's a big disconnect between the caucus and what the polling is telling us about the broader Democratic Party, which a majority of Democrats are for impeachment at this point right now.
MARGARET CARLSON: You know, what's good about the six weeks, if anything, Andrea, is that Democrats will go home. You know, we judge the Mueller testimony by Trump standards. A "Celebrity Apprentice" president is judging the hearings and we're all taking it and the overnight ratings are that Mueller flubbed it, that he was too slow, didn't answer, but if you look at the summations, it is so powerful. And people outside our group here, who look at Mueller versus Trump, Mueller the bronze medal [sic] winner, lifelong government service versus the president who has none of those values and none of that background, I think they're going to weigh Mueller much more heavily. And the report is damning and now his testimony was damning and the summaries are damning.