There’s a reason why President Donald Trump chose to sit for an interview with Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt and not one of the network’s “real news” anchors like Bret Baier, during what was arguably one of the worst weeks of his presidency.
During that sit-down, during which both the conviction of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and the guilty plea by his fixer Michael Cohen were discussed, Trump denied directing Cohen to commit a crime by paying off his former mistresses, telling Earhardt he only knew about the payments “later on.”
Earhardt either did not have the knowledge or inclination to point out in the moment that Trump is, in fact, on tape discussing one of those payments with Cohen before it was made. But Baier did acknowledge as much on Fox News the following morning.
“I mean, the president’s rollout of explaining this has not been clear,” Baier said. “The Washington Post says it’s a flat out lie in their fact-checking. I think you could look back at the statements and clearly he was not 100 percent truthful as he laid that out.” The anchor cited Trump’s “answer to Ainsley Earhardt, saying he knew ‘later on’” as a prime example.
The fact-checking to which Baier was referring came from the Post’s Glenn Kessler, who broke down in great detail Trump’s evolving story about the hush payments under the headline, “Not just misleading. Not merely false. A lie.”
Hours later, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith echoed Baier’s assessment of Trump’s false statements. “Remember, the president first said he did not know about the hush money payments in advance,” Smith said, going through the litany of denials from both the president and his aides. “Now we know the president was not telling the truth.”