Media Matters for America
Fox News lies about context of Rob Reiner tweet to claim he called for “all out war” against Trump
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

Co-hosts of Fox News’ The Five took a tweet by Rob Reiner out of context, claiming Reiner called “for ‘all out war’ to resist Trump,” ignoring Reiner’s quote was a reference to repeated instances where Fox News attempted to justify possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Reiner’s tweet was a reference to prominent Fox News hosts repeatedly attempting to justify any collusion that may or may not have occurred between the Trump campaign and Russia during the presidential election. Fox News hosts Gregg Jarrett, Brit Hume and Sean Hannity have all attempted to justify potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia’s government, as has Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera.

But the co-hosts of The Five ignored this criticism of their colleagues and instead mocked Reiner’s claim without providing any context. From the June 26 edition of Fox News’ The Five:

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (CO-HOST): Hollywood is, of course doing what it can to help fuel the resistance movement. Actor and director Rob Reiner, best known as “Meathead” from All In The Family, is encouraging his fellow resisters on Twitter to fight an “all out war” to save democracy.

[...]

GREG GUTFELD (CO-HOST): And what exactly is an all out war from Rob Reiner? Is he going to load up his Prius with water balloons? He’s gonna write a really scathing piece in Huffington Post and then order a pie, and get all the crust in his beard?

Mark Levin thanks Donald Trump for attacking the media
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

MARK LEVIN: I want to thank the president for something, he gets attacked for this. Thank you for taking on the media, it's a damn bout time somebody did. Don't stop tweeting. Be more careful with your tweets, but don't stop tweeting because you are able to go over the head of the media --

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Absolutely.

LEVIN: -- the way Reagan did with his speeches. You can be more careful, I don't care. Are the media careful about what they report?

HANNITY: No. Great one.

LEVIN: No. So, in any event, I am one of those, count me in the minority, that says "keep at it, keep at it, keep at it."

HANNITY: Mark, always good to see you, my friend. That's why we call you "The Great One." Thank you.

Previously:

The Trump Administration's War On The Press

Trump’s media allies use attack on GOP baseball practice to delegitimize the press

Mark Levin: "Who threatens our country more? The Iranians, the North Koreans, the Chinese, the Russians, or the Democrats?"
 

Tucker Carlson: Europeans coming to America led to "freedom and happiness" and "far less human sacrifice and cannibalism"
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Christopher Columbus has been ceremonially deported from the state of Alaska. Under a new bill signed by the Alaska governor Bill Walker. Columbus Day will henceforth be known as "Indigenous People's Day."

Alaska joins California, Tennessee, and South Dakota in refusing to commemorate the discovery of the New World by Europeans. Why? Well it's an apology of sorts, obviously. The message is "it would have been better if Europeans had never come here at all."

Well, that's not just absurd, it's literally an attack on civilization. Things are, in fact, better on this continent than they were 700 years ago in case democracy and penicillin and the internal combustion engine didn't make that obvious.

The upstart nations of the new world, in particular this country, the U.S., played a key role in creating a better and freer world, while helping to liberate the old world from despotism, fascism and communism.

There's more human freedom and happiness, far less human sacrifice and cannibalism. That's all an achievement, we ought to celebrate it, not mourn it, obviously.

Previously:

Fox & Friends Doesn't See Any Problem With Statue That Displays Native Americans Kneeling To White Missionary

Daily Caller Editor Suggests She Wants To “Run Over” Native Nations Protesters

Dobbs: "I resent those kinds of holidays" that have "nothing to do with celebrating America"
 

Tucker Carlson: Trump's Muslim ban "doesn't ban Muslims"
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

DAVID TAFURI: What I would argue is that on policy grounds this ban is both too broad and not broad enough. Let me explain, here's why it's too broad. It denies Muslims from six predominantly Muslim countries, however --

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Let me just -- let me just stop and correct you. It makes no reference to religion at all. It doesn't ban Muslims, it bans people who live in six countries the Obama administration designated as chaotic and terror prone.

TAFURI: But the six countries that it banned, the only thing that they have in common is they are majority Muslim countries --

CARLSON: No, the thing they have in common is the Obama administration said they were dangerous.

Previously:

CNN's Cuomo: Trump's travel ban "is a ban. It has always been a ban. And it targets Muslims."

