RUSH LIMBAUGH: The three major networks have yet to explain why Brian Ross has been suspended for a month. The three major networks are ignoring this story. Brian Ross, once again, crapped the bed on Friday with an absolute BS story that he had to know was BS. And we opened the program on Friday calling him out, urging everybody not to panic over what Brian Ross was reporting, because you can‚Äôt trust it.
This guy has reported lies about me throughout my career, some of it genuinely damaging. And if I weren‚Äôt a public figure, I would have actionable opportunities on it. But he has shown himself to be a full-fledged partisan, and ABC knows it, and Brian Ross gives ABC exactly what it wants. The idea that they‚Äôre outraged and disappointed over what happened is crazy. He gets a four-week unpaid vacation over the month of December, which as we all know is the time we hit the Christmas break traditionally and not a whole lot of news is made. So it ain‚Äôt that bad a deal for Brian Ross, and I doubt that his reputation in his own mind has been damaged at all here.
But let‚Äôs go back and relive the moment when I tried to calm the waters here on Friday. What Brian Ross had reported was that the president, as a candidate, had encouraged members of his team to call the Russians and tamper with Obama administration foreign policy. He mentioned that Trump ordered this done as a candidate. Were that true, that would be big news. And that would be very bad. And that would have been very wrong.
But it didn‚Äôt happen. It happened after Trump became president-elect, after he had won the election, and it happened during the transition, making it not a big deal at all, making it quite common for Trump ordering various members of his team to call countries and their representatives to set the table for the incoming new administration. There is nothing criminal about it except they‚Äôre trying to criminalize this particular presidential transition.
So they ran with this. And over on The View, I mean, Joy Behar is doing a dance like she probably hasn‚Äôt done in 70 years. She‚Äôs so excited, so thrilled, had no idea that Brian Ross had made it up, lied about it, got it wrong, however you want to characterize it. This is how I opened the program Friday.
RUSH ARCHIVE: I don‚Äôt mean to be talking down here, but everybody calm down. Just calm down. ABC News and Brian Ross are exactly who we think they are. Brian Ross reporting that Flynn promised to tell Mueller anything he wants to know about Trump and his family. Folks, it‚Äôs Brian Ross, it‚Äôs ABC, it‚Äôs much ado about nothing.
RUSH: Here is Brian Ross last Friday morning, ABC special report, anchor George Stephanopoulos talking to Brian Ross about Flynn pleading guilty to a count of lying to the FBI, which we‚Äôre gonna get into again, folks, today. It‚Äôs all gonna be made clear today. Talk about transparency and clarity, that‚Äôs the coin of the realm here and by the time we finish you will have no questions or doubts about anything that‚Äôs happened since we were last together on Friday. So Stephanopoulos says, ‚ÄúHey, Brian, this would suggest that Michael Flynn had a fair amount of information to offer the special counsel in return.‚ÄĚ
ROSS: He‚Äôs prepared to testify, we are told by a confidant, against President Trump, against members of the Trump family and others in the White House. He‚Äôs prepared to testify that President Trump, as a candidate, Donald Trump, ordered him, directed him to make contact with the Russians, which contradicts all that Donald Trump has said at this point.
RUSH: Well, now, the keyword in that bite is ‚ÄúPresident Trump as a candidate.‚ÄĚ Meaning before the election. And had that happened, then the Trump team and Trump would be in heap big doo-doo. But it was wrong. And of course Stephanopoulos‚Äô question is wrong. ‚ÄúBrian, this would suggest Michael Flynn had a fair amount of information to offer.‚ÄĚ No, it doesn‚Äôt. It means Flynn doesn‚Äôt have anything to offer, if all they got him on was lying to the FBI in a process crime.
When your lead witness, when your lead witness can‚Äôt testify to the scheme, and Flynn‚Äôs not testifying or pleading guilty to any scheme here, he‚Äôs testifying or pleading guilty to lying to investigators. So Mueller has secured as his number one witness an admitted liar. Now, if this case ever sees an indictment before a jury, Flynn‚Äôs not gonna do them any good. But that‚Äôs not what they‚Äôre aiming for here, folks. They‚Äôre aiming for impeachment, and they‚Äôre aiming for impeachment on an obstruction of justice charge.
