Media malign Trump Europe trip

This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," July 15, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS: On "Media Buzz" this Sunday, the media on fire over Robert Mueller charging 12 Russian intelligence officials for election hacking with some commentators even saying President Trump should cancel tomorrow's sit down with Vladimir Putin.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: The White House has not said anything about, you know, this is outrageous that we were attacked, we are considering delaying the summit.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: A very strong case to be made that at a minimum this should be postponed until there is a better understanding of, you know, what it is we want out of him.


KURTZ: This after the press pounds the president for talking tough with the leaders of Britain, Germany and NATO.


KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: You have spent the week taking on NATO allies, criticizing Prime Minister May on her own soil. And I wonder, are you giving Russian President Vladimir Putin the upper hand heading into your talks given that you are challenging these alliances that he seeks to break up and destroy?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: See, that's such dishonest reporting because of course it happens to be NBC which is possibly worse than CNN.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: It's so bizarre he cannot say enough good things about people like Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin and not enough bad things about basically every leader of every democratic country.

GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS: What we are learning now is that the media is more outraged when Trump is scolding our allies, more so when American politicians are encouraging mob action against our own leader.


KURTZ: Are the media challenging the substance of Trump's foreign policy or he's breaking the China approach? The press chooses sides after a marathon house grilling of GBI agent Peter Strzok turns into a full-blown circus.


PETER STRZOK, FBI AGENT: I want to correct some inaccurate things you said.

REP. ANDY BIGGS, R-AZ.: I didn't say anything inaccurate.


REP. DAVID CICILLINE, D-R.I.: The witness need to be able to answer the question.

BIGGS: You are out of order.


STRZOK: What I can tell you is, that text in no way suggested that I or the FBI would take any action to influence the candidate.

REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: That is a fantastic answer to a question nobody asked.


KURTZ: Television loved the fighting and the fireworks, but did we really learn anything? President Trump's pick of Brett Kavanaugh infuriates liberal pundits, divides conservative pundits and sparks a fiercely partisan debate. Is the press being fair to the high court nominee?

Plus, Sarah Palin says comedian Sacha Baron Cohen duped her by impersonating a disabled veteran in a wheelchair. Are CBS and Showtime really going to stand behind this? I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "Media Buzz."

This is a Fox News alert. President Trump has just boarded Air Force One in Scotland. The plane will be taking off shortly for Helsinki, Finland for tomorrow's much anticipated sit down with Vladimir Putin. We will keep an eye on his progress for you.

The media have been constantly challenging President Trump's disruptive approach during this week's European trip and some MSNBC anchors were especially accusatory when he said he convinced NATO allies to boost their spending on defense.


TRUMP: Only five of 29 countries were making their commitment and that's now changed.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: What the president said there about all the contributions going down is a lie.

STEPHANIE RUHLE, NBC NEWS: Right there, the president of the United States lying to the planet earth.


KURTZ: And in Britain, the president was asked about his criticism with Theresa May in an interview which included audio with The Sun, a London tabloid, by Rupert Murdoch.


TRUMP: Unfortunately that was a story that was done which was, you know, generally fine but it didn't put in what I said about the prime minister and I said tremendous things. Fortunately we tend to record stories now so we have it for your enjoyment if you would like it. We record when we deal with reporters. It's called fake news.


KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage: Mollie Hemingway, senior editor of The Federalist and a Fox News contributor; Gillian Turner, Fox News correspondent and former national security official in the Bush and Obama administrations; and Juan Williams, co-host of "The Five."

Mollie, let's start with that Sun interview. So, the president in that interview criticized Theresa May in her approach to Brexit, made headlines around the world. He was also quoted as saying some positive things about her. And then we just saw him trying to dismiss that story as fake news despite the audio. I would say nobody is buying it.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: Yeah, I think he's more effective at calling out particularly bad reporting than just generally issuing the slur. They also had audio of what he said that showed that --

KURTZ: Yeah. Not very convenient.

HEMINGWAY: But there is a point also that it is not just quoting people accurately but accurately summarizing the entire interview too and that someone has positive and negative things to say. There is some responsibility to get the whole picture.

KURTZ: Sure, but that doesn't in my view amount to fake and Laura Ingraham called the whole Sun interview a ridiculous mistake. This caused an absolute uproar, particularly in the U.K., Gillian, so how unusual is it for a president or any president to give that kind of critical interview about an ally and be published hours after he lands when she is feeding him at a black tie dinner?

GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS: I would call it highly unusual.

KURTZ: That's very understated.


TURNER: Look, certainly during my tenure in the Obama administration and the Bush administration, I didn't see either president do an interview where they were critical of a foreign leader they were about to meet in the hours before they met them.

