Wednesday’s CBS Mornings was the first broadcast network flagship morning or evening show to bid farewell to President Biden’s classified documents scandal with zero formal coverage (aside from a tag in the show’s Eye Opener from two late-night comedy shows). Instead, their political segment huffed about House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) restoring two House Republicans to committees after they were stripped by Democrats when the latter had a majority.
To further underline their concern with the implicit takeaway that non-Democrats are dangerous human beings, the segment came after a lengthy segment huffing about the charges against a deranged former New Mexico Republican state House candidate (who, in a fact few in the press care to note, has a long rapt sheet) who shot at the homes of several local Democrats.
Co-host Nate Burleson began: “Some of the most controversial members of the Republican Party are about to see greater influence in Congress. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his allies started assigning lawmakers to influential committees. And the list includes some who had previously been stripped of committee assignments.”
With the chyron warning of “Extremist, Controversial House Members,” chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes told viewers this matters to “the White House because these are the members who are going to be conducting investigations, who are going to be grilling administration officials, and even in some cases, moving to impeach those officials.”
Cordes started with Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who will be joining “the powerful Homeland Security Committee, which has jurisdiction over the border” even though she “was kicked off of her assignments nearly two years ago for racist and anti-Semitic social media posts” in addition to her claims about the 2020 election.
Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) was the other example as he’ll be “return[ing] to...the National Resources Committee after he was removed for a social media post that depicted violence against promised — prominent House Democrats.”
“Both of these members have also reportedly been assigned to the House Oversight Committee which would likely take the lead in investigations of the White House and Hunter Biden, so that's very significant,” Cordes lamented before ending with the assignments for serial liar George Santos (R-NY).
In the show’s “Eye Opener” (which we typically exclude from our time counts), the lone mention of Biden’s scandal came in a joke from CBS’s Late Late Show host James Corden about the NBA champion Golden State Warriors visiting the White House: “They gave Biden a jersey with his name on it. And this is nice — in return, Biden gave each player a top-secret document.”
In contrast, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today stayed on the case with full reports.
ABC unfortunately stayed in spin mode for Biden with senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce saying the regime was “doing damage control” and “scrambling to respond to this drip, drip, drip of revelations and these growing questions about their transparency” by instead attacking Republicans and insisting they won’t “interfere” in the special counsel probe.
Bruce also touted the White House’s supposed trustworthiness in the eyes of the FBI (click “expand”):
BRUCE: [T]he White House is accusing them of fake outrage, saying they are playing politics after they showed little interest in investigating Donald Trump's refusal to turn over hundreds of classified documents stored at his Mar-a-Lago home. Now, the White House says the key difference here is that they are fully cooperating with the Justice Department and we have learned that the Justice Department actually considered sending FBI agents to monitor the search of Biden's home but they ultimately decided against that in part because the White House and the Biden team are cooperating with them so, Michael, a little sign that perhaps their approach is working.
MICHAEL STRAHAN: All right, seems to be[.]
NBC kept up the heat with a tease from co-host Savannah Guthrie denouncing the White House strategy as the “silent treatment” with “Biden refusing to answer questions about those classified documents for a fifth straight day.”
Co-host Hoda Kotb and chief White House correspondent Kristen Welker had the segment and started with Kotb calling the matter a “cloud of controversy hanging over the White House.”
Welker led off with a scorching revelation that, while the White House insists they won’t discuss the topic, NBC has learned the Justice Department hasn’t even asked the administration to be tight-lipped. And, like Bruce, Welker highlighted reporting about the coziness between Biden lawyers and the Justice Department (click “expand”):
WELKER: Biden officials have consistently suggested they're not saying much because they're limited in what can be responsibly disclosed given that special counsel investigation. But a law enforcement official telling NBC News the Justice Department had not asked the White House not to speak about the facts of the case. All of it is adding to the growing firestorm here at the White House.
WELKER: President Biden ignoring questions for a fifth straight day about the issue looming large over his presidency, the investigation into his handling of classified material.
ALEXANDER [TO BIDEN]: Will you commit to the speak to the special counsel?
WELKER: But this morning, there is new fallout. The Wall Street Journal reporting the FBI considering monitoring a search for classified documents at his Delaware homes. But The Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, says the department decided against it, both to avoid complicating the investigation and because Mr. Biden's lawyers were cooperating. NBC News has not independently confirmed the report. And so far, there has been no comment from the DOJ.
UNIDENTIFIED BIDEN STAFFER: Thank you. Let's go. Thank you.
WELKER: It comes as the White House has come under growing criticism for its tight-lipped response, failing to answer key questions...The White House insisting it's trying to be as transparent as possible while respecting the investigation. But a law enforcement official telling NBC News the Justice Department has not told the White House to refrain from talking about the underlying facts of the investigation.
And, to her credit, Welker aired a portion of her colleague Peter Alexander’s Tuesday back-and-forth with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during that tense briefing.
CBS waving goodbye to the Biden documents scandal in favor of kvetching about the House GOP was made possible thanks to advertisers such as Ashley Homestore and Febreze. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the CBS transcript from January 18, click “expand.” To see the Biden documents transcripts from August 18, click here (for ABC) and here (for NBC).
January 18, 2023
7:01 a.m. Eastern
SETH MEYERS [on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, 01/18/23]: President Biden hosted the NBA champion Golden State Warriors at the White House where they gave him an honorary jersey.
JAMES CORDEN [on CBS’s The Late Late Show With James Corden, 01/18/23]: They gave Biden a jersey with his name on it. And this is nice — in return, Biden gave each player a top-secret document. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER]
7:07 a.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: McCarthy Sets House Assignments; Speaker Names Extremist, Controversial House Members to Committees]
NATE BURLESON: Some of the most controversial members of the Republican Party are about to see greater influence in Congress. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his allies started assigning lawmakers to influential committees. And the list includes some who had previously been stripped of committee assignments. Nancy Cordes is following this. Nancy, good morning.
NANCY CORDES: Good morning, Nate. And believe me — they pay attention here at the White House because these are the members who are going to be conducting investigations, who are going to be grilling administration officials, and even in some cases, moving to impeach those officials. Most notably, you've got two Republicans now being assigned to committees after they were stripped of their committee assignments not that long ago. Trump ally Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene — she is going to be sitting on the powerful Homeland Security Committee, which has jurisdiction over the border. She'd be part of any move to impeach Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, which some in the GOP have been pushing for. Now, you'll recall that Taylor-Greene was kicked off of her assignments nearly two years ago for racist and anti-Semitic social media posts. She has also continually questioned the 2020 election results, and she has pushed a variety of conspiracy theories, some of them having to do with national security. Arizona Representative Paul Gosar, he's going to return to his seat on the National Resources Committee after he was removed for a social media post that depicted violence against promised — prominent House Democrats. Both of these members have also reportedly been assigned to the House Oversight Committee which would likely take the lead in investigations of the White House and Hunter Biden, so that's very significant.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Rep. Santos Appointed to Two House Committees; Remains Unpublished by GOP Despite Lying About Background]
Now, as for the embattled New York freshman congressman George Santos, well, he's going to sit on the Small Business Committee, as well as the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, despite lying extensively about his business record and despite the fact that he is currently facing multiple ethics complaints and continued questions about his campaign finances. Tony?
TONY DOKOUPIL: We'll be following that one. Nancy, thank you very much.
8:01 a.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Controversial Picks]
BURLESON: Some controversial GOP members of Congress are given influential seats on House committees.