The White House blocked scheduled testimony on Tuesday morning from a key witness in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s abuse of power regarding Ukraine. Now, Fox News is defending the seemingly obstructive move on the false premise that the inquiry is an illegitimate and unfair investigation.
On October 8, the Trump administration directed Ambassador to the European Union Gordan Sondland, who is reportedly involved in Trump’s pressure campaign, not to appear for a scheduled interview with the House. The move comes after House Democrats have repeatedly said that any attempts by the White House to interfere with the investigation would be viewed as obstruction of justice. Trump has maintained his position that he does not have to comply with “The Greatest Witch Hunt in the history of our Country” (in reality, the House has the constitutional right to investigate Trump’s alleged misconduct). Sondland’s reported role in hijacking U.S. foreign policy with respect to Ukraine for Trump’s personal political gain is central to the investigation, and leaked texts between Sondland and Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, show that Sondland’s testimony could be potentially damning for Trump.
This hasn't stopped Fox News from running defense for Trump, adopting his narrative that Sondland does not have to comply with an investigation that is “unfair” and “illegitimate” and that Democrats are “rush[ing] to judgment” and “trying to invoke the political death penalty.”
Fox & Friends guest co-host Pete Hegseth defended the Trump administration’s assertion that the impeachment inquiry is an “illegitimate investigation,” concluding that it’s reasonable that Trump blocked Sondland from testifying because he “is a current member of the administration, which would be a reflection of whether they’re willing to cooperate.”
In discussing Sondland’s blocked testimony, Fox News guest Guy Lewis lauded the administration for “drawing a line in the sand,” adding, “Make no mistake -- this impeachment is a prosecution” and is “unfair.”
In a conversation about Sondland, America’s Newsroom co-anchor Bill Hemmer speculated that maybe the Trump administration feels “that process has been perverted because [Democrats] haven’t followed what some would consider to be the normal mode of process.”
In a conversation about Sondland, Fox contributor Karl Rove complained about the Democrats’ “rush to judgment,” asserting that withholding evidence is “not obstruction of justice.” Co-host Steve Doocy agreed that “of course it is not.” Later, Rove emphasized that the impeachment inquiry is just “stunts” and attacked House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is overseeing the inquiry.
Discussing Sondland on America’s Newsroom, Fox contributor Liz Peek called the investigation a “political show,” dismissing the obstruction as the administration trying to “slow this down a little bit.” Peek concluded that the inquiry is a “partisan witch hunt.”
During a conversation about Sondland on America’s Newsroom, Fox contributor Jason Chaffetz claimed that “Democrats are trying to invoke the political death penalty and they’re not allowing for ... due process.”
Discussing Sondland and the inquiry on Outnumbered, guest co-host Brad Blakeman argued that the Trump administration is “not stonewalling,” but “protecting his constitutional prerogative of executive branch.” He added that “just because a co-equal branch of government asks for something doesn’t mean they need it [or] they are entitled to it.”