But what I will say here, I think what really caught fire with this Brexit bomb story was not so much the president's message as the way he said the things he said. The message that if the E.U., if Brexit goes forward, there would be negative implications for trade with the U.S. is actually an Obama administration throwback message.

That's something then Prime Minister David Cameron asked President Obama to deliver while he was in the U.K., his last year in office.

KURTZ: When he says, if only Theresa May had listened to me, again that's the kind of --

TURNER: Right.

KURTZ: And, Juan, the president did say he apologized to prime minister because he also said some good things about you. He said, well, it's only the press. So it's rare to have any admission of apology from this president. Was he reacting to the media firestorm in that sort of make-up press conference?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS: You know, I think he created the media firestorm and then he tries to manage it to his advantage. For example, he also went after the mayor of London. He kind of said, hey, you know, I don't feel welcome here. Why did you let this balloon up, you know, the crying balloon for two hours?

KURTZ: The baby balloon.

WILLIAMS: Right. And so he made it very up very clear. And I think by taking on immigration, mentioning terrorism in London, that in fact he has problems, Brexit, terrorism, immigration. And I think these things, for the domestic audience, our American media resonate here at home.

KURTZ: All right. Well, in that same news conference, the president got into a dust-up with CNN's White House correspondent Jim Acosta. Let's take a look at that and have some comments on the other side.


TRUMP: John Roberts, go ahead.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN: Can I speak?

TRUMP: No, no. John Roberts, go ahead. CNN is fake news. I don't take questions from CNN. CNN is fake news. I don't take questions from CNN. John Roberts of Fox. Let's go to a real network.

ACOSTA: But we are real network too, sir.


KURTZ: So, what is kind of a lot of the controversy here is that he called on John Roberts. Jim Acosta was interrupting, trying to hijack the question, which he has done before with President Trump. This is not some scrum where they are walking to the helicopter and everybody is shouting out.

Rather than debate CNN, John Roberts asked this question about Russia and Crimea. It took some criticism that I thought was off base. Others are saying he should have stood up for CNN. In fact, later, he did say that he thinks there are some good journalists at CNN, which is true, and the president's criticism was unfair.

But that wasn't the end of it because later, the president on Twitter boasted of a take down of Jim Acosta. Take down, he didn't recognize him. And he also said he was a nice guy. And then, the White House pulled John Bolton as a guest this morning on CNN's state of the union, saying they didn't want to reward Acosta's disrespectful behavior and bad behavior in the words of Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

In that same press conference, Gillian, we just heard president dismissed NBC's Kristen Welker, who asked the question about his criticism of NATO and Britain, giving Putin the upper hand, as dishonest reporting. Did the questions strike you as dishonest?

TURNER: No, to be fair about it. I think that it was not necessarily a question that was delivered in -- it was delivered in a critical manner.

KURTZ: It was a provocative question.

TURNER: It was a provocative question.

KURTZ: Right.

TURNER: That is certainly fair. I can understand why maybe a president who had a really good relationship with mainstream media would feel taken aback by a hard question like that. But it does not make it dishonest reporting or fake news.

It is also noteworthy that John Roberts here at Fox did issue a statement in Kristen Welker's defense, saying that he didn't find her question dishonest at all. It was fact-based and he has known her personally and professionally for a long time.

KURTZ: Right.

TURNER: And she is honest.

HEMINGWAY: I do think there has been a lot of problems with the general NATO coverage though. This idea, when President Trump says that the allied countries need to provide more for their common defense, that is something that has been said by the previous seven administrations. Yes, he said it more harshly, and partly he said that more harshly because they didn't get the result that they were hoping for.

So it's like the underlying assumptions behind this are faulty. The idea that it helps Russian to have a strong NATO is completely wrong. It helps the entire alliance to have a strong NATO. It helps to have these countries not just spending more in defense but spending it properly. That makes us all strong.

KURTZ: Since you bring up Russia, there has been an absolute media explosion obviously since Friday afternoon's indictment by Robert Mueller of 12 Russian military officers in campaign hacking. And you heard some pundits say Trump maybe should delay the summit or not meet with him at all. The White House has a very different view and the president has repeated his witch hunt rhetoric.

HEMINGWAY: There is a lot of conflation again in the media coverage. What happened on Friday with this indictment against Russians is very important. It goes right to the heart of Putin regime and you actually have hard evidence that they were involved. That's very important.

The witch hunt refers to the collusion theory, the conspiracy theory that the Russians worked with Donald Trump to steal an election that was rightfully Hillary Clinton. There remains no evidence to support that.

KURTZ: And Juan, the media insisting (ph) on the fact that Rod Rosenstein told the president, the deputy attorney general told the president before this European trip that these indictments were coming.


