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Andrea Mitchell Turns to Schumer & Schiff to Defend Obama From GOP ‘Conspiracy Theories’

On Wednesday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell welcomed Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and California Congressman Adam Schiff on her 12:00 p.m. ET hour show to defend Barack Obama from criticism. Both liberal lawmakers seized the chance to accuse Republicans of “conspiracy theories” regarding the Obama administration’s handling of the Russia investigation.

“And before I let you go, I want to play a bit of what Leader McConnell had to say about former President Obama….some surprising comments about a former president,” Mitchell fretted as she wrapped up an interview with Schumer early in the hour. A soundbite ran of McConnell pushing back on Obama’s nasty, partisan attack on President Trump in the midst of the coronavirus crisis:

I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut, you know. We know he doesn’t like much this administration is doing. That’s understandable. But I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you.

 

 

Aghast at the comments, Mitchell followed up: “I just want to ask you what you think about the way President Obama is being described.” Schumer predictably ranted: “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. He has been very restrained.”

Unprompted, he then defensively alluded to criticism of how the Obama administration handled the Russia investigation in late 2016 and early 2017:

…they’re coming up with these ridiculous conspiracy theories on Obama….This is amazing to me, spending their time on discredited conspiracy theories against Obama, against Biden, instead of dealing with the greatest crisis we’ve had in America in decades and decades and decades. What universe are they in? What is in their heads?…why aren’t they talking about it instead of absurd, often Russian-generated conspiracy theories against their political enemies?

After allowing Schumer to engage in such classic projection unchallenged, later in the show, Mitchell brought on Schiff to further attempt to knock down the increasing controversy surrounding the origins of the Russia investigation:

I also want to ask you about President Obama and now, in a separate instance, maybe a separate instance, the acting DNI [Director of National Intelligence], Rick Grenell, going after Democrats, going after the Obama administration, resurrecting the whole unmasking [of Michael Flynn] issue. The President accusing former President Obama of “the greatest crime ever.” What’s going on here? There’s also a Wall Street Journal editorial against you as well, against “the Adam Schiff transcripts,” as they put it.

Despite newly released transcripts proving the extent of Schiff’s deception when it came to his public claims of Russian collusion by the Trump campaign, the Democrat quickly dismissed all of it as a “distraction”: “Well, what’s going on is this is the President’s effort to distract from the fact that under his watch, we’ve now lost 80,000 American lives and our economy is in the worst shape it’s been since the Great Depression. This is what this is about.”

He mocked the notion of Democrats – including himself – being guilty of any improper behavior:

They want to create some kind of a counternarrative that, “No, it was actually Obama committing crimes, not Donald Trump. It was all the Obama administration figures. It was Adam Schiff. Don’t pay attention to Americans dying right now. Don’t pay attention to Americans unemployed right now. But instead let’s focus on this counternarrative that it was Hillary that must have colluded, it was Obama that must have been, you know, committing unethical acts instead of Donald Trump.”

Like with Schumer, Mitchell never bothered to push back.

Later Wednesday afternoon, news broke that over a dozen Obama administration officials, including Joe Biden, requested the unmasking of Michael Flynn in a wiretapped phone call between the incoming National Security Advisor and Russian Ambassador Sergery Kislyak in December of 2016.

Biden’s involvement is particularly interesting since the presumptive Democratic nominee insisted during a Tuesday interview on ABC that he knew “nothing” about the Flynn investigation.

Maybe Mitchell should have been a little more curious about “the whole unmasking issue.”

Here are excerpts of both May 13 interviews:

12:17 PM ET

(…)

ANDREA MITCHELL: Are you concerned that the CDC – I know you lost the vote on the floor – but now going forward, are you concerned that the White House is censoring the public health information from the most important agency?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER [D-NY]: Yes. Yes, I am. The White House censored agency after agency. They’ve gotten their minions in Fox News and everywhere else to personally and vitriolically attack people who tell the truth. But I’ll tell you something, in this huge crisis, if you avoid the truth, you’re going to make it worse. And you’re going to make it worse for everybody, including, I would say, to the Republican Party and Donald Trump, for yourselves.

MITCHELL: And before I let you go, I want to play a bit of what Leader McConnell had to say about former President Obama.

SCHUMER: Oh, golly, yeah.

MITCHELL: Because we heard first from Donald Trump, but now from Leader McConnell, some surprising comments about a former president. Let’s watch.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL [R-KY]: I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut, you know. We know he doesn’t like much this administration is doing. That’s understandable. But I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you.

SCHUMER: Well, you know –  

MITCHELL: So that was on Trump TV with Laura Trump, the daughter-in-law.

SCHUMER: Of course.

MITCHELL: But I just want to ask you…

SCHUMER: Well, let me say this –  

MITCHELL: …what you think about the way President Obama is being described.

SCHUMER: It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. He has been very restrained. And I want to say this, Andrea. Instead of doing what they’re supposed to do, Senate Republicans, coming up with answers to the COVID crisis, having oversight hearings to find out why small business isn’t getting the lending, why we’re not testing, why the hospitals are still hurting and not getting the money that they need. Instead of having hearings and oversight on that, they’re coming up with these ridiculous conspiracy theories on Obama. And Chairman Johnson wants to go after Biden and this Hunter Biden conspiracy theory, which came from the Russians, of all people. This is amazing to me, spending their time on discredited conspiracy theories against Obama, against Biden, instead of dealing with the greatest crisis we’ve had in America in decades and decades and decades. What universe are they in? What is in their heads? They don’t have to agree with me on everything that should be done about the crisis, but why aren’t they talking about it instead of absurd, often Russian-generated conspiracy theories against their political enemies?

MITCHELL: Chuck Schumer, thank you very much, Senator. Thank you for being with us today.

SCHUMER: Thank you, Andrea.

(…)

12:38 PM

MITCHELL: I also want to ask you about President Obama and now, in a separate instance, maybe a separate instance, the acting DNI, Rick Grenell, going after Democrats, going after the Obama administration, resurrecting the whole unmasking issue. The President accusing former President Obama of “the greatest crime ever.” What’s going on here? There’s also a Wall Street Journal editorial against you as well, against “the Adam Schiff transcripts,” as they put it.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF [D-CA]: Well, what’s going on is this is the President’s effort to distract from the fact that under his watch, we’ve now lost 80,000 American lives and our economy is in the worst shape it’s been since the Great Depression. This is what this is about. They want to distract attention. They want to create some kind of a counternarrative that, “No, it was actually Obama committing crimes, not Donald Trump. It was all the Obama administration figures. It was Adam Schiff. Don’t pay attention to Americans dying right now. Don’t pay attention to Americans unemployed right now. But instead let’s focus on this counternarrative that it was Hillary that must have colluded, it was Obama that must have been, you know, committing unethical acts instead of Donald Trump.” But the American people see through this. They are focused right now on making sure that they can stay healthy, that they can put bread on the table. That’s their priority, even if it isn’t the President’s.

MITCHELL: Thank you very much, Congressman Adam Schiff.

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