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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

 

The National Rifle Association’s news outlet NRATV spun former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the Senate intelligence committee to President Donald Trump’s advantage by flatly lying about what Comey said.

Comey testified in an open hearing before the Senate intelligence committee on June 8, almost a month after Trump abruptly fired him. Trump’s public statements on the firing have caused numerous legal experts to warn that Trump may have obstructed justice by improperly interfering with an FBI investigation.

NRATV was quick to jump to Trump’s defense before and during Comey’s appearance. During the 11 a.m. edition of its program Stinchfield, which provides live news updates at the top of the hour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST, host Grant Stinchfield said the hearing came down to one question: “Did [Trump] ever try to obstruct justice in any way?” He said Comey answered, “No”:

GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Now as I look and listen to this hearing, what I see is James Comey being questioned. One, being led by the Democrats to try to sink Donald Trump, and two, by the Republicans trying to get to the heart of what this hearing is all about. Did Donald Trump try to obstruct justice when it came to this Russian investigation in any way? A direct quote when he was asked about this by the chairman of the committee, a Republican, “Did Donald Trump ever ask you to stop the Russian investigation?” James Comey’s answer, “No.” “Did he ever try to obstruct justice in any way?” James Comey’s answer, “No.”

In actuality, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the intelligence committee, asked Comey whether the president was trying to find a way for former national security adviser Mike Flynn to “save face” after having been fired, or whether he was trying to “obstruct justice” when he said he hoped Comey could “let [the investigation] go.” At the time, Flynn was under investigation for his ties to Russia. Comey didn’t respond “no,” but instead said, “I don’t think it’s for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that’s an offense”:

RICHARD BURR: Director, when the president requested that you — and I quote — “let Flynn go,” General Flynn had an unreported contact with the Russians, which is an offense and if press accounts are right, there might have been discrepancies between facts and his FBI testimony. In your estimation, was General Flynn at that time in serious legal jeopardy and, in addition to that, do you sense that the president was trying to obstruct justice or just seek for a way for Mike Flynn to save face given he had already been fired?

JAMES COMEY: General Flynn at that point in time was in legal jeopardy. There was an open FBI criminal investigation of his statements in connection with the Russian contacts and the contacts themselves. And so that was my assessment at the time. I don’t think it’s for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that’s an offense. [CSPAN, James Comey hearing, 6/8/17]

The special counsel Comey referred to is former FBI director Robert Mueller, who is tasked with investigating “ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.”

Before the hearing even began, Stinchfield tweeted that the “testimony will be a big ‘Nothing Burger!’”

During the 9 a.m. update, Stinchfield claimed there was nothing wrong with Trump’s “demand for loyalty” from Comey and that in prepared testimony released before the hearing, the former FBI director “makes it clear in no way did Donald Trump ever obstruct justice.” (The prepared testimony reached no such conclusion. As Comey’s testimony during the hearing demonstrated, his view is that the question of whether Trump’s conduct could constitute obstruction of justice should be left to the special counsel.) During the 10 a.m. update, Stinchfield attempted to undercut Comey’s upcoming statements by claiming Comey was “almost posing for the camera” as he took his seat before the hearing and said, “There is no doubt in my mind that James Comey loves the spotlight. In fact, he relishes it. This is why he writes those memos, throwing Donald Trump under the bus.”

The NRA was one of Trump’s earliest supporters, spending millions of dollars to help his campaign. NRATV has long since established itself as a pro-Trump propaganda outlet, previously calling any dissent against Trump “anti-patriotic” and an “assault against freedom and the Constitution.” Stinchfield and NRATV commentator Dana Loesch have praised Trump’s “tough straight talk about the dishonesty of the media” and encouraged then President-elect Trump to continue his attacks against the press. In February, Stinchfield blamed Trump’s Russia scandal on a “concerted effort with Obama loyalists … trying to undermine the president every step of the way.”

In January, the NRA released a video promising that the group would be “Donald Trump’s strongest, most unflinching ally.” That allegiance apparently extends to fabricating quotes from a public hearing for the benefit of the president.

 

14 Responses to NRA’s News Outlet Blatantly Lied About Comey Hearing To Protect Trump

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  1. The NRA will stoop to whatever level of depravity it thinks is necessary for them to achieve their objective of helping the gun industry sell more guns. NRA leaders clearly have no morality whatsoever.

    • And here’s maybe even a more shocking statistic – us taxpayers pay 12.8 million/day (229 billion/yr) to cover the cost of gun-related deaths and accidents. That’s a staggering amount of money to appease the lusts of the NRA and gun industry and goes to show that the GOP itself has no morality or financial conscience.

      A breakdown of the $229 billion gun violence tab that American taxpayers are paying every year

      American taxpayers pay roughly $12.8 million every day to cover the costs of gun-related deaths and injuries— and that is a conservative estimate, according to a new report released by Mother Jones on the cost of gun violence in America.

