Fox's Catherine Herridge: Flynn's contact with Russians isn't as "sinister sounding, perhaps, as in the black and white of the court documents"
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A Fox host also praised Trump Jr. for "trying to make this as most transparent as possible"
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.
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 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.
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Catherine Herridge: “These Operations Were Sanctioned By The Highest Levels Of The Russian Government”
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.
Minutes After Catherine Herridge Supports Trump’s Claim Of “Collusion” In DOJ Investigation, Andrew Napolitano Explains That She And Trump Are Wrong
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
During his July 7 testimony on Capitol Hill, FBI Director James Comey dismantled several right-wing media myths about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state. In his testimony about the FBI’s recommendation against pursuing criminal charges, Comey debunked flawed comparisons and corrected faulty definitions that right-wing media have repeatedly pushed.
FBI Director James Comey announced that he would not recommend criminal charges be filed against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server. Right-wing media, echoing Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, soon baselessly accused Comey of excusing Clinton’s “gross negligence” in violation of the Espionage Act.