Accuracy in Media

Media outlets that have pushed the Trump-Russia collusion theory for two years tried to get ahead of the impending release of the Mueller report, which exonerated the president, with stories warning that all the information still had not been made public and that the end of this investigation did not mark the end of investigations of President Trump.

“President Trump still facing swirl of investigations even after Robert Mueller’s probe has ended,” read the headline on Bart Jansen’s story for USA Today.

“Prosecutors in a half-dozen federal, state and city jurisdictions are pursuing overlapping inquiries focused on how Trump operated his namesake business empire, how a porn star was paid off in the final weeks of his campaign and how his inaugural committee raised money,” Jansen wrote.

“New York state alone has three agencies conducting investigations. At least six congressional committees are studying Trump’s personal finances, his inauguration committee, his business practices before he took office and his conduct since assuming the presidency, seeking evidence of what senior Democrats have called corruption or abuse of office.”

The Washington Post published stories with headlines such as “Ahead of Mueller report release, U.S. allies and foes are united in skepticism on one issue: The redactions;” “Key lawmakers will get a more complete version of report,” implying there will be unacceptable gaps in what Attorney General William Barr made public; “Giuliani says Trump team is ‘ready to rumble’ to counter report’s findings,” assuming there would be findings that needed to be countered; and “Legal experts will read the obstruction section first. 10 things to watch as the Mueller report drops.”

The first story on this list, by Paul Kane, contends that although “All of Washington seems to be racing for the Justice Department’s release of the report,” but with Congress on recess, many members “are expected to carry on Thursday and for the rest of the recess period as they have been for the past few months.”

“Democrats, who believe they won back the House majority by focusing on kitchen-table issues, mostly ignoring Trump scandals, have pushed their freshmen who won GOP seats to keep their focus on that agenda and spend time in their districts talking to voters about lowering health-care costs and boosting wages.”

Republicans, he wrote, “already received all the information they needed” when Barr’s summary of the report stated Trump had been exonerated on charges of colluding with Russia. “Their refrain ever since has been echoing Trump’s ‘no collusion’ mantra, and Republicans plan to stick to that plan almost no matter what details emerge Thursday.”

In “Legal experts will read the obstruction section first. 10 things to watch as the Mueller report drops,” James Hohmann of the Washington Post tried to keep hope alive by pointing out, “It is entirely possible that the report could provide evidence that does not support an obstruction charge in a federal courtroom but could provide the grounds for impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives.”

Hohmann quoted an earlier Post story by Matt Zapotosky, Carol Leonnig, Roz Helderman and Devlin Barrett that said the Mueller report would offer “a detailed blow-by-blow of the president’s alleged conduct – analyzing tweets, private threats and other episodes at the center of Mueller’s inquiry” and added that [Rudy] Giuliani, one of the president’s attorneys, “and others have long feared Mueller’s findings on obstruction, viewing them as potentially more damaging than anything found on the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians.”

He then quoted Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman during the Obama years and harsh Trump critic, saying he wants to find out “What obstructive acts are there that we don’t yet know about? Did Mueller investigate the use/dangling of pardons? Did Don Jr. tell his dad about the Trump Tower meeting (or, alternately, did he take the Fifth)?”

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