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Lawsuit documents: After 2020 election, Tucker Carlson said he hates Trump 'passionately'

Text messages released Tuesday as part of the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News show that two days before the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, network host Tucker Carlson was excited about the prospect of no longer having to cover former President Donald Trump, telling staffers, "We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can't wait."

One person responded, "I want nothing more," to which Carlson replied, "I hate him passionately." Carlson went on to say that when it came to Trump's four years in office, "We're all pretending we've got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it's been is too tough to digest. But come on. There really isn't an upside to Trump."

Dominion's suit alleges that in the wake of the 2020 presidential election, Fox knew the claims of widespread fraud being pushed by some hosts and guests, like then-Trump legal adviser Sidney Powell, were false, but promoted the conspiracies for ratings. Fox has denied the accusation, and a spokeswoman on Tuesday said Dominion "will say and do anything to try to win this case, but to twist and even misattribute quotes to the highest levels of our company is truly beyond the pale." 

Additional text messages released Tuesday reveal that on Nov. 16, 2020, Carlson shared with fellow primetime hosts Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity that he was going to mention on his show conspiracies about Dominion and voter fraud even though "the whole thing seems insane to me." Carlson added that Powell "won't release the evidence. Which I hate." He also said she was "making everyone paranoid and crazy, including me."

In the years since, various claims about election fraud have been made on Carlson's show, and on Monday, he aired footage of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack given to him by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). The segment focused on Trump supporters walking into and around the Capitol, with Carlson describing them both as "orderly and meek" and "angry. They believed that the election they had just voted in had been unfairly conducted, and they were right."

Carlson was criticized on Tuesday by several Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for trying to downplay the Jan. 6 riot. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger also spoke out, saying Carlson's comments were "offensive and misleading" and the footage he chose to air was "conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments" of the day.