ABC/NBC J6 Committee Better, More ‘Thorough’ Than DOJ Investigators

News & Politics

With the January 6 Committee having held their final hearing on Monday by sending criminal referrals against former President Trump and others to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the liberal broadcast networks swooned for their friends on the committee. ABC and NBC suggested the committee was better at conducting investigations than the DOJ. Meanwhile, CBS was itching to see soon-to-be former Republican Congresswoman and committee vice chair, Liz Cheney (WY) run for president against Trump.

Immediately following the proceedings, ABC chief anchor David Muir opined, “We have just witnessed an extraordinary moment in American history, the January 6 Select Committee with both Democrats and Republicans … Voting unanimously to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice.”

ABC chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl joined him to blow smoke for the committee. According to him, the biased committee conducted the most thorough investigation in American history. “This committee conducted a thorough investigation … one of the most thorough we have seen of any single incident in American history,” he proclaimed.

He went on to laud the committee for how they “marshaled their evidence, their report with appendices and accompanying transcripts of those sworn depositions will go on for thousands and thousands of pages.”

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There was similarly outsized praise for the committee on NBC where anchor Lester Holt teed up legal analyst Andrew Weissmann to suggest the committee was further along in its investigation than the DOJ. Weissmann suggested “the betting public” would be right with that assertion and suggested the DOJ wasn’t doing much:

HOLT: Does the Justice Department have more in terms of time working on this? I think there was perception over the summer as we watched these hearings that this committee was much far ahead of the DOJ. Do we know that to be a fact?

WEISSMANN: We don’t know that for sure but I think that the betting public and us insiders –that that’s correct. In fact, part of the reason there was such tension between members of the committee and the Department of Justice was the feeling by people on the committee, as to where is DOJ? Why aren’t they doing more? It’s very unusual for Congress to be out ahead of the department.

Holt was fishing for more pro-committee comments from legal analyst Danny Cevallos when he suggested, without evidence, that the committee had “more information” than the DOJ:

HOLT: Does this committee have more witness statements, more information than the Justice Department?

CEVALLOS: That is a tough question. It would seem that they’ve developed a lot that we didn’t even hear about. But DOJ does not give updates on their investigation. So, they may have a treasure chest of evidence and information, maybe even more than the January 6 Committee amassed. If such a thing is possible.

Cevallos did offer some pushback, saying the DOJ’s “tools” are “very far superior to the January 6 Committee tools.” “They can do things that the January 6 Committee would only dream of in inducing people to turn over evidence,” he added.

For CBS’s part, chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa and anchor Norah O’Donnell were looking for Cheney to run for the GOP presidential nomination:

COSTA: What I will be watching in the coming days, does Congresswoman Liz Cheney decide to run for that GOP nomination and contest Trump not only through this committee, but to his face, perhaps on a debate stage.

O’DONNELL: And the likelihood that Liz Cheney will announce that she’s running for president is?

COSTA: She’s leaning into it.

“Yes. And she still has plenty of money left in her campaign account in order to do that,” O’Donnell boasted.

The transcripts are below, click “expand” to read:

ABC News Special
December 19, 2022
2:16:28 p.m. Eastern

DAVID MUIR: We have just witnessed an extraordinary moment in American history, the January 6 Select Committee with both Democrats and Republicans. You hear applause in the room right there on Capitol Hill. Voting unanimously to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice.

(…)

2:19:35 p.m. Eastern

I want to bring in our chief Washington correspondent, Jonathan Karl for what we have just witnessed. And John, the breadth and scope of what they put forward is sweeping.

JON KARL: This committee conducted a thorough investigation, David, it lasted more than a year, more than a thousand witnesses, interviewed under oath. This is not simply a criminal referral to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice will make its own judgment about whether or not to prosecute Donald Trump for crimes.

What this is, is this is a committee after conducting an investigation such as it is conducted, one of the most thorough we have seen of any single incident in American history, going on record saying that they believe the former President of the United States is guilty of multiple felonies, multiple crimes against the people of the United States. They want it to be on record with that. They’ve marshalled their evidence, their report with appendices and accompanying transcripts of those sworn depositions will go on for thousands and thousands of pages.

