News Networks Carry Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Remarks, And His Unfounded Claim That Joe Biden Weaponized Justice Department

The three major news networks all carried Donald Trump’s remarks reacting to the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision Monday that states cannot deny him access to the ballot.

In doing do, Trump was given a platform to blast prosecutors and judges in other cases, and to make unfounded claims that President Joe Biden has been engaging in a “weaponization” of the Justice Department.

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“President Biden, number one, stop weaponization. Fight your fight yourself. Don’t use prosecutors and judges to go after your opponent so you can win an election,” Trump said in his remarks from Mar-a-Lago.

Trump used the occasion to also argue that he should be immune from prosecution in the January 6th federal conspiracy case, something the Supreme Court will consider next month. But he also suggested that Biden orchestrated his legal woes, even at the state level.

Fox News, CNN and MSNBC carried the remarks live. MSNBC cut away from as Trump went on, with Katy Tur telling viewers, “The White House has not had any coordination with the DOJ on the prosecutions regarding Donald Trump. This is totally separate. It’s a special counsel. The special counsel decided to bring charges.” She also said that the remarks were “the bad old days of Trump where he comes out with a word salad and whatever allegation comes to mind and whatever allegation he can toss out.” The New York Times‘ Peter Baker also chimed in, calling Trump’s accusation “not true.”

CNN carried Trump’s full remarks, but cut away when he started to take questions from reporters. Dana Bash noted that Trump was making the accusation about Biden with “absolutely no evidence,” and quickly went to a fact check with Daniel Dale.

“The claim is false,” Dale said. “Even in terms of those federal cases, there’s no evidence that President Biden ordered or was behind these prosecutions. The claim is especially non-sensical when it comes to state and local cases.” He said that there was “zero evidence whatsoever that President Biden has somehow orchestrated this. So it’s just conjured out of thin air.”

On Fox News, anchor Harris Faulkner said that she looked at social media responses to Trump’s speech and noticed one tweet out, “‘This is not boring.’ That is why the networks cover him, because they want the moment that they can all react to and say, ‘He’s a liar. He’s this and that.’ When he’s measured and he’s going down his list of ways that it worked when he was in office and what he wants to do next — he even got to what he wants to do next.”

CNN and MSNBC have previously grappled with the decision, to much internal debate, of whether to carry Trump’s remarks live, given his propensity to make unfounded accusations and tell falsehoods about the 2020 presidential election. In the aftermath of Trump’s victory in the Iowa caucuses, MSNBC chose not to carry his remarks, with Rachel Maddow telling viewers “there is a cost to us as a news organization of knowingly broadcasting untrue things.” CNN covered about 10 minutes before cutting away.

Trump later blasted both networks for their decisions, suggesting that they should have their licenses taken away. The FCC, however, does not license cable networks, only local broadcast stations.

Still, as Trump has solidified his lead as the likely GOP nominee, he has been given more airtime. In the eyes of some veteran political correspondents, it’ll be increasingly more difficult for networks to justify not giving Trump a platform as the election nears.

Last week, when Trump and Biden visited the southern border and gave remarks, MSNBC did not carry either speech live. Fox News carried both speeches, as did CNN. For the latter, Dale also was on hand to do fact checks.

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