Fox News' Shep Smith Nails How Trump Twists the Truth to Sow Distrust in U.S. Institutions: 'Dangerous to Our Young Republic’
Fox News host Shepard Smith on Tuesday explained how Donald Trump’s attacks on intelligence services and the judicial branch are borne out frustration with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, wondering the president’s behavior is “dangerous to our young republic?”
Smith was speaking with Fox News reporter Catherine Herridge, who reported that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been accused of witness tampering by Mueller. That accusation comes as Trump continues to lash out at NFL players, disinviting Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday from attending an event at the White House.
“So where are we, big picture?” Smith asked, introducing Wall Street Journal associate editor John Bussey. “There's a lot here, there are a lot of lies. There are some that have pleaded guilty to items regarding Russians, there are others who are charged with items regarding Russians, there are others who have, on the record, lied with items regarding Russians. And now all of these investigations and the push backs and the national anthem and the Philadelphia Eagles. This is not normal in America, we’ve not seen this in my lifetime, what is this?”
“It's an argumentative president who today got stood up on a date at the White House so cancelled the date, and did so in a way that diminished the Eagles—essentially accused them of not being patriotic, suggested that they weren't standing for the flag, for the anthem,” Bussey explained. “Regardless of where you are on that issue, it's simply wrong. They did stand for the anthem in their game. But the way of twisting the truth and leaving behind ill feeling, I think is the strategy of the president across the board here.”
“Pressure from the Mueller investigation continues to mount,” Bussey later said. “This is like a siege engine rolling up to the castle. You imagine him sort of attacking [Jeff] Sessions because of that frustration. You imagine him speaking this way about the Eagles to try to make this a patriotic issue, when it's not a patriotic issue.”
“You can argue just as effectively that the Eagles are being respectful of the Constitution, which the president suggested they weren’t being, but speaking their mind and by engaging in issues that are difficult in the United States to talk about,” Bussey offered.
Smith wondered if Trump’s attacks on the media and other U.S. institutions are part of a larger plan to discredit the Russia investigation.
“If this is an effect to get the people not to trust the institutions which are the foundation of the public, in other words, the justice system, the media—if the effort is to get the media to distrust them so once the investigation comes out they won't believe the investigators or the message deliverers, is that dangerous to our young republic?” Smith wondered.
“That's quite clearly the strategy,” Bussey replied. “You denigrate the FBI, you denigrate the intelligence services. Yes, it is dangerous for our republic. We'll see how well those institutions withstand the attack. Presumably they will withstand the attack. A certain point you need a balance of powers in government and we're not seeing that balance right now. “