Right-wing media launch racist attacks on the Russia investigation grand jury, say it looks like “a Bernie Sanders rally”
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During a panel discussion about the investigation into ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade echoed a racist New York Post column on the makeup of special counsel Robert Mueller’s federal grand jury, repeating the quote that the panel "looks like a Bernie Sanders rally” and adding commentary on the jury's demographics.
Kilmeade cited an article by conservative columnist Richard Johnson in the Page Six section of the New York Post, where Johnson wrote that a source told him, “The grand jury room looks like a Bernie Sanders rally. … Maybe they found these jurors in central casting, or at a Black Lives Matter rally in Berkeley [Calif.]” Relaying information from his source, Johnson highlighted the number of black people on the jury, writing, “Of the 20 jurors, 11 are African-Americans and two were wearing ‘peace T-shirts,’ the witness said. ‘There was only one white male in the room, and he was a prosecutor.’” HuffPost responded to Johnson’s story, noting, “That witness presumably knows a lot about what precisely the grand jury inquiry is focused on at this point. But instead of pursuing that story, Page Six gave a sympathetic airing to the witness’s complaints about the racial makeup of the grand jury.”
In the Fox & Friends segment, Kilmeade stopped short of explicitly quoting the parts of Johnson's column related to race, but added, "So it's not even emblematic of something that might be perhaps demographically pursuing justice." Kilmeade’s latest attack on Mueller’s investigation follows months of right-wing media's attempts to undermine the Russia probe by insisting that Mueller’s team is biased and is targeting Trump for political purposes. From the January 3 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Well, I know, but the polls do -- to Emily's point too -- the polls do say the American people want to find out what happened. But Emily, don't you think if there was a sincere look at trying to get into the bottom of this, we’d have [Hillary Clinton’s former campaign chair] John Podesta's brother Tony Podesta, he’d be in just as much trouble as [Trump’s former campaign chair] Paul Manafort? He was running the whole agency, the agency that wasn't registered at the time, that he has since disbanded to avoid any further turmoil in his life. Don't you think that would get both sides on the same page to pursue it for the good of the country?
EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN (CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS): Look, everybody does wants the truth to come out and does want them to be held to consequences. Unfortunately, the congressional investigations that have been looking into the Russian -- the collusion with Russia and the hacking are turning up to be pretty partisan. The Republicans are running both sides, and they’re not really working out very well. So it really does leave it up to the Mueller investigation to actually be holding the administration's feet to the fire. The information we have in public that we've seen already is that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and --
JOSH HOLMES (FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL): Wow. That is just ridiculous.
SUSSMAN: No, it’s absolutely out there.
HOLMES: There's absolutely no evidence of that.
TISCH SUSSMAN: No, there absolutely is. And if there wasn't, then why would [former foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign George] Papadopoulos and [ former national security advisor Michael] Flynn keep lying about their contacts with the Russians? Right, like why would everyone keep lying about it if it wasn’t out there? The collusion is out there. We don’t know the extent.
HOLMES: Well what we found out, what we found out from these --
KILMEADE: Let Josh answer.
HOLMES: Look, what we found out from these investigations is there's absolutely no evidence of collusion. None whatsoever. We found out that there's a couple of people who have gotten in trouble for what they said to investigators about an investigation. But we have found out no -- absolutely no evidence of collusion.
KILMEADE: And, Emily, if people want to get to the bottom of it, they can't be heartened by the story in the New York Post today that says one of the people that was asked to testify in front of this grand jury, they describe the jury as the people that would appear at a Bernie Sanders rally. So it's not even emblematic of something that might be perhaps demographically pursuing justice.