President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign attempted to intimidate cable news networks who covered Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe on Monday but earned only derision from journalists and others.
Tim Murtaugh, communications director for Trump's campaign, sent a memo to TV news producers at networks including CNN and MSNBC, imploring them to either ban guests who had claimed there was evidence that Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia, or challenge them on their claims.
The Trump campaign is sending this memo to TV producers: pic.twitter.com/yhr03LAI7N
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) March 25, 2019
"You should begin by asking the basic question: Does this guest warrant further appearances in our programming, given the outrageous and unsupported claims made in the past?" wrote Murtaugh to the networks.
"If these guests do reappear, you should replay the prior statements and challenge them to provide the evidence which prompted them to make the wild claims in the first place," he added.
The memo was circulated a day after Attorney General William Barr said that Mueller's report had cleared the president of having coordinated with Russian officials and was inconclusive as to whether Trump committed obstruction of justice.
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A number of critics condemned the Trump campaign's apparent desire to compile a list of "political enemies."
Ah yes, a political enemies list. Totally normal in a healthy democracy... https://t.co/CB6uRpveIU
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) March 25, 2019
Yes it would be a shame if tv kept booking and hosting partisans who lie all the time, signed the trump campaign https://t.co/MCQ8YONpdN
— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) March 25, 2019
While many on the left have called for introspection from the media in the wake of the Mueller investigation, as Murtaugh did in his memo,some rejected the campaign's assertion that accusations made against Trump—considering the fact that his former campaign manager and former national security adviser were among the34 Trump associates who were indicted as a result of the probe—were particularly "outrageous" at the time they were made.
This Trump campaign memo seeking to de-platform Democrats constitutionally duty-bound to check executive abuses of power, on the basis of claims consistent with Barr's gloss on Mueller's report, gives away the aim of the game: no rule of law, no oversight. https://t.co/jKtPg1isB9
— Will Wilkinson (@willwilkinson) March 25, 2019