This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," October 6, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On Buzz Meter this Sunday, Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, is here for an exclusive interview on his role in the Ukraine drama and his allegations against the Bidens.
This as President Trump is ratcheting up his rhetoric against what he now calls a coup, accusing critics of being spies or committing treason and lashing out at the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I don't even use fake anymore. I call the fake news now corrupt news because fake isn't tough enough. You have corrupt media in this country and it truly is the enemy of the people. And I'll tell you what. He should be forced to resign from Congress, Adam Schiff. He's a lowlife. He should be forced to resign.
We will be far greater when we don't have the CNNs of the world who are corrupt people.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN: Trump's public meltdown, swearing, lying, pushing unfounded accusations against everyone from Biden to the whistleblower --
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: We are witnessing a presidential meltdown. Trump seems to be deeply agitated now by the impeachment investigation.
GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS: He's pissed. Why the hell not? The media spent 36 months creating a hurricane of hysteria, then they rushed to their fainting couches when he comes out fighting.
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: Now, they are not just angry, the Democrats, with Trump or his policies. Many of them are angry with America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: We will explore these questions. Are the media justified in calling Trump out of control or is he entitled to be angry with a relentlessly negative coverage surrounding the impeachment probe? How do they handle his very public declaration that Ukraine and China should investigate the Bidens?
The pundits unload on Mike Pompeo as he admits he was on Trump's call with the leader of Ukraine despite what he said in an ABC interview. But where is the media outrage over Adam Schiff lying to MSNBC about him and his team not having spoken to the whistleblower in advance when The New York Times revealed his staff did just that?
I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "Media Buzz."
President Trump has been denouncing the impeachment probe as a hoax, insisting he never pressured Ukraine's leader to help investigate Joe Biden in that now famous call. But talking to reporters on the White House lawn, he openly urged Ukraine to investigate the former vice president and his son, and made a similar appeal to another country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Likewise, China should start an investigation in the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with -- with Ukraine. So I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens because nobody has any doubt that they weren't crooked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: And joining us from New York is a key figure in the Ukraine drama, Judy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer.
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: How are you, Howard?
KURTZ: Doing well. Rudy, let's start with the big picture. So, the president, as everyone knows, is repeatedly denying any pressure on that July phone call. When he came out there on the lawn in front of the cameras and urged China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, the media consensus is he doesn't see anything wrong with it. He admitted it. He --
GIULIANI: There is --
KURTZ: -- pressured them on the lawn. Didn't he undercut your defense?
GIULIANI: No, not at all. There's nothing wrong with him doing it. I mean, the fact is the president of the United States has every right to ask countries to help us in a criminal investigation that should be undertaken.
KURTZ: That happens --
KURTZ: -- a political opponent?
GIULIANI: I can't help that. I mean, supposed a political opponent committed murder, what are we going to do? He is a political opponent, so you don't investigate him? The fact is this isn't a political opponent. Start that way. But the media which is completely corrupt and completely biased -- and you got like a really big story that is going to come out here about how corrupt this media is.
The reality is this Biden stuff -- I've known it for six months. I started this investigation long before he was a candidate. I started in November of 2018 solely for one single purpose because I'm his defense lawyer and it exonerates him.
KURTZ: All right.
GIULIANI: It shows that there was a lot more collusion in Ukraine than in Russia and that Joe Biden materially assisted in getting some of that covered up --
KURTZ: We will get to that --
GIULIANI: -- and also, by the way, got his son out and got a $5 billion crooked oligarch free who is now running around Ukraine thanking Joe Biden.
KURTZ: We will get to that in a moment.
GIULIANI: That stinks --
KURTZ: By the way, Joe Biden wasn't a candidate in 2018, but everyone knew he was likely to run.
GIULIANI: Wait, wait, wait --
GIULIANI: That means Joe Biden then is completely immune --
KURTZ: No, I'm not saying that, Rudy.
GIULIANI: Yes, it is. Howie --
KURTZ: Listen --
GIULIANI: -- two years before, he can't be investigated?
KURTZ: Here's the thing. Let me ask the question.
GIULIANI: Twenty years, the Washington press corps that was --
KURTZ: We will get to that. You got to let me ask the question.
GIULIANI: -- corrupt.
KURTZ: You say you are representing --
GIULIANI: Allegation after allegation of corruption --
KURTZ: You say --
GIULIANI: Never followed up. Never looked at.
KURTZ: You say you --
GIULIANI: James Biden, Hunter Biden --
KURTZ: OK. Rudy, I got to --
GIULIANI: -- going back to the 80s and 90s.
KURTZ: OK. We are going to get to that, but you got to let me ask the question.
KURTZ: You say you're representing your client in Ukraine and you did this at State Department's request and that's fine. I'm not sure you get that many people feel that this is a role for government officials, that as the president's personal lawyer --
GIULIANI: It is --
KURTZ: -- your presence makes it look more political.