KURTZ: And he certainly is entitled to talk about witch hunt and so forth but a lot of journalists are saying why didn't he react substantively to the fact that these are members of the Russian government under Putin's control who now according to this indictment have this elaborate campaign to interfere with the election.

WILLIAMS: Well, at some point, you have to start because we live in such politically polarized times, both for the public, the electorate, but also for the media, at some point you then start to look, what is conservative media saying about this? What are conservatives on Capitol Hill, the president's political allies think?

And you hear people like Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina, say the president needs to confront Vladimir Putin directly on this.

You hear Senator Lankford from Oklahoma saying, you know what, we have seen these recent tweets released by the House Committee and they indicate that there is an ongoing effort by the Russians to interfere in our current 2018 midterm elections. And you hear the director of our National Intelligence say this.

And yet because the president says, well, there is not going to be any Perry Mason moment here with Vladimir Putin. I don't think he is going to say anything.

KURTZ: The president said to reporters, well, I will ask about the meddling, that's your favorite subject. I mean, I think he has been --

WILLIAMS: That's dismissive.

KURTZ: But at the same time, is it the role of anchors and correspondents to say, we think the president should speak out about the cyber hacking, but anything more contentiously, we are not sure it is a good idea for him to meet with Vladimir Putin based on this indictment.

TURNER: I mean, is that rhetorical question? I mean, asking someone who is formally working in the policy-making community, the idea of that news anchor should be providing policy recommendations to the president is ludicrous. I mean, it doesn't mean that they are not allowed to or that they are violating the journalistic code by doing it, but I don't think it actually amounts too much.

HEMINGWAY: But it also reveals so much about their biases (ph) too. It is important to deal with election meddling. It's also important to have updates on our nuclear treaties. It is important to work on Syria and Ukraine and all these other issues. They are all important and the idea that --

WILLIAMS: What is the purpose of this meeting? You know, you could say Syria, but I don't see that Russia is going to do anything in terms of --

KURTZ: Well, Juan, the president of the United States wants to meet with the president of Russia.

WILLIAMS: Fine, but I'm going to tell you something.

KURTZ: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: It is very clear. I don't think this is left or right. I think it is very clear that Russia posts a threat and continues to post a threat to our democracy --

KURTZ: OK. You're a commentator --

WILLIAMS: -- and the president of the United States should say so.

TURNER: Every time the president -- OK, this is not the first time, you know, that he is coming face to face with him. They had at least three meetings that we know about. They had eight phone calls in 18 months. It' clearly whether the media wants to be or not, the Trump-Putin bilateral relationship is ongoing.

KURTZ: Right.

TURNER: It's moving forward. It's continuing. Whether he meets with him now or in three weeks from now --

KURTZ: Right.

TURNER: -- doesn't actually matter.

KURTZ: Let me close by certainly going back to something you said about the way the NATO -- the president's attitude towards NATO and NATO leaders have been covered. You heard him say at the top of this show, you heard this MSNBC anchor say, he is lying when he said, well, they all agreed to boost defense spending.

Macron of France said the president is wrong. But, you know, is that lying, is it political exaggeration, is it trying to declare victory after making a demand, what do you make of interrupting the president saying he is lying?

HEMINGWAY: Well, it is very hard to take MSNBC seriously when they behave that way. But again, what is interesting is if anything Trump didn't accomplish enough on getting NATO to increase spending from these countries that have Article III of the treaty, said that they will provide good defense spending for themselves, so if anything, he didn't do enough, but they claim he is lying by saying he got something, and the pressure should probably be the opposite way.

KURTZ: All right. Let me get a break here. Good discussion. When we come back, the battle over Brett Kavanaugh. Are some of the media attacks just out of bound? And later, a marathon grilling of rogue FBI agent Peter Strzok dissolves into partisan sniping and television can't get enough.


KURTZ: The media debate began the moment that President Trump picked Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: There are real questions out there whether Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh himself in order to protect himself, Donald Trump, from Mueller.

WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC: This is not a wild Judge Jeanine Pirro pick that some people were fearing.


GEIST: This is a very imminently qualified guy.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: The truth is, for all the histrionics, Brett Kavanaugh would have been a natural choice for pretty much any Republican president.


KURTZ: Mollie, as the press digs up everything they can find about Brett Kavanaugh and his past writings and rulings, do you think the coverage has been fair? And just six days later, do you think it's actually starting to fade a bit?

HEMINGWAY: Yes, it's kind of interesting that this has been less than a week since his nomination was announced and it's not major news. There were no big stories in yesterday's New York Times or Washington Post that changed the conversation about this at all.

KURTZ: It was in profiles, but so --

HEMINGWAY: Yeah, nothing -- no hard hitting. Usually you would see a lot of negative information at this point. I think that the left would like to see a big cultural war fight on this and that the right is not engaging them.

They know that this is a qualified candidate. They are happy to have him but they are not -- he is not going to inspire the base in the same way that Gorsuch would, so it is going to be difficult to maintain a fight.

KURTZ: And the problem, Juan Williams, the problems that liberal pundits are having is there is nothing that proves on their biggest issue, Roe v. Wade, that he would vote to overturn it. And so I have the impression that the critical coverage is kind of running out of gas. You are not even seeing (INAUDIBLE) somebody high school story.

WILLIAMS: I think the big story here is can Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, create a vote before the Supreme Court next term begins in October? I think the Democrats are trying to delay things and the argument that --

KURTZ: Let me just jump in, don't you think the press has kind of concluded that McConnell probably can and that is taking drains some of the drama out of this?

WILLIAMS: I think that the odds are favor McConnell strongly, not just lightly but strongly.

KURTZ: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: But I think the bigger point here is that if you look at the poll numbers, the Republican base is not as excited by this story the way that they were for Neil Gorsuch, the first pick and the replacement for Garland. I think the Democrats on the other hand are still nursing that old wound from the Republicans blocking Garland.

KURTZ: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: So that story is not there. But I think as you request more documents, as this kind of strategy game plays out in the Senate, I think it will come back to more attention.

KURTZ: Well, here is missed fire, Gillian, by the way, I took a little pleasure in White House official anonymously telling The Washington Post there is a little misdirection in the coverage of the process (ph). Kavanaugh was the front runner in the beginning and fake drama that the media fell for.

But an NBC producer reporter and retracted, a one source story saying the White House cut a deal with Anthony Kennedy in exchange for naming Kavanaugh, one of his former law clerk, Kennedy would retire and give the president a pick. How big is a mistake is that? It sounds terrible but it's not true.

TURNER: Yeah, the most valuable currency these days for a journalist is a negative story about the administration. If it involves the president directly, then even more so. And I think in this rush to move the needle on this kind of story, a lot of journalists are sacrificing the standards, the reporting standards. To me, it is sort of cut and dry example of that. I hate to cast stone, you know, with other reporters but --

KURTZ: This was a story that was retracted by NBC, yeah.

HEMINGWAY: It also shows I think too much willingness to engage to engage in conspiracy theories on one side of things. Media are usually pretty good at pushing out -- at condemning conspiracy theories that arrive on the right. This was a crazy conspiracy theory. Nobody really should have bought it.

It wasn't just the two NBC reporters involved, but you saw a lot of other reporters re-tweeting it. You know, the most valuable currency really is our credibility. And when we fall for conspiracy theory, that really --

WILLIAMS: But I think there is something else to be said here. This president creates almost line an apprentice show, Mollie, where he is saying, here are my picks and I can have one pick or another, I don't know who it is going to be.

Lots of discussion about whether or not it was going to be Amy Barrett, a very conservative leader and a strong anti-abortion force, or someone like, you know, the president's sister was on the third circuit with another judge --

KURTZ: Hardiman, yeah.

WILLIAMS: Hardiman.

KURTZ: Right.

WILLIAMS: And so there was a lot of back and forth. And I think that's why you get people, then the media reacting to oh, my god, who is up, who is down, what is the latest gossip, in a way that I think is not justified, but it's responsive to the media circus generated by this.

KURTZ: All right. I got to ask this to Mollie because you're a big baseball fan. So the Washington Post reports a stunning revelation, that Kavanaugh is a big baseball fan. In 2016, he went tens of thousands of dollars in debt because he blew the money on Washington national season tickets for himself and his friends. The following year, he paid off most of those debts. It's factual, it's accurate, single home runner strike out.

HEMINGWAY: So a lot of people condemn to this reporting but I actually don't think it was bad. It is important to know if people have debt or other obligations that might make them less than ideal candidate, it turns out it was baseball tickets never paid on behalf of a group of friend and paid them back.

KURTZ: Yeah.

HEMINGWAY: It's not a big story. But I don't think there is anything wrong with reporting it or other conflicts of interests that people might have.

KURTZ: Just briefly, Gillian, there have been other stories including The Washington Post about Brett Kavanaugh coaching his daughter's basketball team at Blessed Sacrament, a Catholic school, having a beer at the Chevy Chase Lounge but not telling the bartender what he does for a living.

In other words, painting him as a kind of a nice guy and family man. Does that matter to the perception of a nominee when the media purport that kind of color?

