Fox News stacked its Outnumbered panel with five Trump lickspittles and no experts on national security in order to spin today's indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee – by blaming President Barack Obama and other Democrats.
There was not a concern about Trump to be seen among the members of this Fox News arm of the Cover-Up Caucus – not over Trump’s obviously bogus claim that the Russia investigation is “a hoax” and “a witch hunt” nor his alarming affinity for Russia, Russians and Russian President Vladimir Putin nor his obvious lack of interest in Russia’s meddling.
The discussion began with cohost Harris Faulkner asking the show's #OneLuckyGuy, Charles Hurt, for his “impression” of the bombshell indictments. Hurt has no credentials on the subject – other than his affinity for Trump, as displayed in a pinned tweet at the top of his Twitter feed.
“This is the Russian investigation that we need,” Hurt said before quickly adding that it’s the “effort to thwart Russia that should have been going on under the Obama administration.”
Rachel Campos-Duffy, who most recently made a name for herself by praising Trump’s child detention centers and claiming that “some African Americans” told her the conditions are better than the housing projects they grew up in, doubled down on the propaganda: “Really, this happened under Obama’s watch,” was her first reaction. Then she quickly added that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the hacking did not affect the outcome of the election.
FACT CHECK: Rosenstein said there is “no allegation in the indictment” that the outcome was affected. That is not the same as a conclusion that such a thing did not happen. In fact, Rosenstein specifically said that such a conclusion would be “speculation” that was beyond his “responsibility.”
Predictably, nobody corrected Campos-Duffy.
“The other important thing is there’s still no evidence that Donald Trump’s campaign colluded,” Campos-Duffy said.
Again, nobody corrected Campos-Duffy.
Cohost Dagen McDowell said, “There was still a recklessness” - but by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Her big takeaway was to remind viewers that the FBI never got actual access to the DNC servers. This is a Trump-friendly distortion of what actually happened.
McDowell never said a word about Trump’s behavior.
Cohost Melissa Francis at least argued that Trump should use the indictments as a non-partisan issue to confront Putin with.
But even that was too much for Cover-up Campos-Duffy. “Russians have always meddled in elections,” she said scornfully. She complained that people are acting as though “this is some big new thing that happened under Trump.” No, but the collusion is.
Campos-Duffy is another one with no credentials related to the subject at hand. But cohost Harris Faulkner asked, “How should we deal with it, Rachel?”
“This is a good step,” she said. But she added, “We need to look at what Obama did and didn’t do during that period of time. We need to get that [DNC] server.”
“Does this help the president, though?” Faulkner asked. She was suggesting that the indictment gives Trump stronger proof of Russia’s interference.
Yes, Hurt thought it would help Trump but not just in the upcoming meeting with Putin. “It shows how serious he is,” Hurt said, speculating that Trump will seriously confront Putin with the latest indictments. “Compared to this other thing – the Russia whatever thing, about Trump and collusion and all this nonsense that the Democrats cannot let go of and so many people in the media cannot let go of.”
Yet immediately following this discussion, we saw a clip of Trump talking dismissively, earlier today, about discussing Russia’s meddling with Putin. Rosenstein said he had briefed Trump earlier this week so he already knew about the indictments:
TRUMP: I know you’ll ask, will we be talking about meddling? And I will absolutely bring that up. I don’t think you’ll have any "Gee, I did it, I did it, you got me." There won’t be a Perry Mason here.
Then, after promising to “firmly” ask the question, Trump said, “And hopefully we’ll have a very good relationship with Russia.”
Watch the Fox News wing of the Cover-up Caucus in action below, from the July 13, 2018 Outnumbered.
Do they seriously imagine that companies worldwide pour billions of dollars into advertising and PR annually without confidently expecting meaningful returns?