"The Federalist" senior editor Mollie Hemingway debates former Hillary Clinton senior advisor Philippe Reines about the role the media played in hyping up the Mueller probe and the Trump-Russia collusion theory, on FNC's "Media Buzz."
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: It's almost difficult to describe what it was like to be a skeptic, particularly early on. I'm not sure if people remember what it was like in January 2017 when this hysteria got going. Everybody collectively decided it was totally logical to explain the 2016 election by this crazy conspiracy theory saying Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to steal it. There were so few people willing to push back, it is important to highlight who those people were. Catherine Herridge did a wonderful job. Kimberly Strassel at the WSJ, Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller deserves a Pulitzer. Byron York, John Solomon. Those of us at "The Federalist" have published stuff for two years, I would put up against anybody for a critical look at the conspiracy theory and how it was promulgated by the media. But it was incredibly difficult and it took a lot of courage. I don't think a lot of people ever actually believed. It is shocking how many people believed this crazy theory about Russia collusion, but many people lacked the courage to speak against it in the face of hysteria.
PHILIPPE REINES: It sounds like we are doing a 25th anniversary oral history of what this time period was like. Tomorrow we could be talking about the narrative of hundreds of pages of XYZ, and no matter what the report says, you will say the exact same thing and you won't give an inch that anything happened here.
HEMINGWAY: I think it’s important to understand, Philippe, it’s over
REINES: You saying it on FOX doesn't make it so. He's under investigation by 17 other entities including the Southern District of New York.
HEMINGWAY: It is kind of important to just accept reality right now. We weren't fed a theory he was being investigated for his business dealings by people who opposed him politically. We weren't fed a theory that he was surrounded by people who are bad.
REINES: He was investigated by the House Intelligence Committee because Devin Nunes whitewashed it.
HEMINGWAY: We were told he was a traitor who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. If that were true, it wouldn't just be something you put in a report, there would be dozens of indictments.
REINES: There have been dozens of indictments. 34 people have been indicted for almost 200 different crimes.
HEMINGWAY: As you know, not a single indictment had to do with the animated theory that we had a traitor colluding with Russia to steal this election...
There are two media issues at play here. To move to obstruction raises the issue. When you saw the coverage of Donald Trump saying there is no collusion. People would say it sounds like he is obstructing justice. The options are either that he was a traitor who was obstructing justice or that he was an innocent man who was proclaiming his innocence.
REINES: An innocent man who acts innocently who does not fire people and refuse to be interviewed.
HEMINGWAY: The other issue is transparency, and people have been demanding transparency about all sorts of this investigation. Not just this final report.
REINES: Donald Trump is not an innocent. He has brought on a tremendous amount of this on himself by refusing to in any way cooperate...
She can't answer a simple question about whether Mueller did his job. She doesn't know what's in the report and she does not want to live tomorrow with the comments of Bob Mueller did a good job if you don't like what's in the report.
HEMINGWAY: There are legitimate concerns about the way he handled the investigation.