TURNER: Yes, because everybody wants to know that somebody who is seeking, you know, the highest court in the land is a decent person, that is everything else. There is a lot of distrust these days about the swamp and people who spent a lot of time in D.C. and been to Ivy League schools and so it is nice to show people that underneath of it, let us see who (ph) this person is.

KURTZ: I agree --

WILLIAMS: I don't want to be deceptive, I mean, Merrick Garland, Elena Kagan, Sotomayor, they're nice people but they wouldn't be approved by this president or nominate them.

KURTZ: You get the final point. I got to let you guys go. Juan Williams, Gillian Turner, Mollie Hemingway, great to see you this Sunday.

Ahead, president's interview with that London tabloid (INAUDIBLE) a bloody uproar, just as he showed up in the U.K. We will have more on that. But up next, why Fox's Shannon Bream moved her show from the Supreme Court because of angry protesters and how that somehow became controversial?


KURTZ: Shannon Bream, the anchor of "Fox News @ Night" has covered the Supreme Court for years and wanted to do her show there on the night of Brett Kavanaugh's nomination. But as you will see here in footage between live shots that was intended to be aired and hasn't been seen before, she was surrounded by protesters, some of them yelling at her, some of them in her face, some of them clearly anti-Fox.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quit your job. Do us all a favor. Go home. I hope you have a great night's sleep.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thinking about all the innocent children being ripped from their mothers. You don't stand for anything that is American.


KURTZ: Un-American. Bream wanted to continue but Fox News executives on the scene were concerned and decided to move the show back to the studio. She later tweeted, "very few times I felt threatened while out there in the field. The mood here tonight is very volatile. Literally had to bail our live show from SCOTUS."

But ABC's Terry Moran, who is also broadcasting there, challenged her on Twitter, "the protests were raucous: chants, posters and bullhorns on both sides. But I found it very democratic, all-American. I saw pro-choice and pro-life demonstrators arguing passionately but civilly, I felt no threat."

I don't know why Moran felt the need to do that. Bream's experience was very different. One person who was there at The Heritage Foundation, Lindsey Feinfield (ph), said there were some men shouting that Bream was blond bimbo and she had to deal with the Fox haters as well.

As Bream told The Wrap, "people were jostling around, getting physical. People were standing behind me while I was trying to do live shots. It was pretty unnerving. I felt unsure at some point. There was one guy wearing a mask standing behind us. He wouldn't move. A small group of people who were yelling and getting in our faces, were saying things that were anti-Fox."

Now, Shannon has dealt with court protesters many times. She believes that people have every right to protest, but police hadn't set up any barriers and let's face it, it is hard to do an hour-long show with angry people surrounding you and screaming at you.

Ahead, why Sarah Palin is demanding that CBS disavow what she calls a sick comedian who duped her. But first, the media portray that Hill hearing on the FBI's Peter Strzok is a crazy circus. Is that right? David Bossie is on deck.


KURTZ: It was billed as a major Capitol Hill showdown, a grilling for FBI Agent Peter Strzok who worked on the Russia probe, on the Hillary investigation, instead he's calling it (Inaudible) all those ant-Trump texts. But the hearing quickly dissolved into partisan rancor, especially with this question from Congressman Louie Gohmert.


REP. LOUIS GOHMERT, R-TEXAS: I can't help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eye and lied to her about.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, it's outrageous, shame on you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Chairman, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harassment of the witness.

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS: I thought there were several Republicans and including Louie Gohmert I will say who went way overboard. It felt like a public lynching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democrats consistently and constantly throughout the day attacked and interrupted and made a spectacle. Whenever a Republican was getting close to something, they would get out of order.


KURTZ: Joining us now is David Bossie, a Fox News contributor and President Trump's former deputy campaign manager. Now the media consensus is it became a circus. It was out of control. It was so much partisanship that it overshadowed Strzok's testimony and made the lawmakers (Inaudible).

DAVID BOSSIE, FOX NEWS: And this is not the first time that's happened.


BOSSIE: You remember back in the 90s when we were running the Clinton investigations. The Democrats ran an obstruction based defense within Congress to make it very difficult for us to get to the bottom of any of these questions. So this is an old way to do things. But it's a very good strategy. They did this on purpose. The Democrats did this on purpose to try to muddy the waters, and to defend the indefensible.

To defend Peter Strzok, who in essence should have been attacked by every member of Congress by both parties.

KURTZ: But you of course, focusing on the Democrats. And you heard Dana Perino say it was a public lynching. I mean you've run these investigation but you argue (Inaudible) up there as Louie Gohmert was taunting the witness about his extra marital affair that everybody knows about because we've all read these texts.

BOSSIE: You know I think Congressman Gohmert asked the question because of the sanctimonious, arrogant way that Peter Strzok was conducting himself before the members of Congress. So by the time it got to Louie Gohmert's questioning, deep into the committee hearing, there was already the back and forth. And I think that he was just feeling the frustration of not getting to bottom of it, of people allowing Peter Strzok to say the FBI won't let me to answer these questions.

KURTZ: On that point, is it fair for the members of Congress to beat up on a guy who's not saying I don't want to answer the question? He's still an FBI employee. The bureau is saying don't answer the questions. Isn't the committee's quarrel with the bureau?

BOSSIE: You know it's interesting that you know when Jim Jordan or Trey Gowdy asked the question he says oh, I can't answer that question. The FBI won't let me. But when a Democrat asks him virtually the same question, he says oh, wait a minute, the FBI is now going to allow me to answer the question. The frustration level was I think at a 10.

We wouldn't even have been there if it wasn't for members of Congress like Jim Jordan, like Mark Meadows, like Ron Desantis, who have been pushing internally for this investigation to get to the bottom of the facts. And I have got to tell you I think that the mainstream media really missed out this week, because the conversation is all about the 12 indictments, all about Peter Strzok and what he did or didn't mean.

Really, one of the major questions has to be why isn't the mainstream media demanding that Barack Obama sit for an interview and answer the questions what did you know and when did you know it.


KURTZ: Back at a time when the President hasn't agreed to sit down with Robert Mueller, you want to make it about Barack Obama.

BOSSIE: It has to be about -- because these are the questions. Every aspect of this happened under the Obama.

KURTZ: That it true.

BOSSIE: -- administration, 100 percent of what happened, happened when Barack Obama was President. So what did he know when Peter Strzok says the White House wants to know everything that's going on in the investigation. What did the President know? What did Jim Comey tell him? What was going on and that's very important for the media, but they are not talking about that at all.

KURTZ: My bottom line is that I don't think we learned anything new. But there have been a lot of Congressional hearings where it was all about speech (Inaudible) and barely giving witnesses a chance to answer, which doesn't let Strzok off the hook for the anti-Trump texts with Lisa Page. All right, quickly to Brett Kavanaugh, has the coverage of President Trump's Supreme Court nomination been fair? Every nominee gets his record scrutinized.

BOSSIE: You know, look. I agree with Mollie earlier, saying that it is important to know what debts, what do candidates for the highest office whether it's the Supreme Court or whatever. What debts do they have? What did they spend their money on? But the Washington Post had a breaking news story in the middle of the night saying, announcing breathlessly that they have uncovered this baseball scandal, that Brett Kavanaugh loves the national past times.


BOSSIE: They tried to make it one. That's what they do. That's what reporters do. That's what newspapers do. They wanted to inject something that quite frankly fell flat. Because why, Brett Kavanaugh bought some baseball tickets and paid off the credit card debt. There is nothing there. The bottom line is that he likes the Washington Nationals.

KURTZ: Yeah, despite the fact that they choking at the end.

BOSSIE: That they went 5 and 15 during the same period is not helpful.

KURTZ: Just to wrap this up. Do you think Kavanaugh is likely to be concerned that liberal commentators are still trying to stop the nomination or just scuff him up before he gets on the court?

BOSSIE: You know I love the fact that Democrat senator after Democrat senator even before he was nominated were saying we are against him. We are voting no.


BOSSIE: So when Mitch McConnell moves this ball forward and says that in August and September we are going to be having hearings and we're going to be voting on this. The Democrats don't have much say in it, because they already said they are going to vote no, no matter what the circumstances. Mitch McConnell is going to get Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court by the first Monday of October.

KURTZ: I think that's why some of the air has come out of this story. David Bossie, good to see you.

BOSSIE: Thanks, Howie.

KURTZ: Thanks very much. Coming up, the American press and the British press up in arms over the President Trump on the world stage, (Inaudible) is up next. And later, is CBS going to stand behind Sacha Baron Cohen impersonating a disabled veteran. Is that comedy?


KURTZ: President Trump in his interview with The Sun, London tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch criticized Theresa May's handling of Brexit as we mentioned that said it may kill future trade deals with the U.S.


TRUMP: I would've done it much differently told Theresa. I actually told Therese May how to do it. But she didn't listen to me.


KURTZ: But Trump as we saw later attacked the story as fake news during his (Inaudible) from San Francisco. Steve Hilton, host of "The Next Revolution" here on FNC and once an adviser to former British Prime Minister, David Cameron -- and now we've got the shot up. Steve, good morning.

STEVE HILTON, FOX NEWS: How are you doing, Howie? Glad to see you.

