Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage

Legal analyst Julian Epstein said Thursday that the mainstream media “really overplayed its hand” on its “breathless coverage” of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE’s investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign.

“The mainstream media really, really overplayed its hand with the breathless coverage every day that we’re just at the precipice of something that is going to be impeachable,” Epstein, a former chief Democratic counsel to the House Judiciary Committee under the Clinton administration, told Hill.TV.

Epstein, who has frequently appeared on cable news networks like Fox News and CNN, said that the media’s focus on the probe came at the expense of other important issues.

“When the political class and the media class becomes obsessed in a story that is not leading anywhere for two years, it suffocates out conversation about other things that we out to be talking about,” he said, citing the economy as a prime example.

Epstein, who has frequently appeared on cable news networks like Fox News and CNN, said even though it was an important story, the media’s focus on the probe came at the expense of other important issues.

The analyst argued that while China and India’s economies are “growing rapidly,” all that the United States has to show for is a “24 news cycle.”

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet House poised to hold Barr, Ross in contempt Harris campaign accepts money from partners of law firm she criticized over Epstein case MORE on Thursday released a redacted version of Mueller’s report from his 22-month long Russia probe.

According to the report, the special counsel did not find sufficient evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Moscow during the 2016 presidential election. The report also said the investigation was unable to “conclusively determine” whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE obstructed justice.

Attorney General William Barr defended Trump during a press conference ahead of the release of the Mueller report.

Top Democrats, including Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Trump: I don't have a racist bone in my body Ocasio-Cortez responds to fresh criticism from Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNYT: Don't make Acosta a political martyr Charities say they never received donations touted by Jeffrey Epstein: report Schumer to donate Epstein campaign contributions to groups fighting sexual violence MORE (D-N.Y.) later issued a joint statement, accusing Barr of trying to “spin” the report and renewed calls for Mueller to publicly testify before Congress.

"We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the special counsel’s investigation is for special counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible,” the two leaders said.

House Judiciary Democrat Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTrump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Nadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks 'Ms. Lewandowski' at hearing MORE (D-N.Y.) made it clear that he plans to issue a subpoena for Mueller’s full report and underlying documents.

“We cannot take Attorney General Barr's word for it,” Nadler tweeted. “We must read the full Mueller report, and the underlying evidence.”

—Tess Bonn