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trump drama

New book says William Barr told Rupert Murdoch to 'muzzle' Fox News personality critical of Trump

A new book claims that at the direction of President Trump, Attorney General William Barr asked Rupert Murdoch to "muzzle" Judge Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News personality who said that Trump had engaged in "criminal and impeachable behavior."

In Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter explores how entwined the network is with the president. The Guardian reports that in one portion of Hoax, Stelter writes that Trump became irate last year when Napolitano criticized him, writing in an October 3 Fox News article that the "criminal behavior to which Trump has admitted is much more grave than anything alleged or unearthed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and much of what Mueller revealed was impeachable."

A person familiar with the matter told Stelter that Trump was "so incensed" by Napolitano's commentary that he "implored Barr to send Rupert a message in person ... about 'muzzling the judge.'" While Barr's words "carried a lot of weight," no one was "explicitly told to take Napolitano off the air," Stelter writes.

Still, Napolitano soon found himself not being called to appear during segments about the impeachment process. He was certain that "25-year-old producers" were keeping him off the air because they didn't think viewers liked what he had to say, Stelter writes, but a staffer told Stelter that it was actually Fox News host Maria Bartiromo who would only book him to discuss non-Trump topics, because she would get upset when he criticized the president. Read more at The Guardian. Catherine Garcia

Update: DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec tweeted that this particular detail of the book is "false." Kupec claims Stelter did not contact the DOJ to fact-check the story.