GIULIANI: It is. However, the government wasn't doing it. The witnesses who came to me told me a story that still has to come out, which is they tried to get it through the FBI for a year and a half. Remember, we are talking now almost a year ago when I first got this.
The Mueller investigation was hot and heavy. They were still going after. I still needed all the material I could get to defend my client, which by the way I should be praised for because that is what a good lawyer does. I was still worried that they were going to do some kind of collusion, nonsense, because I know how corrupt some of those people of Mueller are like Andrew Weissmann.
So I had to defend my client. Ukrainians came to me. I didn't go after Joe Biden. They handed it to me. They said there is a lot of evidence of collusion in Ukraine. And by the way, one of the guys involved in getting that evidence cut off is Joe Biden. Do you know what he did? I said no, I don't know what he did.
And then they showed me. They showed me the tape of the 2018 confession that he made in front of the Council on Foreign Relations, which by the way, for a Republican, the Washington press corps including you, Howie, would have gone crazy. We would have had three months of investigation to that.
KURTZ: Just the viewers --
GIULIANI: What happens with Biden, they covered it up.
KURTZ: Well --
GIULIANI: They covered it up --
KURTZ: I think it is being covered. I want to get to --
GIULIANI: -- because they are -- no, it's not being investigated. I'll give you an example. ABC -- let me give you an example about what you covered. NBC put out a report -- I'm sorry. CNN put out a report that the allegations against Biden are not supported by anything.
Yes, they are. They are supported by three affidavits. That is a lot better than whistleblower's. Three affidavits from Ukrainian prosecutors who say Joe Biden bribed the president of the Ukraine, that he put pressure on them, that the president of Ukraine dismissed the case solely because of Biden's pressure. Now, they could be lying.
Hold on. When you say bribe, you mean, (INAUDIBLE), federal loan guarantee.
GIULIANI: Here is the definition -- maybe a law school lesson. Here is the definition of bribery. Bribery is offering something of value in exchange for official action. A $1.2 billion loan guarantee, by the way, is something of value. No dispute about that. The official action that he extorted was firing the prosecutor and there are three affidavits to that effect.
So, whether they are telling the truth or not, when CNN says there is no evidence to support it, it is a corrupt, lie. It is the same reason they have been covering it up for 10 years. There isn't anybody in Washington who doesn't know that for 20 years, there have been rumors about James Biden selling his brother's office for millions --
KURTZ: All right. We are going to get to that in a second. I've got to ask you one more question about your role.
GIULIANI: They covered up the people --
KURTZ: Hold on. Hold on, Rudy. The former special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, testified that you told him there was whole back-and-forth about a public statement after the July phone call with President Trump that Ukraine was going to make.
You told him that just the general language of Ukraine saying we are not going crack down corruption was not enough, that they had to publicly mention Burisma, the Ukrainian oil giant that was paying big bucks to Hunder Biden, the former vice president's son, and possible 2016 election meddling --
GIULIANI: That isn't what happened.
KURTZ: -- or else -- or else -- let me just finish the question --
GIULIANI: I never said or else.
KURTZ: No. It wasn't clear from what Volker says or else and from a text - -
GIULIANI: Volker is wrong.
KURTZ: Let me just get the question out. Zelensky would not get a meeting with President Trump. How is that not pressuring Ukraine?
GIULIANI: First of all, even if it is pressuring Ukraine, it is a lot different than what Biden did.
The purpose of questioning is to get a criminal investigation about a scandal at the highest level of our government, uncovered, that the Washington press has been covering up for three years deliberately, and about which they are now going after me personally because they want -- they want to get me, the messenger, so they don't have to deal with their honey boy Biden who has been a crooked for 30 years.
KURTZ: Thirty years --
GIULIANI: Sorry, (INAUDIBLE) lot tougher than him. Now --
KURTZ: You prosecute a lot of (INAUDIBLE) when you were U.S. attorney.
GIULIANI: -- let me explain to you about Volker.
KURTZ: I want to ask you about your general charge. OK, go ahead on Volker.
GIULIANI: Let me answer about Volker. My texts including their internal texts proved beyond a doubt they reached out to me. I have finished my investigation five months early. They reached out to me. They asked me to talk to Mr. Yirmach (ph). I did it on their direction and control. I reported back to them. I discussed with them.
The statement is clearly from the texts their idea, not my idea. They asked me of my advice about the texts. I didn't tell them, he must, he should, he has to, he must.
I said -- I gave them my advice about what would give everybody comfort, that the corrupt Ukrainian government that has been corrupt for a long time was on the right road, that it was willing to root out corruption no matter who it hurt, without fear of favor, the way our agency should be able to do but don't.
KURTZ: Rudy, how do you --
GIULIANI: They covered up for Democrats --
KURTZ: How do you back --
GIULIANI: -- after Republicans because we have a corrupt system going on in Washington called the double standard. If it is not broken, we are going to continue to have an alienated America. And somebody has to --
KURTZ: Let me get in here. Let me get in here.
