In yet another example of the damaging relationship between Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee and the media, The Daily Beast incorrectly reported Tuesday that GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the chairman of the intel panel, refused to say whether he cooperated with the White House in drafting his much discussed memo detailing partisanship within the FBI.
In fact, a transcript of Nunes’ closed door meeting with his House Intel colleagues, shows he explicitly denied cooperating with the White House in drafting the memo before shutting down a follow-up question to allow other members the chance to participate.
The transcript, released Wednesday, discredits the Daily Beast’s salacious headline, subheadline and lede, all of which suggested Nunes would not say whether he worked with the White House in drafting his memo, which reportedly proves impropriety on the part of FBI agents involved in surveilling Trump campaign officials as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Beast reported that Nunes “made a few comments that didn’t answer the question before finally responding, ‘I’m not answering,'” when asked by Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois whether the White House was involved in drafting the memo. The phrase “I’m not answering” never appears in the transcript.
The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff defended her reporting Wednesday by tweeting a section of the transcript that included only the second part of the exchange, in which Nunes dismissed the line of questioning with the phrase “the chair is not going to entertain.”
Per our reporting yesterday, Nunes didn’t answer a question from Quigley about coordination between his staff and the White House. Transcript says, “The chair will not entertain” pic.twitter.com/Sv9bXvvrKC
— Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) January 31, 2018
The Beast added an editor’s note following the transcript release that portrays the oversight as a matter of semantics but does not engage with the inaccuracies included in the piece:
This piece initially quoted Nunes as responding to Quigley by saying “I’m not answering.” While the substance of his remark was the same, the initial quote was inaccurate, as the meeting transcript released post-publication shows. The Daily Beast regrets the error.
The debunked December CNN report indicating Donald Trump Jr. was provided early access to WikiLeaks documents also likely originated with House Intelligence Committee members.
The report seemed to suggest Trump Jr. worked closely with WikiLeaks to time the release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails, but as later reporting demonstrated, Trump Jr. was emailed a link to the documents after they had been public for more than a week. The source of the confusion, according to CNN, were two unnamed sources who had reviewed the emails but apparently passed along the same incorrect date to CNN’s Manu Raju.
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