NBC's Chuck Todd said Friday that Fox News obtaining advance excerpts of a controversial memo written by House Intelligence Committee Republicans "smacks of a partisan exercise."
"The House Republican Intelligence folks are actually making their partisan case look even worse right now, because they are releasing excerpts of the memo already to friendly media outlets, almost trying to build a narrative and control the headlines, the early headlines, and help feed a feeding frenzy," the "Meet the Press" moderator said in an MSNBC appearance.
Both Fox and the Washington Examiner, a conservative newspaper in Washington, D.C., reported summaries of the memo shortly after President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE approved its release but before it was made public.
"If they were trying to make this seem like less of a partisan exercise, they are doing a ... horrendous job of it," Todd said. "This process has been so tainted by politics now on their end and as they are trying to allege politics tainting the process on the investigation end, and maybe that’s part of the plan. Maybe that’s OK with the president. Maybe that’s all about trying to just make this look like a political exercise, not a national security investigation."
"So tactically I get what they’re doing, but I think it only lessens the impact of the memo itself, because the whole thing just smacks of a partisan exercise," Todd concluded. "How they wrote the memo, how they released the memo and even now, how they, you know, it’s being released to the public, but some people get the memo first, from friendly media outlets."
The House Intelligence Committee in an unprecedented move released the previously classified memo that alleges abuse of government surveillance powers by the Justice Department in obtaining warrants to monitor Trump campaign official Carter Page.
“The Committee has discovered serious violations of the public trust, & the American people have a right to know when officials in crucial institutions are abusing their authority for political purposes," Nunes said in a statement.
The Justice Department and FBI have both expressed staunch opposition to the memo's release, citing potential misconceptions of internal processes and the possibility of exposing intelligence sources and methods.
Democratic critics have said the memo was crafted specifically to discredit special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation into Russian election meddling, including any potential ties between President Trump's campaign and Moscow.
Trump weighed in on the memo in a brief statement to reporters, calling its findings "a disgrace."
“I think it’s a disgrace,” Trump said of the alleged bias from the Oval Office. "A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves."