Even though internal Fox News documents caution that frequent guests Rudy Giuliani and John Solomon traffic in “disinformation,” the network can’t seem to quit booking them.
Since The Daily Beast first reported on the 162-page document, produced by the network’s research division known as the “Brain Room,” Giuliani—who, according to the briefing, has a “high susceptibility to disinformation”—has made at least four separate appearances on Fox.
And Solomon, whom the documents accused of playing an “indispensable role” in Team Trump’s Ukraine “disinformation campaign,” has popped up twice on the Fox Business Network.
The internal briefing, titled “Ukraine, Disinformation, & the Trump Administration,” accused the former New York City mayor Giuliani of amplifying disinformation pushed by bad-faith Ukrainian actors like former Ukrainain prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko and indicted oligarch Dmytro Firtash. The document also noted Giuliani’s ties to indicted associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who Murphy writes had “strong reported financial links to Firtash.”
“Reading the timeline in its entirety—not a small task—makes clear the extensive role played by Rudy Giuliani and his associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, in spreading disinformation,” the briefing added.
Despite the network’s own research team preaching caution over Trump’s personal hatchet man peddling conspiracies and agitprop through the media, shows on Fox News and Fox Business Network have continued to host Giuliani for freewheeling interviews in which he has repeatedly (and baselessly) claimed he is in possession of “smoking gun” evidence that proves former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter was involved in criminal activity in Ukraine.
Days after the president was acquitted of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in the Senate impeachment trial, Giuliani appeared on Trump-boosting host Jesse Watters’ weekend Fox News program to declare that he had three witnesses who were ready to “name names” in a Hunter Biden investigation.
During the Feb. 8 interview, Giuliani said he wanted to make sure that Trump was “totally vindicated” following the impeachment proceedings in which the president was accused of withholding military aid in order to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens.
"I want to prove what happened because I believe if we prove what happened, he will be totally vindicated,” Giuliani told Watters.
Later in the interview, Giuliani insisted he was in possession of documentation that would be the “smoking gun” for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham’s potential probe into Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
“Lindsey, get started,” Giuliani laughed. Interestingly, the following morning, Graham announced on CBS News’ Face the Nation that Attorney General William Barr had established an “intake process” to gather any information Giuliani has collected on the Bidens. Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, have continued to gather additional information in its investigation of Giuliani, Parnas, and Fruman.
While Graham was revealing Barr’s process for taking in Rudy’s Biden dirt, the ex-mayor also made an appearance on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, hosted by Trump loyalist Maria Bartiromo. Much like his Watters interview, Giuliani claimed he was in possession of all kinds of documentation that would nail the Bidens and Democrats.
“The amount of crimes the Democrats committed in Ukraine are astounding,” he shouted while waving around a piece of paper. “If there were a document about you or me like this. I think we’d be in jail by now.”
Another assertion he made to Bartiromo and Watters was that the so-called black ledger, which triggered then-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort’s resignation in 2016 after it alleged Manafort received million of dollars in undisclosed cash payments from Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government, is a “forgery.”
Giuliani’s frequency of appearances on network, despite the “disinformation” documents being made public, isn’t entirely surprising. Fox News was dismissive of the significance of its own research team’s accusations about the ex-mayor, along with pro-Trump columnist Solomon, and pro-Trump lawyers Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing.
“The research division of FOX News produces a briefing book for all major stories, which serves as a standing collection of extensive data on major topics for internal use by all those in editorial functions. The Ukraine briefing book is nothing more than a comprehensive chronological account of what every person involved in the Ukraine controversy was doing at any identifiable point in time, including tracking media appearances of major players who appeared on FOX News and in many other outlets,” Mitch Kweit, senior vice president of the Brain Room, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “The 200-page document has thousands of data points and the vast majority have no relation to FOX News—instead it’s now being taken out of context and politicized to damage the network.”
And since that internal Fox briefing was made public, Solomon has continued to appear at least on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight. The first of those appearances came on Feb. 7, in which the disgraced “investigative reporter” pushed allegations from former Manafort associate Rick Gates that the aforementioned black ledger is a “fabrication.”
Indeed, both Solomon and Giuliani have argued for months that the ledger is a fake as part of an effort to cast doubt on the origins of the Russia investigation. Despite their repeated claims that the document is fraudulent, the FBI and American media outlets have corroborated many of its details, specifically the payments received by Manafort.
In two additional Fox appearances last week, Giuliani continued to beat the drum that he had “smoking gun” evidence that would take down the Bidens, clear Manafort’s name, and reveal that Democrats sought interference from Ukraine in the 2016 election to stop Trump.
And in a Wednesday night interview with Fox News anchor Shannon Bream—one of the network’s so-called “straight news” hosts—Giuliani confirmed that he was feeding information on the Bidens to Barr, but said he wasn’t receiving “special treatment.”
“Not only am I not—I’m not getting special treatment, I’ve been getting terrible treatment,” he exclaimed. “This should have been investigated three years ago. If President Trump had gone on the stage and said, ‘I pressured the president of another country to dismiss a prosecutor,’ there’d be an investigation the next day.”
Calling for Bream and her viewers to tune into his podcast to get the “facts” of Biden’s alleged corruption in Ukraine, Giuliani repeated his baseless claim that the ex-veep bribed the Ukrainian government to end an investigation into his son.
“They are lying and lying and lying, and the corrupt media just repeats it,” Giuliani fumed while wildly asserting at the same time that former top Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin—whom the Obama administration called upon to be fired over corruption allegations—had been poisoned. (The implication, which Giuliani has made before, was more than clear.)
It was one recent appearance on the Fox Business Network, however, where the network played host to Giuliani truly taking his disinformation campaign to a whole other level—again, all despite internal documents warning of his susceptibility to such propaganda.
Waving around an iPad he claimed was full of evidence that proved a “Democratic scam” in Ukraine, Giuliani told extremely sympathetic host Trish Regan—one of the most overtly pro-Trump hosts on the network—that Democrats actually want to assassinate him over his Ukrainian smear campaign.
“That’s why they’re so crazy on the subject of Ukraine, and why they want to literally kill me,” Giuliani yelled to Regan after alleging he could show proof that the Obama administration funneled $5.3 billion of unaccounted aid to Ukraine, adding that’s “how all those oligarchs become oligarchs.”
Furthermore, Giuliani claimed that the person alleged to be the whistleblower at the center of Trump’s impeachment was involved in some byzantine plot to use Ukrainian dirt in early 2016 to hurt the Trump campaign and stop Trump from becoming president.
“How about the whistleblower? I mean, we need to know how long the whistleblower was involved in conspiracies to take out President Trump,” a wide-eyed Giuliani bellowed. “I have a suspicion that the whistleblower was there at the beginning.”
“Uhhh, January of 2016, there was a meeting at the NSC,” he continued as Regan nodded along. “Staff members, they asked the three Ukrainian prosecutors to go get dirt on Manafort and the Trump campaign. The NSC doesn’t ask you to go get dirt! They wanted to turn them into the producers of political garbage, which they did. One of the people there who spoke up very, very strongly and made a follow-up telephone call to collect the dirt seems to be the whistleblower.”
Manafort, meanwhile, wasn’t even a member of the Trump campaign in January 2016, as he didn’t join until late March 2016 as campaign convention manager. He wouldn’t be promoted to campaign chief until May 19, 2016.