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How The Media Buried Two Huge FBI Stories Yesterday
Two explosive stories about the FBI's handling of the probe into Russia and the Trump campaign were downplayed by a suddenly incurious press corps.
By Mollie Hemingway
FEBRUARY 8, 2018
For more than a year and a half, the media have gone all-in on reporting every possible angle of President Donald Trumpís alleged collusion with Russia. No story update has been too small, no encounter with a Russian too inconsequential, and no anonymous source too sketchy to generate outsize coverage and histrionic claims from major media.
But as the Russian collusion story disintegrates, another interesting story ascends. Investigations by multiple congressional committees as well as an investigation by the inspector general of the Department of Justice have shown irregularities in the handling of the most politically sensitive probes in recent memory: the investigation into Hillary Clintonís mishandling of classified information while secretary of State and the investigation into the Trump campaignís alleged nefarious ties with Russia to meddle in a U.S. election.
These investigations have resulted in the firing, demotion, and reassignment of at least six top officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice. And all of those personnel changes were made before even the first official reports and memoranda from these investigations were made public.
In recent weeks, however, some official documents have come to light. These are statements made by elected members of the U.S. government on the record, not selective and political leaks from anonymous sources. So how have the media responded to these official statements regarding wrongdoing? Mostly by downplaying, mocking, and ignoring them.
When the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligenceís majority memo was made public last week, many journalists highlighted Democratic talking points against it or otherwise rushed to defend the agencies credibly accused of abuse of power. As soon as they could, they dropped the story, despite the dramatic claims in the memo.
Two nights ago, a criminal referral by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was published with far fewer redactions than an earlier version of the referral. The less-redacted letter was significant. For one thing, it confirmed all of the major claims from the House memo authored by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).