“Why all these lies? Why is it lie after lie after lie?”
Over the weekend, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll had some bad news for President Trump. After six months in office, he has a 36% approval rating. It’s the lowest of any president at or near the six-month mark since it was first taken after Harry Truman took office. The poll revealed another interesting insight: Only 9% of Republicans think that the Russians sought to influence the election and that the Trump team intentionally helped them. In contrast, 64% of Democrats believe some form of collusion occurred.
The low number of Republicans who believe there was collusion is shocking given the recent revelation that Donald Trump Jr., Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former campaign manager Paul Manafort failed to disclose a meeting with a Russian lawyer with Kremlin ties in June 2016.
One reason for the large discrepancy in opinion between Republicans and Democrats on the Russia story could be the media. Conservative-leaning Fox News has routinely backed the president’s claims that the Russia story is a “witch hunt.” Fox News’ Sean Hannity has gone so far as to claim the story was fabricated by Democrats and the mainstream media to undermine Trump’s victory.
Sean Hannity via YouTube.
But on Friday’s “Shepard Smith Reporting,” the Fox News host expressed his exasperation with the Trump team’s continual lying about Russian contacts. “We’re still not clean on this, Chris,” Smith told fellow Fox anchor Chris Wallace. “Why all these lies? Why is it lie after lie after lie? If you clean, come on clean.” Then Smith read breaking news that there were more people in the meeting than originally disclosed by Trump Jr., including a Russian lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, and a “mystery man.” Akhmetshin is a former Soviet military counterintelligence officer who’s been accused of hacking a Russian mine company.
“The deception, Chris, is mind-boggling,” Smith said. “And there are still people out there who believe we’re making it up, and one day they’re going to realize we’re not.” The new revelations coupled with Smith’s diatribe left Wallace speechless. “I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of truth to everything you’ve said.” Unless Smith’s outburst is a sign that Fox News is waking up to the collusion story, one day in the near future, Vice President Pence may be named president, and Republicans will have no idea why.