GIULIANI: -- get above politics and has the wisdom to see that.
KURTZ: How do you back up your broader charge that members of the Biden family were cashing in on his political prominence (ph)?
GIULIANI: About a hundred Root paper articles going back to the 80s saying that his brother was selling his public office. How about -- I get one or two, Howie. How about this one? His brother. We got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden. That is James Biden. We got investors lined up with 747s, filled with cash, ready to invest in this company. The executive remembers James Biden saying it.
KURTZ: Let me just --
GIULIANI: The guy was under investigation.
KURTZ: Let me just tell the audience --
GIULIANI: The guy bankrupted --
KURTZ: Let me just tell the audience --
GIULIANI: He was selling -- Howard, you asked a question. You got to take the answer.
KURTZ: I got to get --
GIULIANI: It's a big answer --
KURTZ: I will give you the time --
GIULIANI: -- because the guy was doing it for years, selling his brother's office for years.
KURTZ: OK. James Biden --
GIULIANI: How about this?
KURTZ: No, no. I don't want to move on yet. James Biden in a lawsuit with executives (ph). Politico has a story on this in August.
GIULIANI: Nobody picked it up.
KURTZ: OK. But maybe that is because there is claim in lawsuit that Joe Biden knew about this.
GIULIANI: Howard, you can't be that naive.
KURTZ: No, no. no. I am not in favor of relatives of politicians trading on the family name.
GIULIANI: Well, he has been doing it for 30 years.
KURTZ: There are a lot of people who do that here in Washington.
GIULIANI: He has been doing it for 30 years.
KURTZ: But you're throwing out the brother of the vice president accused in a lawsuit and there is no specific allegation against Joe Biden.
GIULIANI: Here is the allegation. Joe Biden says he has never discussed his family's business with his family, OK? For 30 years, there have articles about his family business selling his name. Did he ever read any one? Did he ever read any single one of them?
If my brother, they were articles about my brother when I was mayor, selling my office, I call my brother into my office and I say, brother, cut it out, damn it. As opposed to, I don't know it, I didn't hear it. And you all buy that. Bull. And you should be ashamed yourself, your profession, for taking that answer. Thirty years of articles. James Biden is selling it out. Here's another one.
KURTZ: OK. I got a break coming up.
GIULIANI: James Biden made money in Ukraine. He made $500,000 from another Ukrainian that Joe Biden --
KURTZ: I'm going to get to that right after the break.
GIULIANI: -- just when Biden -- and how come they make money wherever Biden is put in charge?
KURTZ: Rudy --
GIULIANI: So Obama puts him in charge of Ukraine. They --
KURTZ: Rudy, I got a hard break coming up. More on this --
GIULIANI: China, $1.5 million.
KURTZ: More with the former mayor in just a moment.
GIULIANI: It is very hard.
KURTZ: We are back with Rudy Giuliani. Mayor, as we went to break, you were talking about a $500,000 loan, a second mortgage to James Biden, Joe's brother --
KURTZ: -- for a Florida vacation home in 2015 from a company controlled by a guy -- this was in Politico on August -- John Hynansky. He is a Ukrainian-American businessman, family friend in Delaware, a long time Joe Biden donor. The Politico article says there was no indication that the loan influenced Joe Biden's official actions. And finally in the piece, spokesman says, the loan was secured by a private residence. It was a six percent --
GIULIANI: You have been cut off.
KURTZ: -- is a six percent --
GIULIANI: I can't hear you.
KURTZ: We lost contact?
GIULIANI: You have to reconnect the microphone.
KURTZ: OK. Let me pause for a minute and see if we can deal with this.
GIULIANI: All I can tell you is that Politico will always say that about Joe Biden. They didn't bother to investigate it. If you put together about 30 of these situations of which there are about 30, Hynansky, first of all, was doing business in Ukraine. Joe Biden went there and gave him an assist for his business in Ukraine.
It happens at exactly the same time the Burisma happens. So you got the kid making $5 million and you got the brother getting -- I'm not connected. I can't hear him.
KURTZ: Rudy, we will work on that. You can't hear me. I will just tell the audience that we are talking about this case. The point that I was going to make -- we will get the mayor back in a moment -- is that there was a six percent loan above prevailing market rates.
So, the counterargument here and Politico did investigate this, is that it was not a sweetheart loan, a low interest loan, and there is no indication that Joe Biden did anything to help produce it. I will keep talking while we wait to -- OK, still cannot hear. Let us try to fix that when we can.
Another point that I want to make as we deal with our technical difficulties is that it is fair game to raise questions about family members of a prominent person, certainly a person running for president, while he is still considered to be the democratic frontrunner. We need to break? OK, control man tells me to break. We will be right back.
KURTZ: We are going to bring back Rudy Giuliani. We have technical difficulties in New York, but he will continue. In the meantime, OK, see, this is live television, folks. Rudy Giuliani is joining us now from New York. Mayor, I apologize for the technical difficulty.