KURTZ: So what do you make of the President going out at that news conference saying this is fake news, after doing this interview which clearly in The Sun, he criticized Theresa May's Brexit. He said she didn't take his advice (Inaudible). He said nice things about Boris Johnson who just quit her cabinet. How does that look from a British perspective?

HILTON: Well look, from a British perspective, because as you know, the British media and the British public are very strongly in a hostile disposition towards President Trump, always have been, always will be. It was just another example to feed what they see as this kind of ridiculous American President who doesn't know what he's talking about, blunders around the world etcetera, etcetera. So it just fed the narrative they always had about President Trump.


KURTZ: Hold on. Hold on. Hostile attitude or not, we'll get into that in just a second. Wasn't this a self-inflicted wound? Didn't President Trump create this controversy by granting this interview right before landing in the U.K.?

HILTON: He certainly did. But I would say in a very helpful way because what he did was point out the truth about Theresa May's Brexit plan. Even at the press conference when they together after having apologized to her in saying well, and they agreed to sort of let it blow over. She continued to speak about her Brexit plan in terms that were false.

She was the one actually doing fake news because she said things about her Brexit plans that were simply not true. What the President said about the plan is it stops Britain after leaving the E.U. from doing a trade deal with the U.S., that it stops Britain having control over its borders and laws, that it stops Britain having control over its laws.

All those things are true. What Theresa May said is false.


HILTON: (Inaudible) fake news here.


HILTON: Theresa May. The final point I would make is that what the President was talking about in relation to fake news was not necessarily what he said about Brexit. I think what he was getting at was what he said about Theresa May personally. And I think despite these disagreements, it's clear that they have a very strong personal relationship.

KURTZ: All right. So you wrote a column in The Sun. I want to read some of it. You don't like everything President Trump does. You've criticized him on Fox. But you say most of people in the U.K. get a negative view of the Trump Presidency because, as we here, of the snobbery and bias of much of the British media who look down their noses at Trump because he's a businessman, not a policy (Inaudible), because he likes McDonald's not home cuisine, because he speaks in plain English instead of the high pollutant bureaucratic clap trap you normally get from politicians. That's a pretty tough indictment.

HILTON: I am very pleased you picked that bit because that's my favorite point from the whole article, because I think goes to the heart of how President Trump is treated by the media. Actually not just in the U.K., but here in America too. I think a lot of this is cultural snobbery. They love someone like President Obama who speaks like they do in tones that are kind of as I said highfalutin and very kind of rare (Inaudible).

But they ignore the substance. And that's because journalists, their trade is (Inaudible) their trade is words. So when someone is really fantastic with words, they think they have got to be a really smart person. But they don't look at the substance. And on policy grounds, if you actually look at what President Trump talked about in advance this week, despite the criticism from the media.

Actually he has been tougher on Russia than President Obama. He was right about Brexit, not wrong. Wherever you look at it, he strengthened NATO, not weakened it.


HILTON: -- put more money in. So actually the media looks at the words but the substance is what matters.

KURTZ: All right. (Inaudible) I want to ask when you arrived in Scotland, the national newspaper (Inaudible) editorial calling him a racist, a liar, and a appalling human being. And the cover of The Mirror, if we can put that up, shows President Trump sitting in Winston Churchill's chair with the banner headline, how dare you.

So what explains the anger? I understand what you're saying about the cultural condescension. What explains the anger toward the President of the United States?

HILTON: Well, I think that what you -- first of all, everything in politics has gotten more angry. And I think what you're seeing here particularly with the protests you that saw on the street and that commentary from the media. It's really the usual suspect. The Mirror is a very left-wing paper. It's a noisy left using President Trump as their latest punch bag.

And I don't think it really reflects anything substantively different in the U.S.-U.K. relationship or anything like that. I just it's (Inaudible) -- and so in the U.K. media which is very ruckus (Inaudible) you will see that reflected in a very loud and raw and ruckus way.

KURTZ: All right. In some ways, it makes punching a little harder. Steve Hilton, great to see you, thanks very much.

HILTON: Thanks, Howie.

KURTZ: And Steve shows at 9:00 p.m. eastern on Sundays. After the break, Stormy Daniels gets arrested. Is this a really dumb police sting? And the media's Sacha Baron Cohen pulls a disgusting stunt on Sarah Palin.


KURTZ: Sarah Palin is accusing CBS and its Showtime network of enabling an evil and sick comedian, this after she says Sacha Baron Cohen tricked her into an interview, he this by posing as a disabled veteran, complete with fake wheelchair.


SARAH PALIN, FORMER REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It got worse and worse and worse as the minutes went on in this bizarre and embarrassing, humiliating interview that you know -- it mocked middle class Americans. It mocked our values. It mocked the disabled.


