Major Garrett

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  • Media Reports Contradict Top Trump Aide: FBI Director Briefed Trump On Alleged Russian Dossier

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    CNN and CBS are now reporting that FBI Director James Comey did, in fact, brief President-elect Donald Trump on unsubstantiated claims that Russians have a dossier of information against him. The information corroborates earlier CNN reporting that intelligence chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him. According to The Hill:

    FBI Director James Comey briefed President-elect Donald Trump on a two-page summary of an unverified dossier claiming Russia had compromising information on the real estate mogul, CNN reported Thursday.

    That contradicts claims by members of Trump’s transition team and other news outlets that intelligence officials never briefed Trump on the two-page addendum to a classified report given to President Obama and leaders in Congress about Russian efforts to interfere with the presidential election.

    From the January 12 edition of CBS' CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley:

    SCOTT PELLEY (HOST): Sources tell CBS News that F.B.I. Director James Comey personally briefed President-elect Trump last Friday about scandalous tales about Mr. Trump that were never proven, and were nonetheless attached to an official U.S. intelligence report. Major Garrett has been looking into this.

    MAJOR GARRETT: CBS News has confirmed that Christopher Steele, seen in this photo, produced the memo containing unsubstantiated claims that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about President-elect Donald Trump. Steele is a former British intelligence officer who works for Orbis Business Intelligence, a private investigation firm in London. Orbis was originally hired by Fusion G.P.S., a D.C.-based research firm working for an unknown client. The unverified claims circulated widely in political and media circles. Last week, the U.S. intelligence community included a summary of the information in a classified briefing with Mr. Trump, who said the memo was phony.

    DONALD TRUMP: I think it's disgraceful, disgraceful, that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out. And that's something that Nazi Germany would have done, and did do.

    GARRETT: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper phoned Mr. Trump last night. In a statement, Clapper said he expressed his "profound dismay" at the leaks and emphasized the unverified document is not a U.S. intelligence community product. President Obama and Vice President Biden also received the briefing. On MSNBC, the vice president was asked if including the claims was appropriate.

    JOE BIDEN: It was their obligation to inform not only us, but the President-elect that this was out there, so that it didn't come out of the blue and have any impact on-- on the conduct of our foreign policy.

    GARRETT: House Speaker Paul Ryan told CBS News he understands Mr. Trump's frustration, calling the leaks and subsequent media frenzy unfair. But, Scott, the speaker said he would not have suggested U.S. intelligence agencies used Nazi tactics in this or any other matter.

    From the January 12 edition of CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront:

    ERIN BURNETT (HOST): We begin with breaking news. U.S. Officials tell CNN the FBI director James Comey personally briefed Donald Trump on unsubstantiated claims that the Russians may have compromising information on Trump. Now, Comey had a brief, one-on-one conversation with the President-elect last Friday during an intelligence briefing.

    The FBI Director at that time presented Trump with a two-page synopsis of the Russian claims. The nation's top intelligence chiefs have decided that Comey would be the one who would handle this sensitive discussion. Now, this is a very significant development because it appears to contradict what Trump's senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, has been saying over the past several days.

    [...]

    BURNETT: Evan Perez is part of the team that broke this story, he's OutFront tonight. As Evan, as we said, a significant development because you heard Kellyanne, they said that this briefing didn't happen. You are reporting it was a one-on-one conversation between James Comey and the president-elect, and it did happen.

    EVAN PEREZ: It did, and this helps correct the record, really, of what exactly happened here. Now, we know there were four intelligence chief who is met with the President-elect last Friday. The purpose of this briefing overall was to bring him up to date on the findings of the Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, the 2016 presidential election.

    Now, at the end of this, the four chiefs were finishing their work and Comey decided to do a one-on-one with the President-elect. The chiefs had decided that Comey should be the one to handle this, after all, it's the FBI counterintelligence division that is doing the investigation to take a look at these claims, and it's also their job to -- to take a look at what foreign intelligence services are up to in this country. In this case Russia, if the Russians are targeting or trying to target the President-elect, it was very important for the President-elect to know about this. That was the purpose of this.

