Sen. Graham: Media Are Baking Bogus IG Report Cake

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) used his opening statement for a hearing into the Justice Department inspector general's investigation of the Russia election-meddling probe to read news outlets the riot act.

He recited some of the headlines from media reports about the report before it was issued this week, focusing on the one he recounted as "Lawful Investigation with a Few Irregularities," which he paraphrased as "everything OK, low-level people kind of got off track."

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Graham said, appearing to be addressing those media outlets: "If that is what you get out of this report, you clearly didn't read it. If your takeaway is that the investigation was lawfully predicated and that's your main point, you missed the entire report."

He suggested that was the headline because that's what the media wanted it to be. "That, and nothing more."

He said if it had been a Democratic president going through what President Trump was going through, the headline would have been: "The FBI Takes Law Into Its Own Hands," or "Biased Agents Cut Corners," or "Lied to Court, Ignored Exoneration."

Graham said the first thing his hearing audience needed to know was "how the cake was baked." He said his goal was to make sure that "whether you like Trump or hate Trump or don't care about Trump," the FBI's conduct was viewed as the "few irregularities" the media were characterizing it as being. If this becomes "few irregularities," then God help us all."

When Graham read from the e-mail exchange between two FBI employees on the President--"God, Trump is a loathsome human," "Oh my god, he's an idiot"--he followed immediately by saying: "And you know what, in newsrooms all over the country now people are nodding." But he conceded it went beyond journalists. "This represents the attitude of a lot of people in America and they can have that attitude, but you shouldn't be in the journalism business or in the FBI."

He said people are entitled to think the President is an "enormous douche" and a lot of people do, they just shouldn't be investigators. 

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.