Shortly after James Comey’s public testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee ended, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin casually let out a blockbuster that nobody else had reported. Toobin told Anderson Cooper that Trump was “under criminal investigation.” Toobin provided no evidence to back up his statement.
Here’s what Toobin said:
Toobin: … he said three times you told me that I was not under investigation and that was in May. Well, here we know in June Donald Trump is under criminal investigation, and that’s a big deal, and that’s important.
The only thing that was explicitly revealed in today’s testimony is the fact that before Comey was fired, Donald Trump was not under investigation. Comey was asked multiple times about this fact; each time, he answered no.
The only other mainstream news source with Toobin’s take is Newsweek. But the author doesn’t report that definitively. What is reported is a statement made by Comey that the Newsweek author, and presumably Toobin, interpret as meaning that Trump is under investigation. Here’s what Newsweek reports Comey as saying:
“I don’t think it’s for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct,” he said in response to a question from Republican Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning. But that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work toward, to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that’s an offense.” [Emphasis added]
That’s not Comey saying Trump is under “criminal investigation.” That statement is more like Comey saying he hopes Trump’s conversations with him will be investigated. This is a large leap by both Toobin and Newsweek.
Toobin owes it to CNN’s viewers to provide evidence to back up his assertion. CNN, and the rest of the mainstream media, has been quick to use the phrase “without evidence” when describing Trump’s statements. But CNN’s record has been less than stellar when it comes to this Comey business.
Just this week CNN said sources said Comey would testify that “he never told Trump he was not under investigation.” Which has now been proven false.
Life comes at you at a brisk pace pic.twitter.com/zwzi60fhXF— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) June 7, 2017
The media want the American people to trust them. Well, trust needs to be earned. Toobin, and by extension CNN, should share how he knows Trump is under investigation.
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Robert Eno is the director of research for Conservative Review. He is a conservative from deep blue Massachusetts but now lives in Greenville, SC. If you see something you’d like him to cover, tweet him @robeno.