    We're told that this was a cordial briefing, that Trump appreciated the information that he was given, and so we're a little puzzled, really, by the reaction over the last couple days in various stages of denial by the Trump transition team about what really was the FBI and the intelligence chiefs doing their job to make sure he was informed before he took office.

    BURNETT: Right, because Evan, just to underline this, they are -- you've heard them repeatedly say this briefing did not happen.

    PEREZ: Right. We've heard various different versions,I mean, we don't really know where they're at at this point, but we know this information was brought to the briefing and of course we also know from Vice President Joe Biden today, he met with reporters at the White House there, and mentioned that he and president Obama were both briefed on this information, that they got this information from the two-page -- synopsis.

    He even said that he read the entire 35-page document this thing was based on, Erin, and so he said that the intelligence chiefs told him that the reason was they were going to make sure that Donald Trump knew about this very important information.

  • ABC World News Tonight Ignores Report On New Investigation Into Trump Foundation

    CBS And NBC Devote Segments To The Breaking News Story

    Blog ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    While broadcast news programs on NBC and CBS covered reports that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating whether Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s charitable foundation complied with laws governing charities in New York, ABC’s World News Tonight failed to report on the development. 

    On September 14, Schneiderman told CNN his office is investigating The Donald J. Trump Foundation over concerns that the charity may have “engaged in some impropriety” regarding New York state non-profit regulations.

    Reports of the Attorney General’s investigation followed a series of reports by The Washington Post’s David A. Fahrenthold that stated Trump’s charity appeared “to have repeatedly broken IRS rules,” contained little of Trump’s own money, and occasionally purchased things “that seemed to benefit only Trump.” Fahrenthold also reported that Trump’s charity had been “retooled” to “spend other people’s money” on things such as a $20,000 portrait of Trump and a $12,000 autographed football helmet, therefore allowing “a rich man to be philanthropic for free.”

    NBC and CBS both included segments about Schneiderman’s inquiry during their September 14 evening news programs, but ABC neglected to include the report in its network’s programing.

    Media have brushed aside revelations about the Trump Foundation to devote airtime to hyping questions about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton

  • News Outlets Hyping New Clinton Judicial Watch Email Story Ignore New Development Undermining It

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN & CAT DUFFY

    Several news shows and outlets covering a new email dump by conservative group Judicial Watch have ignored developments undermining the group’s claims that emails show the State Department rewarded Clinton Foundation donors with access at the foundation’s request. Judicial Watch baselessly suggested that Doug Band, an aide to Bill Clinton, worked as an agent of the Clinton Foundation to facilitate a donor’s meeting with a U.S. ambassador. Numerous media outlets have reported on the story without noting that the ambassador has since explained that he never met with the donor.

  • A Look Back At Fox News' Interviews With Obama Ahead Of His Sunday Network Appearance

    ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN, BRENNAN SUEN & CRISTIANO LIMA

    Chris Wallace will interview President Obama on Fox News Sunday April 10, marking Obama's first interview with the network since 2014. In past interviews, Fox figures including Wallace, Bret Baier and Bill O'Reilly have focused on Obama's ties to "radical" figures, hyped supposed scandals, lectured Obama on race, and interrupted him repeatedly.

  • National Journal's Major Garrett Whitewashes Hillary Clinton's Record On Women's Rights

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA KITTEL

    Majoy Garrett

    National Journal correspondent-at-large Major Garrett used Hillary Clinton's Hard Choices book tour to whitewash Clinton's long career championing women's rights and leadership, baselessly accusing Clinton of focusing on women's issues for purely selfish reasons.

    In a June 10 column Garrett attacked Hillary Clinton as selfishly obsessed with the notion "that the presidential glass ceiling" is exclusively hers "to break," and accused Clinton of sitting on a "self-built pedestal of inevitability." Garrett challenged Clinton to "do something interesting" and advised her to seize her "sexism opportunity," as "the glass ceiling halts the progress of all women -- not just yours":

    Start by ending the constricting and unpalatable obsession that the presidential glass ceiling is yours and yours alone to break. It isn't. The longer you pretend otherwise, the longer your road to the White House will become. The glass ceiling halts the progress of all women -- not just yours.

