Rep. Jim Jordan tried to trap Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with a Fox News report. Instead, Rosenstein humiliated Jordan by pointing out Fox's obvious inaccuracies.
A congressional hearing erupted in laughter Thursday after a top law enforcement official debunked a bogus Fox News report that a congressman tried to use as evidence.
House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee brought Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in for yet another hearing designed to muddy the waters around special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign.
Trump's allies in Congress have repeatedly tried to distract from and discredit the investigation by insisting it is biased — ignoring the findings in the recently released inspector general's report that undermine their case.
"Did you threaten staffers on the House Intelligence Committee?" Jordan asked Rosenstein. "Media reports indicate you did."
"Media reports are mistaken," Rosenstein said.
Jordan continued to press the issue, citing a quote in the Fox report: "'Having the nation’s number one law enforcement officer threaten to subpoena your calls and emails is downright chilling,'" Jordan read. "Did you threaten to subpoena their calls and emails?"
"No sir," Rosenstein responded, "and there's no way to subpoena phone calls."
The room erupted in laughter.
That moment upended Jordan's attempt to smear the Justice Department — and highlighted the folly for Republicans of relying on their favored propaganda outlet to carry water for them.
"I'm reading what the press says," Jordan sputtered.
Rosenstein calmly explained to him the problem with allowing Fox News to do the dirty work: "I would suggest that you not rely on what the press said."
Fox has been ground zero for the anti-Mueller, anti-DOJ, anti-FBI campaign. Their anchors and hosts, particularly Sean Hannity, have been loyal foot soldiers in defending Trump and trying to smear law enforcement officials.
Republicans, from members of Congress to Trump's White House, outsource attacks and smears to Fox, which generates a steady stream of "news" designed to tell the conservative base what it wants to hear.
But those stories often crumble in the face of vetting and fact checks. And when the propaganda bubble gets burst in public, it's humiliating for the Fox-GOP alliance.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.