Fox News host Shepard Smith left colleague Chris Wallace speechless while covering breaking news on Friday concerning Donald Trump Jr.’s recently disclosed meeting with a Russian lawyer last summer.
The two Fox News anchors were discussing the now-infamous get together during a live segment Friday afternoon when Mr. Smith received a late-breaking update indicating at least eight people attended the June 2016 sit-down involving President Trump’s oldest son and Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, double the number previously disclosed.
“We’re still not clean on this, Chris,” Mr. Smith told his colleague.
“Why all these lies? Why is it lie after lie after lie? If you [are] clean, come on clean,” he continued. “The deception, Chris, is mind-boggling, and there are still people out there who believe we’re making it up — and one day they’re going to realize we’re not.”
The diatribe ended with Mr. Smith tossing to his admittedly speechless colleague who all but agreed.
“I don’t know what to say,” Mr. Wallace responded. “I think there’s a lot of truth to everything you’ve said.”
The president’s son admitted this week to meeting Ms. Veselnitskaya last summer with two members of his father’s 2016 campaign, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, but subsequent reports have suggested another four people attended as well, including the publicist who arranged the event, Rob Goldstone, a Russian-American lobbyist, Rinat Akhmetshin, translator Anatoli Samachornov and an unidentified eighth participant revealed during Friday’s broadcast.
The anchor’s comments clashed drastically with other voices sympathetic to the White House usually aired on Fox, and triggered condemnation from agitated Twitter users on the right.
“Shepard Smith is a hysterical drama queen trying to attract headlines so he can get a fat contract at MSNBC. He’s not a journalist,” tweeted Paul Joseph Watson, an editor of Alex Jones’ InfoWars website with more than a half million Twitter followers. Another tweet that said “Shepard Smith is a fungus” worthy of firing was retweeted over 1,700 times by Saturday afternoon.
On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, at least one member of Congress took a liking to Mr. Smith’s outburst. “Thank you Shepard for telling the truth,” Rep. Ted Lieu, California Democrat, tweeted Saturday morning.
Investigators in the House, Senate and Justice Department are currently investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives responsible for interfering in last year’s U.S. presidential election. Neither representatives for the White House nor the president’s son responded to requests for comment Friday concerning last summer’s meeting, CNN reported.