Shepard Smith opened his Fox News show on Thursday afternoon with a devastating, point-by-point examiniation of the evidence compiled by Robert Mueller that President Trump obstructed justice during the two-year special counsel investigation. If the president was watching his favorite news channel at that time, one imagines there was some White House crockery being shattered against some walls.
Smith started off by noting three major takeaways from the report. First, that Mueller concluded the Russians did try to interfere with the 2016 election. Second, that members of the Trump campaign did try to get hold of Hillary Clinton’s emails, which they believed had been stolen by hackers who broke into her private server. And third, that the Trump campaign was aware of and expected to benefit from Russian hacking, even if no one specifically colluded with Russia to effect that hacking.
On all three of these points, Smith said, the Mueller team did not find enough evidence to charge Trump and members of his campaign with any crimes. But, as he also noted, Mueller stated that “if he could clear the president of obstruction of justice, he would.” And while his office did not have enough evidence for criminal charges, there were plenty of instances when the president either tried to interfere with his investigation or instructed others to do so.
Smith then went through the ten specific instances investigators examined to determine if they met the bar for obstruction of justice charges. These instances included Trump’s firing of his national security advisor Michael Flynn and then-FBI Director James Comey, his urging then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “unrecuse” himself from overseeing the Russia investigation, and his multiple efforts to get his subordinates to fire Mueller, all of which those subordinates ignored because they seemed to know or at least intuit that doing so was illegal.
Smith’s conclusion was that “whether the president obstructed justice is an open question.” Furthermore, it’s not the only question. There are over 800 redactions in the Mueller report, put in to protect ongoing investigations, and we do not yet know what those will find.
The bottom line is that even some of the people at Fox News don’t see this report as the slam-dunk exoneration Trump is claiming.
Watch the video up top, via Fox News.