But the essential conclusion that they have offered is one that was offered by the vice-chair of this committee, Liz Cheney, even before this committee was formed. And that is that Donald Trump was singularly responsible for what happened on these Capitol grounds on January 6th. That it would have not — that it would not have happened without him, and that he was the source, he was the reason it took place. He is the one who is ultimately responsible. That, after all of their conclusions, is where they landed.

And by the way, David, you and I watched those events take place. We watched them unfold on January 6. We heard Donald Trump tell his supporters to go on down to the Capitol. We heard him say fight like hell. We saw the rioters hang massive blue Trump banners off the west front of the Capitol building even as they did battle with police to get inside the building.

It was a judgment, in many ways, that was apparent to anybody who was watching, as those events unfolded. Now, it is a judgment officially entered by this committee of Congress.

(…)

CBS New Special
December 19, 2022
2:18:14 p.m. Eastern

(…)

ROBERT COSTA: And the question is, Norah, who’s listening? Are Republicans across the country watching this? When you think about Richard Nixon in 1974, Republican senators went to him like Senator Barry Goldwater, a conservative, went to him and said, “Sir it’s time to go, you lost support.” Trump lost support within this Republican Party, he’s now running again a federal candidate running again for the White House.

No one has yet jumped into the race to run against Trump for the nomination in 2024. What I will be watching in the coming days, does Congresswoman Liz Cheney decide to run for that GOP nomination and contest Trump not only through this committee, but to his face, perhaps on a debate stage.

NORAH O’DONNELL: And the likelihood that Liz Cheney will announce that she’s running for president is?

COSTA: She’s leaning into it.

O’DONNELL: Yes. And she still has plenty of money left in her campaign account in order to do that. And today, those remarks that she gave were not in prepared remarks that sounded like the beginning of a presidential speech.

COSTA: Indeed.

(…)

NBC News Special
December 19, 2022
2:22:24 p.m. Eastern

(…)

LESTER HOLT: Does the Justice Department have more in terms of time working on this? I think there was perception, over the summer, as we watched these hearings that this committee was much far advanced of the DOJ. Do we know that to be a fact?

ANDREW WEISSMANN: We don’t know that for sure but I think that the betting public and us insiders –that that’s correct. In fact, part of the reason there was such tension between members of the committee and the Department of Justice was the feeling by people on the committee, as to where is DOJ? Why aren’t they doing more? It’s very unusual for Congress to be out ahead of the department. I do think with the appointment of Jack Smith though; you’re really seeing the department step up to the plate.

And obviously, as Ken pointed out. The turning over of, you know, thousands of witness statements and transcripts and all of that evidence, it’s going to be incredibly useful, both to the government and, frankly, also to Donald Trump. To see what the evidence is and where he might be able to poke holes.

So, that is going to be – from the Department of Justice’s point of view and from Donald Trump’s point of view – the real import here. Plus, the referrals and more about the actual evidence that is going to be disclosed.

HOLT: Danny, does this panel — does this committee have more witness statements, more information than the Justice Department?

DANNY CEVALLOS: That is a tough question. It would seem that they’ve developed a lot that we didn’t even hear about. But DOJ does not give updates on their investigation. So, they may have a treasure chest of evidence and information, maybe even more than the January 6 Committee amassed. If such a thing is possible.

Don’t forget, Merrick Garland made a point. And this is someone who is not fond of taking the podium and making public statements, Merrick Garland came out and said, this is one of, and I’m paraphrasing, the most expansive investigations ever conducted.

So, I think you can reasonably assume they have used their tools very far superior to the January 6 Committee tools. The Justice Department can use things such as cooperating witnesses, they can offer deals. They can do things that the January 6 Committee would only dream of in inducing people to turn over evidence.

So, while I think they will welcome the evidence provided by the January 6 Committee, it’s a pretty safe bet, they’ve got plenty of evidence of their own.

(…)

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