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'Saddest Media Spectacle I’ve Ever Seen': Journalists Glenn Greenwald and David Cay Johnston Debate Russiagate


'Saddest Media Spectacle I’ve Ever Seen': Journalists Glenn Greenwald and David Cay Johnston Debate Russiagate

Democracy Now!

As congressional Democrats call on the Justice Department to release the full Mueller report, Democracy Now! spoke to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists who have closely followed the probes into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election: Glenn Greenwald, a founding editor of The Intercept and a leading critic of the media coverage of alleged Russian collusion, and David Cay Johnston, formerly of The New York Times, now founder and editor of DCReport.org, who has written critically about Donald Trump



Glenn Greenwald was completely in the right here and it was pathetic to see how much David Cay Jonston tried to backpedal his points.



I agree. And David did back peddle. When he said he was wrong in calling Trump " a Russian asset" and changed it to a " Russian agent".

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Thank you again to Amy Goodman!



On Friday, after the Mueller investigation was ended many were asking why the media was spreading a false narrative about no more indictments and before Barr released his summary. Here’s what I posted:

"They’re saying it because that’s what they were told by a senior official in the justice department. If Mueller was a special investigator, I would agree that there is bad reporting on their part. But Mueller was appointed special counsel with authority to prosecute federal crimes arising from his investigation. His charge: “…investigate any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation…”. The investigations has yielded dozens of indictments for federal crimes, and at least eight guilty pleas, or convictions. As for the Trump crime syndicate? There are no obstruction of justice charges. A lot of revelations, but no clear indictments linking Russia and the Trump gang. Roger Stone was indicted, but not prosecuted by Mueller. Maria Butina languishes in jail indicted, reportedly singing like a songbird, but also not prosecuted. Mueller has completed his investigation without interviewing the President, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, or Jared Kushner.

Many have seen Mueller as the white knight come to save us. Not gonna happen. We are now left to Congress, other federal courts, and state courts. Congress signaled its lack of resolve by overwhelmingly confirming Barr as Attorney General. Some in the GOP mumble about Trump but continue to back his plays. Democratic congressional leaders (House and Senate) have signaled their willingness to investigate, but not impeach with Pelosi stating Trump is “not worth it”. We’ve seen signals from federal courts with the longest sentence thus far: Manafort, time served plus 43 months. State courts, most notably New York, have been in a position to stop Trump in his tracks since the 70s but he has never received more than a slap on the wrist.

In my opinion, November was our chance to turn it around. That blue wave didn’t go far enough. We did great with the House, but the Senate was more important. With gerrymandering, and GOP dirty tricks, even high voter turnout couldn’t make it happen. In 2020 we’ve got more of the same plus the electoral college. We are royally screwed."

In other posts, I kept asking why we needed to wait for the Mueller report when Trump was committing acts on a daily basis that rose to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors”.

Our legal system and courts have punished the least of us and allowed the real scoundrels to go free. Those elected to represent us, along with our Supreme Court, have failed to provide the checks and balances required in our government. Our GOP led state legislatures have corrupted our electoral processes. And we the people have, in too many instances, allowed things to run on autopilot. Now, looking for a scapegoat, we label the media as the source of our misfortunes. As Miss Celie asked in the Color Purple: “What us gon’ do?”



Between Mueller and Barr there is no report for the people to have, to hold, to read, to form decisions about. So where are the 100,000 protesters promised us?
A four page bullshit piece from Barr certainly don’t get it.



Ultimately, there’s so much going on, so much more than this story so far has revealed to us. We will never really know. Even if/when we citizens get to read the entire report, we will never know who did what behind the scenes. So, I don’t think either man here is wrong. They utilized their own methods to analyze this episode. I like and respect both of these journalists, as they both bring something to the table, as it were, which is much more than anyone at all in the msm. I’ll take David Cay Johnson or Glenn Greenwald on their worst days, and read what they have to say.



In the exchange that is the topic of this article, although I think David Cay Johnston did a small back pedal from his initial Russiagate conspiracy theory stance, he and Greenwald ultimately stood in agreement on most matters. I should state for the record that I’m a Greenwald fan, Johnston less so. Johnston had to walk back his description of Trump as a Kremlin agent and Greenwald tore him a new one based on the Trump admin’s aggressively belligerent stances toward Russia. Trump has a crazy weird man-crush on Vladdie, but his policies don’t jibe with being a Putin puppet.

The upshot is that Greenwald’s point about this Mueller report being a huge lift for Trump and a big black eye for the media (especially MSDNC) is the most salient. Trump will ride this issue into 2020 and his base is fired up.



After reading this article and watching the video, I’m pretty speechless.

I guess this is not exactly a "silent coup."

