As Donald Trump fumes over the Russia investigation, his cheerleaders on Fox News’ Outnumbered show did their best to provide solace by joining him in attacking it.
At the beginning of a discussion yesterday, cohost Sandra Smith excitedly announced that Trump is “going on offense” against Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Of course, nobody on the panel expressed a worry about a president trying to squelch an investigation into whether or not he colluded with a foreign adversary. On Fox News, only Democratic misdeeds count!
Instead, Smith mentioned concerns that some of Mueller’s hires “have made big political donations to Democrats" and that the investigation has expanded. This was - just by coincidence, I’m sure – the same strategy the Trump team is reportedly planning to use against Mueller. We did see a brief clip of Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal opining that Trump's behavior is potentially obstruction of justice. But that was right before a longer clip of Newt Gingrich attacking the investigation as "a very dangerous witch hunt."
It spoke volumes that instead of any kind of real expert on the law, ethics, or counter-intelligence, the guest for the show was FNC host Steve Hilton. His only qualifications seem to be support for Trump and skepticism about Russiagate. And, of course, his ability to use inflammatory rhetoric to defend Trump.
HILTON: Aren’t we all just sick and tired of hearing about Russia, talking about Russia? We just need to say that every time because it’s really important to remember that the purpose of government and politics, the reason Donald Trump was elected, the reason all those people in Congress were elected, was to do real things for real people, not this kind of stuff.
Nice deflection there, Steve. But you conveniently overlooked how a majority of Americans want Congress to investigate Russia as an important priority.
Hilton went on to pretend that the investigation was some kind of Washington cabal that was undermining democracy (while Hilton worked to subvert the will of Americans). Hilton also acted as though Trump had won election with a mandate and not lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.
HILTON: Ever since election night last November, official Washington - the establishment, the elite, whatever you want to call it – they can’t believe that he won and they’re doing everything to obstruct him and stand in his way. And I think there’s a really big group of people who genuinely want to get him out and they don’t want to wait until the next election to get him out, in a democratic way. They’ll try anything and I think this is part of that.
Rather than correct him, cohost and Trump fangirl Harris Faulkner sounded awestruck as she painted Hilton as a political genius.
FAULKNER: I really want to lean on your perspective because you have such great knowledge having worked with David Cameron at a time when he was counter – as part of the establishment – what everybody else was saying. And now we’ve got President Trump who is counter the establishment and what everybody else is saying. What informs you? What lessons do you take away from that that you might share with the president?
Hilton now offered some mild admonition to Dear Leader: “I think if we were to fault the president and his team, I think he’s given them too much ammunition,” Hilton said, which has “allowed all this to develop and to become a distraction. I think that’s what needs to stop.”
Smith stepped in before anyone could explore that criticism. She asked cohost Trish Regan if Trump “going on the offensive” is good strategy.
Regan sounded as though she had her pro-Trump talking points at the ready.
REGAN: I think it is, only because I think this is a witch hunt, and it's gotten out of control and someone needs to speak up. If you were president of the United States and you basically had Comey's buddy investigating you, and then Comey's buddy goes out and hires a whole bunch of people that have donated to Hillary Clinton's campaign and donated to the DNC, you're going to start to wonder there. I mean, it doesn't feel like a fair fight. They want to solve for this equation, they assume he is guilty of a crime and they're going to do everything they can to try and connect those dots.
Watch the aid and comfort to Trump below, from the July 21, 2017 Outnumbered, via Media Matters.