Fox News melts down over Donald Trump’s arraignment: ‘These are political war crimes’

Fox Hosts tried to downplay Trump’s alleged conspiracy to defraud the United States and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
,Ariana Baio
Thursday 03 August 2023 12:55 BST

Watch: Donald Trump’s third indictment explained

Fox News turned into an outrage forum as Donald Trump was indicted for a third time for trying to overturn the 2020 election results.

The network’s hosts and guests held nothing back in attacking Special Counsel Jack Smith and his investigation on Tuesday evening after the sprawling indictment was handed down by a grand jury.

“This is political germ warfare,” host Jesse Watters said on his primetime show. “These are political war crimes. It’s an atrocity. It’s like not just dropping one atomic bomb, you drop 15 dozen.”

On The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham called the indictment “a complete embarrassment” to Mr Smith and President Joe Biden.

Ms Ingraham claimed, “Trump said nothing and did nothing to trigger any criminal charge on January 6th.”

Throughout the evening multiple guests appeared on Fox News shows to defend Mr Trump’s actions leading up to the January 6 attack on the Capitol and attempt to discredit the indictment.

Mr Trump was hit with four federal charges on Tuesday, alleging he knew he had lost the presidential election but continued attempting to mobilise his supporters, fake electors and lawsuits to challenge the results anyway and cling onto power.

Despite the federal charges accusing the ex-president of conspiring to defraud the United States, several Fox News hosts downplayed the severity of the allegations.

Mr Watters said they shouldn’t be considered significant crimes.

“It’s a crime for a government official to make a false statement when they knew that it was false,” Mr Watters said. “That would be everyone in the government...I don’t know how you can charge that.”

John Lauro, an attorney for the former president said on Hannity, “This is the first time, in the history of the United States, that the Justice Department has weaponised and politicised political speech.”

Mr Lauro went on to shift the blame to Mr Trump’s attorneys saying the ex-president acted on advice.

Other Fox News guests like Representative James Comer (R-KY) and attorney Jonathan Turley discredited the indictment by claiming it was impeding on the ex-president’s free speech or politically motivated. 

The Trump 2024 campaign responded to the indictment by comparing the US to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, declaring that Mr Trump “will not be deterred by disgraceful and unprecedented political targeting”.

Tuesday’s charges are the third time Mr Trump has faced serious criminal charges since leaving office.

He’s also been indicted for allegedly hoarding and mishandling classified documents after leaving the White House, and for allegedly conspiring to falsify business records relating to women who claimed during the 2016 presidential campaign to have had affairs with Mr Trump.

Tuesday’s charges mark the first time he’s been criminally prosecuted for his conduct in office.

Mr Trump was impeached twice over his actions in the White House, once for an attempt to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, and the second time over the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. He was acquitted both times in the Senate.

The former president faces the prospect of yet another potential looming indictment in Georgia, a state where Mr Trump was recorded during the 2020 election pressuring top officials to “find” him enough votes to reverse his loss in the state to Joe Biden.

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