By Newsweek |
Trump Campaign Sends List of Democrats Who Made 'False Claims' About Russian Collusion To News Networks, Encourages Programs Not To Book Them
President Donald Trump's re-election campaign is encouraging television news networks to cease booking several Democrats on their programs, citing "outlandish, false claims" made by the individuals named in a letter sent to the networks on Monday.
The letter was penned by Tim Murtaugh, the Director of Communications for the president's 2020 campaign.
Individuals in the letter include Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT, Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Cali.), Adam Schiff (D-Cali.) and Jerrod Nadler (D-N.Y.), Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and former CIA Director John Brennan. However, the letter says the list is not limited to the six individuals listed though other names are not given.
The letter includes comments made by the six men on appearances on various programs on MSNBC, CNN, CBS and NBC. Most of the quotes listed were made during 2018, but for Nadler's comment, made during an October 2017 appearance on CNN's Erin Burnett Out Front.
"There was obviously a lot of collusion. The question is how high. Every day we — every day — every so often we get new information about involvement," the letter quotes Nadler as saying on the program.
All the quotes in the letter pertain to Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and allegations of collusion between the president and his campaign with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. On Friday, Mueller delivered his report to Attorney General William Barr, concluding a two-year investigation and, the following day, Barr released a summary which concluded there was not enough evidence to determine if Trump had or had not obstructed justice and that no charges would be filed.
While the four-page letter from Barr indicated that Mueller neither found Trump guilty nor exonerated him, the president, the White House and other supporters have said the news is a vindication for the president as he was exonerated.
"Using the information provided by Mueller, the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General determined that there was no obstruction," Murtaugh wrote in the letter. "The only way to interpret these conclusions is as a total and complete vindication of President Trump.
"The issuance of these definitive findings comes after two years of Democrat leaders and others lying to the American people by vigorously and repeatedly claiming there was evidence of collusion. They made many of these false claims, without evidence, on your airwaves," the letter continued.
The letter asks for networks to employ "basic journalistic standards when booking such guests to appear anywhere in your universe of productions," and asks programs to ask themselves if a guest “warrant[s] further appearances in our programming, given the outrageous and unsupported claims made in the past?."
"At a minimum, if these guests do reappear, you should replay the prior statements and challenge them to provide the evidence which prompted them to make the wild claims in the first place," the letter reads.
Trump's campaign has previously issued media blackout notices, blocking or denying press credentials to The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Politico, Huffington Post, the Des Moines Register, The Daily Beast and Univision at different points during the 2016 campaign.
The practice ended in September 2017, though the White House temporarily revoked the press credentials of CNN's Jim Acosta in November 2018 after an interaction during a press briefing where Acosta was accused of hitting an intern when he pulled a microphone away to continue asking the president a question.
"The American people have been bombarded by these accusations, through the media, for two long years. They have been told that their legitimately elected president had colluded with Russia — a claim proven to be false. At this point, there must be introspection from the media who facilitated the reckless statements and a serious evaluation of how such guests are considered and handled in the future," the letter said.
The letter arrived after the Washington Post reported that Trump planned to ramp up attacks on the media.
"Aides say Trump plans to highlight the cost of the probe and call for organizations to fire members of the media and former government officials who he believes made false accusations about him, while aggressively mocking his critics and one of his favored enemies, the news media," the Post reported.
U.S. President Donald Trump returns to the White House after spending the weekend in Florida March 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump returns to Washington as Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images