CBS News’ “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan described one segment on the most recent show that aired Sunday as “a preview” of the prime time, January 6 House Select Committee hearings. Those will take place starting this week — and trust me, readers, the media won’t let you forget about them.
To set up what they seem to think is momentous and very serious work by Congress, CBS congressional reporter Scott Macfarlane intoned:
The committee has completed more than 1,000 depositions and interviews, including with several members of former President Donald Trump’s inner circle. And they have collected nearly 140,000 documents.
Some key figures have defied the committee’s subpoenas, including Meadows and five Republican members of the House, including Leader Kevin McCarthy.
He added that among others they’re seeking to speak in front of the committee is former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro, and that “[l]ate Friday, the committee said they’d been notified that the Justice Department will not be prosecuting Meadows or former White House staffer Dan Scavino for contempt of Congress.”
To kick things off, Brennan spoke to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), one of seven Democrats on the committee cobbled together by Democrat leadership, whom I don’t have to tell you holds an irrational and seething hatred for former President Donald Trump and anyone connected to him.
The host asked Schiff what he thought about two of Trump’s close advisers, former chief of staff Mark Meadows and Scavino, not being prosecuted. His answer was problematic, to be charitable.
Take a listen yourself.
Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Adam Schiff says the DOJ's decision not to charge two former Trump aides Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino is "deeply troubling."
"It's a grave disappointment and could impede our work if other witnesses think they can…refuse to show up with impunity." pic.twitter.com/dHH5UryU0f
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) June 5, 2022
Here’s part of what Schiff said, in the exchange:
…[I]t is very puzzling why these two witnesses would be treated differently than the two that the Justice Department is prosecuting. There is no absolute immunity. These witnesses have very relevant testimony to offer in terms of what went into the violence of January 6th, the propagation of the big lie, and the idea that witnesses could simply fail to show up. And when the statute requires the Justice Department to present those cases to the grand jury, they don’t, is deeply troubling. We hope to get more insight from the Justice Department, but it’s a, I think, a grave disappointment and could impede our work if other witnesses think they can likewise refuse to show up with impunity.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is it because these two men had such close proximity to President Trump, is the executive privilege argument actually applying here?
ADAM SCHIFF: That shouldn’t be the explanation here because, of course, there are a great many things these witnesses can testify with no even plausible claim of executive privilege. They were both involved in campaign matters. They both have documents that they could offer. None of which is protected by privilege.
And the idea that you can simply refuse to show up, rather than show up and say, as to this question I’m going to assert a privilege, that just invites others to be in contempt of Congress or be in contempt of judges around the country in other courtrooms. And I think it’s a very dangerous precedent to set.
There are two glaring issues with his argument. The first is that Meadows and Scavino did cooperate, just not as much as he or others on the committee demanded. Take a look at what they turned over; it’s no small potatoes.
Meadows and Scavino entered into negotiations with the Jan 6 Committee and participated to a lesser extent than the committee requested, despite Meadows turning over over 9,000 documents, whereas Navarro and Bannon rejected the committee’s request outright on the grounds of executive privilege. In a statement, Navarro described the Jan 6th committee as a “kangaroo committee” with “7 partisan Democrats” and “2 RINO Republicans.”
The other problem is that a legacy media outlet like CBS News isn’t going to give Schiff any pushback for his interpretation of what “cooperation” or the truth looks like. But, are you at all surprised?
We reported last week on how, like the others, Navarro was indicted by the Biden Justice Department — and unlike former Attorney General Eric Holder, he was arrested “at an airport in the Washington, D.C., area and later appeared in court, where he faced two contempt counts.”
As my colleague at our sister site PJ Media, Rick Moran wrote in May about this committee’s ongoing witch hunt, at that time against a Republican congressman for meeting with a constituent’s family last January 5, the day before the Capitol riot:
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” said astronomer Carl Sagan. He was referring to claims of aliens visiting earth, but he may as well have had the Democrats smearing Republicans with baseless charges of complicity in an insurrection in mind.
This is a recycled smear that the Committee wants to regurgitate in the news lull before the public hearings begin on June 9.
Indeed. And it’s one they intend to keep beating like a drum, as long as the news cameras keep the spotlight on them. But, hey, no more mean tweets, right?