On Monday morning, the federal investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government reached its most explosive point to date with the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Shortly afterward, and separate from the two indictments, special counsel Robert Mueller announced that former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with Russian officials offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
Major networks scrambled to deliver full-blown coverage of the unfolding drama. But the folks at Fox News showed up with a wholly different approach—one that arguably took the network’s pro-Trump slant to new levels of absurdity.
Here’s an abbreviated version of the network’s journey on what’s widely been dubbed Manafort Monday:
7:30 a.m. EST: With federal charges about to be unsealed, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway tries to dismiss the prospect of an indictment as mere speculation. She also echoes Trump’s claim that the Russia investigation is a “hoax,” while insisting the focus should be on Hillary Clinton and the Trump-Russia memos paid for, in part, by the DNC, known as the Steele dossier.
.@KellyannePolls: "People should be looking into any coordination… between the Clinton campaign, the DNC, the Russian dossier." pic.twitter.com/sD6jI4p4MZ
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 30, 2017
8:00 a.m. EST: Speculation evolves into reality. While images of Manafort being driven to surrender himself over to federal authorities surface in a slew of news outlets, Fox News eschews Russia coverage in favor of Halloween candy and the uproar over Google’s hamburger emoji placing cheese underneath the meat patty.
Fox News right now pic.twitter.com/DK8KyDpoW5
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) October 30, 2017
Paul Manafort just agreed to turn himself in to the FBI. What should we report on?
Fox News: Hamburger emoji pic.twitter.com/Wjsvkb2coW
— Roberto Ferdman (@robferdman) October 30, 2017
12 p.m. EST: No longer able to hide behind candy and cheese, Fox News puts on its serious face to discuss what else: Hillary Clinton.
Fox News is still doing this, huh? pic.twitter.com/s5goMYvVbW
— jordan (@JordanUhl) October 30, 2017
12:45 p.m. EST: The network’s coverage finally pivots to the Trump-Russia investigation, but only to question special counsel Robert Mueller’s credibility.
Fox News is now running a segment targeting Robert Mueller. pic.twitter.com/sJSfOv9hF2
— Alexander Panetta (@Alex_Panetta) October 30, 2017
1:30 p.m. EST: The White House-Fox News hand-holding continues, as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders asserts during an afternoon press briefing that the only true collusion took place between Clinton and Russia.
Sanders: "The real collusion scandal…has everything to do with the Hillary Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS & Russia" https://t.co/yFCMMKYYI3 pic.twitter.com/VP9eDZ9V4a
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 30, 2017