Here Are 21 Times The White House And Media Allies Explained That The Muslim Ban Was About Muslims

Rudy Giuliani Brags That He Crafted Trump's Muslim Ban
 

Trump ally and radio host Michael Savage: "The gays have all the rights in the world," "what rights do they not have?"
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

MICHAEL SAVAGE (HOST): So, if you're in Nancy Pelosi's backyard there was another gay parade, yet another one yesterday. And the costumes, and the regalia -- and a lot of anti-Trump protests with stupid costumes that made no sense, and hysteria of the type that you would expect from people who are not intelligent.

There is no reason for this, why they are marching against Trump at a gay parade, but they did anyway. Black Lives Matter was there, as you all know they are a group of very upstanding citizens. La Raza was there, in one form or another. Socialists of America were there, the people who would like to rip you out of your house and kill you. And so, they're all using -- the white liberals in these far left organizations, are using the gay movement, as they used many other minority groups, to push their socialist agenda.

And what's odd here is that Trump has never said or done anything that's anti-gay, ever. But it did not stop the nasty - you should see the faces of these people. You've got to see the faces of these hardcore communists. "No es mi presidente" on a motorcycle, well then go to Mexico where you have a presidente, or go to Cuba. And resist posters with with Statues of Liberty with her fists in the air. What are they resisting? Do they know what they're resisting? I love the bumper stickers around the Bay Area that say "Less hate, more love."

This is just perplexing to me, the mass hysteria on the left is something out of the fascist movement of the 1930's, is what I see. This is very much how the fascist movement of the -- fascist movements of the 1930's look to me. Only now they're guised under the guise of peace and love and compassion.

The gays have all the rights in the world. Everyone knows that and yet they're marching with -- they want more rights what rights do they not have? Can anyone explain that to me? Here's another moron with a sign, "Community over Corporations," a know-nothing moron. Here's another one marching with a hand in the air, "resist resist resists." So, the gay parade has now been turned into some sort of anti-Trump bacchanalia, for reasons I don't understand.

[...]

Has he ever said anything or done anything that's anti-gay? I don't know of it if he has, I really don't know of it. This is a mass hysteria, and it's being pushed by the far-left.

[...]

What has he done that you don't like? I'm not asking you to call if you're gay, that's too obvious, you know, you're not going to call anyway.

Previously:

Trump regime courting Michael Savage, fringe radio host who claimed autism, PTSD, and depression are fake

Savage on Media Matters: "a gay website that attacks me every day"

Savage on gay marriage, parenting: "It makes me want to puke. ... I think it's child abuse"

Savage: "The children's minds are being raped by the homosexual mafia"
 

Fox panel argues that a Colorado baker should be able to refuse service to gay couples
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

JULIE BANDERAS (CO-HOST): I want to switch gears a bit. Another one. Another case the court agreed to hear. It’s the story of a baker who objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds and refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. This is not the first time since same-sex marriage became law in many states. There are people who believe their Christianity and the bible indicates that being a homosexual is a sin. And, so, therefore, by baking a wedding cake for a gay couple, that goes against their right to express their free speech, and in this case, it would be expressing their defense of religion. Carrie, what do you think?

CARRIE SEVERINO: Well I think it's important to note that this cake artist was happy to make cakes and had made many cakes for this couple before. It was simply they didn’t want to make a cake that expressed celebration of something that they thought – they felt they could not celebrate, which was their same-sex marriage. So this isn’t about excluding homosexuals in general. They were happy to work with them, and they were of course able to find a cake somewhere else. I think they even got a free cake. So it’s really just about are we going to allow a minority, but an important group of people to say, my religion dictates something. We don't need to have people excluded and blocked out of their livelihoods as has happened to cake artists, florist, photographers, even t-shirt designers and pizzerias. This is a real problem when our society is trying to make this an “either-or” decision.

BANDERAS: Edward, does this set up a precedent though? Now it’s a gay couple, then eventually it’s going to be a black couple, and -- you know where I’m going here.

EDWARD WHELAN: Well, first, there’s no precedent. The case has simply been granted for argument. But more broadly, what we’re talking about is the precedent of First Amendment rights, free expression. The ability of Americans not to be dragooned to deliver messages that they don't believe in. So I sure hope that sets a precedent. And have in mind here, the couple ended up with a cake with a rainbow design. You can imagine lots of other designs where a conscientious cake artist would say you’re forcing me to deliver a message that I don’t believe in and I don't want to endorse. How is that consistent with free speech principles?

