CNN's Toobin Stands by Statement That Justice Department Is Corrupt

The impeachment inquiry and coverage of the testimony of acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire inserted itself into a House Judiciary Committee hearing on cameras in the court Thursday (Sept. 26).

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) used his five minutes of questioning of the witnesses to lay into CNN legal analyst and witness Jeffrey Toobin over his statement on CNN earlier in the day that the whistleblower complaint at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump indicated that the Justice Department was corrupt.

Jordan used his five minutes of question time to grill Toobin on that statement, leading Committee Chairman Rep. Hank Johnson (R-Ga.) to warn Jordan about getting off topic and the two to get into a fairly heated exchange.

Related: Congress Looks at Cameras in Court

They sparred between themselves before Johnson allowed Jordan to continue to use his time to go through a list of "things that happened in the Obama Justice Department," apparently to make the case that the Justice Department had been corrupt under that administration, as well as to impugn the whistleblower, which the President was doing as well in tweets: 


Jordan argued that there were indications the whistleblower was politically biased, calling that "Washington speak for this guy hated Trump." He said the whistleblower was also going on second-hand information. Yet, he said, Toobin still used that complaint as the basis for saying the Justice Department was corrupt, a statement Toobin stood by and reiterated at the hearing. 

Toobin said he was not basing that assessment on the complaint alone, but said that the fact that the whistleblower's characterization of the call between Trump and the Ukranian president tracked closely with the summary the White House itself released even though the whistleblower did not have access to that transcript. He said that accuracy "suggests a great deal of credibility.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.