GIULIANI: That's OK.
KURTZ: We were talking about this $500,000 second mortgage. I was making the point that if it is six percent loan above market rates, it is not a sweetheart deal. You have a lot of people around Joe Biden, you are saying, who you believe have benefited from their association with the guy who rose to be vice president.
But you're -- you're bringing up, now you're extending it to the vice president's brother. Does it again appear, you're the president's defense lawyer, he is facing impeachment charges in the House, that you are trying to discredit or perhaps knockout one of his main rivals?
GIULIANI: I'm trying to get somebody to investigate what is massive corruption in the Obama administration. A pay for play scheme that goes back to the early days in which Joe Biden's brother, James Biden, and since I got cut off, I didn't point out the fact that the Ukrainian-American who you were talking about that gave $500,000 to the brother got $20 million to open up a car dealership in Ukraine from the federal government.
And Joe Biden went all the way to the Ukraine to give a speech to explain what a good car dealer he was.
KURTZ: A family friend from Delaware. I am not defending it.
GIULIANI: OK. You know how much of this there is? One after the other after the other. Then of course he flew his son to China. Eight days later, his son received $1 billion from the Chinese government into a private equity fund where he was a partner, and the nephew of Whitey Bulger -- I am not making that up -- and the Chinese government.
In other words, while Joe Biden was negotiating for the United States, his son was a partner with the Chinese government making millions. Since it was a private company, we don't know how much the Chinese government was paying him.
KURTZ: Well, Hunter Biden says -- his spokesman says he didn't make any money from this. He was an investor in this -- yes, Chinese partner. All right, you find that amusing.
GIULIANI: I find it amusing. Nobody has investigated. So Donald Trump says, I didn't do anything wrong. But you are investigating, Howie. Donald Trump says, I didn't do anything wrong, but you are investigating. This kid, who has been taking down millions for years and has a drug problem and failed out of the Navy because he has a drug problem and got in the Navy at 43 years old, pulls strings corruptly to do that? Give me a break.
KURTZ: Well, the question is whether it can be proven, which is the question you would be asked, if you're still a prosecutor.
GIULIANI: Will somebody investigate it?
GIULIANI: Just listen for one second. Here is the difference. We got an anonymous whistleblower who says that Donald Trump did something wrong. Donald Trump, like Hunter Biden says, I didn't do anything wrong.
KURTZ: Forget the whistleblower. We have the transcript of the call and the president's remarks on the lawn.
GIULIANI: Wait. Before you interrupt me, Howard, I know you want to defend it so bad.
KURTZ: I don't want to defend anything. I am asking questions.
GIULIANI: You do.
KURTZ: I am asking questions.
GIULIANI: It is pathetic. It is pathetic. Listen to me. Just listen to me for one second. Hunter Biden says, I didn't do anything wrong. Stop, no investigation, nothing. This all should have stopped when President Trump said, I didn't do anything wrong. We even got the transcript, if we are just going to believe him.
Joe Biden says, I never talked to my family about family business. However, the family business is in the newspapers. The New York Times in December 2015 writes an article about how corrupt and how conflicted the relationship is with the kid.
They say, how could the most corrupt oligarch in Ukraine be paying the vice president's son when the vice president has been tasked by Obama to give out money in the Ukraine? So when Joe Biden says, I didn't know about my son's entanglement in Ukraine, we have to believe he didn't read The New York Times.
KURTZ: There have been many articles since then.
GIULIANI: However, we do.
GIULIANI: But we do. We do believe it.
KURTZ: I got to ask you one more question.
GIULIANI: You won't buy that. You won't buy it.
KURTZ: I am not making a judgment. I'm here to interview you.
GIULIANI: No, you as an investigative reporter should say to yourself, and that what happened with Trump immediately is, when Hunter Biden says, I never made money on this, stop, no more stories --
KURTZ: I understand. You're suggesting -- I understand -- there have been a spate of stories about Hunter Biden this year. New Yorker, Washington Post, New York Times.
GIULIANI: All of them which say is debunked Hunter Biden -- nobody asked for the records. Let them produce the records, private equity fund.
KURTZ: One more question about your role in Ukraine because you had dealt with the recent --
GIULIANI: My role in Ukraine is to try to get out corruption.
KURTZ: Hold on. Let me ask the question. You dealt with fired prosecutor, Lutsenko, who is now under investigation himself.
KURTZ: He says he told you there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. A story in today's New York Times, quote, he was calling him a liar. In retrospect, was it not the best judgment to rely on this guy?
GIULIANI: No. He was the only guy willing to come forward. I took his evidence. I have it in a written statement. I am the first one to reveal the fact that he was lying because it is not just about that, Howie. It is about the fact that Lutsenko is now -- ran away from the Ukraine and probably paid money to the president of Ukraine in order to fix this case.
