‘Why Is The President Telling Americans Something That Is Not True?’ Fox News Host Challenges ‘No Obstruction’

Chip SomodevillaGetty Images

President Trump has two key messages when it comes to Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. The first is “no collusion” and the second is “no obstruction.” As Mother Jones reports, while Trump’s position on collusion seems to be backed up by what is publicly known about the contents of the Mueller report, the second statement, regarding obstruction, is far from a closed question.

Even Attorney General William Barr’s abbreviated summary of the report, which is thus far all there is to go on, as far as what the report might contain, indicates clearly that the matter of obstruction is not settled and that the findings are by no means an exoneration of the president.

Fox News host Chris Wallace was firm on Sunday as he pressured Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway about what he characterized as lies told by Trump regarding the conclusions of the Mueller report. Wallace played a clip of Trump at a recent rally in which he enthusiastically said to supporters in attendance that the special counsel had found “no obstruction” and that the report was in fact “total exoneration, complete vindication.”

“Why is the president telling Americans something that is not true?” Wallace asked Conway, who attempted to claim that Barr’s memo did not touch on the topic of obstruction.

Wallace persisted, pointing out that Barr, in fact, explicitly called out the investigation of obstruction in his summary and, in fact, indicated, in clear contradiction to the president’s rally statements, that “the Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.'”

This isn’t the first time in recent days that Chris Wallace has applied pressure to the Trump Administration in ways that are atypical of the Fox News network.

Previously, Wallace, in a segment for America’s Newsroom, said that he largely agreed with the network’s general point of view on the special counsel’s report clearing Trump on charges of collusion with Russia. He went on, however, to challenge a consistently repeated talking point supporting Fox News’s narrative around the investigation. Wallace denied, despite his network’s many assertions of the statement by a variety of hosts and commentators, that the investigation itself had begun with a FISA warrant related to Carter Page and the now-infamous Steele dossier.

“I know this is going to drive some of our viewers nuts,” he said. “The Trump investigation did not start with the FISA warrant and Carter Page and even the dossier. It started in June and July of 2016 when George Papadopoulos had spoken to a Russian agent and spoke to an Australian diplomat and said he had heard they had information on…dirt on Hillary Clinton.”