There is no collusion with Russia, there never was any collusion with Russia, and they‚Äôre not pursuing collusion with Russia. They‚Äôre gonna go after Trump for obstructing justice. It all has to with Trump telling Comey, asking Comey to go easy on Flynn whether or not Trump knew that Flynn had lied when all of that happened. They don‚Äôt have anything on the primary objective of this entire investigation. They‚Äôve got zilch, they got zero, they got nada. They don‚Äôt have any collusion with the Russians because there wasn‚Äôt any. All they‚Äôve got now is an attempt to portray Trump as obstructing justice as president-elect and as president, not as a candidate.
So Brian Ross makes this report, and the stock market tanks 350 points. This cost people a lot of money. It laid out there. This report laid out there for a while during most of the day, and people reacting to it, and most people didn‚Äôt parse it. They didn‚Äôt hear the word ‚Äúcandidate‚ÄĚ at first. Some did eventually. Which is what raised everybody‚Äôs attention. And then Friday night on ABC‚Äôs World News Tonight, here is a portion of Brian Ross‚Äôs report about Flynn pleading guilty to one count lying to the FBI.
ROSS: A clarification tonight on something one of Flynn‚Äôs confident‚Äôs told us and we reported earlier today, He said the President had asked Flynn to contact Russia during the campaign He‚Äôs now clarifying that, saying according to Flynn Candidate Trump asked him during the campaign to find ways to repair relations with Russia and other hot spots and then after the election the President-elect asked him to ‚Äď told him to contact Russia on issues including working together to fight ISIS.
RUSH: Well, thanks, Brian, it just means your first report, it‚Äôs not only not worthless, it was damaging, and I believe purposely so. I don‚Äôt believe any objectivity. I don‚Äôt give him the benefit of the doubt anymore. This kind of stuff, this is not tough. When you‚Äôre gonna issue a report saying that a candidate ‚ÄĒ and throwing this off on a source. Does anybody believe there‚Äôs a source out there? Brian Ross says, ‚ÄúCorrection. Now, my sources clarifying that‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ Why‚Äôs the source clarifying? Why didn‚Äôt you clarify the source before you ran with the original story?
Answer: Too juicy. You know what‚Äôs happening here, folks, I‚Äôm gonna tell you exactly what‚Äôs happening. These people are so lost in their dream of impeaching Trump. I told you last week, I‚Äôve told you many days prior, these people get up every day ‚ÄĒ I‚Äôm talking about everybody in the Drive-By Media, in Washington, New York, that whole corridor, they wake up every day, what gets them out of bed is that this day, every day, is gonna be the day where the silver bullet is found, and we‚Äôre gonna nail Trump today. It‚Äôs gonna happen today, because they believe that bullet exists.
They have immersed themselves so much in this lying, stinking premise that Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary, they‚Äôve been immersed in it so long, they now believe it. Whatever objectivity they bring to this, if any, whatever intelligence they bring to this, they‚Äôre lost now.
They‚Äôre so immersed in this, they literally believe it. And each one of them gets up every day thinking they‚Äôre gonna be the one that discovers the story, that discovers the item, that discovers the evidence that is gonna nail Trump. They all do. They live it, and they breathe it. And this is what happened to Brian Ross. I don‚Äôt know who his source is, I don‚Äôt know what his source really told him. But they believe that Donald Trump actually was colluding with the Russians. They believe the Trump dossier. They believe it in their minds, and they believe it in their hearts.
No more objectivity, no more curiosity, no more openness to alternatives. They believe it. And so they have corrupted their own intellects. They have corrupted their own professionalism, individually. And this is exactly what happened. They got a morsel here, and they so want this to be true that Brian Ross either heard something that wasn‚Äôt said or did indeed hear something that was said and ran the risk of running with it anyway because why not? My buddies in the media are gonna back me up. My management in the media are gonna back me up because we all hate Trump, and we all want Trump to go, and we‚Äôre all so sorry and sad about what happened to Matt Lauer. And so we‚Äôve got a score to settle here.
Well, then all hell broke loose. I can‚Äôt tell you, I was so gratified the number of emails I got Friday night, ‚ÄúYou called it, you called it, you called it.‚ÄĚ I know I did. ‚ÄėCause I know these people. And you know why I knew it? Let‚Äôs go back, July 20th, 2012, once again Good Morning America with George Stephanopoulos. He is interviewing ABC‚Äôs chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross about the alleged shooter in a mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to go to Brian Ross here, because, Brian, you‚Äôve been looking, investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You‚Äôve found something that might be significant.
