July 8, 2024 / by emptywheel


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.

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Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/2024/07/08/imagine-if-dana-bash-knew-trump-had-been-president-before/