NBC: Don’t Worry, After Trump Trip, ‘We’re Back to the Same Story Lines’ on Russia

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Opening Tuesday’s NBC Today, co-hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie assured their liberal viewers that with President Trump back from his overseas trip they were going to guarantee that the Russia investigation was the top headline. Guthrie welcomed the audience by announcing: “The President’s back from his overseas trip, but some of these same headlines persisting.”

Lauer followed up: “That’s right, we’re back to the same story lines in Washington as people kind of get – shake off the holiday weekend.” Guthrie chimed back in: “Absolutely. There’s some new overnight developments to tell you about regarding this Russia investigation and the reports that Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, tried to establish a secret back channel with Moscow before the Inauguration.”

Beginning the first report of the show, correspondent Peter Alexander touted “new headlines emerging that raise questions about Kushner’s contacts with Russia.” After briefly noticing the President’s Memorial Day address honoring fallen military members, Alexander hastened to add that “heading into summer, the President and his team are already feeling the heat” and “fending off critical headlines.”

Following Alexander’s report, Lauer turned to MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace and again emphasized: “The President’s back from nine days overseas, no place like home, that doesn’t quite make sense. What’s gonna drive headlines this week?” Wallace agreed that the media narrative had already been decided:

Listen, they even – right before I came on they sent a note saying remind people of the historic moves we made in the Middle East. No one’s going to be talking about any of the good things about the trip. They’ll be on the cleanup from the stop in NATO, which was, you know, by people on both sides of the aisle considered to be a debacle.

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She then melodramatically proclaimed: “...they have a sort of Def Con 4 political crisis on their hands with the Russia investigation. And it now goes not just to the top echelons of the West Wing senior staff, it goes to the deep inner circle of the President’s family.”

Later in the panel discussion, which included former Obama flack Josh Earnest, Wallace ranted: “I think that what continues to trip up this White House, they were so unprepared to assume the office of the presidency....Their excuses are nonsensical....They make no sense when you consider what was happening.”

Wrapping up the segment, Lauer quipped: “So what you’re both telling us, it’s going to be another calm week in Washington?” That prompted fits of laughter in the studio. Guthrie remarked: “Happy summer, everybody.”

Here are excerpts of May 30 coverage:

7:01 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: The President’s back from his overseas trip, but some of these same headlines persisting.

MATT LAUER: That’s right, we’re back to the same story lines in Washington as people kind of get – shake off the holiday weekend.

GUTHRIE: Absolutely. There’s some new overnight developments to tell you about regarding this Russia investigation and the reports that Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, tried to establish a secret back channel with Moscow before the Inauguration. Now, we’ve got complete coverage and we’ll start with NBC National Correspondent Peter Alexander. Peter, good morning to you.

PETER ALEXANDER: Hey, Savannah, Matt, good morning to you. President Donald Trump and his advisers are gearing up right now for an aggressive effort to push back on allegations involving Russia and his presidential campaign. Their plan, to establish a war room to deal with all things Russia related. White House aides tell NBC News the effort will be headed by Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, and Reince Priebus, as some advisers here are encouraging Kushner to lay low with these new headlines emerging that raise questions about Kushner’s contacts with Russia.

America’s commander-in-chief, President Trump, briefly putting politics aside, honoring the nation’s fallen military heros.

DONALD TRUMP: I believe that God has a special place in heaven for those who lay down their lives so that others may live free from fear.

ALEXANDER: But heading into summer, the President and his team are already feeling the heat. Mr. Trump fending off critical headlines.

(...)

7:05 AM

MATT LAUER: Let’s turn to our political analysts Josh Earnest and Nicole Wallace. Guys, good morning, good to see you both. The President’s back from nine days overseas, no place like home, that doesn’t quite make sense. What’s gonna drive headlines this week?

NICOLLE WALLACE: Listen, they even – right before I came on they sent a note saying remind people of the historic moves we made in the Middle East. No one’s going to be talking about any of the good things about the trip. They’ll be on the cleanup from the stop in NATO, which was, you know, by people on both sides of the aisle considered to be a debacle. That the President didn’t affirm our commitment to NATO, to protecting our allies. That’s the foreign policy side. And on the domestic side, it’s what Peter [Alexander] just laid out, they have a sort of Def Con 4 political crisis on their hands with the Russia investigation. And it now goes not just to the top echelons of the West Wing senior staff, it goes to the deep inner circle of the President’s family.

(...)

7:08 AM

WALLACE: I think that what continues to trip up this White House, they were so unprepared to assume the office of the presidency that they had no staff. I find it hard to believe that they couldn’t wait a few weeks to start engaging in foreign policy. Their excuses are nonsensical and even their attorneys are trying to get their arms around the set of facts to see if these explanations and these excuses hold water. They make no sense when you consider what was happening. They had no cabinet, yet they had to urgently rush into foreign policy negotiations secretly with Russia? It makes no sense.

LAUER: So what you’re both telling us, it’s going to be another calm week in Washington?

[LAUGHTER]

GUTHRIE: Happy summer, everybody.

(...)