KURTZ: Joining us now from New York, Carley Shimkus, a reporter for Fox News 24/7 headlines on Sirius XM. So Sarah Palin and her daughter fly around the country to do this interview for which she thought was a serious documentary on veterans. And she (Inaudible) ran into this bozo dressed up as a disabled veteran, kind of appalling isn't it?

CARLEY SHIMKUS, FOX NEWS 24/7, REPORTER: Yeah. To put it quite simply, what Sacha Baron Cohen did to Sarah Palin was horrible, making her travel across the country for a fake interview, while dressed as a disabled veteran. It's terrible. And people have every right to feel outraged by this. The only problem with the outrage is that Sacha Baron Cohen loves it.

He feeds off it. It's why he does what he does. So I do think that some of these conservative politicians sort of fell into that trap. You can't blame them for complaining about this, but it ultimately benefited Sacha Baron Cohen in the end in terms of publicity for the show.

KURTZ: Right. So we're playing into his hands because we're giving it some air time that he tricked other people, Dick Cheney and others. I mean Palin said she ripped off her mic when the questions got more and more disgusting. She says CBS (Inaudible) she is challenging them to donate the profits from this particular to a veteran's group. Does CBS owe the public some kind of response?


SHIMKUS: (Inaudible) CBS -- their reaction was giving no reaction whatsoever. I think that they wanted the show to be a little bit of a mystery which is why they didn't do much promotion for it. And they're kind of just going to let it linger and maybe see what the public things by the when the interview finally airs.

Also, Sacha Baron Cohen was completely irrelevant 2 1/2 weeks ago. So I think that they might have wanted to -- they're kind of glad that these conservative politicians did a little bit of the heavy lifting for them. But it should be interesting to see what this interview really does pan out to be in terms of if it rose to the level of the criticism that it has been getting so far.

KURTZ: I finally forgot he even existed. You know I'm not against satire. (Inaudible) There's a line here and he clearly (Inaudible) cross it. All right, let's put up the mug shots. Stormy Daniels arrested this week in a Columbus, Ohio strip club. Three undercover cops bust her fondling them allegedly and pushing their faces into her chest.

Would this have happened to another stripper whose name was not Stormy Daniels and not have a case against the President of the United States, and should it have been big news?

SHIMKUS: Well, this is certainly -- during a week of very hard, very serious hitting news, this is definitely the strangest alert I woke up to on my phone in the morning. But I think the reason it didn't really rise to the level of major news is because it didn't have anything to do with her ongoing legal issues with Michael Cohen or President Trump.

Her lawyer, Michael Avenatti that was trying to make a political saying that these police officers are pro-Trump, and they arrested her as sort of a set up. But the police union has come out and said no. Wait a minute. That's not what happened at all. These were vice agents. They were at the strip club for a reason. They didn't only arrest Stormy Daniels.

They also arrested two other strippers who were doing something similar. So whether there was anti-Trump bias or not or pro-Trump bias I should say, we should leave it up for the potential legal issues that's going to happen here as well.

KURTZ: Even Avenatti back in front of a camera. Even went to London to get more air time. By the way, the police she said the arrest was a mistake and is conducting an internal review. Carley Shimkus, great to see, thanks so much.

SHIMKUS: Good to see you too, thank you.

KURTZ: I didn't know anyone else had been arrested. All right, still to come, who is taking a hit? Is Twitter finally getting rid of millions and millions of fake accounts?


KURTZ: Twitter is making a big move that may make you feel less popular, whether you're a big celebrity or an ordinary Joe. Twitter is purging tens of millions of fake accounts. It amounts to about six percent of its total users. That's a good thing, because these may have been taken over by spammers and malicious actors who love (Inaudible) Russia investigation.

The stock dropped 10 percent in one day after the Washington Post reported that Twitter was axing 70 million accounts. It's about time that Twitter cleaned up its act. And the fallout, well, Ashton Kutcher watched (Inaudible) Oprah Winfrey, a million and a half, Kim Kardashian a couple of million, President Trump well he only lost 340,000.

While Barack Obama took a much bigger hit losing almost three million. It's all about ego. That's it for this edition of Media Buzz. I am Howard Kurtz. Let's continue the conversation on Twitter @howardkurtz. You can also always these segments on my daily columns and daily original videos on Facebook. But here's the big thing.

Check out my new daily podcast, "Media Buzz Meter." We kick around the day's top stories, five top stories each day with such guests as Mollie Hemingway, Emily Jashinsky, Gillian Turner, and others. You can subscribe at Apple Podcast. Find it on ITunes or you can get it at We are back here next Sunday. See you then 11:00 eastern with the latest Buzz.

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