A daily roundup of the biggest stories in right-wing media.
As other outlets focused on the latest revelations about Michael Flynn and Rep. Devin Nunes, many conservative publications turned to the case of Elizabeth Farkas. A former Obama-era deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia who left the administration in 2015, she claimed in a brief March 2 MSNBC appearance that she had urged her “former colleagues and … people on the Hill” to get as much information as they could about the Trump team’s connections with Russia before the incoming administration “compromise[d] those sources and methods.” Seizing on this appearance, conservative sites and commentators argued that it supported Donald Trump’s claim that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower last fall.
In his monologue on Wednesday, Sean Hannity brought widespread attention to the clip of Farkas, claiming “it could prove the Obama administration was very much involved in the surveillance of Trump transition team members. Wow.” Playing an excerpt from the MSNBC segment, he went on to say, “She’s admitting here surveillance of Trump and his associates and Trump transition team took place. … Pretty blockbuster.”
Thursday on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh also suggested that Farkas’ comments represented an admission of guilt. He told listeners, “This woman needs to be brought up and testify right now. This woman outed herself and who knows whoever else, admitting that they were surveilling, admitting that they were preserving it, admitting they were afraid that if it wasn’t used, that the Trump people would bury it when they were sworn in.”
The Daily Caller spoke to Farkas, giving her the opportunity to contest some of the claims. In particular, she told the publication, “I had no intelligence whatsoever, I wasn’t in government anymore and didn’t have access to any.” Instead, she claims in the article, she was simply responding to what she saw in “the faces of Obama people when the topic came up.”
Other conservative outlets were undeterred by Farkas’ professions of innocence. LifeZette, for example, cited several “national security experts [who] said Farkas’ comments lend credibility to allegations that outgoing Obama administration officials mishandled classified information for political reasons.” One of those “experts” suggested “it is possible that Farkas kept her security clearance after leaving government,” since some former officials “go to work for government contractors.”
Covering the Trump administration’s response to the story, a Fox News article stated:
The White House is asking Congress to dig deeper into whether communications of Trump associates were improperly picked up and disseminated during surveillance operations, after an ex-Obama administration official suggested her former colleagues tried to gather such material.
Gateway Pundit also ran multiple posts about Farkas on Thursday and Friday, alleging that the media had covered up her connections to the Clinton campaign and that an earlier Vox interview contradicted her claims to the Daily Caller. Hannity continued to focus on Farkas as the week went on, claiming he was “simply asking questions based on what she said. We need to know what she knew about the ‘unmasking,’ about the surveillance, and when she knew it.”
On social media, a Fox News post suggesting that we should establish sanctuary cities “for the unborn” spread widely: