A moment nearly two years in the making has arrived. Late Friday afternoon, Special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to the new U.S. attorney general Bill Barr concerning potential Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign and whether President Trump or his campaign team was involved with any election meddling.
NBC News called it “perhaps the most highly anticipated and potentially explosive document in recent American history.” (Even though no one actually knows what’s in it).
Former FBI director Mueller was appointed to lead the federal investigation in May 2017. Mueller was appointed to lead the investigation by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, a move which transpired eight days after Trump fired FBI director James Comey, who had been leading the Russia investigation.
All of the networks were well-prepared for this moment.
At 5:02 p.m., ABC News broke into regularly scheduled programming with a Special Report, anchored by George Stephanopoulos.
ABC News chief White House correspondent Jon Karl joined Stephanopoulos from outside the White House. ABC News senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega joined Stephanopoulos in-studio.
The ABC News Special Report concluded at 5:32 p.m. ET.
At 5:02 p.m., NBC News broke into regularly scheduled programming with a Special Report, anchored by NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt.
In the New York market, it was NBC 4 anchor Stefan Holt who was speaking on the station’s 5 p.m. newscast just before the network broke in with the Special Report, anchored by his father.
The elder Holt was joined by NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams from NBC News Washington. NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker joined from outside of the White House. NBC News chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson joined the report as well, as did NBC News legal analyst and host of MSNBC’s The Beat Ari Melber, who had undoubtedly preparing for his 6 p.m. MSNBC show.
Others to contribute over the 38 minutes include John Brennan, former CIA director and NBC News senior national security and intelligence analyst, from Washington; Kelly O’Donnell, NBC News White House correspondent, from Florida; Danny Cevallos, NBC News legal analyst from New York; and Jeremy Bash, NBC News national security analyst from Washington.
The NBC News Special Report concluded at 5:40 p.m. ET.
The situation at CBS was a bit more complicated, but still went off without much of a hitch. At 5:06 p.m., CBS News broke into the network’s March Madness studio show –hosted by Turner Sports’ Ernie Johnson– for a CBS News Special Report, anchored by CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor.
Glor, in New York, was joined by Ed O’Keefe, who contributed from Capitol Hill. Paula Reid from the White House. CBS News contributor Jonathan Turley also joined the coverage. Jeff Pegues contributed from Washington.
The network stuck with the Special Report for a full half-hour, before returning to basketball.