Accuracy in Media

President Trump has complained about the sprawling investigation House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler began on Monday.

He has said President Obama did not cooperate with similar requests and that Democrats are “obstructing justice,” preventing action on needed items such as infrastructure and revisiting areas of investigation that already have been explored with their far-flung unguided missile of a probe.

But as to whether his administration will cooperate with the portion of the 81 requests Nadler’s committee issued on Monday or other requests the committee has vowed to produce, Trump has made just one statement: “I cooperate all the time with everybody,” the president said. “You know the beautiful thing – no collusion. It’s all a hoax.”

But that’s not the answer the mainstream media expected, so it is not the answer they say he gave. The New York Times went out of its way to make it look as if Trump does not plan to cooperate even though there is no evidence he won’t.

The Times sought to mislead its readers from the start with a headline that read: “Trump Dismisses 81 House Document Requests. Here’s Where They Went” – subhead: “The president can instruct executive branch agencies to shield key evidence if he chooses. But it is unlikely that he alone can shake off the dragnet stretched across Trump world by Democrats.”

The story, by Nicholas Fandos, begins on an equally misleading note. “President Trump dismissed on Tuesday an expansive document request by House Democrats scrutinizing whether he obstructed justice or abused power as nothing more than a political sideshow – and he suggested the White House might not cooperate.”

He suggested no such thing, as Fandos tacitly admitted with the quotes he used.

“…. The president called Democrats’ efforts ‘a disgrace to our country’ and seemingly implied – incorrectly – that President Barack Obama refused to comply with Congress’ demands under similar circumstances,” Fandos wrote.

“’Essentially what they are saying is the campaign begins,’ Mr. Trump told reporters on Tuesday. ‘Instead of doing infrastructure, instead of doing health care, instead of doing so many things they should be doing, they want to play games.’”

Fandos then repeated the line from the subhead – that even if Trump refuses to turn over the documents requested of him, the requests were so broad and involved so many people and entities, public and private, that he would not be able to “shake off the dragnet.”

Most of those entities have taken their cue from Trump and, as Fandos admits, “already told the Judiciary Committee that they will cooperate, meaning that the panel could soon begin reaping reams of evidence already in the hands of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and federal prosecutors in New York. Others will most likely do so under subpoena in time.”

CNBC tried a similar tack with “Trump signals White House may not comply with House Judiciary requests” by Christina Wilkie. She wrote that Trump “appeared to suggest that the White House may refuse to comply with a slew of requests for documents sent this week” by Nadler.

Her only evidence was Trump’s comments that Obama resisted replying to similar requests, but that does not apply here because most of the information Nadler requested from the White House is, as Fandos admitted, already in the hands of Mueller.

“The White House has yet to issue a formal response to Nadler’s requests,” she wrote later. “But Trump’s shift from a cooperative stance to a more confrontational one accelerated in the past 24 hours.”

The Washington Post focused on one bit player in the drama, former congressman Michael Caputo, in “Former Trump adviser says he does not plan to cooperate with House Judiciary inquiry,” by Rosalind Helderman and Rachael Bade.

Caputo informed the committee he had no documents responsive to the request and said publicly through his attorney that he did not see the need to testify before Nadler’s committee because he has testified before the House Intelligence Committee. “We see no reason why the House Judiciary Committee cannot obtain the transcript of Mr. Caputo’s testimony,” the attorney wrote.

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