Viewers of Fox News Channel may have noticed that a particular fan favorite hasn’t been seen on air for a few days, an absence made all the more notable when one considers the recent stories that would be considered within his wheelhouse.
That person is Judge Andrew Napolitano, senior legal analyst for Fox, who was reportedly pulled from the air by the network, according to Mediaite, but not officially suspended.
The indefinite removal of Napolitano from the airwaves stemmed from unsubstantiated claims he made over the previous week regarding allegations raised by President Donald Trump that his campaign headquarters at Trump Tower had been “wiretapped” by the Obama administration during the 2016 election season.
Napolitano first claimed in an op-ed for Fox News that he had learned from three unnamed sources that former President Barack Obama had not ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to spy on Trump las Trump alleged, as that would have left “fingerprints,” so to speak, but instead quietly requested a British intelligence agency collect material for him, leaving him with plausible deniability of any sort of involvement.
“Sources have told me that the British foreign surveillance service, the Government Communications Headquarters, known as GCHQ, most likely provided Obama with transcripts of Trump’s calls,” Napolitano wrote, noting that the GCHQ has full access to all information gathered by the NSA.
“So by bypassing all American intelligence services, Obama would have had access to what he wanted with no Obama administration fingerprints,” he explained.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the trouble for Napolitano began after he repeated the claim a couple of times, at one point stating, “Fox News has spoken to intelligence community members who believe that surveillance did occur, that it was done by British intelligence.”
But that appeared not to have happened, ultimately compelling news deck anchor Shepard Smith to denounce the report Friday as baseless and unverified.
Neither Fox nor Napolitano responded to requests for comment from the Times, but a statement from the judge was read on air Sunday morning during Howard Kurtz’s “Mediabuzz,” in which Napolitano claimed he had “reported what the sources told me, reported it accurately, and I do believe the substance of what they told me.”
Hopefully any confusion between Fox and the judge will be sorted out timely and he will be put back on the air, as his insightful legal analysis and sense of humor are appreciated by plenty of Fox viewers.
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