Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon told FBI investigators that in December 2016, Fox News Sunday cut a question asked of then-President-elect Donald Trump from its aired show because it was “embarrassing,” according to newly revealed memos from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
On February 3, BuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold published the fifth release of interview summaries from Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including the interview with Bannon. The interview took place on February 2, 2018.
Bannon told the FBI that Fox edited out an exchange in which Fox anchor Chris Wallace surprised then President-elect Trump by bringing up tweets made by Michael Flynn Jr., son of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and a pusher of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
Here is the segment from the December 11, 2016, edition of Fox News Sunday:
Bannon is visible (and mentioned) near the beginning, as is the elder Flynn.
Fox “straight news” is just part of the propaganda machine
The revelations reinforce that the division between the “straight news” and opinion sides of Fox News is nothing more than a fig leaf. Fox’s “news” shows and anchors frequently spread misinformation and repeat GOP talking points, and the “news” side plays an essential role in supporting Fox’s propaganda operation.
Update (4:20 p.m.): Chris Wallace confirmed to Mediaite that the exchange happened and that Trump asked him not to air it, but he said he never intended to air it:
Wallace told Mediaite that toward the end of the first part of the interview at Trump Tower, he asked Trump about the fact that his transition team had just that week fired Michael Flynn Jr., the son of the National Security Adviser, for spreading fake stories about Hillary Clinton and Pizzagate.
“He said he didn’t know anything about it and [said] he’d look into it,” Wallace explained. “So I immediately thought, I’m not getting anything out if it, but like a lot of questions that you ask that didn’t go anywhere, I’m not going to use it. And I never intended to use the exchange later on.”
Wallace did note that while on the airplane, Trump asked that not air. He said it might be personally embarrassing to his National Security Adviser.
According to Wallace, Trump said, “I think that’s going to embarrass the General. Would you mind taking that out of the interview?”
Wallace said that given that exchange made no news and that he “never intended to use it anyway, I said that it would not.”