Trump Claims the FBI Wanted to Kill Him. Fox News Ran Wild With It.

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After Donald Trump accused President Joe Biden of ordering federal law enforcement to use “deadly force” on him during 2022’s Mar-a-Lago raid, right-wing provocateurs and MAGA lawmakers have quickly seized on the opportunity to cook up a wild assassination plot.

And though Fox News didn’t sink nearly to the depths of the Trumpiest edges of the conservative media universe, the network still wondered whether a standard FBI policy document meant Biden was saying it “would be okay to kill Donald Trump.”

Trump set MAGA world ablaze on Tuesday afternoon when he took to his failing Truth Social platform to blare in all-caps that Biden’s Department of Justice had “AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL) FORCE. NOW WE KNOW, FOR SURE, THAT JOE BIDEN IS A SERIOUS THREAT TO DEMOCRACY.”

The ex-president’s over-the-top claim came after a judge unsealed two motions in the criminal classified documents case on Tuesday. While the filing shows prosecutors waving off the Trump legal team’s claims that the case should be dismissed and even suggesting additional evidence of the former president’s alleged obstruction, the documents also included a generic “policy statement” laying out the rules that apply to officers regarding when they can use lethal force on a subject.

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Even before Trump’s social media post, the ex-president’s most strident allies pounced on the document’s inclusion in the filing as “mind-blowing” proof that the FBI was looking to “exact their political revenge” on Trump with a possible assassination attempt,” calling the bureau “a domestic terrorist organization.”

Eventually, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) chimed in, straight up alleging that the “Biden DOJ and FBI were planning to assassinate Pres Trump and gave the green light,” wondering what “are Republicans going to do about it.” Other Republicans soon followed suit, conflating the basic FBI policies to a scheme to kill the ex-president.

Trump only poured more gasoline on the fire by sending out a campaign fundraising email that claimed Biden was “locked & loaded ready to take me out” during the classified documents raid. Issuing a rare statement, the FBI pushed back and said it was merely following normal procedure during the search and seizure of Trump’s property.

“The FBI followed standard protocol in this search as we do for all search warrants, which includes a standard policy statement limiting the use of deadly force. No one ordered additional steps to be taken and there was no departure from the norm in this matter,” the bureau’s statement said.

Additionally, when former FBI official Steve D’Antuono testified to Congress last year about the raid, he noted that there “wasn’t even a show of force” because a day was chosen when Trump would not be at the property and the Secret Service was given a heads-up. “We weren't bringing any like FBI vehicles, everything that was reported about helicopters and a hundred people descending on, like a Die Hard movie, was completely untrue, right,” he said. “That is not how we played it.”

Rather than contextualize the nuances of the FBI's own policies and how the raid was actually handled, Fox News hosts and pundits instead decided to lean hard into Trump world’s spin on the whole thing.

After the network push-alerted a digital story claiming the “Biden DOJ authorized ‘deadly force’ in Mar-a-Lago raid,” Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier discussed the story with correspondent Kevin Corke on Tuesday evening’s broadcast of the “hard news” program Special Report.

With Corke describing the FBI’s standard instructions as “quite shocking,” Baier suggested that the inclusion of the policy document was anything but normal.

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“There may be some people, Kevin [Corke], who say that this is just a policy statement of standard operating procedures put inside this operations order for this specific raid,” he proclaimed. “But obviously it's not standard operating procedure when you're going into the house of the former president, who happens to be protected by the Secret Service.”

During a panel discussion later in the show, Fox News commentator Byron York added that it was “worrisome” that the bureau’s agents were “loaded for bear and prepared for the possibility of some sort of violent confrontation with the Secret Service,” contradicting D'Antuono’s congressional testimony.

The network’s pro-Trump opinion stars took the ball and ran with it from there.

“Biden unleashed armed agents into Trump’s house, authorizing them to use deadly force,” primetime host Jesse Watters exclaimed. Watters also featured fellow MAGA sycophant Jeanine Pirro, who said there was “absolutely” no justification for the order before theorizing why the FBI agents wore unmarked polo shirts rather than tactical gear.

“My mind as a prosecutor goes to maybe they wanted the engagement of physical force. Maybe they wanted to come in without FBI, without DOJ, without all of that identifying so that they could engage in deadly physical force,” she continued, while Watters wondered: “Maybe they were looking for a little action.”

Calling it a “shocking new revelation,” Fox News star and Trump confidant Sean Hannity fumed that “Biden’s politicized Attorney General Merrick Garland” at “Joe Biden’s weaponized DOJ” had “authorized, get this, the use of deadly force” during the raid. Though he acknowledged the language in the policy statement was “boilerplate,” Hannity still wondered why was Garland “prepping for a possible shootout.”

The outrage merely ramped up on Wednesday morning, especially on MAGA-boosting host Maria Bartiromo’s Fox Business Network show.

Throughout her three-hour program, even as she read off the FBI’s statement on the matter, Bartiromo repeatedly and dramatically suggested that the Biden administration attempted to have the presumptive GOP presidential nominee killed.

“This is so extraordinary. Over and over again, we see that the Democrats charge the Republicans with things that they are actually doing, and they have, this happens over and over again,” she noted at one point. “Now the FBI and the Democrats keep saying things like Trump is a threat to democracy, but Biden is authorizing deadly force against his political opponent?”

The conspiratorial Fox host also continually asked her guests, including Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), whether the policy statement meant that Biden was letting the FBi know “it would be OK to kill Donald Trump” if he offered any resistance during the raid. (A raid that took place when the ex-president was not on the premises.)

Fellow Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney also covered the story multiple times on his show, noting that “new court documents show the administration authorized the use of deadly force during the FBI's raid.” For the most part, Varney’s segments were centered around GOP lawmakers and former Trump administration officials asserting that the instructions were “completely unnecessary” and “potentially endangered” Trump.

Back on the Fox News mothership, the hosts and commentators of Fox & Friends and its AM predecessor Fox & Friends First also gave ample coverage to the “deadly force” claims, describing the details as “shocking” while wondering aloud if “this is normal.” Fox News contributor Joe Concha, grousing about former FBI Director James Comey’s warning that Trump is a threat to elected officials, called the policy statement “third-world stuff.”

Despite the hyperbolic and overheated rhetoric coming from some of the conservative cable giant’s most outspoken Trump acolytes, the network’s coverage of Biden’s supposed authorization to take down the ex-president almost completely stopped once its morning opinion shows ended.

One wonders what changed.

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