BRIAN ROSS: There‚Äôs a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea Party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don‚Äôt know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it‚Äôs Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, we‚Äôll keep looking at that.
RUSH: Okay, now, let me ask you a question. You‚Äôre Brian Ross ABC News Washington, investigative reporter, chief investigative correspondent, trench coat and everything, and there‚Äôs a mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado and the first instinct you have after learning the man‚Äôs name is to go check a Tea Party roster? That‚Äôs the first instinct you‚Äôve got?
The first question that occurs to you? Hm-hm, Jim Holmes, I wonder if this guy happens to be a mad right-winger Tea Party member. And, lo and behold, he goes wherever he has to to find these rosters of members of the Tea Party. Lo and behold, there‚Äôs a Jim Holmes there! His heart must have been beating, he must have been unable to contain himself here, he might have had to exert more control over his bodily functions than you‚Äôd ever know possible. He could not wait to get this story on the air that the shooter was a Tea Party member.
It turned out not to be true. ‚ÄúBut, Rush, but, Rush, he alluded in that report, I heard, ‚ÄėWe don‚Äôt know if it‚Äôs the same Jim Holmes.'‚ÄĚ They were hoping. It doesn‚Äôt matter if they knew or not. They made the report and they established the connection, and you know as well as I do that the low-information crowd hears this stuff and then once a connection is made and the emotional reaction occurs they hear nothing that follows.
Tea Party. Shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Brian Ross was not suspended for that. He was suspended by ABC News on Friday, but again, ABC, CBS, NBC, the three primary broadcast networks have not even reported that. He‚Äôs been suspended without pay for four weeks during December. The first report was that he was suspended with pay, which meant that he was gonna get a four-week Christmas vacation paid. But it turned out not to be the case.
But this is why, my friends, my instincts guided by intelligence, said don‚Äôt sweat this on Friday. This probably isn‚Äôt true. Intelligence, instinct guided by experience. Jeff Greenfield, CNN Reliable Sources on Sunday talking to little Brian Stelter about this. Stelter said, ‚ÄúJeff, when we look at what‚Äôs going on so far, we don‚Äôt know what Flynn may say to Mueller. Isn‚Äôt that the point, that this isn‚Äôt exonerating for Trump, it‚Äôs not incriminating. We don‚Äôt know yet what‚Äôs going on.‚ÄĚ
GREENFIELD: That‚Äôs what made this error so consequential. I‚Äôm gonna be very blunt about this. I‚Äôm sorry. This is not Brian Ross‚Äôs first mistake ‚ÄĒ
RUSH: You think?
GREENFIELD: ‚ÄĒ in reporting breaking news inaccurately. Linking Saddam to the anthrax attacks in 2001, linking the Aurora shooter to the Tea Party by using the wrong name. This is exactly what Trump and his allies want to say, ‚ÄúNo matter what you hear on mainstream media, it‚Äôs fake, they‚Äôre doing it to hurt us.‚ÄĚ And this is like handing a sword to the people who want all media to be looked at in that regard.
RUSH: Well, I just had the latest polling data appear here in my hands, my formerly nicotine-stained fingers, and it‚Äôs from TheHill.com. ‚ÄúMajority of Trump Supporters Say Media is ‚ÄėEnemy of American People.'‚ÄĚ And that‚Äôs in quotes. ‚ÄúA majority of President Trump‚Äôs supporters in a new poll agree with the president‚Äôs claim that the media is ‚Äėthe enemy of the American people,‚Äô according to new research from YouGov. According to the data, more than 60 percent of ‚ÄėTrump approvers‚Äô said they agreed with the statement, while just about 15 percent of ‚ÄėTrump disapprovers‚Äô said they agreed with it, according to BuzzFeed.‚ÄĚ
You people in the Drive-Bys, you‚Äôre trying to separate Trump from his supporters and voters, and you‚Äôre going backwards. You are cementing Trump‚Äôs supporters to him. You are tightening that bond. And it‚Äôs not just Brian Ross. It‚Äôs the whole lot of you. Well, I mean, there are exceptions out there, of course.