    But Garrett's critique ignores Clinton's longstanding history as a champion of women's rights worldwide as well as her advocacy for all women to break the glass ceiling. 

    Most recently, Clinton cheered the opportunity of a female president in a June 4 interview with People, saying, "I'm certainly in the camp that says we need to break down that highest, hardest glass ceiling in American politics." Clinton stressed that despite her desire to see a female president, she hasn't yet made her "own decision about what I think is right for me," underscoring her belief that she does not necessarily have to be the first woman president.

    In April, Hillary Clinton launched "No Ceilings," a series of conversations that focus on professional discrimination and encourage women to break the glass ceiling. 

    Clinton also highlighted the importance of having a female president of the United States in a December interview with Barbara Walters. Admitting that although she did not know who the first female president may be, Clinton promoted a number of capable female senators "on both sides of the aisle" and asserted:

    CLINTON: It matters because we have half the population that has given so much to building this country, to making it work, and of course I want to see a woman in the White House. Because, if I look at my friends and former colleagues who are now in the Senate, it was the women senators on both sides of the aisle who finally broke the fever over the government shutdown and debt limit debate. They have been working across party lines, and we need more of that.

  • National Journal's Major Garrett Reinforces GOP Attacks On Obama's Small Business Comments

    Blog ››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD

    The National Journal's Major Garrett brought up the Republican campaign to use the "you didn't build that" line to attack President Obama during both the Republican and Democratic national conventions, but let stand the distortion at the heart of that campaign. In fact, during his speech -- as independent fact-checkers have noted -- Obama was explaining how small businesses have benefitted from the successes and contributions of others, including government, which Garrett failed to point out.

    Indeed, those comments have repeatedly been taken out of context by the right-wing media and Republicans for over a month. But as FactCheck.org noted, those attacks are dishonest:

    There's no question Obama inartfully phrased those two sentences, but it's clear from the context what the president was talking about. He spoke of government -- including government-funded education, infrastructure and research -- assisting businesses to make what he called "this unbelievable American system that we have."

    In summary, he said: "The point is ... that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."

    During a discussion about the 2012 presidential election on NBC's The Chris Matthews Show, Garrett, a former Fox News White House correspondent who is now a National Journal congressional correspondent, referred to how "Republicans will use the president's 'you didn't build that' against him" at the respective party conventions. Garrett continued by explaining that the comments would be used "thematically at the Republican convention and with traveling hecklers in Charlotte," where the Democratic National Convention will be held. 

    But as the full context of Obama's comments show, he was simply noting that the success of small businesses comes not only from their own initiative, but also can come from outside influences such as "a great teacher somewhere in your life" and investment "in roads and bridges."

  • Garrett confirms what we already know: Fox "wants to keep" the media polarized

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK

    Today on Morning Joe, former Fox News correspondent Major Garrett - who is now with National Journal - offered his insight into some of the internal workings at Fox News. Discussing NPR's firing of Juan Williams and the "polarization of American media," Garrett stated:

    GARRETT: Because of that longstanding relationship with Fox, it was becoming increasingly, I think -- and Juan and I had had some conversations about this -- that NPR was increasingly unhappy with him, because it was getting blowback from some of its listeners about seeing Juan so often on Fox. That speaks to a problem that neither Fox nor NPR can solve, because neither want to solve it, which is the polarization of American media. For a certain amount of marketing points of view, Fox actually wants to keep that polarization and say, look, we're different. We're dramatically different; you can see how we're different. And if you like that difference, you better come over here and you better stay here. That is an embedded part of the marketing that surrounded what happens at the news division at Fox that's been incredibly successful.

    Later, Garrett discussed Fox's reported decision to offer Williams a $2 million contract following his firing:

    GARRETT: I don't think it's any coincidence that the day it happened he got a huge contract at Fox, and Fox planted a flag in the ground saying he's ours, he's going to stay ours, and if you are outraged, this is where you need to be. That is an embedded part of Roger Ailes' DNA.

    Garrett's comments that Fox "wants to keep that polarization" in the media essentially back up what Fox News VP Bill Shine said in March 2009 - that Fox is the "voice of opposition" in the media.