BANDERAS: And you know what? These are privately-owned businesses. It’s not a government-owned business. And so as a private business owner, you do have the choice to make decisions regarding your own personal business.

Despite analysis to the contrary, Fox host claims no one will die if millions of people lose health insurance
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

JULIE BANDERAS (HOST): Emily, hearing that Nancy Pelosi saying that hundreds of thousands of people are going to die. That's before the CBO comes out and talks about exactly how many people will potentially lose their insurance. What these premiums will do to the American people. All this information needs to come out first, before the Democrats can go and make their assessments, but yet, they are throwing the scare tactic out there. What you think of it, Emily?

EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN: Well, there’s a number of approximations that can be done on the basis of the House bill, because this is quite similar to the House bill, only with deeper cuts. So it’s actually about 200,000 people that are approximated would die as a result of losing their insurance. We know under the House bill, 14 million people would lose insurance, and the cuts here are even deeper. So we know that’s a baseline we can start with. Republicans are trying to rush this through, trying to get the deals made. As you mentioned, the votes are not there right now, so they're trying to make deals quickly. They’re trying to bring it to the floor as quickly as a they can. Already, Republicans in the Caucus are pushing back, saying, look, they called the House bill mean, this bill is meaner. It's going to kick too many people off insurance, and increase premiums for many. It will also impact people who get their employer-based insurance, and that just does not jive well for a lot of senators.

BANDERAS (HOST): Mercedes, this is the United States, okay? Nobody is going to be rejected with an emergency situation or any kind of major health ailment or anything that’s potentially life-threatening. To say that people are going to die is awful.

Previously:

Fox & Friends falsely claims Senate GOP health care bill doesn't cut Medicaid

It’s never been more important to talk about the human cost of rolling back health care

Sunday shows omit key consequences of GOP Senate health care bill

Fox anchor: If millions of Americans do not have health insurance, "that's kind of the American way"
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

JON SCOTT (CO-HOST): [The Affordable Care Act] was passed, obviously Joe, by Democrats, didn't get any Republican votes. The president is suggesting that you ought to just let the thing crash and burn. Is that realistic? And would the blowback affect the Democrats?

JOE TRIPPI: I think at this point, the Trump administration owns health care and what the -- they've got the votes, I mean, they have the majority in the House and the Senate. The House bill passed. They're not going to get Democrats to sign on to a CBO [Congressional Budget Office] report that has 23 million people losing their health care and $800 billion in Medicare cuts. That's just not going to -- Medicaid cuts. Not going to happen. They're having problems even getting a majority in their own caucus in the Senate to go along with that. We’ll see if they can. I agree with Brad, it's better to get this right than to get it done in a hurry. But I do think [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell feels like the longer this is out there and the longer the debate goes on, the less chance he's going to have of pulling those three or four votes in. And another cautionary note that I'd point out, Jon, is, part of the problem here is whatever does pick up three of those five could push a couple more that we don't know about that have concerns but haven't voiced them yet. If it moves it one way instead of the other, we could have more conservatives or more moderates upset and saying they can't vote for this thing. It's a movable target and that's the problem right now.

SCOTT: Brad, Joe mentions the 23 million people that might be tossed off the insurance rolls if the Senate proposal becomes law. But this is not a bill that requires people to buy insurance. That's the part of this thing, Obamacare, that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Can you force people to buy insurance? So if 23 million Americans decide they don't want to buy it, I mean that's kind of the American way, isn't it?

BRAD BLAKEMAN: It is the American way, and that’s the market. Look, health care insurance in America is not a right, it’s a service. And if you have the means to pay for it, then you should pay for it. And if you don't have the means to pay for it, then you should be cared for. That is the American way. And in order to reduce cost, we have to increase the marketability of insurance companies to compete. That means that we have to sell across state lines. That’s how you lower costs. We’ve got to make incentives for people have health savings accounts. People have to control their own destiny. It's not what the Democrats wanted, which was eventually a single-payer system, because they knew Obamacare was destined to fail.

