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 MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal 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 BarrSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Justice OIG completes probe on FBI surveillance of ex-Trump campaign aide 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 TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy 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 PelosiProgressives call for impeachment inquiry after reported Kavanaugh allegations The promise and peril of offshoring prescription drug pricing Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall Pelosi: 'People are dying' because McConnell won't bring up gun legislation 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 NadlerWords matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' DOJ files brief arguing against House impeachment probe 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