Fox News came under repeated attacks today on Nicolle Wallace’s MSNBC show in the wake of the release of the GOP memo on the Russia investigation. The memo, produced by the House Intelligence Committee and its chairman Devin Nunes, was provided first to Fox News, which Wallace said is essentially functioning as “state-run media.” Nunes, Wallace said, is “an out-of-the-closet Trump stooge.”
Wallace, the former White House director of communications for President George W. Bush, expressed incredulity that President Donald Trump would approve the release of the memo over the objections of the FBI and the Department of Justice.
One of her guests, Steve Schmidt, an MSNBC contributor and former campaign manager for Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential run, compared the memo to Geraldo Rivera’s infamous 1986 TV show about the discovery of Al Capone’s “secret” safe. When the safe was opened on the much-hyped live show, there was nothing in it.
“For those of us of a certain age, we remember the big nothing burger of Geraldo and Al Capone’s safe,” he said (watch the video above). “And so this memo is like Al Capone’s safe and Geraldo — it’s a big nothing.” Then, referring to Fox News, he said that “the difference is when Geraldo opened the safe and there was nothing there, back in those days, there wasn’t a TV network dedicated to telling you that there was great treasure in the empty safe. Now there is.”
Wallace noted, ironically, that Rivera, a Fox News contributor, was on Sean Hannity’s radio show Thursday, praising the Fox News anchor’s efforts to protect the Trump presidency from Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“Nixon never would have been forced to resign if you existed in your current state back in 1972, ’73, ’74,” Rivera told Hannity. “It’s too bad for Nixon, because nobody like you existed then. I say that because I believe that our prime responsibility now is to unshackle the 45th president of the United States.”
“He meant it as a compliment,” Wallace said today on Deadline: White House. “He said, ‘Gosh, Sean, if you were in the media when Nixon was president, he never would have been impeached.’ So this idea that with a wing of the media – state-run media essentially, functioning to sort of obscure and cover up and distort the reality” of the ongoing Russian probe.
Another guest on the show, advertising executive Donny Deutsch, former host of CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, said that the time for analysis is over – that there are a “dozen instances of clearly the Russians colluding in this election with top Trump officials. Two have already been convicted.” He added, “We have a president who is clearly owned by Putin.”
“Our democracy is under siege,” he said. “People need to start taking to the streets. This is a dictator. This is not something to analyze anymore. This is frightening. …We need a revolution here.”
In the meantime, Deutsch said: “Trump is winning. This crazy, wacky guy is winning. This orange, poofy-haired guy is winning.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.