- CNN, MSNBC, Fox News
- Anderson Cooper of CNN, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, and Sean Hannity of Fox News all covered Robert Mueller’s report on his Russia investigation on Monday night.
- Mueller gave his report to US Attorney General William Barr on Friday, saying there was no conspiracy between Trump and Russia, but his report did not exonerate the president from obstruction.
- Barr and US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided not to prosecute Trump for obstruction of justice.
- On Monday, Cooper, Maddow, and Hannity took unique angles with coverage on their networks, with very different takes.
The special counsel Robert Mueller delivered his Russia investigation report to US Attorney General William Barr on Friday, and Anderson Cooper of CNN, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, and Sean Hannity of Fox News each covered the news.
In the report, Mueller said there was no conspiracy between Trump and Russia, but he did not exonerate the president from obstruction. Barr and US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided not to prosecute Trump for obstruction of justice.
While many questions are still left unanswered, pundits on cable-news network spent the weekend asking what’s next for the report, which has been almost two years in the making.
On Monday, Cooper, Maddow, and Hannity took unique angles with coverage on their networks, leaving each audience to come away with a different perspective.
We watched all three anchor’s segments on Mueller to see exactly what they did similarly and differently.
Anderson Cooper, CNN
Cooper, whose “AC360” comes on CNN at 8 p.m. and often opens with a “Keeping Them Honest” segment, broke down Barr’s memo on the Mueller report and asked what questions were left unanswered.
He summarized what happened over the weekend with the Mueller report and Barr’s response, in which the attorney general said he and Rosenstein determined the evidence fell short of proving Trump had obstructed the Russia investigation.
Cooper then questioned what the body of Mueller’s report exactly said, and noted that Democrats have made releasing the report a top priority.
“As it stands, we don’t have the underlying facts that went into the attorney general’s decision not to pursue obstruction charges,” Cooper said. “And on the collusion front, we also don’t know if Mueller investigators reached any determination about why so many people lied so much about their contacts with Russia – Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, all charged with lying. People involved the Trump Tower meeting with Russian were caught in multiple lies. And we still don’t know why, or do we know if Robert Mueller knows.”
He also said that the public doesn’t know if the Mueller investigation ties into any other investigations into Trump’s election campaign, its organization, or multiple other probes.
He said that the report does, however, “dispel some of the harsher allegations” against the president.
Another unanswered question, Cooper said, is Trump’s response to the investigation.
“When asked today whether the special counsel acted honorably in the investigation, the president replied, ‘yes he did,'” Cooper said. “If that’s really what he believes it’s certainly a far cry from what he’s been claiming for months and months.”
Rachel Maddow, MSNBC
Maddow, who comes on MSNBC at 9, listed 15 questioned that are unanswered about Barr’s response to the Mueller report.
Among the questions are why Mueller did not decide on obstruction-of-justice charges and if he expected Barr to do so, if Mueller wanted to protect a future grand jury, if Trump’s finances were part of the investigation, if the public gets to see the report, if Mueller would testify to Congress, and if other investigations might be affected.
She said her top four questions have to do with the “surprise” in Barr’s letter, which she said was about Mueller not recommending whether or not Trump should be charged with obstruction of justice.
The first question she highlighted was asking why Barr consulted the Department of Justice’s legal counsel before deciding not to prosecute Trump for obstruction of justice.
“Did he determine the president definitely didn’t commit any crimes when it came to obstruction of justice on the factual descriptions that Mueller gave him of President Trump’s behavior, or did Barr have to go to the office of legal counsel on that matter because instead he based his determination that the president hadn’t committed any crimes on his own legal theory, which he laid out to the White House months ago in that confidential memo, in which he said a president inherently cannot commit obstruction of justice just because he’s president of the United States?” she asked.
She also questioned what will be briefed to the intelligence committees and if there was a full investigation into Trump’s intent regarding obstruction.
She closed out the segment by asking if Trump will recognize that Russia interfered with the election.
“Can we expect President Trump and the Trump White House to finally accept the underlying factual record that Russia did in fact attack us? You don’t do that do another country because you’re their friend” Maddow said. “I know, I know, I’m just getting crazy. But the Barr Report has given us this whirlwind of questions. The Mueller report, if and when we see it, should answer most of them. But tick tock, how long do we have to wait?”
Sean Hannity, Fox News
Hannity, who comes on Fox News at 9, said he was not celebrating the end of the Mueller investigation, and instead opened his show with a rant about rival news networks.
He welcomed new viewers, suggesting that other networks had lied to the American public “on a spectacular level for years and years.”
He said Maddow’s audience had been sold conspiracies “night after night after night” and said other journalists should be “embarrassed” and “humiliated.”
“The truth has been laid bare for all to see,” Hannity said in his opening monologue. “No collusion, no obstruction, no truth to the lies that have been peddled.”
He said his network had been “right all along,” and said the American public should be angry over the Mueller report.
“All of America, I am pissed off and so should the rest of the country be over what has happened,” Hannity said. “This must be a day of reckoning for the media, for the deep state, for people who abuse power and they did it so blatantly in this country.”
During his 25-minute monologue, Hannity reiterated that Trump will not be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, and he accused Democrats of lying to the public.
“We will hold every liar, every propagandist, every conspiracy theorist accountable,” Hannity said.
He also labeled other cable news networks a “hate-Trump media mob.”
He named several stories from recent years that he believes the media was too quick to judge, including the sexual-misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, Jussie Smollett’s claim that he was a victim of a hate crime, and the police-related deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray.
“Journalism, I told you in 2007, it’s dead, it’s buried, and it’s not something I said lightly,” Hannity said. “They have earned their horrible reputations.”
- Read more about the Mueller report:
- Nixon’s Watergate lawyer said the attorney general may be hiding something ‘fairly ugly’ from the Mueller report
- Mueller investigation could cost up to $35 million once all the expense reports are in
- ‘I want to know what role Comey played in this process’: Lindsey Graham says the Senate Judiciary Committee could force the former FBI director to testify about the 2016 election
- Trump reportedly wants revenge on the media for its coverage of the Mueller probe, and could demand that hostile pundits lose their jobs