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 MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' 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 BarrGOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse DOJ watchdog won't let witnesses submit written feedback on investigation into Russia probe: report Bill Clinton advises Trump to ignore impeachment: 'You got hired to do a job' 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 TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation 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 PelosiTrump knocks testimony from 'Never Trumpers' at Louisiana rally Jordan calls Pelosi accusing Trump of bribery 'ridiculous' USMCA deal close, but not 'imminent,' Democrats say MORE (D-Calif.) and Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action 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 NadlerHouse to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution 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