Speed Reads

so-called spygate

Trump's 'spygate' campaign has had a really rough week

The Fox News giveth, and the Fox News can taketh away.

President Trump's most-cited cable news network has been a primary platform for echoing and expounding on his argument that the FBI spied on his campaign for political reasons — he dubbed it "spygate" — but starting Tuesday afternoon, Fox News has led the way in undermining Trump's conspiracy. First, news anchor Shepard Smith dismantled Trump's claims, then House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), one of just nine lawmakers briefed on the FBI's use of an informant, said on Fox News that the FBI acted properly and to America's benefit in approaching Trump campaign advisers. He expanded on his defense of the FBI's conduct on CBS Wednesday morning, saying they had "an obligation to run it out."

Normally Trump-friendly Fox News legal analysts Alan Dershowitz and Andrew Napolitano backed up Gowdy, and Napolitano doubled down on Wednesday evening.

"Legal experts and Trump critics say the defections have exposed cracks in the president's narrative and undermine his attempts to discredit the FBI investigation into Russian contacts with his campaign as a partisan, 'deep state' attack on his presidential bid," Politico says. "And notably, a slew of Trump's congressional allies who have been active purveyors of what the president dubbed 'spygate' — including Reps. Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, and Lee Zeldin — were silent Wednesday."

Trump's allies aren't giving up — on Fox News Wednesday night, Laura Ingraham tried to neutralize Gowdy's comments with help from NRA TV personality Dan Bongino — though that attempt faltered when Ingraham turned to former U.S. prosecutor Daniel Goldman. On CNN Wednesday night, Anderson Cooper took a third swing at debunking "spygate," this time with Gowdy's quotes in his arsenal.

So maybe "spygate" isn't going to be a thing after all. On the other hand, it's only Thursday.