After nearly two years of investigation, how would America react when special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation? It's a question that finally received an answer Friday — and the result was what many expected.
While supporters of President Donald Trump applauded Mueller's decision to pursue no additional indictments, the mainstream media, anti-Trump pundits, and Democrats — who for years have accused Trump's presidential campaign of impropriety in the 2016 election — did not take the news lightly.
How did the media react?
One of the most notable reactions of the night came when MSNBC host Rachel Maddow appeared to hold back tears as she reacted to Mueller's report. Maddow interrupted a vacation in Tennessee to cover the breaking news.
"A couple of hours ago, or maybe even less than that, I was standing knee-deep in a trout stream in Tennessee," Maddow said to open her show. "But now it's Mueller time! And so I'm in a studio in the great state of Tennessee. The trout are basically just as safe as they were when I was flailing away at them ineffectually this afternoon."
"But now, listen, this is history. This is a reason to stop fishing and go to work," Maddow continued, appearing to hold back tears.
"Our job tonight—as a country sort of or at least—what everybody in the country is going to be doing tonight is trying to figure out what it means that the report of special counsel Robert Mueller has finally been submitted. We've heard it said so many times that it was imminent, that it was done and maybe done and we didn't know about it. Finally, it's happened," she went on to say. "In terms of what that means and what Mueller found, we know only the smallest little bits. This is the start of something apparently, not the end of something."
Rachel Maddow Opening Segment, Barely Holds Back Tears www.youtube.com
As Fox News reported, MSNBC host Chris Matthews appeared livid over Mueller's conclusion, especially over the fact that Trump was never directly questioned by investigators.
"Why was there never an interrogation of this president? We were told for weeks by experts, 'You cannot deal with an obstruction-of-justice charge or investigation without getting the motive. ... How could they let Trump off the hook?" Matthews said on his show. "He will not be charged with obstruction of justice or collusion without having to sit down with the Special Counsel Mueller and answer his damn questions. How could that happen?"
What about CNN?
As were many in the mainstream media, CNN hosts and pundits were forced to defend Trump after pushing collusion conspiracy theories for two years. The most notable reaction came from CNN legal analyst Jeffery Toobin, a staunchly anti-Trump political commentator.
"Let's be specific. This is really good news for a lot of people around Donald Trump. Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Jerome Corsi, the writer who had a draft indictment presented to him by Mueller's office and they decided not to go forward with this," Toobin said.
"Let's be fair here. There has been a lot of suspicion around certain people. And a lot of negative things have been said and imputation of criminal activity. Mueller has said, 'I am not proceeding.' There is no better news to receive than you are not being indicted by the United States government," he explained.