President Trump tweets that Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, had confirmed on February 7th that there had been ‘no factual evidence’ of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 Presidential election.
President Donald Trump used a bipartisan Senate investigation into Russian meddling Friday morning to burnish his continued insistence that Democrats are engaged in a political witch hunt. “Not only did Senator Burr’s Committee find No Collusion by the Trump Campaign and Russia, it’s important because they interviewed 200 witnesses and 300,000 pages of documents, & the Committee has direct access to intelligence information that’s Classified,” Trump tweeted.1
Not only did Senator Burr’s Committee find No Collusion by the Trump Campaign and Russia, it’s important because they interviewed 200 witnesses and 300,000 pages of documents, & the Committee has direct access to intelligence information that’s Classified. @GreggJarrett
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2019
President Trump tweeted it again on February 10th.
Senator Richard Burr, The Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, just announced that after almost two years, more than two hundred interviews, and thousands of documents, they have found NO COLLUSION BETWEEN TRUMP AND RUSSIA! Is anybody really surprised by this?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2019
It took 4 days from Trump’s February 8th tweet and the revelation of ZERO collusion in 2 years of investigations before a biased NBC’s exclusive reporting came out. And after another 2 days passed (February 14th) it remained the only reporting that the three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) had given. Considering these networks had given the Russia probe a massive 2,202 minutes of airtime between January 21, 2017 and the day of Trump’s second tweet, their silence on this major development is deafening.
MRC analysts examining all coverage on ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, and the NBC Nightly News found that those 2,202 minutes spent on the Russia investigation accounted for nearly 19 percent of all Trump-related reporting between January 21, 2017 and February 10, 2019. However none of those three shows have even mentioned the investigation since the February 8th tweet except the brief NBC’s report that came out on February 12.
The situation has been much the same on those networks’ flagship morning shows. Neither CBS This Morning nor NBC’s Today have even acknowledged this new information from Senate investigators since the news broke. ABC’s Good Morning America briefly touched on it in a news brief totaling less than one minute on February 13.
In that segment, ABC’s Mary Bruce focused only on the public disagreement between Republican Chairman Richard Burr and Democratic Ranking Member Mark Warner. She failed to acknowledge NBC’s reporting that other Democrats on the Committee had agreed with Burr’s finding that thus far, they had found no direct evidence of collusion.
NBC’s failure to mention this on either Today or the Nightly News was especially egregious, since the story was broken (4 days after Trump tweeted it) by the network’s own Ken Dilanian on February 12. He wrote:
After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.
While Dilanian acknowledged that Ranking Member Warner “disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion,” he added that other Democrats on the Committee “did not dispute Burr’s characterizations, but said they lacked context.”
Over the past two years, broadcast evening news shows have spent more than 36 hours haranguing viewers about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Given their keen interest in the subject, you might expect a bipartisan group of investigators finding “no material evidence” of collusion to be newsworthy. But evidently, you’d be wrong.