NBC Caught Deceptively Editing AG Barr's Comments on Flynn Case
Network admits Chuck Todd's 'Meet the Press' deceptively edited interview remarks
NBC News has been caught deceptively editing remarks made by William Barr regarding Michael Flynn's case, to make the attorney general's comments appear flippant and loaded with "cynicism."
The network broadcast the deceptively edited clip of AG Barr discussing the Justice Department's decision to drop charges against President Donald Trump's former National Security Advisor Flynn.
Host Chuck Todd aired comments Barr had made during a recent interview but took them widely out of context to fit the agenda of his "Meet the Press" segment.
NBC News conceded the "mistake" hours later but has yet to confirm whether Todd will issue a full on-air apology.
Barr's comments were taken from an interview with CBS News's Catherine Herridge, who asked the AG how history would judge the DOJ's decision to move to dismiss the Flynn case.
"Well, history is written by the winners, so it largely depends on who's writing the history," Barr said in his initial response as he laughed.
After airing the brief clip, Todd remarked that he was "struck by the cynicism of the answer -- it's a correct answer, but he's the attorney general.
"He didn't make the case that he was upholding the rule of law.
"He was almost admitting that, yeah, this was a political job."
In the full clip, which the NBC show did not air, Barr immediately went on to state explicitly that, in fact, he felt the Flynn decision upheld the rule of law, according to Fox News.
"I think a fair history would say it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law," Barr said.
"It upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice."
The Daily Caller's Greg Price had called out the edit earlier Sunday.
Today on Meet The Press, @chucktodd wildly took context out of an answer AG Bill Barr gave about his decision to drop the case into Gen. Michael Flynn.— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 10, 2020
I cut Todd's segment along with Barr's full answer together. Look at how blatantly dishonest this is. pic.twitter.com/tODOEwL48V
"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."
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
In response, the "Meet the Press" Twitter account posted: "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."
"'Inadvertently strikes again!'" tweeted independent journalist Mike Cernovich.
Inadvertently strikes again! https://t.co/45qsvfyprh— Cernovich (@Cernovich) May 11, 2020
But, the show did not say it would apologize on-air.
NBC News also refused requests for information about an on-air apology.
"A tweet in no way covers the error," wrote The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway.
"These intentional lies in service of false narratives have gone on for years. Infuriating." (That was a reference, in part, to NBC's Joe Scarborough sharing a debunked, deceptively edited clip of Vice President Mike Pence handling boxes of PPE.)
Blogger Jim Treacher and journalist Tim Pool were among many other influential commentators explicitly seeking an on-air apology.
On air apology please https://t.co/EVU68f0SUw— Tim Pool (@Timcast) May 11, 2020
Late Sunday, President Trump tweeted that "Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd" should be fired, saying he "knew exactly what he was doing."
On the recommendation of U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen, who served as an FBI agent for more than a decade, the Justice Department on Thursday moved to drop its case against Flynn.
The stunning development came after internal memos were released raising serious questions about the nature of the investigation that led to Flynn’s late 2017 guilty plea of lying to the FBI as his legal fees mounted.
One of the documents was a top official's handwritten memo debating whether the FBI's "goal" was "to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired"; other materials showed efforts by anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok to pursue Flynn on increasingly flimsy legal grounds.
The FBI possessed word-for-word transcripts of Flynn's December 2016 conversations with Russia's ambassador, and publicly admitted to reviewing those transcripts and clearing Flynn of any wrongdoing.
The FBI's leak to The Washington Post that claimed the FBI cleared Flynn -- which was published just a day before the Flynn White House interview -- may have been an effort to lower his guard.
Both during and before the Jan. 24, 2017 White House interview that led to Flynn's prosecution for one count of lying to the FBI, the bureau acknowledged having those full transcripts, raising the question of why agents would need to ask Flynn about what he said during the calls with Kislyak, except potentially as a pretext to obtain a false statements charge.
Flynn was accused specifically of giving equivocal and evasive answers to FBI agents in the White House during a casual interview concerning those phone calls, but no transcript of the conversation existed.
Instead, after-the-fact FBI notes of the interview with Strzok and Joe Pientka were the primary evidence.
Strzok later was removed from then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team when his anti-Trump text messages surfaced, and Pientka has been under scrutiny for his role in various Trump probes.