Chuck Todd apologized on Tuesday for airing a clip of a CBS News interview with William Barr that left out a key part of his quote about how history will view his decision to drop the prosecution of Michael Flynn.
In the aftermath of the airing of the clip on Meet the Press on Sunday, President Trump called for Todd’s ouster while the Justice Department raised objections.
On Meet the Press Daily, Todd said, “I wanted to talk for a moment about something that occurred on Sunday’s edition of ‘Meet the Press.’
“During the program, we aired a soundbite from a CBS News interview with Attorney General Bill Barr. In the bite that we aired and commented on, Mr. Barr was asked how he thinks the history of his decision to end the prosecution of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn will be written. Mr. Barr answered, quote: ‘History is written by the winner, so it largely depends on who’s writing the history.’
Todd added, “In the full version of the interview and transcript, he went on to say, ‘But I think a fair history would say that it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law.’ Now, we did not edit that out. That was not our edit. We didn’t include it because we only saw the shorter of two clips that CBS did air.
“We should have looked at both and checked for a full transcript. A mistake that I wish we hadn’t made and one I wish I hadn’t made. The second part of the Attorney General’s answer would have put it in the proper context. Had we seen that part of the CBS interview, I would not have framed the conversation the way I did, and I obviously am very sorry for that mistake. We strive to do better going forward.”
CBS Evening News did air the edited clip, but correspondent Catherine Herridge did not add any analysis afterward.
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, the edited clip was aired, and Todd, in a roundtable conversation with Richard Haass, Peggy Noonan and Kristen Welker, then said, “I was struck, Peggy, by the cynicism of the answer. It’s a correct answer. But he’s the attorney general. He didn’t make the case that he was upholding the rule of law. He was almost admitting that, yeah, this is a political job.”
A spokesperson for the Justice Department on Sunday objected to the editing and commentary of the clip, and Meet the Press responded on Twitter by acknowledging that they missed the rest of Barr’s remarks and that “we regret the error.”