“Objective” Fox host Martha MacCallum was so shockingly disinterested in issues surrounding Russia’s meddling with our last presidential election – and so ridiculously obsessed with arguing that Donald Trump’s evidence-free attacks on Susan Rice merit the same or more investigation, it’s a wonder her guest, Democrat Eric Swalwell, of the House Intelligence Committee, didn’t laugh in her face.
Trump’s smear campaign against Rice, alleging that she unmasked Trump or someone close to Trump for political purposes, resembles his birtherism smear campaign against President Obama’s citizenship. There’s no evidence, yet just like with birtherism, Fox can’t get enough of the smear and it keeps pretending Trump's baseless accusation merits serious consideration.
Only in this case, Trump has the evidence to prove or disprove his claim.
Yesterday, Swalwell called on Trump to fish or cut bait, so to speak and urged him to declassify the material that supposedly proves his case and present it to Americans. “I don’t expect he will, because I think this is just more obstructionism,” Swalwell said. I wish Swalwell, who is normally very adept at messaging, had hammered that point with MacCallum last night.
Nevertheless, MacCallum's only concern seemed to be looking for ways to make sure Swalwell either elevated Trump’s unfounded rumor to the level of the Russia investigation, which is based on intelligence others have seen, or else to find ways to belittle the Congressman for not doing so.
Swalwell told MacCallum “There’s a lot of evidence, just on the unclassified side” of collusion between Trump and Russia. He began to offer a few examples.
But instead of walking through the evidence, Trump foot solider MacCallum interrupted to announce that investigators have determined that “So far, there is no evidence that there was collusion.”
Of course, the investigation is ongoing, as even MacCallum admitted. But she adroitly changed the subject to suggest a false equivalence with Rice. And to attack Swalwell for not being as gung ho about investigating Susan Rice as about Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.
“I don’t know how you can say that there’s no evidence on the other side of the equation and accept that that’s true in terms of the Trump side of it,” MacCallum insisted.
Then, after showing absolutely no curiosity about how far along the Russia investigation is, what witnesses might be called, or even questions about the open hearing that was held a few weeks ago, MacCallum began demanding Swalwell show more curiosity about Rice. “Shouldn’t this concern you and any American citizen, just to understand? And if there’s nothing there, there’s nothing there but why not bring her in and ask the questions?”
Swalwell tried to get out of the deflection rut. He said the Trump team is “under investigation” and “this seems to be another tactic to avoid finding the – "
MacCallum had the nerve to interrupt at that point and whine, “That seems very partisan, Congressman.”
I wish Swalwell had called out MacCallum’s partisanship. Instead, he tried to explain how the unmasking process works.
But MacCallum was only interested in parroting the Trump party line. “But the question is, was the reason for requesting [the unmasking] political in nature?”
No, Martha, the question is why are you ignoring signs of treason in the White House while working so hard to drive a Trump narrative that even Fox conservative Charles Krauthammer has denounced as little more than a rumor?
But the “Turn Russia Into Rice” MacCallum started attacking Swalwell for not going along with her partisanship. “I don’t understand you and your position, not at least being curious enough to want to know the answer to those questions.”
“I do, but the president won’t show me and we have asked to be able to go over and see those documents. He actually is the only person…”
Suddenly, MacCallum lost interest in the matter. “Keep pushing!” she chirped. Then she ended the discussion.
Watch MacCallum throw her country under the bus for the sake of validating what will probably prove to be a Trump lie below, from the April 5, 2017 The First 100 Days.
In a best case scenario for the Right, a bunch of viewers will think the bigger problem is with suspicious Susan Rice, who nobody can trust, can they? That’s the approach being taken by Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, who both want to play the game of saying that clearly something rotten must have been going on in the state of Obama.
MacCallum’s approach is more sinister – she’s playing the “let’s just hear both sides” approach. That’s reasonable, right? Just let both sides have their say and then we can all look at it and see what we think. Except that this is one of those false arguments where there really isn’t another side. Like the viciousness of the “birther” questions. This is a matter of comparing a very real criminal investigation into potential collusion by the Trump team into foreign attempts to interfere in the last election with a fantasy about the people who conduct that investigation.
I agree that Swalwell should have simply laughed at some of the larger nonsense statements she was making.