A Fox News discussion about “perhaps the most serious” issues for President Donald Trump to address with Russian President Vladimir Putin completely ignored Russia's interference in the United States' presidential election and possible collusion during the campaign between Trump associates and Russia.
During the July 6 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, co-host Molly Line suggested that when Trump meets with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit this week, “perhaps among the most serious issues to discuss -- perhaps the most serious -- is the involvement in Syria.” Line questioned whether Syria would “be the number one topic between these two men,” to which guest Rebeccah Heinrichs responded, “I don't know about the number one topic, but it's going to be up there. There are so many important topics.” At no point during the discussion did Line or Heinrichs mention Russian interference and hacking in the 2016 presidential election or possible unlawful collusion between Trump associates and Russia as topics that merited discussion.
Ignoring and downplaying topics involving Trump and Russia has been a consistent strategy for Fox News. Line's question about whether Syria was “perhaps the most serious” issue echoed an earlier query from Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade who conducted a poll on Twitter asking “What should be the first topic of conversation between President Trump and Putin?” with the only possible choices being Syria or North Korea.
From the July 6 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
MOLLY LINE (CO-HOST): Perhaps among the most serious issues to discuss -- perhaps the most serious -- is the involvement in Syria. The U.S. and Russia have very different approaches to that crisis. The U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that the United States is prepared to explore the possibility of expanded cooperation with Moscow. Will this be the number one topic between these two men?
REBECCAH HEINRICHS: I don't know about the number one topic, but it's going to be up there. There are so many important topics. But, the solution there in Syria, either the United States and Russia are going to continue this sort of proxy conflict with one another in Russia or they're going to get on the same side and handle what's left of ISIS there, what's left of other Islamic militantism that’s there. But, as of now remember, the United State just shot down another pro-Assad warplane because it was pushing getting close to coalition forces there. And this was something that President Obama was unwilling to do because he was so afraid that it would kick off a war between the United States and Russia. But the Trump administration is being very clear about our efforts and that's something that Vladimir Putin respects. Some clarity, what the United States want to do, what is our interests, we’re going to pursue that, and he will respond accordingly. And that is much more stabilizing, because remember, weakness is provocative, but if you want a stabilizing force, the United States has to be strong and clear and that’s what the Trump administration is doing.