Donald Trump’s bogus claims about former President Barack Obama ordering wiretaps for Trump Tower were quickly debunked by the House and Senate intelligence committees, among others. However, the story gained new life last week when Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano cited an unconfirmed report suggesting Obama sought the help of British spies to surveil the then-presidential candidate. While the White House has attempted (and failed) to make amends with the British government for repeating these claims, it seems Napolitano has been temporarily sidelined from the cable news network.
Media commentators like CNN’s Brian Stelter took note of Judge Napolitano’s absence during Monday’s Senate confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch:
A former New Jersey Superior Court judge, Napolitano would have been one of Fox News’ go-to personalities for coverage of the committee’s opening remarks and Gorsuch’s statement. Yet he hasn’t been on the air since last Thursday, when Napolitano’s report came up during Trump’s joint press conference with Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel. The president’s non-answer, which suggested a German reporter ask Fox News about the matter instead of him, caused an immediate response from the network.
According to the Los Angeles Times, it also resulted in Napolitano’s temporary removal from all scheduled Fox News appearances:
People familiar with the situation who could speak only on the condition of anonymity said Napolitano is not expected to be on Fox News Channel any time in the near future. Napolitano was not available for comment.
The figure’s future remains uncertain, as neither he nor the network has offered anyone any official comment on potential next steps. Seeing as how the ultimate source of the bogus report cited by Napolitano (and, subsequently, Trump) may be a known hoaxer, it’s possible the judge won’t see the light of Trump TV‘s cameras anytime soon.
(Via Los Angeles Times)