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 MuellerThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions Trump: Democrats just want Mueller to testify for a 'do-over' Graham: Mueller investigation a 'political rectal exam' 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 BarrPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' House Democrats must insist that Robert Mueller testifies publicly Why Mueller may be fighting a public hearing on Capitol Hill 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 TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address 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 PelosiPelosi uses Trump to her advantage Fake Pelosi video sparks fears for campaigns Trump goes scorched earth against impeachment talk MORE (D-Calif.) and Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNo agreement on budget caps in sight ahead of Memorial Day recess Ex-White House photographer roasts Trump: 'This is what a cover up looked like' under Obama Pelosi: Trump 'is engaged in a cover-up' 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 NadlerDemocrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Trump asks if Nadler will look into Clinton's 'deleted and acid washed' emails Trump tweets conservative commentator's criticism of FBI director 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