Not with two branches of the government and the media conspiring to cover-up the White House resident’s well documented criminality.



When I err I correct. I had not even realized, as the transcript shows, that on an earlier show I said “agent” rather than”asset.”

That’s not backpedaling it is correcting a verbal mistake, a single word. People make such verbal errors on tv every day just like the do around the kitchen table.

You seem not to notice, either, that the shortcomings Glenn complained about in coverage don’t apply to my work — that my news organization focuses on governance, that my books explain why a fraud like Trump could deceive so many people.



Let’s not forget that the DNC played a role in the “corruption” of our electoral system as well and even now the DNC is working to silence the progressive wing of the Democratic party. The American electoral system has been broken for a long time and many of us are beginning to wake up to that fact. We have a two party system, not a democracy. Money rules.



Glenn Greenwald has become a Fox Not News stooge, and I have no use for his vicious & factually bereft attacks on Rachel Maddow specifically, and his over-the-top and highly generalized attacks on all MSNBC coverage. Greenwald - like the rest of us - has not seen Mueller’s report. He has only read the pre-determined summary written by none other than the GOP’s own “General Cover-UP,” William Barr, who should have had to recuse himself in this matter after auditioning to get the AG appointment by trashing the Mueller investigation and trumpeting executive power.

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With all due respect, Mr. Johnston, in your opening statement on the broadcast you came out like a firm skeptic of the Barr letter. Yet Robert Mueller isn’t skeptical about that summary.

You talked about impeachability as the Mueller Report relates to that possibility – in terms of Trump/Russian collusion, the report doesn’t appear to raise impeachable offenses, but we’ll see.

Also, you went on about Jared Kushner and Don, Jr – neither of whom were indicted.

As the broadcast went on and Mr. Greenwald called you out a bit, you did indeed project a backpedaling type of stance. Look, we all know, as you have so ably reported for years, that the Trumps are a crime family. But by choosing to promote this collusion angle, the media has played right into Trump’s hands. That was sloppy journalism, that was dumb.



Thank you for the kind word about my work.

Yes, I believe the Barr letter is NOT dispositive and, like Neal Katayal (who wrote the special prosecutor relations) and others see a host of issues raised by Barr’s letter. One of the questions is why Don Jr., who said he expected to be indicted, and Kushner were not.

Impeachment is only a charge. There is no requirement that any criminality be involved, as I have pointed out countless times.

It takes 67 votes to convict. Those votes are not there based on currently known facts. A detailed, but concise, account of the 18 impeachments (plus Nixon who resigned to avoid impeachment) is in Barbara Radnofsky’s A Citizens Guide to Impeachment. For a deeper look there is Lawrence Tribe and Joshua Matz’s book on impeachment.

You conflate me with “the media.” There is a vast chasm, between reporting, opinion writing (my field the last 11 years) and cable commentary. And I’ve been writing media criticism for 45 years, including work that – uniquely in U.S. history – forced a TV and radio broadcast chain to go out of business over news manipulations.

I didn’t backpedal on anything. I did correct a one-word error from the week before, an error I had not even realized that I made. When someone shows an error I correct promptly and forthrightly.

Read transcripts, as I do all the time, and you will see how common it is for people to make one word or one phrase errors. That’s why in depositions we let people review and if necessary amend their answers.

Would that you had read my Trump biography, The Making of Donald Trump, which is full of facts I’ll bet you don’t know about his documented conduct, like his deep involvement with the international cocaine smuggler Joe Weichselbaum and the bizarre way Joe’s case got transferred to the courtroom of Donald’s sister.

My counsel is to be patient and see what we learn when we see the Mueller report – and if it is withheld then we have a duty to ask why it is being withheld since Trump said he wanted it made public ad he claims (falsely) that it exonerates him.

If the report shows there is nothing there at all, I’ll be out there saying I got it wrong. To be clear, I donlt expect that and that is why Team Trump will want to release something less than all the facts.

The Justice Dept., last time I checked, won’t even say how long the report is and how extensive the supporting documentation is.



I suppose backpedaling is in the eye of the beholder. That said, I appreciate your work, I join you in looking forward to a release of the full report (and will not be surprised if Trump switches gears and decides to stop that from happening), I expect that Trump’s legal woes are far from over.

Still, I think the pursuit of Russian collusion sucked a lot of air out the room and played into Trump’s hands. I also believe that it was a rather convenient trope for the Dems to hide behind instead of facing the facts about what a failure they’ve been for so long, including, abysmally, in 2016. Hillary is still pitching the story of Russia stealing HER win. I’ll go so far as to say that 2020 is now looking good for Trump.

In any case, keep at it, we need people like you.



Hi Spacecadet, wow you are so right and part of this spectal was to take our view away from proven outright corruption in our election. Thanks