Catherine Herridge | Media Matters for America

Catherine Herridge

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  • Fox's “news side” runs with a farcical report that the DOJ “ordered” the FBI not to charge Clinton

    Last night's Special Report was a case study in how Fox's news team operates

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    On Wednesday, Fox News opened its studios for an unprecedented meeting with the advertising industry. The network hoped to make the case that -- in spite of the constant controversies involving its biggest stars -- media buyers should continue to place ads on the network without fear of damaging the advertisers’ brands. Fox executives sought to focus attention on the network’s “news side,” arguing that advertisers should be proud to associate themselves with staffers like Special Report anchor Bret Baier who produce purportedly credible journalism akin to that at other networks.

    Fox’s “news side” actually serves two distinct roles that are quite different from those of reporting bureaus at other networks, as I’ve noted before. First, as Wednesday’s meeting underscores, when there is an outcry caused by the right-wing hosts whose bigoted commentary is at the core of the Fox business model, network executives can point to the “news side” in order to shield the Fox brand. Second, the “news side” produces incremental reporting, often based on Republican claims, that advances conservative narratives, providing ammunition for Fox’s right-wing hosts to yell about.

    A report that aired on Wednesday night’s Special Report provides a clear case study of this second role, with one of Fox’s premier “news side” journalists pushing along a Republican congressman’s effort to create a new scandal about the Department of Justice and the FBI’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

    On Tuesday night, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) tweeted an exchange he had with former FBI attorney Lisa Page during a closed House Judiciary Committee hearing last July. Ratcliffe wrote, “Lisa Page confirmed to me under oath that the FBI was ordered by the Obama DOJ not to consider charging Hillary Clinton for gross negligence in the handling of classified information.”

    This was not news, and there was no such “order.”

    As Adam Goldman, who covers the FBI for The New York Times, pointed out in response, the Justice Department inspector general’s review of DOJ and FBI activities during the 2016 election laid all of this out when it was published in June. According to the report, DOJ prosecutors who analyzed the “gross negligence” statute which Ratcliffe and Page discussed had concluded that making that charge would require a great deal of evidence, which the FBI investigators concluded "was lacking.” The report also noted that the prosecutors' interpretation of the statute was consistent with "prior cases under different leadership including in the 2008 decision not to prosecute former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for mishandling classified documents."

    Moreover, as Cato Institute senior fellow Julian Sanchez pointed out, the scandal Ratcliffe was attempting to generate is debunked by the simple fact that the conduct he and Page discussed was absolutely normal. The FBI doesn’t charge people -- prosecutors at the Justice Department do -- and it is entirely typical for DOJ prosecutors to explain to FBI investigators the precedents that govern what evidence they would need to bring a case. In fact, Page explicitly made this point elsewhere in her questioning by Ratcliffe. As Sanchez put it, the exchange shows “DOJ is giving obviously correct legal advice—‘the facts you’re describing aren’t the sort of thing that section of the statute would apply to, or that we’d charge under that section’—and Ratcliffe is trying to spin it as a (nonexistent) ‘order’ not to investigate.”

    For credible journalists, that’s where the story would end.

    But Page has been a frequent subject of baseless theories from right-wing media and congressional Republicans suggesting that senior FBI and Justice Department officials had conspired to prevent Clinton from being charged with crimes, while pushing through a politically motivated investigation of now-President Donald Trump. Ratcliffe’s claim fit into those narratives, and so it quickly spread through right-wing media.

    By Wednesday night, Special Report, Fox’s flagship “news side” broadcast, was covering the story.

    Baier, a Fox anchor often included in the ranks of the network’s legitimate journalists, introduced the story by pushing the “order” falsehood: “We are learning more tonight about what the Obama Justice Department ordered federal lawyers to do and not to do concerning the Hillary Clinton email investigation.”

    Fox chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge’s subsequent report focused on the transcript Ratcliffe tweeted. Throughout the segment, Herridge bolstered the sense that Radcliffe's tweet pointed to a real scandal. She claimed that Page's testimony “appears to conflict” with former FBI Director James Comey’s July 2016 statement that the FBI’s investigation was done “independently." She produced an FBI document that said “DOJ not willing to charge” on gross negligence. And she highlighted denunciations of the Justice Department from Trump and a Republican congressman. At no point did she note that the Justice Department inspector general had already explained that the normal DOJ/FBI process had been followed. 

    Later in the program, Baier returned to the exchange Ratcliffe had highlighted, calling it “significant” and saying that it “seems to open up a lot of other questions.” Invoking a constant refrain from presidential mouthpiece and Fox colleague Sean Hannity, Baier later asked a guest, “Is this fair to say that this shows, Mo, two tiers of justice? I mean, is this the beginning of kind of saying it wasn't fair the other way either?”

    The first Special Report segment caught the attention of the president, who was apparently watching and tweeted out the caption featured during the report.

    As is typical for Fox “news side” reporting, Herridge’s segment provided grist for the network’s far-right stars. All three prime-time shows devoted time to the story, using it as fresh evidence of the purported corruption at the Obama Justice Department that supposedly let Clinton get away with crimes.  

    “My question to you is simple,” Hannity asked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in one such segment. “Based on what Lisa Page said, do we now have to go back right to Hillary Clinton if, in fact, the DOJ rigged that from the get-go?”

    By Thursday morning, America’s Newsroom -- a Fox program typically described as part of the network’s “news side” -- was running scandalmongering coverage falsely claiming that “New Transcripts Show Lisa Page Said DOJ Ordered FBI To Stand Down On Charging Clinton.” (In adding “stand down” to the alleged order, Fox is invoking its endless coverage intended to push the myth that U.S. forces were issued a “stand down” order during the September 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.)

    This won’t be the last we hear of this nonsensical story. As Baier said on Wednesday’s show, “We're going to see a lot more of this angle, especially from the Judiciary Committee and the Senate and elsewhere.” And Fox’s “news side” journalists will be more than happy to support that narrative from Senate Republicans, regardless of how ridiculous their claims may be. That’s literally what they are there for.

  • Trump’s favorite Fox News propagandists are avoiding reports about Paul Manafort’s legal troubles

    Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine have steered clear of reporting on Paul Manafort’s legal exposure, but they spent significant time on a judge’s strong words for the special counsel's team

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Update:

    On June 14, a federal judge revoked Manafort's bail for allegedly tampering with witnesses, landing him in federal prison until his trial.


    President Donald Trump’s favorite Fox News shows are all but ignoring the cascade of damning reports regarding former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his legal troubles. Since May 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller has been scrutinizing various relationships between the Trump campaign and Russian nationals closely tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin, appearing to focus closely on Manafort’s business history and associates. As the legal pressure ramps up against Manafort, the president’s propagandists at Fox News have sought to distance Manafort from Trump and, through selective reporting on Manafort’s legal troubles, discredit the probe against Trump’s former campaign manager.

    Since the beginning of 2018, Manafort’s legal exposure has grabbed mainstream media attention, but the topic has not managed to break through on Trump’s favorite Fox News programs. Media Matters reviewed transcripts and video of the first editions of Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine after significant reports surfaced about new developments regarding the investigations into Manafort this year. We found little to no coverage of notable turns in the multiple high-profile legal cases against Trump’s former campaign manager. But we did find extensive coverage of the strong words a judge had for the special counsel’s team.

    Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine all but ignored major turns in legal cases against Manafort

    Manafort sues Department of Justice, alleging special counsel exceeded mandate

    On January 3, NPR reported that Manafort was suing the Department of Justice, alleging that “Mueller's team has ‘diverged’ from its stated focus on potential collusion with the Russians who attacked the 2016 election and instead zeroed in on Manafort for ‘unrelated, decade-old business dealings’ in Ukraine.” According to a Media Matters review, Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine did not cover the development.

    Company tied to former Manafort business associate and Russian oligarch sues Manafort and business partner

    On January 10, according to NBC News, “a company controlled and funded by” Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, a crony of Russian President Vladimir Putin and one-time business associate of Manafort’s, sued Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates for allegedly “bilk[ing] his company by taking $1.1 million in capital and paying it to themselves.” According to a Media Matters review, Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine did not cover the lawsuit.

    Special counsel tells judge investigation has revealed “additional criminal conduct” by Manafort

    On February 16, according to Politico, the special counsel’s office submitted a court filing informing a federal judge of “additional criminal conduct that [the office has] learned since the Court’s initial bail determination” on Manafort’s federal case that “includes a series of bank frauds and bank fraud conspiracies.” According to a Media Matters review, Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine did not cover the court filing specifically. Though a guest on Fox & Friends, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, briefly mentioned general “charges” against Paul Manafort, he downplayed them as “unrelated to the campaign.”

    Former Trump aide Richard Gates will “plead guilty” and has agreed to “testify against Manafort”

    On February 18, the Los Angeles Times reported that Gates, who is also a former Trump campaign aide, would “plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days” and that he “made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul Manafort.” While the Times report was unverified by other media outlets at the time, according to a Media Matters review, Hannity and Justice with Judge Jeanine did not cover the report. Fox & Friends briefly mentioned it but added that Catherine Herridge, Fox News’ chief intelligence correspondent, “says, as of now, no deal, and Gates is not cooperating.” Five days later, The New York Times confirmed that Gates would plead guilty “to financial fraud and lying to investigators” and “has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel inquiry.” According to a Media Matters review, Hannity and Justice with Judge Jeanine did not cover the development. Fox & Friends all but ignored the report other than airing a 15-second teaser from co-host Brian Kilmeade (who did not identify how Gates is tied to the Trump campaign) and a softball question from co-host Steve Doocy during an interview with former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. Priebus also attempted to downplay the significance of the report, claiming Gates’ and Manafort’s conduct was “independent of the Trump campaign.”

    Dutch lawyer tied to Manafort business partner sentenced to 30 days in federal prison for pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators

    On April 3, according to CNN, Alex van der Zwaan, a “Dutch lawyer tied to former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates,” was “sentenced … to spend 30 days in prison and pay a $20,000 fine after he admitted to lying to” the special counsel regarding his “communications with Gates and a person with Russian intelligence ties.” According to a Media Matters review, Hannity briefly mentioned the sentencing, downplaying it as having “nothing to do with Russia collusion,” and saying, “In reality, it looks like a giant waste of your money.” Justice with Judge Jeanine did not cover the sentencing, which was the first in the special counsel’s investigation. Fox & Friends twice mentioned the development in passing while attempting to downplay its significance, once saying the sentencing is “unrelated” to Trump and Russia.

    Special counsel obtains seven new search warrants against Manafort

    On April 5, CBS News reported that prosecutors on the special counsel’s team “revealed in court filings ... that they had obtained on March 9 seven new search warrants against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort” for “various properties” including “a storage unit, bank accounts, email addresses and devices.” According to a Media Matters review, Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine did not cover the report.

    Federal judge rejects attempt to get Manafort case dismissed

    On May 15, according to Politico, a federal judge “rejected an attempt by Paul Manafort … to get an indictment against him dismissed by claiming that special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment was flawed.” The judge wrote that “given the combination of his prominence within the campaign and his ties to Ukrainian officials supported by and operating out of Russia, as well as to Russian oligarchs, Manafort was an obvious person of interest” for U.S. law enforcement. According to a Media Matters review, Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine did not cover the judge’s decision.

    Manafort’s former son-in-law cuts plea deal, will testify against Manafort

    On May 17, Reuters reported that Manafort’s former son-in-law and “business partner” Jeffrey Yohai “cut a plea deal with the Justice Department” requiring him “to cooperate” with the special counsel’s prosecutors. According to a Media Matters review, Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine did not cover the report.

