EDITOR’S NOTE, February 16, 2024: On February 15, Justice Department Counsel David Weiss indicted FBI informant Alexander Smirnov on two felony counts of making a false statement and creating a false and fictitious record for claims made to the bureau. The charges are in relation to June 2020 FD-1023 form alleging President Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden received a combined $10 million in a bribery scheme involving the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.
With Tuesday’s third indictment of former President Trump, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC had their ticket out of having to acknowledge the scandals surrounding the Biden family, including reasons to continue skipping Burisma bribery claims and no longer probe Monday’s testimony from Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Devon Archer.
Between their flagship Tuesday evening (24:36) and Wednesday morning news shows (46:05), they’ve spent a whopping 70 minutes and 41 seconds obsessing over the charges filed against Trump relating to January 6 riot and claims about the 2020 election.
All three networks were within two minutes of each other with NBC at 22 minutes and 17 seconds, CBS at 23 minutes and 28 seconds, and then ABC on top at 24 minutes and 56 seconds. Each of these networks far exceeded what all three put up for post-Archer hearing coverage, which was only eight minutes and 32 seconds.
ABC’s Good Morning America co-host and former Clinton flack George Stephanopoulos sternly warned that “[n]othing like this has any precedent in America history” as Trump’s “charged with trying to destroy the Democrat he wants to lead.”
Chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas proclaimed this will be “[p]erhaps the most consequential case in the history of the Justice Department” and bragged that Special Counsel Jack Smith used “blistering language.”
Correspondent Aaron Ketersky further got the juices flowing of liberals in noting that “[t]he judge...has been especially tough on January 6th defendants, handing down prison sentences, sometimes longer than what federal prosecutors recommended.”
Longtime correspondent and anti-Trump author Jonathan Karl drummed things up to drive book sales for his upcoming third Resistance book (click “expand”):
This is a campaign to keep him out of jail. This is a campaign — he’s calling it the retribution campaign. But George, look, he faces legal jeopardy almost everywhere. Civil cases, criminal cases. This is different. This is qualitatively different. Donald Trump here is being charged with a betrayal of his oath of office, a betrayal of the American people, the most serious charge? Deprivation of rights. What rights is he accused of depriving? The rights of the American people to have their votes count. Outside of a president selling out America to a foreign power, it’s hard to imagine a more serious allegation and it seems to me, the biggest question, as I read this indictment, is what took so long? There's very little actually new in this indictment. We — we’ve known about much of this. We saw it play out in the January 6th hearings. I wrote a book about a lot of what’s in this indictment almost two years ago. So, the question is, why did it take so long to see this come forward as a criminal case?...It’s hard to see why this couldn’t be a speedy trial.
Over on CBS Mornings, chief election and campaign correspondent (and, like Karl, anti-Trump author) Robert Costa bragged of “Trump fac[ing] a legal and political reckoning and his campaign is pushing back hard against the charges, comparing the Justice Department to the Soviet Union and other authoritarian regimes” with “many Trump allies....on edge”.
Legal analyst Rikki Klieman was enthusiastic about Smith’s charges: “But what Jack Smith has brilliantly done is he’s looked at the law and what he has said is let’s see which facts go to which crime.”
Additionally, she called on this case to be prosecuted first because “the victim is the American people and the civil rights of Americans to have that precious, precious right to vote.”
Along with battling Trump attorney John Lauro over the Trump comparing Smith and the Biden administration to Nazi Germany (with Trump being the victim in the mold of tens of millions, including Jews), CBS brought in the ever-smug Scott MacFarlane, seeing as how January 6 is all he has lived for over the last two years.
NBC’s Today co-host Savannah Guthrie was also stern, stating in a tease that Trump was “accused in a crime against America and democracy itself” and correspondent Garrett Haake calling the indictment “sweeping”.
Lauro also appeared on NBC, where he battled Guthrie over his insistence that the indictment is a sign that it’s now a crime for Trump to exercise his First Amendment rights. Afterward, chief legal correspondent Laura Jarrett (and daughter of Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett) pushed back (click “expand”):
The prosecutors have made it crystal clear here he is not being charged for his speech. He is being charged for the means that he used to try to subvert the will of the people by putting forth fraudulent slates of electors and, therefore, defrauding the U.S. government. It's not about calling the election rigged. It’s not about saying that he had actually won. It's the means he used to do that. And the best example I can give you is, if you look at your bank account today and you see a bunch of money missing; it looks like the bank took it out wrongly. You get to challenge that. You even get to go on TV and say I think I lost a bunch of money and the bank is at fault. What you don't get to do is rob that bank or to try to rob the bank. And tat's what the Justice Department is accusing the former President of the United States of doing.
“Well, it’s a fascinating indictment. It’s goes to the heart of the matter whether or not this election was stolen...It’s historic day,” Guthrie later said in ending the Trump coverage for their first hour.
This eager campaign to criminally indict, convict, and jail Donald Trump (as well as promote his 2024 campaign) was made possible thanks to advertisers such as Citi (on NBC), IBM (on ABC), and Progressive (on CBS). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.