Previously:

It’s never been more important to talk about the human cost of rolling back health care

Fox & Friends falsely claims Senate GOP health care bill doesn't cut Medicaid

Ignoring Republican sabotage, Fox & Friends uses health care insurer withdrawal to claim Obamacare failure

CNN fact check debunks Kellyanne Conway's lie about Trump's proposed Medicaid cuts
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

JOHN KING (HOST): The Trump White House is trying to help sell the Senate Republican health care plan. And as they do, they’re using some only-in-Washington math and this bold promise: "If you like your Medicaid, you can keep your Medicaid."

[BEGIN VIDEO]

KELLYANNE CONWAY: These are not cuts to Medicaid, George. This slows the rate for the future and it allows governors more flexibility with Medicaid dollars because they're closest to the people in need. If you are currently in Medicaid, if you became a Medicaid recipient through the Obamacare expansion, you are grandfathered in. We're talking about in the future.

[END VIDEO]

KING: Now, does that pass the fact check? CNN Money's Tami Luhby joins us to separate the spin from the substance. Tami, you just heard Kellyanne Conway, she says if you’re in Medicaid now, you can keep your Medicaid. Is there such an ironclad clause?

TAMI LUHBY: Well the real issue here, John, is federal funding for Medicaid. The House bill would continue paying states more for low-income adults on Medicaid expansion at that time. So it's likely that many of those folks could stay enrolled at least for a few years. The Senate bill, however, does not do that. But what a lot of people may not realize is that both the Senate and the House would greatly reduce federal support for the overall Medicaid program, which covers more than 70 million people. And states will have to decide how to handle this drop in funding.

KING: So walk us through those numbers, then, or "slower growth" as Kellyanne Conway says. Conservatives say it’s all about giving flexibility to the states. Does that work?

LUHBY: Well let me read you what the National Association of Medicaid Directors board said about the Senate bill today. “No amount of administrative or regulatory flexibility can compensate for the federal spending reductions that would occur as a result of this bill.” So yes, states would get more flexibility, but they’d get a lot less money, too. The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] says the House will would mean an $834 billion cut over the next 10 years compared with current law. That's a 24 percent decrease. We're waiting for the CBO score of the Senate bill later today. But look, many of these states are cash-strapped as it is. So they would likely have to tighten up eligibility, reduce benefits, or cut payments to doctors and hospitals just to deal with these cuts from D.C.

KING: And so as you look ahead to that possibility, what's the scope of the universe of people we're talking about? How many people get their health care through Medicaid and Obamacare's Medicaid expansion?

LUHBY: Well the largest group covered by Medicaid is children, nearly 35 million of them. That’s two in every five kids in America. There are also 27 million adults, 11 million of whom were part of the Medicaid expansion program. And there are nearly 19 million who are disabled or elderly. But most of the money is spent on the disabled or elderly. More than 60 percent of all Medicaid dollars go to care for these two groups.

Previously:

For one fleeting moment, Fox & Friends debunked Kellyanne Conway's lie about Medicaid

CBS Evening News details the devastating effects of Medicaid cuts included in Senate health bill

It’s never been more important to talk about the human cost of rolling back health care

Fox guest: "If it's an interview" with Trump, "it's on Fox"
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

BILL BENNETT: By the way, one editorial suggestion. Isn't it redundant to say, "In an interview on Fox, President Trump?" If it's an interview, it's on Fox, right? That's where he talks. That's where the president talks. Good for Fox.

Previously:

CNN's Stelter: Fox & Friends is “a daily infomercial for the Trump presidency”

Fox & Friends is Donald Trump's safe space

Trump Tells Fox & Friends Hosts That His Years Of Calling In To Their Show May Be Why He’s President

CNN's Ron Brownstein: For Trump to ignore Republican indifference to Russian election interference is "revisionist history of the highest order"
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

BRIANNA KEILER (CO-HOST): Let's turn to Russia now because this is something that Donald Trump is now acknowledging, that there was this meddling in the election, Ron, but when he finally acknowledges that there was Russian meddling, he is blaming President Obama, blaming the Obama administration, talking to Democrats. There is criticism of the Obama administration on this, but is this where the focus should be? 

RON BROWNSTEIN: I mean this is just head spinning. First of all, to say that -- the president to say that he just learned that President Obama knew about this -- the intelligence committee put out a joint statement in October before the election pointing to Russian meddling in the election and the intrusion into the [former Clinton campaign chairman John] Podesta and DNC emails. I mean it is not hard to imagine candidate Trump's reaction --

KEILER: And a definitive report in January, we should say as well, a long definitive intelligence report. 

CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): And he's been getting briefings. For months and months about this. It's not new, you're right, Ron. 

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah and you can -- right and you can say that President Obama should have done more. Certainly there are many people on both sides of the aisle, who in kind of looking back would say that. But to say they did nothing is not exactly right either. Because certainly all the reporting is he talked directly to [Russian President] President [Vladimir] Putin I believe at the APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation] meeting and focused -- they were focused primarily on the question of interference in the actual election tally, the voter registration and those kinds of questions. That would seem to be their principle focus. And let's not forget that all this reporting also shows that at the critical moment in September of 2016, when they went to the Congress and were looking for a bipartisan kind of commitment to have a robust response, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, basically threw cold water on it and said he didn't even believe -- was not convinced by the underlying evidence. So the idea that Obama was feckless alone and faced no political constraints, much less than what he might have faced from candidate Trump, I think is revisionist history of the highest order.

Previously:

Sean Hannity: If Trump campaign communicated with and asked Russia to release hacked emails, "is that a crime?"

Fox's Brit Hume: Even if the Trump campaign did collude with Russia, “it’s not a crime”

New right-wing media talking point: It's no big deal if Trump colluded with the Russians

For one fleeting moment, Fox & Friends debunked Kellyanne Conway's lie about Medicaid
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

On the June 26 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Ainsley Earhardt flip-flopped twice on Medicaid cuts, supporting, then debunking, then returning to supporting the White House’s false claim that the Republican health care bill doesn’t cut Medicaid funding.

During the first hour of the program, the hosts repeated a debunked claim from Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, that the Republican Senate’s health care bill does not cut Medicaid funding. Doocy claimed that those covered by Medicaid under the Obamacare expansion “will continue [being covered] in the future,” and Kilmeade added later that “we don’t even have that money” to fund the Obamacare Medicaid expansion “to begin with,” but the Republicans’ bill is “still increasing it” to guarantee coverage for the needy.

In the second hour of the program, Doocy asked Fox News contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier if “the Senate health care bill, as it stands this morning,” cuts Medicaid or not. Saphier claimed that it “depends on who you ask, [but] I’m going to say there will be cuts to Medicaid” because “you’re not taking away real-time dollars, however what you’re gonna see is a slowing of spending in the future.” Doocy attempted to diminish her claim by noting that it will be up to states to decide how to handle Medicaid, but Saphier said that “we’re not quite sure” how states will respond to the cut in federal funding.

Saphier’s analysis resembles that of several panelists on CNN’s New Day, who highlighted that the Senate is “handing a gigantic -- by one estimate $43 billion check -- I should say bill -- to the governors and asking them to figure out how to pay for this,” and that several states, “if they don't have the money to do that federal match, then they can just jump out of this altogether.” The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the House version of the bill clearly states that “several major provisions affecting Medicaid would decrease direct spending by $880 billion over the 2017-2026 period, … culminating in 14 million fewer Medicaid enrollees by 2026, a reduction of about 17 percent relative to the number under current law.” 

Shortly after Saphier debunked the White House’s false talking point, the hosts had Kellyanne Conway on the program to “set the record straight” because “if you watch the mainstream media this morning, they’re saying that you were caught in a lie.” Conway maintained that “it’s not a lie” because “it is slowing the growth of Medicaid” although it “continues to be funded.” She noted that “Medicaid over time would be unsustainable and unaffordable because Obamacare failed to bring costs down for health care, so these states are having a very difficult time meeting the bills.” Conway attacked “detractors and Trump haters” for “call[ing] me a liar because they don’t want to do the homework and look at what’s actually happening to Medicaid,” as Saphier did minutes earlier. 

It’s never been more important to talk about the human cost of rolling back health care
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM


Sarah Wasko/Media Matters

Republican senators produced a version of health care reform behind closed doors that would repeal and replace key aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and would put potentially millions of people at risk of losing access to vital medical care. Americans deserve to hear from those who would be most directly impacted by the proposed legislation.