    Special counsel accuses Manafort of attempting to tamper with witnesses

    On June 4, according to The New York Times, “federal prosecutors ... accused President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, of attempting to tamper with witnesses in his federal tax and money laundering case,” with one witness telling the FBI “that Mr. Manafort was trying to ‘suborn perjury.’” Yet again, according to a Media Matters review, Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine did not cover the court filing, even though the charges leveled against Trump’s former campaign manager can mean up to 20 years in federal prison if he is found guilty.

    Special counsel unseals additional charges against Manafort, Russian business associate

    On June 8, according to NPR, the special counsel’s office “unsealed more charges” against Manafort, alleging “that a Russian partner of Manafort's, Konstantin Kilimnik, helped him try to persuade witnesses to lie to the jury when Manafort's case comes to trial in Washington, D.C., this autumn.” According to a Media Matters review, Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine did not cover the additional round of charges against the president’s former campaign manager.

    But Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine all covered a judge’s sharp questioning of the special counsel’s motivations extensively

    On May 4, according to The Washington Post, “a federal judge in Virginia ... sharply questioned the motivations of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s fraud prosecution of President Trump’s former campaign manager.” According to the report, Judge T.S. Ellis III told prosecutors on Mueller’s team, “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud. … You really care about getting information Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment.” According to a Media Matters review, Fox & Friends, Hannity, and Justice with Judge Jeanine all covered the judge’s rebuke of the Mueller team extensively.

    On the May 4 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity spent a total of 14 minutes and 46 seconds discussing Judge Ellis’ comments, calling his remarks the “single biggest beatdown I have ever seen in my life by a judge.” The nearly 15 minutes Hannity devoted to Ellis’ comments were significantly more than the time he spent covering any development in the various cases against Manafort in 2018 combined, which totaled about 1 minute and 57 seconds.

    On the May 5 edition of Justice with Judge Jeanine, host Jeanine Pirro spent a total of 15 minutes and 27 seconds discussing Judge Ellis’ remarks. In contrast, Pirro did not mention any of the other stories regarding Manafort's legal troubles in 2018.

    On the May 7 edition of Fox & Friends, the hosts devoted 11 minutes and 5 seconds to Judge Ellis’ comments over three hours of airtime. Fox & Friends spent a total of 2 minutes and 43 seconds on the other turns in the various cases against Manafort, and during those reports the hosts usually downplayed the events as “unrelated” to Russia or “independent from the Trump campaign.”

    As Fox buries reports on Manafort, majority of Americans are unaware of numerous special counsel indictments

    Given Manafort’s past and the people he has been willing to associate with professionally, it is no wonder Fox News’ chief Trump propagandists have attempted to distance the president from him. According to The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer, Manafort’s career was built on lobbying on behalf of “dictatorial governments in Nigeria, Kenya, Zaire, Equatorial Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia, among others.” Manafort’s experience representing repressive regimes eventually landed him a job in Ukraine, assisting the “former gangsters,” as Foer wrote, in the Party of Regions in improving their image domestically, eventually guiding pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych to presidential victory in 2010.

    Fox News’ efforts to bury Manafort’s legal exposure seem to be having an impact. According to a recent survey conducted by Navigator Research, 59 percent of Americans are not aware that the special counsel’s investigation has uncovered any crimes, even though Mueller has amassed five guilty pleas and numerous indictments. Should the special counsel’s investigation turn up evidence that supports allegations of a criminal conspiracy between members of the Trump campaign and foreign actors, Manafort would surely be implicated as a key player.

    Suppressing reports regarding (arguably) the most corrupt member of Trump’s campaign team -- and following Fox’s usual playbook of downplaying and ignoring other consequential reporting on the special counsel’s investigation -- appears to be part of the network’s larger strategy to pre-emptively downplay any possible findings that could implicate the president and his campaign.

  • Fox's chief intelligence correspondent edited out mention of Russian government when quoting Trump Jr. emails

    A Fox host also praised Trump Jr. for "trying to make this as most transparent as possible" 

    Blog ››› ››› LIS POWER

    One of Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherie Herridge's earliest reports on the new revelations regarding Donald Trump Jr.’s willingness to receive damaging information against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton from the Russian government edited out key parts of the email exchange that showed that Trump Jr. knew the information was indeed from the Russian government. Additonally, during reporting of Fox News' Outnumbered, host Sandra Smith praised the president’s son for “trying to make this as most transparent as possible.”

