March 4, 2018

As we've documented here day after day, Fox has been building an alternate universe for their viewers to live in, where Mueller's case against Trump and his corrupt associates and family is "paper thin", a big nothingburger and is about to end any day now, and where Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, James Comey, the FBI, and Mueller himself are the real villains that all deserve to be "locked up."

CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter has been one of the better hosts on cable news taking them to task for their behavior, and he did it again this Sunday where he went after Trump cheerleaders Tucker Carlson, Greg Gutfeld, Sean Hannity and others.

STELTER: Robert Mueller's probe seems to be broadening in various countries and at the same time tightening in on members of President Trump's family.

But the more Mueller discovers, the more Trump's TV boosters have to deny, deny, deny. The worse things look for Trump's inner circle, the worse the deflections get.

For example, look at this new CNN poll. It finds that 61 percent of Americans believe the Russia investigation is a serious matter. But if you're watching FOX, you're hearing the opposite.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: We have been hearing about Russia nonstop, literally nonstop, for more than a year. Almost no information has come out to justify the obsession. None has come out to justify the claim that there was collusion.

And most Americans are no longer interested, if they ever were.


STELTER: Do you see the banner he's using on screen there? Tucker's banner says "Americans don't care about Russian meddling."

But, again, the CNN poll shows that's just not true. This is brand- new poll data. It shows that 72 percent of Americans are very or at least somewhat concerned about foreign interference in U.S. elections; 70 percent are concerned specifically about Russian-backed disinformation campaigns, the kind of campaigns that are still going on today.

But again, Greg Gutfeld over at FOX claims, nobody cares.


GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS: Everybody wants this story to move on, except for the people who don't want it to move on. It's the election losers. But now this is their Benghazi, right? This is their thing. It's paper-thin, but they're clutching at it hard.


STELTER: I think that's fascinating. Paper-thin? Again, only if you're not looking at the paper. The paper is piling up, Greg, in the form of indictments and subpoenas.

This is just an incomplete list of what's happened so far. And every day there's new stories about what Mueller is finding, et cetera, et cetera.

I don't know. Maybe that's why Sean Hannity has fallen back to this:


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "HANNITY": Now, remember, this whole witch-hunt was supposed to only be about Trump-Russia collusion. That evidence does not exist all of this time.


STELTER: Someone, please, show Sean the original letter from the attorney general's office appointing Mueller as special counsel. It doesn't say the word collusion.

But it says Mueller is charged with investigating any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with campaign of President Donald Trump and -- this is key -- any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.

So, this is an important story, these ongoing developments. And Mueller is certainly hard at work. There's a lot we don't know about what he's finding. But just in the past few days, take a look at all these new headlines, all these stories about what Mueller is asking in these meetings of the various people he's interviewing, what he might be finding. There's a new story in "The New York Times" this morning about these developments.

These developments come on a daily basis.

And as his guest Natasha Bertrand pointed out, even 19 different people being charged with crimes hasn't been enough to pierce the Fox bubble.

STELTER: Natasha, first to you on the developments this week. I saw a lot of headlines about Mueller asking various questions to various individuals. Did we actually learn anything new about the probe?

NATASHA BERTRAND, "THE ATLANTIC": Where do we even begin?

We learned a lot this week about the scope of Mueller's investigation and how it's actually expanding, even as many of Trump's defenders say that it's just a witch-hunt and that nothing has been found.

So we learned that Mueller is now investigating whether Jared Kushner's policies that he pushed in the White House were linked to any of his financial interests that he had before, of course, he entered the administration.

We also learned that Mueller is examining whether or not Trump himself knew about the hacked Democratic e-mails or about whether or not they were going to be released before they were actually released to the public by WikiLeaks, whether or not that former campaign aide George Papadopoulos ever told anyone in the Trump campaign that he had been told by someone linked to Russia that they had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of e-mails.

So now this actually goes back to the collusion question. Everyone thought that perhaps Mueller was just homing in on the obstruction of justice question because it was easier. But that, of course, was the public-facing aspect of his investigation.

Now we know based on the reporting from last week that he actually still is pursuing very aggressively the collusion -- the question of whether or not the Trump campaign knew about the dirt on Hillary Clinton and whether or not that famous line from Donald Trump during that press conference, Russia, if you're listening, find those 30,000 missing e-mails, actually was tied back to his knowledge or not.

STELTER: So, when you see someone like Greg Gutfeld saying it's a paper-thin case, how do you react?

BERTRAND: It's astonishing that they're still saying that, even after 19 people have been charged with crimes, after five of them have pleaded guilty. It's just -- it's very clear, as of right now anyway, that this is not just a witch-hunt. And, actually, Robert Mueller made that clear a few weeks ago when he indicted 13 Russian nationals for their role in interfering in the election.

That made it clear to everyone around Robert Mueller, and even his critics, that he was not just going after the president. He was actually actively investigating Russia's election interference.

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