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 MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 BarrBill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter split on Bloomberg video | Sanders briefed on Russian efforts to help campaign | Barr to meet with Republicans ahead of surveillance fight Sanders says he was briefed on Russian effort to help campaign 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 TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll 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's Intel moves spark Democratic fury Buttigieg sounds alarm after Sanders wins Nevada Russian interference reports rock Capitol Hill MORE (D-Calif.) and Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Schumer cites security, DHS ban in questioning TSA use of TikTok Russian interference reports rock Capitol Hill 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 adviser presses House investigators to make Bezos testify Nadler demands answers from Barr on 'new channel' for receiving Ukraine info from Giuliani Trump predicts Ocasio-Cortez will launch primary bid against Schumer 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