There was breaking news on Thursday about the investigation into Donald Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. Special counsel Robert Mueller issued a new subpoena to the Trump Organization for all documents related to its dealings with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. It’s a significant development that indicates that the investigation is continuing to expand and has the President squarely in its sights.
So it will surprise nobody that Fox News found a way to report this news that is both trivializing and confusing. In fact, they made it sound like good news for Trump. The mission of Fox News, of course, is to act as a shield for Trump and his Republican backers by defending him, and maligning his critics, at all costs. To that end Fox News host Dana Perino broke into her program with a Fox News Alert to rapidly misinform their viewers before any morsels of the truth could get out. She interviewed reporter Catherine Herridge on the Mueller subpoena (video below):
Perino: The New York Times is reporting that special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents related to Russia. Chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge is on Capitol Hill. Catherine, this news just broke right before the hour started.
Herridge: That’s right Dana. I’ve been making some phone calls and I spoke with one of the President’s personal attorneys who confirmed to me that the Trump Organization has been working closely and cooperatively with the office of the special counsel Robert Mueller. And at this time he was unaware that a subpoena had been issued, but he was going to check further. The key thing he said was the driving force, or the objective of the subpoena, whether it was in fact going down a new line of inquiry, or whether this was what they call a “wrap up subpoena” or a “clean up subpoena,” which is when you request records as you’re getting close to the end the of the investigation and you’re trying to tie up some loose ends.
First of all, it’s notable that Herridge only called Trump’s personal attorney to confirm this report, rather than someone at the Justice Department who would have knowledge of the subpoenas they issue. It’s also notable that Herridge didn’t identify the attorney she spoke with. Were these remarks off the record or anonymous?
More to the point, the introduction of the terms “wrap/clean up subpoena” muddies up the reporting. A quick Google of the terms found few results that weren’t referencing this Fox News segment. In fact, it’s a rather pointless distinction because all subpoenas are intended to secure information that’s relevant to the investigation and could lead to new paths of inquiry. But this spin by Fox News is intended to imply that the investigation is nearing completion and that nothing incriminating has been found. But they weren’t through trying to further deflect from the Trump/Russia connection:
Perino: So it might not signal a new aggressive approach by the special counselor?
Herridge: Well what we know through our own independent reporting is that the special counsel has been looking at the issue of the United Arab Emirates, and whether there was any financial input into the campaign by the United Arab Emirates, or whether there was a promise of better treatment after the election because of their support of then-candidate Trump.
Technically, that’s true. The UAE, along with other areas of financial misdeeds, is under investigation. But that has nothing to do with this new subpoena that specifically seeks documents from Trump related to Russia. This is an obvious dodge to create confusion and pretend that Russia isn’t the focus of this investigation. And the segment ended with a virtual admission that their furious spinning was probably all made up:
Perino: I’ve never heard of clean up subpoenas. I’m glad I had you on.
Herridge: I know. I learned of them recently too. That’s the kind of subpoena you want, apparently.
Perino: I used to work at the Justice Department. Someone was holding out on me.
See? It’s all very innocent. There’s nothing to worry about here. And the fact that these two experienced media professionals never heard of the type of subpoena that they just introduced on the air shouldn’t raise any suspicions. According to Fox News Mueller’s new subpoenas are not only uncontroversial, they are “the kind of subpoena you want.” It’s actually good news for Trump. And Fox News is the only place you’re gonna get that kind of twisted analysis.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 15, 2018