The witness I am relying on, if you paid any attention to what I did last week, is someone named Viktor Shokin. That is the affidavit I put out, plus two others, Hulyok and Kaleniuk (ph). Those three all say that Joe Biden pressured the president to fire Shokin because Shokin had just come upon a laundered $3 million transaction to Hunter Biden. He was told by the by (INAUDIBLE) government that the United States government would not allow them to give that information out.
That is the reason they say they were fired. Now, I grant you they could be lying, but that is a lot stronger proof than any silly whistleblower nonsense about something that is not even a crime, that we are going into an international conniption over with a phony House investigation --
KURTZ: I have one more question.
GIULIANI: Why are we treated differently? Why are Republicans treated differently? Because --
KURTZ: Well, it is a big story because --
GIULIANI: -- is unjust and because the press is in their pocket. Bad. Really bad.
KURTZ: I need a half-minute answer. The Biden campaign.
GIULIANI: You should want to root it out.
KURTZ: The Biden campaign has written to the network saying that you should not be booked on any show on television because journalists are allowing you to make unhinged, unfounded, and desperate lies. Your response?
GIULIANI: You don't let me get a sentence out. You contradict me immediately. You watch the interview with one of the Biden cronies or one of the democratic lapdogs, and they get 15 minutes to answer a question, and they get to say stupid things like Hunter Biden says, I didn't do it, end of story.
With me, they contradict me before I get one minute into the sentence. So I don't get to say anything uncontradicted. The reason they don't want me on is they know something you are not reporting on. I've got it all.
KURTZ: All right.
GIULIANI: I got it all.
KURTZ: This conversation will continue --
GIULIANI: There is a lot more to come out. We haven't moved to Romania yet. Where do we get to Romania? Her is my concern.
KURTZ: Got to go.
GIULIANI: The guy is a crook big time and he made a mockery of the United States of America. We are laughed out in the Ukraine. And the Ukraine, they say, you lecture us on corruption and your idiot press can't figure out that we were paying off Joe Biden, and what do you think the Chinese think?
KURTZ: Rudy Giuliani --
GIULIANI: The Chinese were paying $1.5 billion to this kid --
KURTZ: We appreciate --
GIULIANI: -- buying the vice president.
KURTZ: We appreciate your coming on. Thanks for joining us.
GIULIANI: No, you should do something about it.
KURTZ: Ahead, the president unloads on the press and a couple of extraordinary news conferences. But up next, the media reaction to Donald Trump openly inviting China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and the coverage of those messages.
KURTZ: Many journalists were stunned after weeklong frenzy over President Trump's call with Ukraine's leader when Trump walk outside the White House, as we mentioned earlier, in front of the cameras and urged Ukraine and also China to investigate Joe Biden and his son for alleged corruption.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: You heard the president himself do it on the White House Lawn. This moment should arguably be a national emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we have a role in abuse of power unfolding on our television screens. At least Nixon did it behind closed doors and taped it.
JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: And just because Joe Biden happens to be running against the president doesn't make him above the law. OK? He's saying the U.S. government and the Chinese government and the Ukrainian government can't ask questions about the Biden family because he is a politician? It's crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage, Emily Jashinsky, culture editor at the Federalist, and Mo Elleithee, former DNC officials and a Fox News contributor who runs Georgetown Institute of Politics.
Emily, the media reaction to that moment on the lawn, the president saying China, Ukraine as he confessed, why don't we impeach him tomorrow> But does that go too far.
EMILY JASHINSKY, CULTURE EDITOR, THE FEDERALIST: Right. So, I'm eager to talk about this because I think it illustrates a central problem with the media's struggle to cove Donald Trump, which is that, that comment in my opinion is indefensible to say that China should investigate the Biden family.
But at the same time, we have to be able to acknowledge to what he's saying, and Marco Rubio made this point, is likely an effort to needle the press.
And so, the hysteria I think needs to at least acknowledge that some of us is was part of a strategy and an effort to get media coverage now about what Biden did in China. And if you don't acknowledge that I think you're missing a lot; you're not doing your audience a favor in -- in understanding what the president is really doing.
KURTZ: Well, Mo, maybe the president is baiting the press with this, maybe he's trying to normalize this notion of putting foreign countries at the call -- just seems kind of routine or he just wants to get these allegations out there about the Bidens pillaging was the word he used to these countries. And we just got an earful from Rudy Giuliani also obviously determined to get these allegations and against another Biden family member.
MO ELLEITHEE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE: Yes, first of all, you asked me at the end what he thought about the Biden campaign asking media companies. If I'm working for the Biden campaign, I want Rudy Giuliani out there every day. He is the single best spokesperson for those who want to impeach the president. Every time he opens his mouth, he hurts the president. Look, I - -
KURTZ: He doesn't obviously disagree because he is on television every day.
