Fox host and blatant Trumper Harris Faulkner tried to use today’s announcement of U.S. sanctions against Russia to claim that Donald Trump has been tough on Russia all along. It didn’t go well.
I must admit that Faulkner’s efforts made me suspicious that Trump TV is working to play up Trump as anti-Russia just as he’s about to deliver a potentially fatal blow to the Mueller investigation.
Today, the New York Times reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Trump Organization documents, including some related to Russia, in “the first known instance of the special counsel demanding records directly related to President Trump’s businesses” and “bringing the investigation closer to the president.”
Whatever her motivation, Chris Wallace was not a party to the effort.
Faulkner began by saying she “had a Brain Room look at some of the things that this administration has done with regard to Russia.” After reading some of Trump’s supposed actions against Russia, she “asked” if it was “fair for critics to look at this president and say he’s done nothing with regard to Russia?”
“It’s not fair to say he’s done nothing,” Wallace replied, “but I think there is legitimate criticism that he could have done more.”
Faulkner interrupted. Sounding testy, she said, “I have a longer list but we only have so much time.”
Sadly for Faulkner, Wallace was not deterred. He pointed out that the sanctions enacted today were “passed by Congress overwhelmingly” in July. That “raises the question what took him so long to do it?” Wallace continued.
Wallace went on to note that others in the Trump administration are tougher on Russia than he is. “There’s always a kind of equivocation” whenever Trump discusses Russia, Wallace said. “He’s not definite, he doesn’t condemn and that’s notable.”
Unable to refute that, and with a hint of pique in her voice, Faulkner moved on to suggest that Trump’s softness on Russia is because “he is a negotiator” and “might want to leave the door open.”
“He potentially could sit down with Kim Jong-un,” Faulkner said. Now she sounded admiring. She suggested that Trump was using the same “carrot-and-stick” approach with Russia.
That talking point didn’t work either. “If anything,” Wallace said, Trump’s "very tough rhetoric" toward North Korea's Kim was “exactly the opposite” of the approach toward Russia.
Wallace went on to point out that Trump had been “very slow to admit that the Russians even meddled in the election,” was “slow to implement the sanctions” and that his rhetoric remained mild even after they were implemented. “And this is a president who has no problem talking tough when he wants to,” Wallace added.
Faulkner was not to be deterred. “Well, we’re gonna need Russia and China to deal with North Korea,” she argued.
However, even Faulkner agreed that Russia’s meddling poses a threat to the 2018 midterm elections. But Wallace reminded her that Admiral Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, said he has never received any orders to combat the meddling.
“Has the administration done anything to protect us from the same kind of meddling we had in 2016?” Wallace asked. “And the answer is, not really very much.”
Faulkner’s response? “Diplomacy experts” have told her the U.K.’s expulsion of Russians in response to the poisoning of a Russian double agent there was “really nothing” whereas “What we’ve done is a stronger position.”
And then… discussion over.
See how determined Faulkner was to spin Trump’s behavior toward Russia below, from the March 15, 2018 Outnumbered Overtime.
Ms. Faulkner may be the biggest Trump shill on cable news on any non-opinion show.