Monday on his Fox News Channel show, host Tucker Carlson revealed his network had been threatened with legal action for its report a week ago that claimed former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm The Podesta Group were the focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into potential Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Carlson noted Tony Podesta, brother of Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, resigned from The Podesta Group earlier in the day and blamed Fox News’ reporting as a reason for his resignation. In addition to blaming Fox News, Carlson also revealed that the network had been threatened with legal action by a lawyer on behalf of The Podesta Group.
“[T]oday Tony Podesta resigned as head of his company,” Carlson said. “His excuse? Us. That’s right. He blamed us. In his parting statement, Podesta said this, quote, ‘It is impossible to run a public affairs firm by Fox News and the right-wing media. Well, Podesta isn’t just complaining about us — he’s threatening us. This afternoon, we got a letter from Geoff Garinther. Its a lawyer with Venable LLP, a big law firm here in DC. The letter demands that this show, quote, ‘immediately cease and desist disseminating false and misleading reports about Mr. Podesta and the Podesta Group.'”
“It demands we retract and delete all our prior reporting on the Podesta Group and warns if we don’t do this, quote, ‘Mr. Podesta may pursue legal action, including for damages, in order to fully protect his rights,'” he continued. “It doesn’t stop there. It also warns we will face legal action under the Copyright Act merely for quoting from this letter publicly, as we just did. The most amusing line, though, is this one: Quote, ‘Paul Manafort did not work with the Podesta Group in its representation of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.’ That’s what the lawyer’s letter told us. Apparently, that lawyer hasn’t read the Manafort indictment yet.”
Carlson read from the indictment handed down earlier in the day that alleged the connection between Manafort and the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine and went on to declare the network was “not intimidated.”
“Podesta’s lawyer wasn’t trying to inform us of anything, but to threaten us — to shut down our reporting on his client,” Carlson added. “One lawyer we talked to earlier today said the Podesta people have used this tactic with others before. It’s common — it’s an effort to use fear to control press coverage. We are not intimidated. We have ample evidence from Mueller’s indictment, from a number of confidential sources to paint a pretty clear picture of exactly what the Podesta group was doing for years here in Washington. We’ll let the facts speak for themselves. And we’re confident the Mueller investigation will be revealing a lot more about Tony Podesta’s lobbying practices in the near future.”
“In the meantime, if you’re looking for a summary of all of this — here’s the one-sentence Cliff note to the whole affair: The chairman of one major presidential campaign colluded with the chairman of the other major presidential campaign to enrich themselves by secretly advancing the interests of a foreign adversary. That happened. That’s the swamp they told you that needed to be drained.”
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor