The White House Put Stephen Miller On Four Sunday Shows To Dodge, Lie, And Attack The Media
Meanwhile, The White House Freeze-Out Of CNN Continues
Research ››› ››› NINA MAST & CRISTINA LóPEZ G.
The Trump administration offered White House senior adviser Stephen Miller -- and reportedly no one else -- to appear on the Sunday morning political talk shows of ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox Broadcasting Co. In his appearances on the four shows, Miller repeatedly dodged questions, made blatantly false claims, and attacked the media. Recent profiles of Miller have highlighted his extreme ideological views, his close relationship with Stephen Bannon, and the “enthusiasm” of white nationalists like Richard Spencer over his role in the administration.
The White House Offered One Official, Stephen Miller, To Four Sunday Shows And Snubbed CNN Entirely
Senior Advisor To President Trump Stephen Miller Made Sunday Show Appearances On ABC, NBC, CBS, And Fox Broadcasting. Stephen Miller, senior advisor to President Donald Trump, appeared as the representative for the administration on the February 12 editions of ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’ Face the Nation, and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday. [ABC, This Week, 2/12/17; NBC, Meet the Press, 2/12/17; CBS, Face the Nation, 2/12/17; Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 2/12/17]
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: We Invited Reince Priebus, But “The White House Refused To Put Him Out.” After Miller refused to answer a question, saying only, “I'm sure you'll have an opportunity to interview someone from the vice president's office or the chief of staff [Reince Priebus] who can elucidate further,” ABC’s This Week host George Stephanopoulos told viewers that “we did invite the chief of staff to join us this morning and the White House refused to put him out.” [ABC, This Week With George Stephanopoulos, 2/12/17]
Jake Tapper, Host Of CNN’s State of the Union, and Brian Stelter, Host Of CNN’s Reliable Sources, Both Tweeted That Their Requests For White House Guests Were Denied.
We invited the WH to offer a guest for @CNNSotu to discuss President Trump's agenda and plans; they did not respond to our request.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 12, 2017
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 12, 2017
Huff. Post’s Michael Calderone Also Confirmed That CNN’s Request For A White House Representative Was Ignored.
White House offered Stephen Miller to four Sunday shows (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox), but never respond to CNN's requet https://t.co/Mc3CnVGW96
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) February 12, 2017
Miller Lied While Discussing Voter Fraud And Executive Authority
Miller: “Voter Fraud Is A Serious Problem In This Country”; “14 Percent Of Noncitizens … At A Minimum, Are Registered To Vote.” On ABC’s This Week, Stephen Miller alleged that the "White House has provided enormous evidence with respect to voter fraud, with respect to people being registered in more than one state, dead people voting, noncitizens being registered to vote.” Miller also cited as evidence of voter fraud that “14 percent of noncitizens, according to academic research, at a minimum, are registered to vote.” From the February 12 interview:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): Let me move on, though, to the question of voter fraud as well. President Trump again this week suggested in a meeting with senators that thousands of illegal voters were bused from Massachusetts to New Hampshire and that’s what caused his defeat in the state of New Hampshire, also the defeat of Senator Kelly Ayotte. That has provoked a response from a member of the Federal Election Commission, Ellen Weintraub, who says, “I call upon the president to immediately share New Hampshire voter fraud evidence so that his allegations may be investigated promptly.” Do have that evidence?
STEPHEN MILLER: I have actually having worked before on a campaign in New Hampshire. I can tell you that this issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics. It's very real. It’s very serious. This morning, on this show, is not the venue for me to lay out all the evidence. But I can tell you this: Voter fraud is a serious problem in this country. You have millions of people who are registered in two states or who are dead who are registered to vote. And you have 14 percent of noncitizens, according to academic research, at a minimum, are registered to vote, which is an astonishing statistic.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You can't make a -- hold on a second. You just claimed again that there was illegal voting in New Hampshire, people bused in from the state of Massachusetts. Do you have any evidence to back that up?
MILLER: I’m saying anybody -- George, go to New Hampshire. Talk to anybody who has worked in politics there for a long time. Everybody is aware of the problem in New Hampshire with respect to --
STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m asking you, as the White House senior -- hold on a second. I’m asking you as the White House senior policy adviser. The president made a statement, saying he was the victim of voter fraud, people are being bused from --
MILLER: And the president -- the president -- the president was.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you have any evidence?
MILLER: If this is an issue that interests you, then we can talk about it more in the future. And we now have our government is beginning to get stood up. But we have a Department of Justice and we have more officials. An issue of voter fraud is something we're going to be looking at very seriously and very hard. But the reality is, is that we know for a fact, you have massive numbers of noncitizens registered to vote in this country. Nobody disputes that. And many, many highly qualified people, like Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, have looked deeply into this issue and have confirmed it to be true and have put together evidence. And I suggest you invite Kris Kobach onto your show and he can walk you through some of the evidence of voter fraud in greater detail.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Just for the record, you have provided absolutely no evidence. The president’s made a statement.
MILLER: The White House has provided enormous evidence with respect to voter fraud, with respect to people being registered in more than one state, dead people voting, noncitizens being registered to vote. George, it is a fact and you will not deny it, that there are massive numbers of noncitizens in this country who are registered to vote. That is a scandal. We should stop the presses. And, as a country, we should be aghast about the fact that you have people who have no right to vote in this country registered to vote, canceling out the franchise of lawful citizens of this country. That’s the story we should be talking about. And I’m prepared to go on any show, anywhere, anytime, and repeat it and say the president of the United States is correct 100 percent. [ABC, This Week With George Stephanopoulos, 2/12/17; ABC News, 2/12/17]
Wash. Post Fact Checker: Miller’s Voter Fraud “Bogus Talking Points … Have Been Repeatedly Shown To Be False.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker awarded Miller four Pinocchios for his completely false claims about voter fraud, calling the White House’s “inappropriate research” and “bogus talking point[s]” on this issue “shameless”:
Stephanopoulos is right. The White House continues to provide zero evidence to back up its claims of voter fraud. Officials instead retreat to the same bogus talking points that have been repeatedly shown to be false.
It’s pretty ridiculous to cite research in a way that even the researcher says is inappropriate, and yet Miller keeps saying 14 percent of noncitizens are registered to vote. The Republican governor of New Hampshire has admitted that he was wrong to say buses of illegal voters voted in the election, and yet Miller shamelessly suggests that is the case. Miller cites a supposed expert on voter fraud, Kobach, who has been mocked for failing to prove his own claims of voter fraud. Miller also repeats a claim about people being registered to vote in two states, even though that is not an example of voter fraud.
Miller earns Four Pinocchios — over and over again. [The Washington Post, 2/12/17]
Miller: “The President’s Powers” On Immigration “Are Beyond Question” And The 9th Circuit Is “Overreaching.” On Fox News Sunday, Miller called the president’s executive authority on immigration “beyond question” and claimed that the 9th Circuit was “overreaching” in its ruling against Trump’s travel ban. Miller also made this claim on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, saying that the president’s power on immigration “represent[s] the apex of executive authority” and calling into question “the accuracy of the ruling.” From the February 12 edition of Fox News Sunday:
CHRIS WALLACE (HOST): Let's turn to this week’s big controversy over the travel ban. Is the Trump administration and you as a key player in it, are you at this moment rewriting the president's executive order limiting the visitors and the refugees can come into this country? And will that be released this week?
STEPHEN MILLER: Right now, we are considering and pursuing all options. Those options include seeking an emergency stay with the Supreme Court, continuing the appeal with the panel, having an emergency hearing en banc, or going to the trial court in the district level and a trial on the merits. They also include, as you mentioned, the possibility of new executive actions designed to prevent terrorist infiltration of our country. But I want to say something very clearly, and this is going to be very disappointing to the people protesting the president and the people in Congress like Senator Schumer who have attacked the president for his lawful and necessary action. The president's powers here are beyond question. The president has the authority under the INA Section 8 U.S.C. 1182F to suspend the entry of aliens into this country. And he has Article 2 foreign powers to also engage in conducting border control and immigration control into this country. Those powers are substantial. They present the very apex of presidential authority.
WALLACE: But the 9th Circuit Court disagreed. "Although courts owe considerable deference to the president's policies determinations with respect to immigration and national security, it is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges of executive action." Stephen, the three judges say you are flat wrong.
MILLER: No, the three judges made a broad overreaching statement about the ability to check the executive power and did not even address what I was talking about, which was INA 212F 8 U.S.C. 1182F, the power of the president to exclude aliens in the national interest.
WALLACE: But they say --
MILLER: They did not even address that.
WALLACE: There is a long history of reviewability here.
MILLER: No, the 9th Circuit has a long history of being overturned and 9th Circuit has a long history of overreaching. We don’t have judicial supremacy in this country. We have three coequal branches of government. [Fox News, Fox News Sunday, 2/12/17; FoxNews.com, 2/12/17, ABC, This Week With George Stephanopoulos, 2/12/17]
Legal Scholar Jeffrey Toobin: “There Are No Decisions That Are Completely Outside The Constitution,” And “The President Is Not Above The Law.” Harvard Law scholar and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin cited the 1803 ruling in Marbury v. Madison as evidence that there are “no decisions that are completely outside the Constitution” and concluded that “the president is not above the law” on immigration or any other issue. “The courts get the final word on what’s legal and illegal,” he said. In a CNN appearance earlier in the week, Toobin also pointed out that Trump was selectively quoting immigration law in his references to the INA, "because that's not the only relevant part of the law or part of the Constitution. There's also part of the 1965 Immigration Act which said there cannot be any bias against any nation's immigrants in the course of the president's authority over immigration." From the February 9 edition of CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront:
JEFFREY TOOBIN: There is no value that is more central to what our constitutional democracy means, more than that the courts get the final word on what's legal and what's illegal. There are no decisions that are completely outside the Constitution. It was 1803, Marbury vs. Madison, when Chief Justice John Marshall said it is the province and duty of the court to say what the law is, which means as of that moment, it was the court's right to overturn acts of Congress, to overturn acts by the president, and that excerpt that you played from the argument was so important because it was Judge Friedland asking, is the president above the law. And there was that horrible, awkward pause. And Judge Friedland and her colleagues wanted to make clear that the answer is no. The president is not above the law. And that's what this opinion says more clearly than anything. [CNN, Erin Burnett OutFront, 2/9/17; CNN, Wolf, 2/7/17]
Miller Repeatedly Declined To Provide Answers To Questions About Major News Stories
On ABC And NBC, Miller Refused To Answer Questions About National Security Adviser Michael Flynn Lying To The Vice President About His Contact With Russia. On ABC’s This Week, Miller declined to answer a question on whether National Security Adviser Mike Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian government. Earlier this year, Pence went on the record saying that Flynn did not discuss U.S. sanctions in a phone call with a representative of Russia before Trump took office, but on February 9 The Washington Post reported that Flynn did in fact do so, according to nine current and former officials. In the interview, Miller told Stephanopoulos, “I don’t have any information” and directed him to “interview someone from the vice president's office or the chief of staff who can elucidate further.” Miller also declined to discuss Flynn on NBC’s Meet The Press, where he told host Chuck Todd that "[the White House] didn’t give me anything to say” and declined to answer whether Flynn’s actions were a “fireable offense” From the February 12 interview on ABC’s This Week:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): Number one, did [retired Gen. Michael Flynn] mislead the vice president and how do you respond to Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, who say that General Flynn's security clearance should be revoked until the FBI investigates his contacts?
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, I don't have any news to make to you today on this point. That's a great question for our chief of staff, that's a great question for the office of the vice president. I think that I don't have any --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Then why are you coming on if you can't answer the questions being posed about the White House?
MILLER: I don't have any information, George, to change anything that has previously already been said by the White House on this matter. General Flynn has served this country admirably and with distinction. He is a three star general. He served in the Defense Intelligence Agency. There's no information that I have, as a policy director for this White House, to contribute any new information to this story this morning. And I'm sorry to disappoint you, but that's just where things stand.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you think he can continue to serve as national security adviser after misleading the vice president?
MILLER: I don't accept that what your question is saying is accurate. I don't have any information one way or another to add anything to this conversation. I understand it's an important matter. I understand it's a sensitive matter. And I'm sure you'll have an opportunity in the near future to interview someone from the vice president's office or to interview the chief of staff, who can elucidate further on this very sensitive issue.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I should actually say that we did invite the chief of staff to join us this morning and the White House refused to put him out, perhaps, because you guys don't want to answer that question. [ABC, This Week With George Stephanopoulos, 2/12/17, NBC, Meet The Press, 2/12/17; The Washington Post, 2/9/17]
Miller Refused To Say Whether North Korea’s Missile Test Crossed A Red Line When Asked About It Twice. On ABC’s This Week, Miller dodged Stephanopoulos’ question about whether the recent North Korean missile “cross[ed] President Trump’s red line.” When Stephanopoulos followed up and asked the same question, Miller stated merely, “We stand with Japan and our allies in the region to address the North Korean menace.” From the February 12 interview:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): Do you agree that this North Korean missile test did not yet cross President Trump’s red line?
