Imagine if Dana Bash Knew Trump Had Been President Before?

After letting Donald Trump lie non-stop in the debate, Dana Bash invited his aspiring running-mate, Marco Rubio, onto her show to  tell the same lies.

Ostensibly, she was asking Rubio about whether the Supreme Court immunity decision violated Rubio’s own stated dodge on accountability for January 6: “let history, and if necessary, the courts judge the events of the past.”

But Rubio quickly took over the segment, spending 37 seconds, and then another 22 seconds, falsely claiming that Joe Biden’s Administration was using DOJ as a legal weapon against Donald Trump. Rubio claimed, “The evidence is in the headlines every day. Every you day you open up it’s another Republican going to jail somewhere.” Bash let Rubio drone on at length, before interrupting to state there’s no evidence that Biden is doing this.

Worse still was Bash’s failure to rebut Rubio’s lies about Donald Trump’s first term. Rubio claimed, “I can’t think of a single prominent Democrat who was chased around, persecuted, prosecuted.” He followed up, “He was President for four years, he didn’t go after Hillary Clinton, he didn’t go after Joe Biden, he didn’t go after Barack Obama, he didn’t go after any other consultants. We didn’t see under him what we’re seeing now.” In one uncomfortable moment, Rubio cited the debate at which Bash had let Trump lie over and over about his future plans to criminalize his opponents, as if it represented the truth. Rubio then stated again that Trump, “was President before and he didn’t do it then.”

Those are all lies.

Those are all lies that Bash has a responsibility to debunk.

After Trump demanded it, Hillary Clinton remained under investigation — based off Peter Schweizer’s political hit job, Clinton Cash — for the entirety of Trump’s term, with a declination memo issuing only in August 2021.

Career prosecutors in Little Rock then closed the case, notifying the F.B.I.’s office there in two letters in January 2021. But in a toxic atmosphere in which Mr. Trump had long accused the F.B.I. of bias, the top agent in Little Rock wanted it known that career prosecutors, not F.B.I. officials, were behind the decision.

In August 2021, the F.B.I. received what is known as a declination memo from prosecutors and as a result considered the matter closed.

“All of the evidence obtained during the course of this investigation has been returned or otherwise destroyed,” according to the F.B.I.

Rubio mentioned, “consultants.” After Trump demanded prosecutions from John Durham, Durham indicted DNC cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann on flimsy charges. When Durham wildly misrepresented a report Sussmann made — showing the use of Yota phones inside Executive Office of the Presidency during the Obama Administration — Trump even issued suggested Sussmann should be put to death.

Yes, Sussmann was acquitted, but not before leaving his firm and spending untold legal fees to defend against a manufactured indictment and death threats from the former President.

Bash even seems ignorant of the first impeachment, in which Trump withheld funds appropriated to Ukraine in an attempt to extort the announcement of an investigation into Joe Biden and his kid.

On at least two more occasions, Donald Trump personally intervened into the criminal investigation of Joe Biden’s son. One was shortly after the NYPost unveiled material from a hard drive copy of a laptop attributed to Hunter Biden (as described in Bill Barr’s memoir), days before the 2020 election.

In mid-October I received a call from the President, which was the last time I spoke to him prior to the election. It was a very short con-versation. The call came soon after Rudy Giuliani succeeded in making public information about Hunter Biden’s laptop. I had walked over to my desk to take the call. These calls had become rare, so Will Levi stood nearby waiting expectantly to see what it was about. After brief pleasantry about his being out on the campaign trail, the President said, “You know this stuff from Hunter Biden’s laptop?”

I cut the President off sharply. “Mr. President, I can’t talk about that, and I am not going to.”

President Trump hesitated, then continued in a plaintive tone, “You know, if that was one of my kids—”

I cut him off again, raising my voice, “Dammit, Mr. President, I am not going to talk to you about Hunter Biden. Period!”

He was silent for a moment, then quickly got off the line.

I looked up at Will, whose eyes were as big as saucers. “You yelled at the President?” he asked, confirming the obvious. I nodded. He shook his head in disbelief.

Trump intervened again on December 27, 2020, when — during the conversation where Trump first threatened to replace Jeffrey Rosen if he didn’t back Trump’s false claims of election fraud — Trump also said, “people will criticize the DOJ if [Biden, to which Richard Donoghue added an “H” after the fact] not investigated for real.”

