House Republicans run with Fox's disinformation campaign in Mueller questions

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

House Republicans used their question time during Wednesday’s congressional hearings with former special counsel Robert Mueller to echo Fox News disinformation about the investigation into Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election.

As I noted Tuesday in detailing how Fox personalities were urging Republican members of Congress to ask Mueller about their conspiracy theories:

Since the launch of Mueller’s probe in May 2017, Sean Hannity and other prominent Fox hosts have warned their viewers that [President Donald] Trump and his associates are the innocent victims of a sinister conspiracy fomented by “deep state” operatives, Democrats, and the press -- all working together to take down the president and, perhaps, the republic. 

But Fox’s counternarrative is based on falsehood and fantasy. It claims a dossier assembled by a former British intelligence officer and funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee kicked off the probe (it didn’t), cites a FISA warrant against a former Trump campaign aide as evidence of an anti-Trump conspiracy (it isn’t), misreads text messages between FBI officials to suggest they show an all-out effort to stop Trump’s election (they don’t), and smears Mueller and members of his team as having conflicts of interest (they don’t). 

Before the House Judiciary Committee hearing began this morning, Trump reeled off a series of inaccurate tweets steeped in Fox’s false alternative narrative. As The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent noted, “It's key to understand [the tweets] as nothing more than rank disinformation, designed to flood the media zone so that the press gives equal weight to a series of lies alongside the truth about Trump's corruption, misconduct, and likely criminality, thus diluting the latter's impact.” 

Throughout the hearings, congressional Republicans leaned on questions and narratives promoted by Hannity and his ilk.

House Judiciary Committee

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)

Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA)

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL)

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND)

House Intelligence Committee

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY)

This post will be updated as more House Republicans echo Fox’s bogus talking points.