On June 22, Senate Republicans released their proposed health care reform bill, titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA). The bill was drafted in secret by a small group of white Republican men without input from women, minorities, Senate Democrats, or even the majority of Senate Republicans. Overall, the Senate bill is largely similar to the House’s earlier health care plan, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), in that it guts Medicaid spending, denies federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year, reduces subsidies for health care coverage, and offers a windfall in tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.

As if taking cue from the Senate Republicans, cable and broadcast news media have largely shut out women and minorities in their coverage of the Senate’s health care bill, focusing instead on white men to provide analysis and opinion. As Media Matters has documented, men comprised two-thirds of all appearances on prime-time cable news, broadcast morning and nightly news shows, and Sunday morning political shows during discussions of the Republican health care bill. The study also found that 87 percent of all appearances were made by white guests. Media Matters found this trend with guests continued on cable news into the first full day of coverage of the Senate bill’s release.

However, reports indicate that women and minorities would be disproportionately affected by the Republican Party’s legislation. The LGBTQ community, people of color, and women would be disproportionately hit by cuts to Medicaid. For low-income Americans, losing health insurance could mean they would not receive regular care needed to keep them alive, even if they were to go to the emergency room. The GOP plan may also force those with disabilities into institutions. Women would find that some realities of being a woman -- having heavy periods or getting pregnant -- are now pre-existing conditions.

Medicaid cuts have a real impact on people’s lives -- impacts evident in rare examples of television news telling these stories. One such story was presented during the June 23 edition of CBS’ CBS Evening News, when reporter Mark Strassmann interviewed Jodi Maness, a 22-year-old mother and Medicaid recipient. He said she is worried about losing Medicaid and having to pay more for health care, saying that her biggest fear is the possible impact on her small children:

But highlighting the personal impact of the Republican health care plans has been rare, as television news channels largely have not emphasized the impact these proposals would have on women and minorities. Last Febuary, Media Matters reported that cable news outlets featured only three prime-time interviews of individuals who had participated in congressional town halls during the February 18-26 week -- informally called “Resistance Recess” -- instead relying primarily on talking heads to discuss the week of action. It’s still true that audiences would be better served by hearing directly from the women and minorities who would be directly impacted by this legislation rather than just pundits endlessly debating it.

If the congressional Republicans’ health care agenda is successful, it would cause real harm to wide swaths of Americans. With nearly 75 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, there are plenty of individuals who would be affected by the Senate’s health care bill for the media to interview, if only the press would be willing to sit down with them.

New right-wing media talking point: It's no big deal if Trump colluded with the Russians
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

Legal experts, Sessions say collusion between Trump and Russia would be “improper and illegal”

PolitiFact: Colluding with Russia breaks “at least four laws.” PolitiFact noted that legal experts “said there are at least four laws” that would outlaw any possible collusion between the Russian government and associates of President Donald Trump that was meant to influence the 2016 presidential election. From the May 31 fact check:

By way of brief recap, the U.S. Justice Department appointed [Robert] Mueller to investigate Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. His first task was to explore "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump."

[...]

Nathaniel Persily at Stanford University Law School said one relevant statute is the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

"A foreign national spending money to influence a federal election can be a crime," Persily said. "And if a U.S. citizen coordinates, conspires or assists in that spending, then it could be a crime."

Persily pointed to a 2011 U.S. District Court ruling based on the 2002 law. The judges said that the law bans foreign nationals "from making expenditures to expressly advocate the election or defeat of a political candidate."

Another election law specialist, John Coates at Harvard University Law School, said if Russians aimed to shape the outcome of the presidential election, that would meet the definition of an expenditure.

"The related funds could also be viewed as an illegal contribution to any candidate who coordinates (colludes) with the foreign speaker," Coates said.

[...]

Coates said discussions between a campaign and a foreigner could violate the law against fraud.

"Under that statute, it is a federal crime to conspire with anyone, including a foreign government, to ‘deprive another of the intangible right of honest services,’ " Coates said. "That would include fixing a fraudulent election, in my view, within the plain meaning of the statute."

Josh Douglas at the University of Kentucky Law School offered two other possible relevant statutes.

"Collusion in a federal election with a foreign entity could potentially fall under other crimes, such as against public corruption," Douglas said. "There's also a general anti-coercion federal election law."

[...]