These non-public demands regarding the investigation into Hunter Biden accompanied public demands to “Lock him up!” Trump even raised Hunter Biden in between calls to march to the Capitol on January 6.

But Bash’s worst failures involve doing an interview with the Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and not asking him about two investigations conducted under Bill Barr that implicate confirmed and suspected disinformation with Russian ties.

As part of Barr’s effort to investigate Hillary Clinton for calling out Donald Trump’s embrace of Vladimir Putin, for example, starting in 2020 (as Trump demanded results), the Attorney General and John Durham relied on materials obtained from Russia that the Intelligence Community considered likely disinformation, a claim that Hillary had made a decision to “to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services.” As it is, there’s a dispute about the use of those materials, with John Brennan, claiming in his House deposition last May that this claim involved a misrepresentation of what happened.

Mr. Brennan. Not out of hand, but I think it was — a week or two prior to that, there was a selective release of information that included my briefing notes to President Obama in the White House Situation Room that was misrepresenting, in fact, the facts, where it was pushed out in redacted version. And I did think that was a very, very unfortunate, unprofessional, unethical engagement on the part of the Director of National Intelligence in a Presidential election.

Marco Rubio is one person who could weigh in this dispute.

But Durham didn’t stop there. He then fabricated a claim that wasn’t included in the suspected Russian disinformation: That Hillary planned to make false claims about Trump’s fondness for Russia.

First, the Clinton Plan intelligence itself and on its face arguably suggested that private actors affiliated with the Clinton campaign were seeking in 2016 to promote a false or exaggerated narrative to the public and to U.S. government agencies about Trump’s possible ties to Russia.

At a time when Trump was publicly demanding results from Durham, then, the Special Counsel made shit up, politicizing intelligence, in an attempt to find charges against Hillary Clinton.

Bash let Rubio claim it didn’t exist.

Then there’s the blockbuster of which political journalists like Bash (and her colleague, Kaitlan Collins) appear aggressively ignorant.

In January 2020 (this was in the same time period he and Durham were fabricating claims about Hillary Clinton), Bill Barr set up a side channel to ingest dirt from Rudy Giuliani, including some from known Russian spy Andrii Derkach. Via still unexplained means, that side channel discovered false claims made by FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, who has subsequently claimed to have extensive ties to Russian spies. Even though the claim was easily debunked, that dedicated side channel nevertheless failed to discover real problems with the fabricated claim that Joe Biden had been bribed by Mykola Zlockevsky. Indeed, days after Trump pressured Bill Barr about investigating Hunter Biden,  on October 23, 2020, Richard Donoghue ensured the fabricated claim would be assigned to David Weiss for further investigation.

Worse still, through the efforts of Republican congressmen and Bill Barr, that fabricated claim of a Joe Biden bribe appears to have played a key role in the collapse of Hunter Biden’s plea deal and subsequent felony conviction.

For the entirety of the time that these twin efforts to use suspected Russian disinformation to frame Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, Marco Rubio has been either Chair or Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee — one of the few people who can demand answers when the nation’s intelligence and counterintelligence system is so badly abused that Donald Trump’s political enemies can be framed, potentially in cahoots with Russian spies.

And Dana Bash had Marco Rubio sitting right there, in a position where she, in turn, could demand answers.

Instead, she let him lie and lie and lie about Trump’s past efforts to criminalize his political rivals.

Hunter Biden is on his way to prison in significant part because of Trump’s success at criminally targeting his political enemies. And Dana Bash never told viewers that Trump already has a documented record of doing just that.

47 replies
  1. Magbeth4 says:

    Rubio is one of my Senators. Whenever I write him to express an opinion as to policies which he, as Senator, could vote on, affirmatively, I receive a “response” that assures me he is working toward the same goals I have expressed. Then, I read, sometimes on the same day, the exact opposite of what his intentions will be. In short, he lies, constantly. I’m reminded of the old Republican campaign ads against John Kerry, on a sail boat, reversing directions, constantly, with every shift of wind, to illustrate the R’s attack on Kerry’s consistency. Rubio is a liar, incompetent in his role as Senator, and probably only remains in office because of Cuban loyalty to him in South Florida.

    He talks fast, which makes him sound intelligent. I don’t think he is. I think it might be caused by what made him have to drink so much water, while on camera, when he was making the Republican response to a State of the Nation speech back in the day…[I have a long memory regarding Rubio; none of it positive.]