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, I did not hear Jonathan Karl’s report. And good to be here this morning, George. But what you saw last night from the president of the United States was an important show of solidarity between the United States and Japan, a powerful symbol to the world as the prime minister of Japan and the president of America stood side by side and shoulder to shoulder and expressed the strength and enduring nature of our vital alliance. And that is a message that will be lost on no one.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did the North Korean missile test cross President Trump's red line?
MILLER: George, the president's comments on this are clear. The message we're sending to the world right now is a message of strength and solidarity. We stand with Japan and we stand with our allies in the region to address the North Korean menace. [ABC, This Week With George Stephanopoulos, 2/12/17]
Miller Attacked The Media For Its Coverage Of The Administration
Miller: “You In The Media” Are “Blowing This Thing [With Kellyanne Conway] Way Out Of Proportion.” On ABC’s This Week, in response to Stephanopoulos’ question about whether Trump would take disciplinary action against his senior counselor Kellyanne Conway for violating ethics laws, Miller claimed that “you in the media and others” are “blowing this thing way out of proportion” and have“taken it to a level it does not merit.” From the February 12 interview:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): Also, on Kellyanne Conway, Congressman Chaffetz, Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee, and his Democratic counterpart, Elijah Cummins, have asked the head of the Office of Government Ethics to recommended disciplinary action against Conway for her comments promoting Ivanka Trump's products. Will the president accept that recommendation?
STEPHEN MILLER: I think people are blowing this thing way out of proportion, if I'm being honest with you, George. I think that what you have is a situation where you had the president of the United States sticking up for a member of his family. And you had a counselor to the president who was making a light-hearted comment in defense of someone who had been treated very unfairly. I think that the media has taken this to a level it does not merit. And I think anyone watching that interview would understand that it was a light-hearted comment made in defense of somebody who had been treated unfairly and there really, I think, has been an undue amount of attention given to this issue, especially in light of everything that's happening in the world right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, it was the Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz, who said she crossed the line in that statement. It wasn't just the media. That is the Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee.
MILLER: I’m also going to call for sanity in discussing this issue. You had a case where somebody was treated unfairly. The president stuck up for a member of his family. And the White House counselor made a light-hearted, flippant comment that nobody would interpret as being what has been cast as right now by you and the media and others. [ABC, This Week With George Stephanopoulos, 2/12/17]
Miller: Blaming Politicians For Death Threats Is “One Of The Most Ludicrous Things That The Media Does.” Asked about whether we should “blame President Trump” if something happens to Judge Robart, who is now “getting death threats” based on Trump’s tweet that “if something happens, blame [Judge Robart] and the court system,” Miller called this line of questioning “reckless and irresponsible” and “one of the most ludicrous things that the media does.” From the February 12 edition of Fox Broadcasting’s Fox News Sunday:
CHRIS WALLACE (HOST): I want to pick up on that, and your criticism of the judges, because after Judge Robart’s initial order, President Trump tweeted this, I want to put it on the screen, "Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens, blame him and the court system. People pouring in. Bad!" But now, Stephen, that judge is getting death threats. So, the question is, if something happens to him, should we blame President Trump?
STEPHEN MILLER: This is one of the most ludicrous things that the media does, where when any crazy person in this country issues a death threat, that they can blame a politician or a public official. That is reckless and irresponsible and should never be done. The reality is --
WALLACE: But some people would say -- some people would say that personally attacking a judge is reckless and irresponsible. In fact, your own Supreme Court nominee, Judge Gorsuch, called it disheartening and demoralizing. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 2/12/17]
Recent Profiles Of Miller Have Described Him As A “Nationalist Ideologue” With Close Ties To Stephen Bannon, Breitbart.com, And White Nationalism
The Atlantic: Miller Is A “Nationalist Ideologue” With Close Ties To Stephen Bannon. According to Rosie Gray’s profile of Miller in The Atlantic, Miller has a close relationship to former Breitbart chief and current White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, sharing the same extreme nationalist ideology. According to Gray, a former Breitbart.com staffer described the Bannon-Miller relationship as that of a “mentor-mentee.” From the February 4 profile:
Miller, along with chief strategist Steve Bannon, are the key figures of what could be called the Breitbart wing, one ideological grouping within the White House; the other, the Washington wing, is represented by chief of staff Reince Priebus and press secretary Sean Spicer, both longtime Republican hands and experienced political insiders.
The unusual bit is that instead of the same old set of operators, this crew includes nationalist ideologues like Miller and Bannon who took unconventional paths to power. The pair came together over their ideological harmony on immigration, and their background in a no-holds-barred kind of politics aimed at uprooting exactly the kind of Republican Priebus represents: establishment Chamber of Commerce types who, after 2012, tried to push immigration reform and legalization of undocumented immigrants as a way to bring more voters of color into the party.
Miller developed a close relationship with Breitbart News staffers during his years on the Hill, and especially during the battle over the Gang of 8 immigration-reform bill that emerged in the aftermath of Mitt Romney’s 2012 defeat. The bill would have provided a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants—something Bannon and Sessions were both implacably opposed to. During that period, Breitbart became one of the loudest mouthpieces for the forces working against the bill, and Miller was instrumental in feeding them.
Asked to describe Bannon and Miller’s relationship, a former Breitbart News staffer said “Sponsor-client relationship from what I can tell, or mentor-mentee, which is the policy Bannon regularly adopts with younger people.”
Miller’s close relationship with Breitbart and Bannon continued during the campaign. According to one political consultant who was targeted by Breitbart during the campaign, it was known among Republican operatives that Miller could serve as a backchannel to Breitbart to smooth over conflicts. Miller has made multiple appearances on Breitbart’s SiriusXM show, including joint appearances with Bannon during the campaign. [The Atlantic, 2/4/17]
Wash. Post: Richard Spencer “And Other White Nationalist Figures” Have “Greeted With Enthusiasm” Miller’s Role In The Administration. The Washington Post profiled Miller on February 12 and reported that white nationalist Richard Spencer -- who belonged to the same conservative student group Miller did while at Duke University -- had “greeted with enthusiasm” the role Miller had taken in the administration. The profile also highlighted Miller’s nationalist views, mentioning that “alongside former Breitbart News chief Stephen K. Bannon” Miller is a “chief engineer of Trump’s populist ‘America first’ agenda.” As reported by The Washington Post:
Today, at 31, he has emerged alongside former Breitbart News chief Stephen K. Bannon as a chief engineer of Trump’s populist “America first” agenda that has roiled the Washington debate over immigration and trade and sparked alarm among traditional U.S. allies abroad.
Miller’s outspokenness in the lacrosse case first brought him to the attention of Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who was a Duke graduate student at the time. Spencer said he became friendly with Miller through the Duke Conservative Union in fall 2006.
Miller noted that he served on campus as the executive director of the leading conservative group, which put him in contact with Spencer. “Our interaction was limited to the activities of the organization, of which he was a member, and thus ceased upon graduation,” Miller said.
Nevertheless, Miller’s role in the White House has been greeted with enthusiasm by Spencer and other white nationalist figures. [The Washington Post, 2/12/17]
NY Times Notes Miller’s Close Ties To Bannon, Brief Friendship With White Nationalist Spencer. The New York Times profiled Miller on February 11, noting that his extremism on immigration was what “endeared him to Mr. Bannon” and other nationalist ideologues like former Breitbart writer and current administration member Julia Hahn. According to the Times, Bannon describes Miller as “a loyal and faithful soldier in the Trump movement.” The profile also noted Miller and white nationalist Richard Spencer were “briefly friendly” and belonged to the same student organization while at Duke University:
At Duke, Mr. Miller, who is Jewish, cut a similarly confrontational swath, and was briefly friendly with Richard Spencer, who later became a prominent white supremacist, when both were members of the university’s Young Conservatives chapter.
Ultimately, it was Mr. Miller’s dour views on illegal immigration that endeared him to Mr. Bannon and a small team of like-minded economic nationalists that included Julia Hahn, a former Breitbart writer. The group came together during the 2014 campaign of the far-right Republican candidate Dave Brat, whose upset win over the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, in a suburban Richmond, Va., district augured Mr. Trump’s success.
Despite the internal finger-pointing, Mr. Miller remains close to the still-powerful Mr. Bannon, who described him in an email as “a loyal and faithful soldier in the Trump movement, a warrior for the working class.” [The New York Times, 2/11/16]
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- Voting Rights & Issues, The Judiciary, The Presidency & White House
- ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX Broadcasting Company, CNN
- Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, George Stephanopoulos, Chuck Todd, Chris Wallace, John Dickerson
- This Week, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, FOX News Sunday, State Of The Union, Reliable Sources
- Trump / Russia