Three prominent election law scholars said there are at least four laws that would prohibit the sort of activities under investigation, whether those laws mention collusion or not. [PolitiFact, 5/31/17]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Colluding with the Russians would “absolutely” be “improper and illegal.” In testimony in front of the Senate intelligence committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions agreed with Sen. Jim Risch’s question about whether (R-ID) it would be “improper and illegal” to collude with the Russians or any other foreign government to influence U.S. elections, saying, “Absolutely.” From Sessions’ June 13 testimony:

SEN. JIM RISCH (R-ID): Mr. Sessions, there's been all this talk about conversations, and you had some conversations with the Russians. Senators up here who are on either foreign relations, intelligence, or armed services [committees], conversations with officers of other governments or ambassadors or what have you are everyday occurrences here, multiple-time occurrences, for most of us. Is that a fair statement?

ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS: I think it is, yes.

RISCH: And, indeed, if you run into one at a grocery store, you’re going to have a conversation. Is that fair?

SESSIONS: Could very well happen. Nothing improper.

RISCH: On the other hand, collusion with the Russians, or any other government, for that matter, when it comes to our elections certainly would be improper and illegal. Would that be a fair statement?

SESSIONS: Absolutely. [Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony to Senate intelligence committee, 6/13/17]

Right-wing media figures have denied that possible collusion would violate the law

Fox's Gregg Jarrett: "You can collude all you want with a foreign government in an election." Fox anchor Gregg Jarrett claimed, “You can collude all you want with a foreign government in an election,” also saying that it “is not a crime.” In a FoxNews.com op-ed, Jarrett also wrote that “colluding with Russia is not, under America’s criminal codes, a crime.” From the May 30 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now:

JON SCOTT (HOST): There's some discussion about something called the Logan Act, and the question is out there as to and whether or not Jared Kushner violated the Logan Act.

GREGG JARRETT: Yeah, the Logan Act says private citizens can't interfere in diplomatic disputes. The Logan Act can't possibly apply under the law because it’s been dormant for two centuries. You cannot use a law that is dormant for two centuries. That's a violation of the law. And besides, he wasn't acting as a private citizen, as the law demands. He was acting as a government official in the incoming administration. All administrations, including President Obama, make contact with foreign governments before the president is sworn in.

SCOTT: So one of the big questions out there is did Jared Kushner -- did he essentially lie? Did he violate the law when he was filling out his security clearance form?

JARRETT: Well, it is a crime to deceive the government in filling out your security clearance form, although it's almost never prosecuted. Why? Because it's difficult to show intent of knowingly trying to deceive the federal government. And besides, in this particular case, he amended it just a month later, in January, before any of this became public. If he was really trying to deceive, he wouldn't have done that. So, absolutely not. He’d never be prosecuted for something like that. That would be unheard of.

SCOTT: So this story could end with a big fat thud is what you're suggesting?

JARRETT: It could. I mean, look, and I've said it before and I'll say it again: Collusion is not a crime. Only in antitrust law. You can collude all you want with a foreign government in an election. There’s no such statute. [Fox News, Happening Now, 5/30/17; FoxNews.com, 5/23/17]

Fox's Brit Hume: Even if the Trump campaign did collude with Russia, “it’s not a crime.” Fox host Brit Hume suggested that while colluding with a foreign government to influence an election “obviously would be alarming and highly inappropriate, … it’s not a crime.” From the June 25 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday:

BRIT HUME (HOST): It’s worth noting, I think, that this investigation has never been officially described as anything other than a counterintelligence investigation, which is to say that its purpose was to find out the extent of the Russians’ attempts to interfere in the election and to influence the election. And it was not therefore a criminal investigation, and has never been described as a criminal investigation. Do we all now believe that it has now become a criminal investigation?

BOB WOODWARD: Well, we reported in The Washington Post that it is, and these investigations, as you well know, they mushroom, they grow --

HUME: Well they can.

WOODWARD: Well, they almost inevitably do.

[...]