    • PeteT0323 says:

      He is my “local” Senator too – he being in Miami-Dade County and me in Broward.

      I wouldn’t waste my time pissing in his cornflakes.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      Isn’t Rubio the one who tweets Bible quotes all the time? Someone should remind him of the Commandment against bearing false witness.

      • Sloth Sloman says:

        How much evidence does it take before people stop trying to pin “Christians” down on stuff like this?

        They don’t care because it’s not about Christianity, it’s about power that cannot be questioned.

    • GlennDexter says:

      Nobody ever mentions Rubio’s history when he was GOP majority leader as the Florida Speaker of the House and got kicked out for using theGOP provided credit card for personal expenses like paying his mortgage, utility and credit card bills. Both he and Rick Scott (Medicare scandal) stole money and got elected over and over again. It stinks to high heaven.

  2. MsJennyMD says:

    Let’s go down memory lane with Rubio quotes.
    Video: Marco Rubio’s 10 greatest slams against Donald Trump
    “This is the most important government job on the planet. And we’re about to turn over the conservative movement to a person that has no ideas of any substance on the important issues. The nuclear codes of the United States — to an erratic individual — and the conservative movement — to someone who has spent a career sticking it to working people.”

    • Rayne says:

      Some walking head on Fox was just ranting about Biden being a national security threat with access to the nuclear codes.

      I swear they are innoculating their audience against that very line of attack.

      • P J Evans says:

        If they could come up with a cure for cognitive dissonance, I think 90% of the cult members would refuse it.

        • Rayne says:

          “Bill Gates haz microchipped the cure!”

          Only surprised Rubio hasn’t figured out how to work that anti-science schtick into his lies to appeal directly to that part of the base.

      • Error Prone says:

        Rayne 10:21 – Yes, who, again was it who stole nuclear secret documents? And Trump had the Joint Chiefs’ head and DoD Sec. worrying about having to assure the Chinese Trump on the way out would not be allowed by procedures to start WW III on his own?

        (Dana Bash, not on FOX, should know both of those facts.)

        FOX is toxic, but saying so here is preaching to the choir. Calling out other outlets IS NEEDED!

    • Magbeth4 says:

      The Tampa newspaper article is exactly what I am talking about regarding Rubio. He can sound so reasonable and intelligent, but then, later, he can totally reverse himself, like a weather vane, turning into the prevailing wind.
      One can get whiplash from trying to follow exactly what, if anything, he actually believes in and stands for.

    • Clare Kelly says:

      I don’t know where Marcy would find the time, but I just flooded journalist’s inboxes with this piece, suggesting they have her on.

      I started with Brooke Gladstone’s “On The Media”.

  3. Fancy Chicken says:

    I know you’re working your way to explaining all this in “Ball of Thread”. Which is why that project is so super duper important.

    Pundits keep acting like Trump going after his enemies is a thing that’s going to happen in a possible second term, totally ignoring what happened in his first.

    You’ve also pointed out that no journalist or pundits are considering the impact Hunter’s legal issues are having on POTUS. Honestly, as someone whose stepfather was criminally prosecuted for white collar crimes, I can tell you how it shattered us for years.

    It just might be that the evil that guides Trump zeroed in on Hunter knowing that it would be much more destructive to go after Hunter that nearly anyone else. Trump HAS effectively put tremendous pressure and stress on Biden by chasing after his son.

    And no one talks about that either.

  4. Upisdown says:

    I wonder if Little Marco recalls this:

    (The President:) “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”

  5. Barry Kiefl says:

    When Dana Bash let Rubio claim “The evidence is in the headlines every day.” I turned off the TV. Bash could have countered that Biden/DOJ didn’t have anything to do with a court fining Trump $90 million for twice defaming a woman Trump had sexually assaulted or the $450 million in fines for business fraud in New York. This Rubio interview cemented my belief that many legacy media outlets have lost their way. Bash has become one of the top 1% and makes 40 or 50 times what Rubio makes as a Senator. Celebrity journalists awash in money may be more dangerous than the liars they interview.

  6. Savage Librarian says:

    Botox Boy

    L’il Marco, the botox boy
    yearns to be Trump’s VP toy
    He spewed all the lies he could employ
    for the MAGAt hoi polloi

    His pandering can really cloy
    He’ll never be the real McCoy
    We should ask Olivia Troye
    Or check into a ReidOut from Joy

  7. Rugger_9 says:

    It won’t be Rubio as long as Convict-1 remains a FL resident. While ‘residency’ is not clearly defined for election purposes (i.e. exactly when is it established and by what means) there is a Constitutional Amendment that addresses this very topic. Note that TFG will gleefully ‘move’ to NY or NJ to dodge this problem, but the 12th Amendment begins thusly:
    “The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; …”

    So, if it’s a Rubio ticket, FL’s EC votes cannot be used for either of them. I’m sure the SCOTUS majority will pretzel-logic their way to let TFG in, but it should be noted that this arose from the Jefferson-Burr confusion in 1800 and has been there since shortly after that election.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Not really a problem. The prohibition against both president and VP being from the same state only applies from the date of taking office, not running for office.

      While unusual, Rubio need only resign (he can’t be FL’s Senator without residing there) and establish residency in another state before taking the oath of office as VP. He could do that any time after the election and before inauguration day.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yes, the relevant date is not the inauguration, but the date the Electoral College votes are cast in each state. I believe that in 2024, that’s December 17th.

        The prohibition under the 12th Amendment really comes into play only in a close election. It does not prohibit the president and vp being resident in the same state. What it prohibits is counting the votes of EC electors from their home state, if both are resident in that state at the time the electors cast their votes.

        Hypothetically, then, if Trump and Rubio were on the ticket, the votes of the EC electors from Florida could not be counted, unless one of them demonstrably established residency in another state before the electors cast their votes.

  8. Rugger_9 says:

    It also may be time to put Kamala, Pete, Hakeem, Eric, Ted, Jamie, et al on the Sunday news shows that keep booking Lindsey Graham to push the facts. Whatever it takes money-wise, these bookings need to be done, and those six in particular are very adept at dealing with the inevitable whataboutism that spews from the courtier press hosts.

  9. Susanna_04JUL2024_1437h says:

    How are these so-called journalists even employed?? Sorry, rhetorical question, but as an editor, writer, and once-upon-a-time journalist (weekly newspaper division), I’m appalled by how *bad* they are at their jobs.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. SECOND REQUEST: Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We have adopted this minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is too short and too similar to other usernames it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  10. Chuffy sez says:

    I’ve always considered CNN to be Fox “lite,” although, for a few years there, they occasionally were critical of PO1135809. It is now as unwatchable as Hannity, IMO (an experience that I can only take for about 30 seconds before I need to shut it off). The coverage of Biden’s age and his mental fitness has been coordinated. Propaganda is powerful.

    Some of the people parroting this propaganda against Biden are just dupes, but I think CNN, the NYT and other major outlets are following a playbook. Maybe I should dust off my tin foil hat, but the shift in reporting since the debate has been relentless and coordinated. I’m thankful that trying to make “fetch” happen occurred on a holiday weekend.

    Pay no attention to that Russian troll farm behind the curtain…

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      What’s really becoming increasingly irritating is the laziness of ‘Biden Old’ pieces. It appears to require no preparation, no research, and no context of what Biden is up against.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        Also, not mentioning how Biden has been doing his job in contrast to Convict-1 who apparently has not been seen independently in public since the day after the debate. MeidasTouch did a piece on that yesterday (IIRC), but in combination with the already documented fumbles and gibberish in the rallies we’ve seen, it is apparent the courtier press is all-in for their horse race.

        No, tweeting doesn’t count.

        • Rayne says:

          One of the very few people who’ve paid attention to what Trump has been saying and shared it: Dan Rather. Here’s an excerpt from Rather’s latest dispatch about the news media’s double standard in its coverage of candidates Trump and Biden:

          …Try making sense of this gobbledegook from Trump’s remarks at a recent rally in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania:

          “Our nation was saved by the immortal heroes at Gettysburg. Gettysburg, what an unbelievable battle that was. The battle of Gettysburg, what an unbelievable. I mean it was so, was so much, and so interesting, and so vicious and horrible, and so beautiful in so many different ways — it represented such a big portion of the success of this country. Gettysburg, wow! I go to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to look and to watch. And uh the statement of Robert E. Lee, who’s no longer in favor — did you ever notice that? He’s no longer in favor. ‘Never fight uphill, me boys, never fight uphill.’ They were fighting uphill, he said. Wow, that was a big mistake, he lost his great general and uh they were fighting uphill. ‘Never fight uphill, me boys,’ but it was too late.”

          What?? You may not have heard about this because it was “lightly” reported, i.e. not a word from The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, or the Associated Press. Jon Stewart did mention it on “The Daily Show,” saying it was “plagiarized, almost directly, from my seventh-grade book report, ‘Gettysburg, Wow.’”

          (italics emphasis added for readability)

          Only nit I have with Rather’s essay is the spelling of gobbledygook, which is otherwise a fine word encapsulating that dementia-addled crap Trump spat out.

          But Biden is old…*eye roll*

  11. Error Prone says:

    People presume it will be Marco. Until he commits, Trump could pick Kevin Roberts as VP. That would fit, except Marco seems more malleable.

  12. flounder says:

    Robert Mueller was told to stay away from Trump’s finances or the investigation would be shut down. That’s a key weaponization right there.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Weaponizing the DoJ indeed. Seems like obstruction to keep an investigator away from what was well-known to be a likely cornucopia of Trump crimes.

    • Chuffy sez says:

      If only we had someone whose role in government was to execute the laws of the US, who had immunity from prosecution and who could order the AG to investigate things like this…too bad we don’t have that right now.

  13. Pick2orPass says:

    I’ve been steadily removing mainstream news sources from my feeds as it seems maybe if they’re not going for ratings it might be something else entirely. Fairly weak, also, imo, that they focus so dryly on age. Lately I wonder if they aren’t more focused on retaining what voters they have left than attracting more to “their side”, which at this point could be a much harder sell. Folks are waking up to the fact they’re constantly being lied to. And doing more lying, especially recycling those same lies, to instill fear or whatever the goal, isn’t helping their cause. It’ll just implicate them further, and perhaps cause bitterness and anger towards their intentions instead.

    • Chuffy sez says:

      Most people don’t watch news and politics 24/7. Those of us who do are doomed to ingest multiple sources of information in order to understand what the narrative of the day is…regardless of any real world impact. My voting-age children have no interest in talking heads on cable news…and they’ve grown up on a steady diet of social media. If someone is lying to them, they are quick to know it, but the danger lies in things like being lied to about Gaza, as one example. I think most people have made up their minds already, and aren’t paying attention to the circular firing squad over a debate they didn’t even watch. Not a lot of people are all-in for a bunch of partisan Catholics deciding who they can/can’t love, have sex with or marry, and the silent majority has shown, multiple times now, that they’re not down with a fascist theocracy.

      Mainstream media exists to keep itself in business, but that business is waning, and increasingly less relevant.

      • Pick2orPass says:

        Rubio’s mouth is free advertising, and that’s always good for business. When it becomes sensationalism unfortunately it’s working even better.

  14. Badger Robert says:

    OT: if you like apples, the left and center left won a strategic victory in France. How do like those apples?

  15. Badger Robert says:

    Kamala Harris should be campaigning from all the foreign capitals. She should be using appropriate and concise language to describe the MAGA movement and its leader. And if the corrupt media won’t report her visits, the speeches will make great ads.

  16. Badger Robert says:

    Imagine someone murdering the President near the end of a Civil War. The war effort would disintegrate? Nope. The war was finished just the same, though the President and Congress got into a dispute later.
    Imagine the President dying in office near the end of a catastrophic world war. The war effort would grind to a halt? Nope 4.5 months later the war ended.
    The infirmities of a President are immaterial. As Senator Sanders wants to emphasize, its the policies that matter.

  17. SotekPrime says:

    Anyone who lets a Republican claim Biden is weaponizing the DoJ and doesn’t immediately press them on how they feel about SCOTUS explicitly immunizing that is not a journalist.

  18. wa_rickf says:

    Welp, li’l Marco, the reason why there are headlines of Republicans every day ‘going to jail somewhere’ is because these Republicans have been adjudicated in court as criminals.

    This is not rocket science, li’l fella.

  19. paulka123 says:

    A recommendation to Democrats, should Trump win and we retain the Senate. Thomas and/or Alito will soon retire. Refuse to hold hearings on ANY SC nominee, period. Let the vacancies stack up!

  20. Stacy (Male) says:

    I truly believe that Bash and her ilk sincerely fail to remember phenomena like Durham’s snipe hunt, because they do not form a regular part of the current narrative. With the precision of a Newspeak Dictionary editor, they unconsciously delete unnecessary information from their memories after a (not at all lengthly) period of time. “Unnecessary” in this context means potentially damaging to the GOP.


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