      The true cost, however, is not fully known, partly because of the vast sum that’s been spent by the NRA and other gun rights activists to shut down research related to firearms, and partly because of the sheer number of expenses incurred when someone is shot.

      What is known is that taxpayers cover roughly 87% of these costs, which include, but are not limited to:

      Medical treatment

      “Maybe $5 million?” responded one woman when asked how much her gun wound had cost between hospital bills, physical therapy, trauma counseling, in-home care, wheelchairs, customized vans, and lost income. Many people also have long-term problems such as bowel issues, arthritis problems, and chronic pain that keeps them hooked on pain medication and returning to the hospital.

      Legal fees

      Legal proceedings for the Aurora movie theater killer reached $5.5 million before the trial even got underway this spring — calling 9,000 prospective jurors to try the sole suspect, James Eagan Holmes proved expensive.

      Long-term prison costs

      Keeping individuals charged with a gun-related crime costs the government and taxpayers more than $5.2 billion annually. It is the largest direct expense incurred by gun violence, according to Mother Jones.

      For much more on the expense breakdown go here:

      http://www.businessinsider.com/gun-violence-costs-america-more-than-229-billion-every-year-2015-4

    • Back when they promoted hunter and firearms safety, I was proud of my NRA membership. Since they decided to become the Far Right wing of the Republican party, I have dropped my membership. This is not to say they don’t continue to go good work in promoting safe use of firearms. It’s that the current leadership is so damn out of touch with reality that they scare me more than Paul Ryan does!

      • But despite all that supposed ‘safety training’, even supposed gun experts like FBI agents and local police officers, end up committing hundreds of gun-related accidental shootings each year which end up killing innocent people. Hundreds, maybe thousands of those 200,000 gun shot accidents each year are committed by people who have gone through NRA gun safety courses and even extensive gun handling training for law enforcement work.

        A gun in a home is a far greater danger to people living in that home than the potential that gun will ever be used to protect anyone in the home from a rare breakin/robbery or even street mugging.

          • Excerpts from a Firearms Tutorial:

            The issue of “home defense” or protection against intruders or
            assailants may well be misrepresented. A study of 626 shootings in or around a residence in three U.S. cities revealed that, for every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides (Kellermann et al, 1998). Over 50% of all households in the U.S. admit to having firearms (Nelson et al, 1987). In another study, regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and suicide in the home (Dahlberg, Ikeda and Kresnow, 2004). Persons who own a gun and who engage in abuse of intimate partners such as a spouse are more likely to use a gun to threaten their intimate partner. (Rothman et al, 2005). Individuals in possession of a gun at the time of an assault are 4.46 times more likely to be shot in the assault than persons not in possession (Branas et al, 2009). It would appear that, rather than being used for defense, most of these weapons inflict injuries on the owners and their families.

            The number of non-fatal injuries is considerable–over 200,000 per year in the U.S. Many of these injuries require hospitalization and trauma care. A 1994 study revealed the cost per injury requiring admission to a trauma center was over $14,000. The cumulative lifetime cost in 1985 for gunshot wounds was estimated to be $911 million, with $13.4 billion in lost productivity. (Mock et al, 1994) The cost of the improper use of firearms in Canada was estimated at $6.6 billion per year. (Chapdelaine and Maurice, 1996)

            http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/TUTORIAL/GUNS/GUNSTAT.html

          • According to the FBI, from 2000 to 2011, there were 166,243 homicides in the U.S. Of those only 1,242 were determined to be justified by the reason of self-defense. That’s less than 1% of the homicides over 11 years being justifiable for self-defense – a pretty pitiful percent considering the thousands who were killed because there are too many guns in America.

      • I am a gun owner and a former hunter. I no longer hunt mainly for three reasons: poor health, lack of access to places to hunt, and I much prefer fishing. I do appreciate the things the NRA has done over the years in the way of promoting gun safety programs, but they have become so enamored of promoting the sale of guns to anyone and everyone, regardless of buyers’ mental competency, that I cannot support anything they now represent.

  2. Not that anyone’s name matters when it comes to analyzing any situation, but the name “Stinchfield”, in association with being the host of an NRA TV outlet, is either serendipitous, and/or a reminder of the angst, disarray, and putrid state of a foul and dangerous political Wing in the beginning of a long-term death spiral.

    The extremists are running helter skelter like rats, aware that their leaky ship is taking on too much water, thanks in large part to taking on a large termite as its captain, who likes to sport a pompadour, likes to tweet into the wee hours of the night, and who has an appetite for raw materials.

    Bon appetite, Donald.

  3. Gotta love the NRA and their attempt to “report” on the testimony before Comey even presented it! Only they could take a 96 word (including contractions) answer and distill it down to two letters that are 180 out of phase with what he actually said.

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