Fox News host Chris Wallace lashed out at network contributor Katie Pavlich on Monday, moments before the Senate resumed President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, for misrepresenting what happened during President Bill Clinton’s 1998-1999 impeachment trial.
The tense exchange occurred as Pavlich, a news editor for conservative website Townhall, pitched in on Fox News’ special coverage of Trump’s Senate trial. She said Republicans are figuring out how to maintain “the dignity and integrity of the Senate” while considering whether to appease Democrats’ demand for the chamber to call additional witnesses.
“The Senate is not the House,” Pavlich said. “The House did not come with a complete case, and every impeachment beforehand the witnesses that had been called had been called in the House before being brought to the Senate, so there are questions here about the process ...”
Wallace interrupted to note that her statement was inaccurate.
“That’s not true,” he said. “They hadn’t all been called in the House. In the Clinton impeachment, they had been called by ... the independent counsel. They had not been called in the House.”
Pavlich began to clarify that some of the witnesses had been called during the Justice Department’s investigation of the Clinton case, which preceded the Senate trial.
“I understand, but they weren’t called in the House, so that’s just wrong, Katie,” Wallace said.
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Pavlich went on to explain that the House did not call all of the witnesses during Clinton’s impeachment but that the grand jury material from the Justice Department’s investigation was voted on and handed over to the Senate along with the articles of impeachment.
“That is the difference, and the process here does matter,” she said.
Co-host Bret Baier tried to move on from the tense exchange by noting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was walking into the Senate chamber at that moment.
But Wallace wasn’t done digging into Pavlich’s remarks.
“I just want to pick up on this because, Katie, what you’re saying just isn’t true,” Wallace said.
He noted that the whistleblower complaint on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine was given to the inspector general for the intelligence community who then handed it over to the Justice Department, which subsequently decided not to investigate it.
“That is why it went to the House,” Wallace added. “So to say that in the Clinton investigation that these people were interviewed by the House ― one, they weren’t ― and ... the Justice Department refused to carry out the investigation. Get your facts straight.”
Baier then told Wallace to “tone it down” before Pavlich jumped in to defend herself again.
“The House voted on incomplete information and gave it to the Senate and now they are saying the Senate should call additional witnesses who have not been called before and who were not part of the House evidence that Mitch McConnell put into the record,” she said.
“So we just shouldn’t listen to what John Bolton has to say?” Wallace asked, prompting Pavlich to say she’s “not taking a side” and is simply “talking about what senators are saying and whether they should go with the process that has been laid out before.”
Watch the full exchange below:
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