Between its â€śFox and Friendsâ€ť morning show and Sean Hannity at night, Fox News has become a haven for those who think this whole Russia thing is nonsense. On Friday morning, Steve Doocy even declared that â€śthe Russia story is starting to fall apart.â€ť
But on Friday afternoon, a Fox host went off on the Trump administrationâ€™s handling of Russia in a way weâ€™ve rarely seen.
Shepard Smith is no stranger to challenging the administration and occasionally launching into personal editorials - including one about refugees back in 2015. But on Friday afternoon, he took it a step further, repeatedly accusing the administration of lying, deception and a coverup.
After reporting that there appeared to be more people in that meeting with Russian lawyer than previously acknowledged, Smith had either a Howard Beale or a Walter Cronkite moment, depending on your perspective, and he lit into the White House.
Hereâ€™s the transcript:
â€śWeâ€™re still not clean on this, Chris [Wallace]. If thereâ€™s nothing there - and thatâ€™s what they tell us, they tell us thereâ€™s nothing to this and nothing came of it, thereâ€™s a nothingburger, it wasnâ€™t even memorable, didnâ€™t write it down, didnâ€™t tell you about it, because it wasnâ€™t anything so I didnâ€™t even remember it - with a Russian interpreter in the room at Trump Tower? If all of that, why all these lies? Why is it lie after lie after lie? If you clean, come on clean, you know? My grandmother used to say when first we practice to - Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. The deception, Chris, is mind-boggling. And there are still people who are out there who believe weâ€™re making it up. And one day theyâ€™re gonna realize weâ€™re not and look around and go, Where are we, and why are we getting told all these lies?â€ť
Most journalists are reluctant to use the L-word - â€ślie.â€ť This blog has covered the administrationâ€™s contradictory claims and misleading statistics regularly, but calling something a lie implies you know that it was intended to deceive.
An exasperated Smith had clearly had enough of dancing around that word on Friday afternoon.
Aaron Blake is senior political reporter for The Fix.