The show acknowledged the “error” and said the tail end of Barr’s quote, which was edited out of the clip shown on “Meet the Press,” included important context.
The disparity between Barr’s full comment and the clip presented on “Meet the Press” spurred conservative media and politicians to denounce the show on Sunday. Before the day was out, Trump joined the fray.
“Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd should be FIRED by “Concast” (NBC) for this fraud,” the president tweeted late Sunday night, using a nickname he’s used repeatedly when referring to Todd. “He knew exactly what he was doing.”
Trump frequently blasts reporters over critical coverage and tough questions. In his tweet calling for Todd’s termination, the president tagged the Federal Communications Commission and its chairman, Ajit Pai.
Trump’s sentiments followed the Justice Department contesting the way in which “Meet the Press” presented a quote from Barr regarding Flynn in a Thursday interview with CBS News.
“Not only did the AG make the case in the VERY answer Chuck says he didn’t, he also did so multiple times throughout the interview,” Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for Barr, tweeted on Sunday.
Very disappointed by the deceptive editing/commentary by @ChuckTodd on @MeetThePress on AG Barr’s CBS interview.— KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) May 10, 2020
Compare the two transcripts below. Not only did the AG make the case in the VERY answer Chuck says he didn’t, he also did so multiple times throughout the interview. pic.twitter.com/PR1ciceMmE
Kupec was referring to the shortened clip of Barr’s response to a question about how history would reflect upon the Justice Department’s handling of the perjury case against Flynn.
“Well, history is written by the winners. So, it largely depends on who’s writing the history,” Barr said.
That’s where “Meet the Press” cut the clip, and Todd reacted by characterizing the answer as cynical and claiming that Barr “didn’t make the case that he was upholding the rule of law.”
“He was almost admitting that, yeah, this is a political job,” Todd added.
But in the full CBS clip, Barr did argue that the Justice Department was upholding the rule of law. After saying the answer would depend on who was writing the history, Barr continued: “But I think a fair history would say that it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law. It helped, it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.”
In response to an inquiry from The Washington Post, an NBC spokesman pointed to a tweet replying to Kupec’s criticism.
“You’re correct,” the show tweeted in its reply. “Earlier today, we inadvertently and inaccurately cut short a video clip of an interview with AG Barr before offering commentary and analysis. The remaining clip included important remarks from the attorney general that we missed, and we regret the error.”
Todd has not responded to either Trump or the general criticism of the show’s characterization of Barr’s comments.
You’re correct. Earlier today, we inadvertently and inaccurately cut short a video clip of an interview with AG Barr before offering commentary and analysis. The remaining clip included important remarks from the attorney general that we missed, and we regret the error.— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 10, 2020
The news show and its host were just one target in Trump’s busy day of aggressive tweets defending the decision to drop the Flynn case and his administration’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. He also targeted Obama, former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe and former FBI director James B. Comey. The president’s tweets came amid news that the pandemic is projected to cause unemployment to jump to 20 percent by June.
The Justice Department’s decision to drop the Flynn case has been criticized widely by many of those people. In a leaked phone call, Obama told his former aides “our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk” because of the Justice Department’s reversal, The Washington Post reported Saturday. Comey tweeted last week the department “has lost its way,” while McCabe denounced conservative media for becoming “obsessed with finding some indication of a setup.”
The DOJ has lost its way. But, career people: please stay because America needs you. The country is hungry for honest, competent leadership.— James Comey (@Comey) May 7, 2020
And on Sunday, Mary B. McCord, the former acting assistant attorney general for national security, published an op-ed in the New York Times in which she said current Justice Department officials “twisted my words in dropping the Flynn case” and rebutted the claims made in the filing to dismiss the case.
“In short, the report of my interview does not anywhere suggest that the F.B.I.’s interview of Mr. Flynn was unconstitutional, unlawful or not “tethered” to any legitimate counterintelligence purpose,” she wrote.