MSNBC's Alex Wagner: “One of Fox News' biggest stories just blew up in its face”

MSNBC host cites Media Matters study to demonstrate how Fox News proliferated Russian intelligence in “countless hours of TV accusations and smear campaigns”

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Citation From the February 21, 2024, edition of MSNBC's Alex Wagner Tonight

ALEX WAGNER (HOST): One of Fox News' biggest stories just blew up in its face. 


The allegation was gigantic and Fox News ran with it. The Washington Post's Philip Bump calculated that Fox mentioned Biden in the context of a bribe or bribery more than 2,600 times in the past year. Media Matters counted Sean Hannity alone devoting at least 85 segments to this supposed scandal in the same time frame. Republicans in the House launched an entire impeachment inquiry around this claim. A year's worth of Republican mud-slinging has been based on one allegation detailed in an FBI form called a 1023, from one confidential human source. 


"The most corroborating evidence we have is from this highly credible confidential human source." Last week, the Justice Department arrested that confidential human source. His name is Alexander Smirnov and he has now been indicted on two counts of lying to the FBI. Specifically about providing false, derogatory information to the FBI about Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Now, that alone is devastating to the narrative that Fox News and the Republican Party have been pushing. Countless hours of TV accusations and smear campaigns, an entire congressional impeachment inquiry, all based on what the Justice Department now says were lies.

But this story does not end there. It gets so, so much worse. Because according to a new pretrial filing from the Department of Justice, when this confidential source, Alexander Smirnov, was interrogated after his arrest last week, he told the FBI that he has been getting his information from Russian intelligence officers.

So to recap quickly, the basis of the Republican impeachment investigation against President Biden and a year's worth of one of Fox News' biggest anti-Biden stories were just lies from a guy the Department of Justice now claims is a Russian intelligence asset.

And according to the Justice Department, until he was arrested last week, Smirnov's plan was to keep poisoning our nation's political well with more lies passed to him by the Russian government. "Smirnov's efforts to spread misinformation about a candidate of one of the two major parties in the United States continues." That candidate would be Joe Biden. Smirnov "is actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in November."

That is election interference. If what the Department of Justice is alleging here is true, the Russian government is actively interfering in the 2024 election to try to help Donald Trump get elected. And Russia potentially played Republican elected officials -- and by the way, Fox News -- like a fiddle in order to do so.