Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI
Fox News returned to pushing reporting that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is likely to face an indictment less than 24 hours after the network apologized for making the claim.
On November 2, Special Report anchor Bret Baier claimed that according to anonymous sources, FBI investigations into Clinton would “continue,” that “there is a lot of evidence,” and that “barring some obstruction in some way, they believe they will continue to likely an indictment.” Fox heavily hyped Baier’s reporting in the following days. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his campaign also picked up Baier’s reporting and used it to attack Clinton. However, non-Fox media outlets soon debunked Baier’s reporting, saying it was “wrong” and “just not true.”
Baer subsequently issued an apology for his reporting on November 4, saying that his reference to a “likely” indictment was “a mistake” because “no one knows if there would or would not be an indictment no matter how strong investigators feel their evidence is. It is obviously a prosecutor who has to agree to take the case and make that case to a grand jury.”
However, Fox News is now back to touting dubious reporting that Clinton will likely face an indictment if she’s elected president.
Discredited conservative journalist Ed Klein appeared on the November 5 edition of Fox & Friends Saturday and claimed that his “sources are telling” him that “there’s a very good chance that if she’s elected president on November 8th, by the time inauguration comes around, [FBI Director James] Comey will have recommended an indictment.” Klein continued that there would be a “constitutional crisis” because the attorney general would not “accept his recommendation for indictment.” Taking Klein’s claims seriously, co-host Clayton Morris wondered if vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine would then become president when Clinton is indicted, and co-host Abby Huntsman told Klein they “learned a lot from you this morning.”
Klein has a long history of sloppy and inaccurate reporting about the Clintons. Reporters from across the political spectrum have called his work "junk journalism," "devoid of credibility," "suspect," "fan fiction," "lazy, cut-and-paste recycling," "strewn with serious factual errors, truncated and distorted quotes," "thoroughly discredited," "smut," "sordid," "poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced," and "bullshit." Klein had lunch with Donald Trump in May and said that he’s known him for 35 years and has "met with him on numerous occasions, talked to him on the phone countless times, traveled with him, and written two lengthy magazine cover stories about him."
From Klein’s segment (h/t New York’s Gabriel Sherman):
ED KLEIN: Here’s what my sources are telling me. They’re saying that there’s a very good chance that if she’s elected president on November 8th, by the time inauguration comes around, Comey will have recommended an indictment of the president-to-be.
CLAYTON MORRIS (CO-HOST): That’s what your sources are telling you?
ABBY HUNTSMAN (CO-HOST): Wow.
KLEIN: Yeah. And it would be a constitutional crisis of enormous proportion --
HUNTSMAN: -- [inaudible] we’ve never experienced before.
KLEIN: -- because the attorney general with, of course, the president’s backing, is not going to accept his recommendation for indictment. So there’ll be this titanic battle between the FBI on the one hand, the attorney general and the White House on the other hand, just before the inauguration.
MORRIS: You play this all out historically. She becomes president. She actually takes the -- puts her hand on the Bible, becomes president. The vice president then, maybe, Tim Kaine becomes, takes over? This would be remarkable.
KLEIN: I was thinking, she becomes president and what if she becomes debilitated for reasons of health? That’s the other aspect of this nobody ever discusses. Are we going to get the goofy Tim Kaine as our vice president moving in or will we have Bill Clinton behind the scenes being a kind of Edith Wilson-like when Woodrow Wilson had his stroke?