ELLEITHEE: But the president is -- I mean, Donald Trump might even be the one spokesperson better --
ELLEITHEE: -- than Rudy Giuliani for the Democrats. Look, where I think a little bit -- I think we are fairly aligned in our views on a lot of this. But one area where I -- maybe I struggle with trying to figure out how much of this is actually strategic by the president and his allies.
I think they are trying to figure out a strategy for dealing with the press in this. The problem is they keep changing their argument, they keep changing what it is they want to say. First it was this didn't happen, then it was it happened and it was perfect. Then it was the other guy did it and the other guy was worse than we were.
I mean, they keep changing their argument. The reality is, as much as they try to obfuscate and conflate and deflect and make this about process or something else, at the end of the day the president was on camera saying he did, admitting to doing what the whistleblower and potentially whistleblowers now say he did.
KURTZ: Well, a step, in fairness the president in urging these investigations is not offering a quid pro quo, earlier the alleged quid pro quo involved withheld military aid. So, I want to be fair about that.
Also, I want to put up, folks, a pair of text messages. I mentioned this briefly with Rudy Giuliani. These are U.S. diplomats going back and forth after the phone call. This is in September, and if we got that up on the screen.
Bill Taylor, who is a veteran diplomat who has a -- previous ambassador to Ukraine and appointed by Bush says "I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."
Gordon Sondland, who is a political appointee donated a million dollars to the Trump inauguration says, "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions. The president has been crystal clear no quid pro quos of any kind."
The quid pro quo being talked about there, although Sondland says it's not happening is whether or not Ukraine would make a public statement that would include the Bidens committing to an investigation and then get a meeting with President Trump.
JASHINSKY: Right. This is a key exchange. And I think what's important about it is that it shows there's even confusion behind the scenes, behind the curtains as to whether what was actually on the table and why it was on the table. And I think that's very important because it goes to what people actually understood.
And so, for something to be a quid pro quo, for something to be a bribery, a lot of people actually have to understand what's on the table and what's being used as a bargaining chip. And so, if there's internal confusion over that at that time, I don't think that helps the Democrats case.
ELLEITHEE: But other exchanges in that text exchange and other evidence has come out so far shows that the other thing the Ukraine -- the Ukrainians wanted was a meeting with the president, an Oval Office meeting and that there was a precondition to that which was to publicly announced you are going to investigate the Bidens. And there was the later text message --
ELLEITHEE: -- where they specifically laid out the quid pro quo.
KURTZ: Ultimately, the statement was never issued but let's talk about Joe Biden. Because he has not done an interview with the journalists since the Ukraine story broke. In fact, he has done only six news interviews on TV since he cleared in July. I'm not counting like Colbert, Cohen, Kimmel. None of his aides or surrogates have been out there defending him. He's given a couple speeches in which he has responded. Isn't this weakening his defense --
JASHINSKY: Yes, it's --
KURTZ: -- against this Trump onslaught.
JASHINSKY: Yes, I think so. I think it's playing right into the president's strategy which is to allow there to be this complete consumption in one of the -- in the news cycle of the Biden Ukraine story. Which, there's been a lot of reporting and coverage on and there's a significant amount of focus on that right now.
And so, I think by not coming out and facing that stuff head on and saying head on, you know, going with this line about the president attacking his family in a one on one, you know, 60 minutes or something.
JASHINSKY: He is absolutely playing the president's hand.
KURTZ: Right. By the way, the White House didn't put out anything today on any of the Sunday shows. Rudy really is the only administration representative. But is this of Biden calculation of that of his aides that -- and by the way there has been criticism of the DNC for not being more aggressive defending Biden, that if he gets out there he is going to have to go through a whole long list of Hunter Biden and his family and Ukraine, that he doesn't want to be answering those, and that it tells the conversation toward him having to play defense?
ELLEITHEE: I don't know. If I were advising the Biden campaign, I'd have him out there a lot more.
KURTZ: I'll have him on TV every single day.
ELLEITHEE: As should I. Because I think he's actually very good at this. But here's what's really interesting because one I get asked all the time.
ELLEITHEE: A lot of us get asked all the time. Is this not hurting Joe Biden? The polling so far is not bearing that out. The polling so far just in the past couple of weeks or the past week has shown that Democratic primary voters in some key states are actually rallying behind him because of how unfair the attack is. We'll see if that's sustainable but that's where we are right now.
KURTZ: My point is, if Biden is on TV, he makes the story about Donald Trump and Joe Biden and that takes oxygen away from the others.
So, after the break, where the impeachment looming President Trump brands the media corrupt and talks about a coup. How that war of words is unfolding, next.
KURTZ: With the impeachment drama building, President Trump is really unloading on what he now says he'll call not fake news but corrupt news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: But you should be ashamed of yourself. We have the most dishonest media that you can imagine. And you should be ashamed of yourself.
JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: All right. I don't want to be rude. I just wanted you to have a chance to answer the question that I asked.