    On July 11, The New York Times published the email correspondence setting up a meeting between Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. (Trump Jr., in an apparent attempt to pre-empt the Times report, released some of the emails himself on Twitter shortly before the report was posted.) In the initial email, “a trusted intermediary” wrote (emphasis added), “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responded, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

    During Fox News’ Outnumbered, chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reported on the developments, reading “key sections” from the email chain between Trump Jr. and the intermediary, Rob Goldstone. Herridge read:

    But, as the ellipses show, Herridge omitted a key section of the quote. Goldstone’s reference to “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” was not included in the on-screen graphic, and Herridge did not mention that part of the quote during her report.

    Following Herridge’s report, host Sandra Smith praised Trump Jr. for releasing the emails himself and “trying to make this as most transparent as possible.” Smith also attempted to move the goalposts, asking whether there’s “any evidence” that “tells us that [Trump Jr.] reached out to anyone within the campaign immediately after receiving that email.” The question seemed to be an attempt to deflect from the fact that simply by seeking the information, the younger Trump may have violated laws barring contributions to political campaigns from foreign nationals.

    Shortly after Herridge's report, co-host Meghan McCain filled in the missing quote about the Russian government, noting that it is "the biggest concern in these emails."

    Fox has consistently tried to either ignore, or downplay news surrounding Trump and Russia, and has gone as far as creating an alternate reality to distract its viewers. The network's reaction to these new developments is just the latest example.

  • Despite conservative media claims, James Comey didn't leak classified information to NY Times

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Right-wing media, pro-Trump internet trolls, and fake news purveyors are boosting a report from a right-leaning journalist in a way that suggests former FBI Director James Comey might have intentionally leaked classified information to The New York Times. The report presents already-known information about Comey’s memos that recounted his interactions with President Donald Trump. Politico also reported that the source that passed along the memo to the Times confirmed that it did not contain classified information.

  • Fox covers for Kushner with report from single anonymous source

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Fox News is laying down cover fire for Jared Kushner in the wake of the bombshell report that the top aide and son-in-law to President Donald Trump had asked Russia’s ambassador in December if Trump’s transition team could use Russian diplomatic facilities to communicate with the Kremlin in order to shield their discussions from U.S. intelligence agencies.

    Former leading intelligence officials who served both parties were quick to savage Kushner’s actions when they were first reported by The Washington Post, saying that the aide had displayed shocking ignorance and poor judgment at best and had engaged in espionage at worst. Follow-up reports highlighted the “crisis” into which Kushner had plunged the president, and suggested that the story could lead to him leaving the administration.

    The president’s son-in-law returned to Washington from Trump’s trip abroad deeply wounded. But in a new online report on Monday, Fox News suggested that the Post had botched the story and in fact, Kushner had done nothing wrong. From FoxNews.com:

    During the meeting the Russians broached the idea of using a secure line between the Trump administration and Russia, not Kushner, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News. That follows a recent report from The Washington Post alleging that Kushner wanted to develop a secure, private line with Russia.

    The idea of a permanent back channel was never discussed, according to the source. Instead, only a one-off for a call about Syria was raised in the conversation.

    In addition, the source told Fox News the December meeting focused on Russia's contention that the Obama administration's policy on Syria was deeply flawed.

    In short, Fox is claiming that the Post’s reporting on the meeting was completely wrong and that the events as they really occurred were no big deal. For such an extraordinary claim -- one for which the president himself quickly signaled approval -- one would expect extraordinary evidence.

    But Fox’s story rests entirely on a single anonymous “source familiar with the matter” who does not even provide a direct quote for the article; the unbylined report was based on reporting from Catherine Herridge, whose anonymously sourced stories have often failed to withstand scrutiny. There’s no reason for readers to accept the story at face value, but it’s worth interrogating -- as Fox does not -- who might want to be pushing this version of the Kushner meeting into the news cycle.

    Who benefits from this story? Kushner. And so it seems likely that Kushner or one of his cronies -- perhaps the communications aide he hired to handle his operations -- is the source.

    Indeed, according to Post National Editor Scott Wilson, Kushner allies have been offering spin about the December meeting, without allowing themselves to be identified as such. By being willing to aid them, reporters allow their audiences to view the sources as “disinterested parties” and make it harder to track any lies back to their origin.

    By this morning, the hosts of Fox & Friends, Trump’s favorite morning news show, had weaponized their network’s report to attack the “mainstream media” for their “feeding frenzy.”

    “So there was contact, and the Russians did want a back channel contact and that's why he responded,” Brian Kilmeade explained. “A lot different than, ‘Hey, I have an idea. Meet you in the embassy. Let's make private phone calls from there before my father-in-law gets in office.’” “You want to turn to the The Washington Post and the failing New York Times and say, ‘Can I have my edition back? Can I have my news back?’” added Pete Hegseth. “There's no sourcing. It's all innuendo. It's all rumor.”

    An anonymously sourced account that seems to put the best possible face forward for a close aide to the president -- and that is wielded as a weapon against the rest of the press and championed by the president himself? This sure looks like propaganda.

    Fox frequently cites the purported “firewall” between its “straight news” and right-wing “opinion” sides, and its “straight news” reporters are quick to disassociate themselves when, for example, Sean Hannity dives into the fever swamps. Yet the network’s “straight news” hours often promote the same right-wing bugaboos as the network’s evening commentary hosts do, and the conservative opinions of many of its “straight news” anchors tend to bleed into their coverage.

    And the “firewall” argument also ignores the reality that, as in the case of the Kushner report, the network’s “straight news” reporting seems to exist largely to provide ammunition for the “opinion” hosts. They know what their audience wants -- news and commentary that supports the president -- and from the newsroom to prime time, they eagerly provide it.

  • After Weeks Of Denials, Fox News Independently Confirms Russian Interference In US Election

    Catherine Herridge: “These Operations Were Sanctioned By The Highest Levels Of The Russian Government”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News’ chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reported that Fox News has independently verified Russian-backed cyber militias targeted US systems in “an effort to interfere in the US election.” Herridge’s report comes after weeks of Fox News denying the Russian government could have anything to do with the election hack.

    After 17 intelligence agencies reported that the Russian government was involved with hacking political organizations’ emails, Fox News repeatedly attempted to cast doubt on the reports by calling the agencies political. Fox host Sean Hannity derided the CIA’s conclusions as “politically motivated” “fake news,” and his colleague Tucker Carlson has repeatedly downplayed the possibility of Russia influencing the election and attacked anybody supporting the thesis. And Fox News contributor John Bolton even claimed that the “ridiculous” allegations of Russian interference could be a “false flag.” 

    Despite Fox’s campaign to cast doubt on the possibility of the Russian government seeking to undermine American elections, a December 15 report from chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge said that “Fox News has independently confirmed that Russian backed cyber-militias were targeting US systems and influential US persons in the summer of 2015,” an operation which “evolved into an effort to interfere in the US election … sanctioned by the highest levels of the Russian government.” From the December 15 edition of Fox News’ The Kelly File:

    CATHERINE HERRIDGE: Fox News has independently confirmed that Russian-backed cyber militias were targeting US systems and influential US persons in the summer of 2015, and the operation evolved into an effort to interfere in the US election. These operations were sanctioned by the highest levels of the Russian government. 

    After the FBI director’s July statement about the Clinton email investigation, a government source says there was a reluctance to further insert government institutions and their assessments into an already deeply politicized election cycle. A leading cybersecurity expert says the intelligence community reviewed the techniques, tactics, and procedures leveraged in the attacks and made the link to Russia. In October, the agencies and Homeland Security, or DHS, went on the record, though Putin was not mentioned by name. 

