FOX NEWS — Fox News host Jim Acosta accused President Donald Trump of making a fake news claim Friday, when he told the media that a group of “very high-ranking officials” were involved in the decision to release former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“There was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, but there was collusion between members of the Trump administration and the Russian government,” Acosta said during a live interview on “Fox & Friends.”
“And this is what we’re hearing now from the White House: ‘The Russians did this.'”
Trump tweeted Friday that the White Nationalist Organization “is working with the FBI and other federal agencies to investigate” the Flynn allegations.
“The Fake News Media is working overtime to distract from the fact that we are winning,” Trump tweeted.
“Just ask the Republican Party!”
Acosta then questioned why Trump had been so “confident” in his claim.
“He’s been so confident in it that he’s made it a whole lot more believable than it actually is,” Acostons co-hosts, Maria Bartiromo and Charles Payne, said.
“And I think he should have put some thought into what he was saying.
It was a very bold claim.”
Acosta was asked whether Trump had actually told the press, “there was collusion, but it was done by members of his administration,” when he was referring to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired over misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russia.
“That’s not what he said,” Payne said.
Acosta also questioned why Pence had not yet released his full testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own probe into the Trump/Russia collusion.
“I don’t know what you’re asking me about,” Acountos co-worker, Bill Hemmer, said of the investigation.
“You’re asking him to go on the record with everything he knows and he refuses to do it.”
Acounto also asked why Trump “is saying the same thing that he has been saying since January,” when his tweets about Flynn began circulating.
“So why is it that the president of the United States is lying?”
Acosta, a veteran of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” did not answer when asked if he had read the transcript of Pence’s full testimony, which was released Friday.
“If the president were to lie, he’d be on trial for obstruction of justice,” Payne told Acosta.
“In other words, this president is guilty of obstruction of Congress.”
Acostos interview with Acosta came after another guest, Bill O’Reilly, appeared on the Fox News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor” to discuss Acosta’s claims.
O’REILLY: So I’ve just asked this question to the president.
How did you know what he meant when he said, ‘The Russian government hacked our democracy’?
Acosta: I have no idea.
O`REILLy: How did he know what the Russians hacked?
Acosta has repeatedly claimed that Flynn’s actions were motivated by the Trump transition team’s desire to boost Flynn’s political profile.
Acosto has also said he has no evidence that Flynn ever discussed sanctions against Russia with the Russians.
“All I know is that the Trump team tried to pressure him and he refused to do that, and he got fired for it,” Aconostos cohost, Martha MacCallum, said at the start of the show.
“Why is this happening?
And why is the president being so confident that it’s not true?”
Acosts co-workers and former colleagues on the network also weighed in on the president’s comments Friday.
In a statement, Acosta noted that the CNN interview was the first time he had been interviewed by a network that has since “finally” decided to hire him.
“When I first started on Fox News, I was just another cog in the machine.
The network never really had a strategy or a plan.
I was a guest on their nightly news, and I was often given a question to ask them.
And so I would just say what I thought,” Aconteosta said.
“[My co-presenter,] Charlie Payne, would just ask me what I was thinking, what I believed and what I felt.
And I would say, ‘Well, I can tell you that you were right.'”
The network has since hired other Fox News personalities to fill its morning and evening newscasts.
“It’s hard for me to imagine how I could ever work on Fox if I don’t think that they have a very clear vision for what they want to do and what they are trying to do,” Payne, who served as White House correspondent during the Trump years, told Fox News.
“But I think it’s been pretty clear from the beginning that Fox News is going to continue to be a place for a variety of voices and different perspectives, and they have made that very clear to