TRUMP: I've answered everything. It's a whole hoax and you know who is paying into the hoax? People like you and the fake news media that we have in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: He was talking to Jeff Mason of Reuters; the president was particularly steamed over a New York Times report based on a book by two of its journalists that Trump had privately pushed for moat at the border filled with alligators or snakes and an electrified fence with spiky tops that can sear human flesh. The president mistakenly thought that story was in the Washington Post.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Obviously, it's fake because almost everything the Washington Post does is fake. It's a fake newspaper. It's owned by a rich guy for the purpose of giving him power in Washington.
I'm tough on the border but I'm not that tough. OK. It was a lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So, he is denying the story, Emily, that was in the New York Times, he's calling corrupt media, he's chewing out Jeff Mason maybe the most mild-mannered reporter in Washington, a good reporter. What do you make of the ratcheting up?
JASHINSKY: Well, I think it's actually proportional to the ratcheting that the media has been doing. So, I think in that respect it's fair. I think you know, he referring to the media as corrupt.
I think, sadly, if the objective of the media is cover the news of the day fairly and accurately, I think it's perfectly fair to say that they have been corrupted by other motivations especially when it comes to this president. And those motivations are political, they're ideological, they are ratings based.
And so, I mean, I don't think the label is entirely unfair. I think it's sad to see another institution label is corrupt but I think in this case the bill kind of fits.
KURTZ: OK. So, you endorse the corrupt language. When journalists then see, you know, that news conference, so actually two news conferences that day and they say well, he is angry, he is out of control and he's unhinged, you know, with some commentators on the right say of course he is angry, the media cranked up the Russia story for two years to 11, now doing the same with Ukraine. It's not impeachable they say. Is the coverage kind of getting one-sided?
ELLEITHEE: I think we are in extraordinary times. And I think the last time we have seen times this extraordinary in our politics was Watergate when the then sitting president came out and called the media fake every day. They weren't. They were tough, they were investigative and they were calling out abuses of power. You now have an active investigation going on.
JASHINSKY: This is not the media of the 70s.
ELLEITHEE: Excuse me. No, no. And it's all hyper charge now in large part because of the new era.
KURTZ: And that impeachment probe was more -- was actually bipartisan, this one is not.
ELLEITHEE: Well, it didn't start bipartisan. Let's be -- let's remember, right? I mean, you didn't have Republicans coming on board until much later --
KURTZ: Against Nixon.
ELLEITHEE: -- against Nixon. You see Republicans were in the polling against or for impeachment, didn't really sort of hit its crescendo until days before he dropped out. So, this is still very early.
KURTZ: Let me turn to the vice president, because Mike Pence said to reporters that he knew nothing about the president's attempt to pressure Ukraine, although he deny, perhaps using the word pressure. Pence was yanked from the inaugural delegation that was sent in Ukraine for Zelensky's swearing-in, but the reason may not have been apparent and his aide was on that July 25th phone call.
CNN's Brianna Keilar went on the air right after that and said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: And we all know for having covered Pence for so long that Pence is lying and that he knows that he is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So, this is a daytime news person saying forger what Pence said. He's lying. He knows he is lying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JASHINSKY: Right. That's a good example to the fact that you can't -- you can't just lay out what happened. You have to make a judgment call. And that's how the media believes is their job to cover the Trump presidency when in fact they cover every other presidency well, unless it's a Republican --
JASHINSKY: -- by just laying out the facts and letting viewers decide. Viewers are smart, we're not idiots, we can connect those dots and so we don't need the judgment call from Brianna Keilar.
KURTZ: Right. It's one thing if commentators say because, you know, we're all used to that, right? On the left, he is lying, now he's lying, now Adam Schiff is lying which we'll get to.
How did the media, Mo, handle the president's language. He says it's a coup. Impeachment is in the Constitution. He tweets that the Democrats are peddling B.S., he uses the whole word. He throws around treason. How can journalists be fair to this president? And he also points out coups in the Constitution and his worst detractors are not committing treason?
ELLEITHEE: Right. I mean, and this is where I think the challenge of the media covering the Trump presidency where this is very different from Nixon, this president uses rhetoric and language that is far beyond the pale and sometimes I think it is fair.
KURTZ: And also, some Democrats like Beto O'Rourke.
ELLEITHEE: No, no. Sure. Now I think that sometimes it is, the role of the media to actually call it out. Right. I think back to when this president before he was president, launched his sort of political career on the back of the hoax of birtherism, Right. It was important for people to that isn't true. The facts do not bear that out.
JASHINSKY: I think you stick to your mission of being objective and you trust the American public enough to make the judgment call you don't do it yourself.
KURTZ: And on that note, still to come, Adam Schiff and Mike Pompeo caught withholding the truth in TV interviews. Guess which one the press treated as a scandal.
