NBC's Chuck Todd: “Whenever A Story Breaks” On Trump's Ties To Russia, “Press Bashing ... Seems To Escalate”

From the February 26 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:

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CHUCK TODD (HOST): One issue that doesn't seem to hurt the president right now, at least in the eyes of his supporters, are the reported ties he and his aides may or may not have with Russia. And whenever stories break on that subject, press bashing, which is always part of the president's arsenal, seems to escalate.


TODD: It's a tactic with a pattern. The president's attacks on the media repeatedly have directly followed reporting on Russia. On January 5th, NBC News reported on the intelligence community's report on Russian influence in the election. On January 6th, President-elect Trump tweeted, “I am asking the chairs of the House and Senate committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it.” On February 13th, 14th, and 15th, news outlets reported on Mr. Trump's ties to Russia. On February 16th, President Trump spent much of a 77-minute news conference attacking the press.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: Russia is fake news. Russia -- This is fake news put out by the media. The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake.


TODD: On Thursday night, media outlets reported that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked the FBI to publicly discredit a New York Times story on Russia, after the FBI's deputy director reportedly told him it was overblown. On Friday, the president went after the press.


TRUMP: I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news. It's fake, phony, fake.


TODD: But Trump administration officials acknowledged on Friday that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus did ask FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to push back against news stories about contacts between Trump aides and Russians during the campaign.


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