Yesterday, host Chris Wallace dropped a scoop that attorney Joseph diGenova and his wife worked with Rudy Giuliani to get oppo research from Ukrainian officials on Joe Biden. It just so happens that diGenova was the subject of the on-air feud between Shepard Smith and Tucker Carlson last week.
DiGenova's attack on a Fox News legal analyst sparked the on-air feud between Shepard Smith and Tucker Carlson last week
As I detailed in a previous post, Carlson sided with diGenova after he called Fox’s own senior judicial analyst “a fool” for opining, on Smith’s show, that Trump had probably committed a crime in trying to strong arm Ukraine into digging up dirt for his personal, political benefit. The next day, Wednesday, Smith called the smear “repugnant” and Carlson, of all people, retaliated by accusing Smith of being a dishonest opinion host. Fox News management reportedly sided with Carlson and threatened to fire Smith if he attacked Carlson on the air again.
Wallace hinted he thought diGenova was given undeserved credibility on Fox
Two days later, on Friday, Wallace said on Fox News that the whistleblower complaint about Trump’s behavior with the Ukrainian president, which ignited an impeachment inquiry, was credible and should be taken seriously. He also called out the “deeply misleading” spin by “the president’s defenders.”
Two days later, Wallace announced diGenova worked ‘off the books’ for Trump’s oppo research efforts in Ukraine
So it seems awfully coincidental that Wallace and Fox's "news" division (of which Smith is a member) should come up with this scoop about diGenova just two days after that. In the opening of yesterday’s Fox News Sunday, Wallace said:
As House Democrats pursue the possible impeachment of President Trump, we have new information to report.
FOX News has learned the president's private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was not acting alone in trying to get dirt from Ukrainian officials on 2020 rival Joe Biden. Two high-profile Washington lawyers, Joe diGenova, who's been a fierce critic of the Democratic investigation, and his wife Victoria Toensing, were working with Giuliani to get oppo research on Biden.
According to a top U.S. official, all three were working off the books apart from the administration. The only person in government who knows what they were doing is President Trump.
FOX News has also learned the Pentagon, State Department, and National Security Council were unanimous in supporting military aid to Ukraine. President Trump decided to withhold that aid this summer on his own.
Interestingly, correspondent Kevin Corke’s report “on the latest” immediately following Wallace's announcement made no mention of that news.
But Wallace brought it up in his contentious interview with a very evasive White House adviser Stephen Miller.
WALLACE: Why did President Trump use his private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and as we just reported, two other private lawyers to try to dig up dirt from the Ukrainian government on Joe Biden rather than going through his State Department?
MILLER: First of all, and most importantly, when we keep talking about, quote, digging up dirt, it's an interesting choice of words.
One of two things is true, Chris. Either the Ukrainian government, or people associated with it, possess real and actual knowledge of corrupt dealings by the Biden family, or they don't. If they do, is it not in the interest of all Americans to know what that is?
WALLACE: We're going to get to what the Bidens [did] in a minute, but I've asked you a specific question, I'd like a specific answer.
The president has the State Department. He's got the CIA. He's got the Pentagon. He's got a number of other agencies. Why did he use three private lawyers to get information on Biden from the - - from the Ukrainian government rather than go through all of the agencies of his government?
The heated discussion continued in that vein but Miller never did answer the question. Eventually, Wallace moved on.
Even if the timing of this news about diGenova is completely coincidental, the report still suggests a widening of the rift at Fox between the Trump lickspittles and those more dedicated to the facts. Tucker Carlson made a point of presenting diGenova as an impartial legal expert who knew better than Fox's legal expert about the legality of Trump's behavior. Whether Carlson knew of diGenova's role in the matter or not, Wallace certainly undermined that claim.
Watch Miller look like he has something to hide below, from the September 29, 2019 Fox News Sunday.
UPDATE: Crooks and Liars reports that DiGenova is calling the report "payback" for his attack on Fox legal analyst Andrew Napolitano. But he did not deny the substance.
Chris Wallace just reports the news, plain and simple. And he asks good questions
Thanks again to dear Ellen and her noble quest to hold Fox ‘News’ to account.