KURTZ: Adam Schiff, the Democratic House chairman now leading the impeachment inquiry claimed last month on MSNBC that he and his people had no previous contact with the whistleblower in this case. The Daily Beast Sam Stein asked him the question on Morning Joe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM STEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Fist off, have you heard from the whistleblower? Are you -- do you want to hear from the whistleblower?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We not spoken directly with whistleblower. We would like to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: But the New York Times reported that Schiff knew about the whistleblower days before he filed the complaint against President Trump, that one of Schiff's Democratic staffer said spoken to the CIA officer and advised him to hire a lawyer and go to the inspector general. President Trump ripped Schiff but this was barely mentioned on most cable news networks other than Fox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Schiff had to now admitting that would undermine the story and hands impeachment itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: But wait, what about Sam Stein who ask the question, Schiff called him to say he should have been clearer. Here's what Stein tweeted. "Schiff did appear to lie here in previously saying that his office had not spoken directly to with whistleblower. But if you care more about this stuff than the actual substance of the whistleblower complaint than you are being a hack."
Mo, CBC, ABC didn't even cover this on the evening newscast and as for Sam Stein's tweet, I say if you only care about one side slice then you're being a hack.
ELLEITHEE: I think this is evidence of just how careful Democrats have to be. Right? Schiff said and he came back and he said yes, we spoke -- or my staff did speak with him. And the rest of that story is he -- the -- Schiff never knew who the whistleblower was, only knew the allegations generally and they followed procedure, they laid out procedure that House and Senate Democrats and Republicans use.
But Schiff has to be careful, democrats have to be careful that they don't give an inch. Because as we see the president will jump all over it if there's even the slightest perception of --
KURTZ: Well, I would argue --
ELLEITHEE: -- doing anything that's not true.
KURTZ: But I would argue that when the House chairman utter a falsehood on television that the media should also jump all over it. But interestingly, Emily, the New York Times broke the story prompting these rare words of praise from the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I hate to say it's the New York Times, I can't believe they wrote it, I give a lot of respect for the New York Times for putting it out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So suddenly the New York Times is neither failing or fake news in this instance.
JASHINSKY: Yes, in this instance, although I would love to see more reporting on what Adam Schiff knew exactly. Because he says he doesn't know -- he didn't know at the time that this was the same whistleblower and all those details. I think there are a lot of questions to be asked about who told him what at that time? And I would love to see the New York Times, for instance, do some more reporting on that.
KURTZ: Very different situation with Mike Pompeo when everybody ended up replaying the secretary of state's interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA RADDATZ, CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: What do you know about those conversations?
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: So, you just gave me a report about a whistleblower complaint. None of which I've seen.
As for was I on the phone call? I was on the phone call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So, Pompeo was on the phone call, he kind of fanned ignorance with a question from Martha Raddatz and this was a huge story, and much of the media branded Pompeo a liar. A little contrast there to the way that Schiff matters then.
ELLEITHEE: I mean, Pompeo flat out said, and remember, this is about being on the actual call. I think Schiff needs to be more careful on how he goes at it. But this is pretty brazen as well. And with all the hysteria you see from the right about Adam Schiff they're completely ignoring this. Pompeo was on the call and pretended not to recall it. That should get as much scrutiny from the media on the right.
KURTZ: He lied by omission.
KURTZ: He didn't -- he wasn't asked directly were you on the call. But so, I say, you know, cover top officials in both parties when they lie, dissemble, mislead, is there a double standard here as evidenced here by these episodes?
JASHINSKY: Absolutely. You can put this in a textbook. I think this is a very, very instructive parallel here because it's exactly -- they were just doing this commonplace partisan evasion. And if you are going to spent weeks hammering Pompeo when Schiff, and I would argue there are greater implications to Schiff's evasion, the cover -- the disparity in the coverage was glaring. Glaring. I mean, really you could put this in a textbook about the double standard. It is that bad.
KURTZ: And that's the accusation against the press here, which is that there is a double standard that, look, impeachment is a big story, 225 House Democrats have come out for the inquiry. It's more than the majority, it need to impeach, it's a huge story and the allegations are serious but there is a perception -- I got half a minute here -- that the media have been waiting for this and waiting for this and now they're piling on a president they don't like.
ELLEITHEE: I think when you've got an impeachment inquiry where the president has publicly admitted to doing the things the whistleblower said he did, that's a legitimate story and that's a story that the press needs to jump on.
KURTZ: Your thought.
JASHINSKY: Well, I think there is a legitimate story about what Adam Schiff knew and why he didn't say that he knew what he knew and that should have gotten a heck lot more attention this week.
KURTZ: Thanks, panel. Great to see you. And that's it for this edition of "Media Buzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. Check out my podcast Media Buzz Meter. You can subscribe to Apple iTunes or Google Play or foxnewspodcast.com. We also -- you also like our Facebook page where you can see my daily columns, original videos. And on Twitter, what did you think of the Rudy Giuliani interview? I bet it's kind of buzzing right now.
We'll be back here next Sunday. We'll see you then 11:00 Eastern with the latest Buzz.
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