  • Fox News Debunks Its Own Attempt To Prop Up False Trump Claim Of New Clinton Email Scandal

    Minutes After Catherine Herridge Supports Trump’s Claim Of “Collusion” In DOJ Investigation, Andrew Napolitano Explains That She And Trump Are Wrong

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano debunked Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s claim that a stolen email from a Clinton campaign staffer showed “collusion” in the Justice Department’s investigation into Clinton’s use of private email during her time as secretary of state, just minutes after Fox’s chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge supported Trump’s claim.

    After an NBC News reporter drew attention to stolen emails belonging to Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon, which were released by WikiLeaks, Trump’s campaign charged that one of the emails “reveals ‘collusion’ between Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Justice Department that tainted the criminal investigation into Clinton’s private email set-up.” The email in question, dated May 19, 2015, states: "DOJ folks inform me there is a status hearing in this case this morning, so we could have a window into the judge's thinking about this proposed production schedule as quickly as today." As Politico explained about an hour before the Fox segments, Fallon’s message “predates that probe.”

    Despite the impossibility of the Trump campaign’s claim, Fox’s Herridge repeated the claim. Appearing on Your World, Herridge said, “[T]here's another hacked email that shows former Justice Department staffer Brian Fallon, who is now a senior member of the Clinton campaign team, was working with his former Justice Department colleagues about an upcoming hearing in the email investigation.” She continued, “Trump's campaign called it collusion and wants all the communications to be released from the Clinton campaign. That's obviously not realistic, but for a point of context, at the height of the email investigation, any kind of communication between the Clinton campaign operatives and the Justice Department was clearly inappropriate by either side.”

    But just six minutes after Herridge’s irresponsible and erroneous assertions about that email, Fox’s Napolitano explained that both she and Trump were wrong:

    ANDREW NAPOLITANO: You know, the email that we're talking about has to do with the Freedom of Information Act cases, and not with the criminal investigation. If Donald Trump's allegation were true, and the Justice Department had been tipping off the Clinton campaign about the criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton, that tip itself would be a crime, but that's not what the emails that Catherine Herridge was referencing reveal. In fact, those emails were about the Freedom of Information Act cases, which are civil cases, which anyone can get access to. So I don't see the impropriety here that Trump is concerned about.

    Herridge made sure to note the date of Fallon’s email, but she neglected to inform Fox’s audience that the email was sent two months before the FBI’s investigation began -- making her concern about improper communications in support of the Trump campaign’s claim completely baseless. Herridge has a long history of getting details of the investigation into Clinton’s use of email wrong, thanks to her tendency to rely on anonymous sources that end up burning her.

  • Despite Lack Of FBI Evidence, Fox News Pushes Myth That Clinton Deleted Emails After Subpoena Request
     

    ››› ››› CYDNEY HARGIS

    Fox News is hyping congressional Republicans’ attempt to set up more hearings into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of private email, even after the FBI determined there was no basis for charges of wrongdoing. Citing the FBI's recently released report on its concluded investigation, Fox baselessly suggested there is proof that Clinton ordered the improper deletion of work-related emails after she was instructed by Congress to preserve them. 

  • FBI’s Clinton Email Findings Show That Fox Got Played By Running With Imprisoned Hacker’s Lie

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Recently released FBI notes pertaining to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server reveal that Fox News’ interview and subsequent hyping of claims made by imprisoned Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar were all based on a lie. The FBI report states that “analysis” showed no “evidence that Lazar hacked the server,” and also notes that Lazar “admitted to lying to FOX News.” Fox’s willingness to report an imprisoned hacker’s claims as fact doesn’t represent the first time the network has been burned by sources in an attempt to scandalize Clinton’s use of a private email server.

  • GOP Lawmakers Latch Onto Fox’s Unsubstantiated Claims About A Clinton Foundation Investigation

    ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    GOP lawmakers reportedly circulated a letter requesting several federal agencies investigate the Clinton Foundation, parroting “unresolved media reports” to allege that the nonprofit was a “lawless ‘pay to play’ enterprise.” This latest move echoes months of unsubstantiated assertions from Fox News that the foundation was already under investigation for supposed abuses during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.