Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo pushed a bizarre conspiracy theory on Wednesday, claiming that the current international standoff over Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine, which stems from Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014, had been fabricated recently by the Biden administration in order to distract from right-wing media claims about 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
In fact, Bartiromo’s obsession with pushing Clinton conspiracy theories is even worse than it looks just from that clip.
Just to get some facts cleared up, Murdoch media outlets have been pushing a false narrative for the last few days that a supposed revelation from special counsel John Durham, involving a tip in February 2017 from former Democratic Party lawyer Michael A. Sussman about alleged attempts from Russian-made smartphones to connect over the internet to both Trump Tower and the White House. In reality, these internet lookups had occurred during former President Barack Obama’s tenure, before Donald Trump even occupied the White House. But, somehow or another, the Murdoch press is claiming this as proof that people working on behalf of Hillary Clinton had actually spied on Trump, including during his presidency. (The right-wing spin also involves a lot of misunderstanding of the technical details involved.)
Bartiromo has long been on an obsessive quest to deny that Russia assisted Trump in the 2016 election, claiming there was a vast entrapment plot and using a series of discredited talking points, including during past interviews she’s done with Trump. She has also been pushing this new angle about Ukraine for days, rhetorically asking if the White House was preemptively “trying to create all of this drama because we were getting this Durham information.” She reiterated that “for several years I have been saying Hillary Clinton made the whole thing up and infiltrated Donald Trump and really damaged his reputation.”
During the first hour of her show on Wednesday, Bartiromo spoke with a genuine defense policy expert, retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro, who explained the reasons why the threat of Russia’s Ukraine standoff has been taken so seriously. And yet minutes later, Bartiromo renewed the absurd conspiracy theory that this entire situation was a hoax by the Biden administration. Bartiromo argued that the U.S. State Department “may also be playing us,” by exaggerating the threat posed by the Russian military “to take the conversation away from Hillary Clinton.” (emphasis added)
Later on, during a headline news update on the Ukraine situation and other stories, Bartiromo doubled down on the accusation: “Well, they are looking to stick to their story after [White House national security adviser] Jake Sullivan told us to leave Ukraine immediately, that an invasion would happen today, as a way to change the conversation of Hillary Clinton’s bad behavior.”
Moments later, she added that “changing the subject from Hillary Clinton’s blockbuster attempted entrapment was the name of the story over the weekend from Jake Sullivan — who, by the way, was the person peddling the collusion lie for so many years. The people who abuse power are now back in power.”
Those conspiratorial asides from Bartiromo while delivering news headlines are very typical of her style. For example, on the day before President Joe Biden’s inauguration in 2021, during a seemingly ordinary news update on security measures being taken to secure the event, Bartiromo baselessly alleged that “Democrats infiltrated two weeks ago and put on MAGA clothing” during the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.