CNN gets its facts wrong on the number of Democrats on the Mueller team
Chris Cillizza, editor-at-large for CNN, fact-checked a series of “untruths” and “exaggerations” tweeted by President Donald Trump Sunday.O think those who want to see Trump removed from office see what the want to see and disregard the rest. They would like to make the claim that the Mueller team is fair and bipartisan, but the facts do not support that conclusion.
In one of those tweets, Trump claimed that there are “13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats” on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of lawyers.
Cillizza disputed the tweet. “Trump’s claim that there are 13 Democrats on Mueller’s team is also false,” he asserted.
Cillizza cites incomplete and outdated findings. The Daily Caller News Foundation first reported that there were 13 registered Democrats and zero Republicans known to work for Mueller in February. The probe brought on a 14th Democrat in May.
As part of this analysis, TheDCNF also identified the voter registration status of all 16 publicly-known lawyers, the first time the full composition of the team had been reported. Thirteen were registered Democrats, three were registered as independents and zero were registered Republicans. (RELATED: Not A Single Lawyer Known To Work For Mueller Is A Republican)
Trump began tweeting about “13 hardened Democrats” weeks later, prompting The Washington Post, The New York Times and others to fact check the claim.
Cillizza relies on these outlets to dispute Trump, but he cherry picks sentences from their articles that imply there are fewer than 13 Democrats on the Russia probe.
He cites WaPo, for example, writing, “According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, five of the 16 known members of Mueller’s team donated to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.”
But this finding only deals with a small subset of the lawyers – those who donated specifically to Clinton.
More importantly, Cillizza overlooks a key sentence in the WaPo article that supports Trump’s claim: “The Daily Caller said voter registration records indicate that 13 of the attorneys are Democrats and three have no party affiliation.”
A subsequent fact check by WaPo substantiates the “13 Democrats” claim as well.
Cillizza makes the same oversight with a fact check from the Times. “The New York Times says that nine of the 17 known lawyers on Mueller’s team have donated to Democratic campaigns in the past,” he writes.
But the NYT goes on to say that an additional four lawyers are either registered Democrats or have identified as one online, for a total of 13 Democrats.