JENNIFER GRIFFIN: We’ve heard about the grand jury in Alexandria that has been called. So they are looking into criminal --

HUME: But what crime? Can anybody identify the crime? Collusion, while it obviously would be alarming and highly inappropriate for the Trump campaign to -- of which there’s no evidence, by the way, of colluding with the Russians -- it's not a crime. So are we talking about here the president's firing of [former FBI Director James] Comey being an obstruction of justice? And they got a grand jury on that? Is that was this is about? [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 6/25/17]

Fox’s Sean Hannity: If the Trump campaign communicated with and asked Russia to release hacked emails, "is that a crime?" Fox host Sean Hannity said that if Trump associates had communicated with the Russians and asked them to released hacked emails from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton , “is that a crime?” From the June 23 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I never understood it anyway. What was the collusion? That maybe somebody in the Trump campaign talked to somebody in Russia because Russia supposedly had the information that Hillary Clinton had destroyed on her server when she committed a felony and tried to cover up her crimes? And that they might say as a Trump campaign representative, "Wow, you have that? Tell the American people the truth. Let them see it themselves, release it." Is that a crime, to say "release it"? To show the truth? To show damaging information? [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/23/17]

Fox’s Geraldo Rivera: If Trump’s team did collude with Russia, “what is the crime?” Fox correspondent Geraldo Rivera asked “what is the crime” if Trump associates did collude with Russians. From the May 10 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

GERALDO RIVERA: Let me say something revolutionary here. Wait a second, Jay. This is -- this, I think, is very important. Going back to the original sin, what is the allegation here? The allegation that some people in the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. I submit to you, and I just had a conversation with Judge Napolitano about this. I've been scratching my head about this for months. What is the crime? If the Russian KGB chief is talking to Paul Manafort and the chief says, “You know, I've got this dirt here that says Hillary Clinton was this or that,” and Paul Manafort says, “Next Wednesday, why don't you release that, that'd be great for us.” That’s not -- I don't know that that's a crime at all. What's the crime? [Fox News, Hannity, 5/10/17]

Right-wing columnist Ronald Kessler: “There’s no violation of the law if, in fact, the campaign colluded with Russia.” Discredited right-wing columnist Ronald Kessler during the May 21 edition of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS asserted that “there's no violation of law if, in fact, the campaign colluded with Russia, whatever that means.” [CNN, Fareed Zakaria GPS, 5/21/17; Media Matters, 6/31/14]

Conservative author Michael Reagan: “Collusion is not breaking the law.” Conservative author Michael Reagan told CNN’s Don Lemon that “collusion is not breaking the law.” When Lemon suggested that collusion with the Russians might be “treasonous,” Reagan repeatedly asked “what law” would it have broken. From the May 31 edition of CNN’s CNN Tonight:

MICHAEL REAGAN: Collusion is not breaking the law. Just like Kennedy, he didn’t break the law. It was a political move that he made. Just like Jimmy Carter, it was political. It wasn’t breaking the law.

DON LEMON (HOST): Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, collusion is not breaking the law?

REAGAN: Not in this case. No it’s not collusion. Collusion is not breaking the law. What law did they break?

LEMON: You mean if the Trump folks colluded with the Russians, that’s not breaking the law to influence the election?

REAGAN: What law?

LEMON: Isn’t that treasonous to do that?

REAGAN: What law? No. What law? [CNN, CNN Tonight, 5/31/17]

Fox host wonders if the press are the ones responsible for the draconian restrictions of Trump's White House
December 31st, 1969, 09:05 PM

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Meanwhile, the White House experimenting with some new rules for the press corps, like you can only ask one question if you point your camera at the wall. The president of the White House Correspondents Association wants that changed to more on-camera briefings. He claims it's the best thing for your country.

[…]

KILMEADE: Todd, are you upset by the new rules?

TODD GILLMAN: Well, absolutely. And it's not really rules so much as practice. They have just day by day scaled back on the number of on-camera briefings, and broadcastable briefings. This is severely curtailing the opportunity and ability of TV networks, radio networks, and even other types of media, which like to use the audio to question senior officials and hold them to account. Viewers and voters need to be able to judge the credibility of the people running the government, and the only way they can do that is to see them and hear them.

[…]

KILMEADE: Now, we also see what CNN did. Now they have actually sketch artists out there, kind of like one of those closed-down courtroom situations. But do you feel as though the press brought this on themselves? Even though Todd doesn’t see it that way, I've watched a ton of these briefings, and I've never seen it -- I've never seen it so contentious.

Previously:

Fox News accuses CNN's Jim Acosta of "crossing a line" with criticism of Trump administration for hiding press briefings

Fox News mocks the “media outrage” over hidden White House press briefings as "inside baseball"

CNN's Stelter: Fox & Friends is “a daily infomercial for the Trump presidency”