NBC Reporter Suggests Scandal Over Routine Status Hearing Regarding Release Of Clinton Emails, Is Immediately Promoted By Donald Trump

TIMOTHY JOHNSON/media matters

NBC News reporter Tom Winter called attention to hacked emails published by Wikileaks which he implied showed the Clinton campaign behaved improperly in communicating about a routine court hearing over the release of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s work emails. Winter’s report received widespread attention when it was promoted by GOP nominee Donald Trump. Only after Trump’s promotion did Winter acknowledge there is no evidence of impropriety. The suggestion of unethical behavior by the Clinton campaign has nonetheless already jumped to CNN.

NBC Reporter Suggests Clinton Campaign Impropriety, Is Promoted By Trump, And Then Walks It Back

10:13 AM EST: NBC News Reporter Tom Winter Implies Impropriety Because Hacked WikiLeaks Email Revealed Clinton Press Secretary Communicated About Clinton Email Court Hearing. Winter wrote on Twitter, “NEW: Hacked e-mails from Wikileaks appear to show Clinton campaign spokesman in touch with DOJ officials regarding e-mail litigation.” The May 2015 email in question describes the scheduling of a routine “status hearing” involving representatives from the Department of Justice (DOJ) at a court overseeing the release of Clinton’s secretary of state work emails. Winter’s post has been retweeted more than 4,600 times (at time of publication):

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Tom Winter @Tom_Winter

NEW: Hacked e-mails from Wikileaks appear to show Clinton campaign spokesman in touch with DOJ officials regarding e-mail litigation:

10:13 AM – 11 Oct 2016

11:03 AM EST: Winter: “What Is Of Potential Interest Is Whether Or Not A Former DOJ Employee Was Speaking With DOJ Officials While Working For Clinton Camp.” Winter called attention to the fact that Brian Fallon, Clinton’s press secretary, previously worked for DOJ, but he did not explain how this fact could amount to an impropriety:

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Tom Winter @Tom_Winter

What is of potential interest is whether or not a former DOJ employee was speaking with DOJ officials while working for Clinton camp. https://twitter.com/mcs1687/status/785857806452813824 …

11:03 AM – 11 Oct 2016

11:25 AM EST: Donald Trump: “Wow. Unbelievable.” Trump promoted Winter’s initial tweet, garnering more than 10,000 retweets at time of publication:

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Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Wow. Unbelievable. https://twitter.com/tom_winter/status/785845815373856768 …

11:25 AM – 11 Oct 2016 · United States, United States

11:35 AM EST: Winter: “Of Course There Could Be Nothing Improper In This E-Mail At All. If Fallon Was The Designated Clinton Contact With DOJ For Scheduling.” After Trump promoted his claim, Winter introduced a major caveat. This tweet has been retweeted just 33 times at time of publication:

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Tom Winter @Tom_Winter

Of course there could be nothing improper in this e-mail at all. If Fallon was the designated Clinton contact with DOJ for scheduling.

11:35 AM – 11 Oct 2016

11:37 AM EST: Winter: “And Certainly The Information About Court Schedules Is One That Is Available To Any Member Of The Public.” Winter introduced a second major caveat, garnering just 22 retweets at time of publication:

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Tom Winter @Tom_Winter

And certainly the information about court schedules is one that is available to any member of the public.

11:37 AM – 11 Oct 2016

12:12 PM EST: NextGen Climate’s Jamison Foser: “This Is An Irresponsible Way To Do Journalism, And A Reminder That Breathless Reporting About Hacked Emails Is Dumb.” Foser, who previously worked for Media Matters, criticized Winter on Twitter:

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Jamison Foser @jamisonfoser

This is an irresponsible way to do journalism, and a reminder that breathless reporting about hacked emails is dumb.

12:12 PM – 11 Oct 2016

1:07 PM EST: CNN’s Brianna Keilar: “Isn’t It Inappropriate That There Was This Communication Between The Clinton Campaign And The Justice Department?” Keilar questioned Clinton surrogate Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) over the email that Winter brought attention to, strongly suggesting that the email was evidence of something improper and that it called into question the independence of the Justice Department. Keilar also falsely said that the hearing was related to an FBI investigation of Clinton’s emails; in fact the hearing was related to the scheduled release of those emails in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.  Keilar did not report any of Winter’s caveats. Israel said he hadn’t seen the email:

KEILAR: One of the latest ones that we’ve seen has to do with the campaign communicating with the Justice Department about the releasing schedule of emails, I mean that seems a little untoward at the very least that there was this communication between a campaign and between a Justice Department that is supposed to be independent.

[…]

KEILAR: Isn’t it inappropriate that there was this communication between the Clinton campaign and the Justice Department?

[…]

KEILAR: Emails aside, should the Clinton campaign — should a campaign be communicating with an independent Justice Department about something pertaining to the candidate doing something that was being investigated by the FBI? [CNN, Wolf, 10/11/16; Politico, 5/19/15]

 

1:07 PM EST: Conservative Legal Writer: “The Implication Here Goes Too Far.” Gabriel Malor, an attorney who who writes for the conservative website The Federalist, explained in a series of tweets how media are baselessly scandalizing the email:

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Gabriel Malor @gabrielmalor

Guys, the implication here goes too far. Easiest thing in the world to get confirmation on a scheduled status update. It’s no secret.https://twitter.com/Tom_Winter/status/785845815373856768 …

1:07 PM – 11 Oct 2016

 

2h

Gabriel Malor @gabrielmalor

Guys, the implication here goes too far. Easiest thing in the world to get confirmation on a scheduled status update. It’s no secret.https://twitter.com/Tom_Winter/status/785845815373856768 …

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Gabriel Malor @gabrielmalor

Also, recall that develop’ts regarding cases involving production of Clinton emails were covered by press. @joshgerstein comes to mind.

1:12 PM – 11 Oct 2016

 

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Gabriel Malor @gabrielmalor

There is no evidence for this. The hearing schedule was public info, as was the judge’s order to work out a production plan.https://twitter.com/Reince/status/785896037365972992 …

1:40 PM – 11 Oct 2016

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