'Get your facts straight': Fox News hosts clash over Trump impeachment claims

Chris Wallace corrects panellist as president's legal counsel mounts defence in Senate

Alex Woodward
New York
Monday 27 January 2020 22:26 GMT
Fox News hosts turn on each other as top Republicans say impeachment witnesses 'highly likely' in light of Bolton book

Fox host Chris Wallace slammed a network contributor and told her to "get your facts straight" as they sparred over Donald Trump's impeachment trial on Monday afternoon.

While senators determine whether to hear testimony from former national security chief John Bolton, panellist Katie Pavlich claimed that Congress "did not come with a complete case" to present to the Senate, and that "every impeachment beforehand, the witnesses that were called had been called in the House before being brought to the Senate ... So there are questions here about the process."

Mr Wallace interjected, telling her what she was saying isn't true.

He said: "They hadn't all been called in the House, and in [Bill Clinton's] impeachment, they'd been called by the general independent counsel. They had not been called by the House."

Mr Wallace told her it was "just wrong" to claim that all impeachment witnesses were previously called by the House, explaining that the grand jury material presented in the impeachment of former president Clinton was delivered to the Senate with the articles of impeachment.

He said: "They were not given after the House voted for those articles. That is the difference. The process does matter."

The Senate could decide to call on Mr Bolton to testify, after a leaked excerpt from his forthcoming book revealed that Mr Trump told him to continue holding up aid to Ukraine until that country's new government agreed to announce an investigation into former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Mr Wallace explained that whistle-blower information that compelled the congressional probe into the president's dealings with Ukraine was delivered to the inspector general, who gave it to the US Justice Department.

That complaint from an anonymous intelligence official details the president's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as well as the White House efforts to lock down the call.

"The Justice Department decided not to investigate, and that is why it went to the House", he said. "So to say that in the Clinton investigation that these people were interviewed by the House — one, they weren't — and to say it wasn't done by the Justice Department, it wasn't done by the Justice Department, because the Justice Department refused to carry out the investigation. Get your facts straight."

Fox host Bret Baier jumped in, telling Mr Wallace to "tone it down."

Mr Wallace's rebuttal followed a rebuke of Mr Trump's supporters "spinning like crazy" by saying that Mr Bolton's likely testimony isn't "big news", illustrating "a sense of how big the news is."

"You get a sense that this is really an important development in this case," he said.

In his December 2019 address to the Newseum before its closure, Mr Wallace condemned the president's attacks on the First Amendment, saying that "he has done everything he can to undercut the media to try and delegitimise us" in an attempt to "raise doubts" about critical reporting on the president and his administration.

He warned that Mr Trump is "engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on the freedom of the press" in US history.

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