With the release of the Inspector General’s report exposing FBI misconduct in pursuing the Trump campaign under the suspicion of Russian influence, the liberal media were more interested in bashing President Trump than criticizing the abuses of the FBI. CNN’s Anderson Cooper kicked off his show on Monday doing just that, suggesting President Trump was lying and “gaslighting.”
Cooper began the show by declaring the IG report was “a stunning rebuttal of virtually everything that President Trump has said again and again for years about what he calls the Russia hoax;” in addition to promoting how a lawyer for House Democrats described Trump “as a clear and present danger to free and fair elections.”
“The Inspector General's report also identified significant errors in how the FBI conducted what became known as Crossfire Hurricane,” he reluctantly admitted. “However, the headline is that it debunks allegations like these.” Cooper then played a series of soundbites of the President denouncing the FBI’s Russia investigation.
Suggesting he was “keeping [Trump] honest,” Cooper asserted: “What he said is not true there. The report details the ways in which none of that is true. And just for the record, even after receiving the Inspector General's report the President has continued saying these things.”
He further insisted Trump “mischaracterized what is in the actual report painting it as a vindication instead of the indictment it actually is, the indictment of what he has been saying. Keeping them honest, the word for it is gaslighting.”
From there, Cooper read a series of cherry-picked quotes from the report to help defend the out of control FBI. “In short, no spying, no political bias, no witch hunt, no traitors, just human beings doing their best and sometimes falling far short against what they had reason to believe was a serious threat to the country,” he argued on their behalf.
But there were some reporters who were willing to call out the failures at the FBI. As NewsBusters previously reported, CBS senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge (formerly with Fox News) and NBC Justice correspondent Pete Williams seemed skeptical of the IG’s conclusion as they focused heavily on the criticisms of the FBI.
Williams drove home the point that the FBI lied to the FISA court about their sources when they repeatedly applied to spy on then-Trump campaign aide Carter Page. “The report says the FBI's court application made statements about [former British spy Christopher] Steele that were, quote, ‘inaccurate, incomplete, and unsupported’ overselling his values as a source and glossing over the fact that many claims he made were not checking out.”
Herridge reported that the FBI had willingly left out “exculpatory evidence favorable to Page” and were still using the Steele dossier despite it being “uncorroborated.” There was also the crucial notation Williams made that the IG “got ‘no satisfactory explanation’ about how all these mistakes happened.”
Clearly, Cooper was gaslighting when he falsely asserted that the FBI was “doing their best” when accusing the Trump campaign of being “a serious threat to the country.”
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360
December 9, 2019
8:00:17 p.m. Eastern
ANDERSON COOPER: Good evening from Washington tonight. A stunning rebuttal of virtually everything that President Trump has said again and again for years about what he calls the Russia hoax. That and impeachment hearings today that saw the President described as a clear and present danger to free and fair elections. It doesn't get much bigger than that.
We begin with a report from the Justice Department's inspector general that exposes the President of the United States as fundamentally dishonest about the Russian investigation and the people who conducted it.
In a moment, I'll talk with one of those people, former FBI director James Comey, whom the President fired and has attacked relentlessly ever since along with the men and women who work for him and continue to work at the Bureau, at Justice Department, and inside the intelligence community.
The inspector general's report also identified significant errors in how the FBI conducted what became known as Crossfire Hurricane. We'll talk about that as well. However, the headline is that it debunks allegations like these.
[Cuts to videos}
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It was an illegal investigation. It was started illegally.
They were spying on my campaign and it went right up to the top.
This was an attempted coup. This was an attempted takedown of a president.
This was spying on my campaign, something that has never been done in the history of our country. This was an overthrow attempt at the presidency.
Everything about it was crooked.
Comey, lies and leaks. He's a liar and he's a leaker.
Some of the people at the top were rotten apples. James Comey was one of them.
The entire thing has been a witch hunt.
[Cuts back to live]
COOPER: Keeping them honest, what he said is not true there. The report details the ways in which none of that is true. And just for the record, even after receiving the inspector general's report the President has continued saying these things.
He's mischaracterized what is in the actual report painting it as a vindication instead of the indictment it actually is, the indictment of what he has been saying. Keeping them honest, the word for it is gaslighting.
So, before we go any further, I just want to read you some key passages from the report itself, which again does identify significant problems with how the investigation was conducted. That said, the inspector general after a two-year investigation concluded, and I'm quoting now from the report, that, “the FBI had an authorized purpose when it opened Crossfire Hurricane to obtain information about or protect against a national security threat or federal crime, even though the investigation also had the potential to impact constitutionally protected activity.”
The report goes on to say the decision to open the investigation, quote, “was in compliance with department and FBI policies and we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced his decision.”
As for the spying allegations, the Inspector General writes, quote, “we founding found evidence that the FBI placed any CHSs,” which are confidential sources, “or UCEs,” undercover employees, “within the Trump campaign or tasked any CHSs or UCEs to report on the Trump campaign.”
In short, no spying, no political bias, no witch hunt, no traitors, just human beings doing their best and sometimes falling far short against what they had reason to believe was a serious threat to the country. In a moment we'll talk to former FBI director James Comey for his take. But first, CNN’s Jim Acosta is at the White House right now.