Fox News host Jesse Watters suggested that the FBI investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election has maybe transformed into a “coup” against President Donald trump. Before a segment in which Watters interviewed Kellyanne Conway with the chyron, “A COUP IN AMERICA?” the Fox News host went on a rant about what he described as “smoking gun evidence” that the FBI agents investigating Trump are biased against the president.
“The investigation into Donald Trump’s campaign has been crooked from the jump,” Watters said on Saturday night. “But the scary part is we may now have proof the investigation was weaponized to destroy his presidency for partisan political purposes and to disenfranchise millions of American voters. Now, if that’s true, we have a coup on our hands in America.”
Watters specifically criticized FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was fired after he was found to have sent anti-Trump messages to a colleague.
And Strzok is hardly alone as a target. Many at Fox have been increasing the rhetoric against FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It all amounts to an anti-Mueller “feedback loop,” according to CNN’s Brian Stelter explains:
The right-wing commentary and President Trump’s criticism of the FBI are part of a vicious circle. The TV hosts encourage Trump, then Trump supplies sound bites for their shows, and then the hosts are even more emboldened.
With Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election reaching closer to Trump’s inner circle, Fox hosts like Sean Hannity continue to demand Mueller’s firing. Every night, Hannity tells millions of viewers that Mueller’s probe is a corrupt plot to take down Trump and reverse the outcome of the election. Trump is a big fan of Hannity’s show, and the two men speak on a regular basis.
“The anti-Mueller rhetoric in conservative media right now is part of a feedback loop,” Nicole Hemmer, the author of a book about conservative media, Messengers of the Right, told CNNMoney.
On Saturday night, another Fox News host, Jeanine Pirro, outright suggested that the FBI wanted to reverse Trump’s election. She explained her reasoning:
What would you say if I told you your vote doesn’t count? That all the effort into the issues and candidates is a waste of time? That there are people at the citadel of power who believe it is their right to invalidate your choice if they don’t agree with it?
Folks, this is not about politics. It’s much bigger. I doubt in American presidential election history that there has been as great a crime or as large a stain on our democracy than that committed by a criminal cabal in our FBI and the Department of Justice who think they know better than we who our president should be.
One more thing
You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.
Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help. If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.Join Slate Plus