As it seeks to overturn the election results and keep President-elect Joe Biden from assuming power, President Donald Trump’s legal team, fronted by lawyers such as Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, and until recently Sidney Powell, has been operating out of a conference room at the 2020 campaign’s downsized headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
Aiding Trump’s so-called “elite strike force” team in that effort has been an on-air host at One America News Network (OAN), a vociferously pro-Trump cable-news channel that has been endorsed by the president.
Christina Bobb chairs the Weekly Briefing on OAN. She’s also a lawyer by trade. And in recent days, she’s been spotted by several Trump officials at their office in the conference room with the rest of the president’s team. Her presence has caused a bit of confusion among actual campaign staff, who wondered if she was there to embed with the Trump legal “strike force” as a reporter.
But according to multiple knowledgeable sources, Bobb has actually been assisting the president’s long, long, long-shot legal effort—effectively taking on a secondary role as a pro-Trump lawyer even as she continues her job as a pro-Trump TV host.
“Christina is an attorney and has helped with some legal work in her personal capacity and not on behalf of OAN,” Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to Trump and his 2020 campaign, told The Daily Beast on Monday afternoon.
Such an arrangement would be absolutely unthinkable in other newsrooms. But OAN’s editorial stance is so committedly pro-Trump that it almost, almost makes sense. Bobb certainly hasn’t hidden her feelings for the president or his current legal endeavors. Even when compared to the output of other OAN on-air staff, she has shown intense commitment to the premise that Trump actually won the election that he clearly lost.
Bobb’s Twitter feed is clogged with baseless claims of fraud and grand proclamations about Trump’s chances of overturning the election results and securing a second presidential term. During on-air segments, she has suggested that there was indeed a “massive amount” of voter fraud both in Trump’s election and potentially in others, including former Republican candidate Kim Klacik’s race in Maryland (she lost her race in a heavily Democratic district by over 40 percentage points).
In recent segments about the Trump campaign’s legal efforts, Bobb has not disclosed that she has been an informal consultant to those very same efforts.
During her weekend show, she interviewed Ellis—her current legal collaborator—about recent developments in the campaign’s challenges to election results in several states. But she did not note during the segment that she had any sort of role in the campaign’s legal fight. On Twitter, Bobb has cheered on the Trump legal team, even praising its performance in a press conference in which such wild conspiracies were spun about voting corruption that the president himself reportedly thought it too far fetched. Once more, she never disclosed that she has been working with that team.
Since Friday, Bobb has not responded to multiple messages seeking comment on this story. Reached by phone on Monday, network founder and president Charles Herring declined to comment on his employee’s activity with the Trump legal team, requesting The Daily Beast email him instead. He did not respond to an email.
Bobb’s cozy relationship with the president’s legal team may be the most brazen example of the cozy relationship Trump and his campaign have maintained with members of conservative media. But it’s hardly the first.
As The Daily Beast reported in 2018, the president has regularly consulted with Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs, who would call in to private Oval Office meetings and advise the White House informally on various policies. The president also regularly canvases his friends in conservative media about administration policy and messaging, phoning Fox News stars like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, and hosting Fox personality Laura Ingraham at the White House to advocate for the use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.
Other news networks have allowed their personalities to dip their toes into partisan political activity, though to varying degrees. During the 2020 election, CNN contributor Ana Navarro hosted a virtual fundraiser for Biden, a move that the network said did not violate their policies because she was not paid. High-profile on-air personality Van Jones also advised Jared Kushner on the police-reform executive order signed by Trump earlier this year.
To avoid conflicts of interest, news networks generally do not allow their on-air contributors to endorse or run for office or work on political campaigns or political action committees while appearing as a paid analyst. Over the past month, since Joe Biden’s election, MSNBC has cut ties with at least four contributors who have taken advisory roles in the president-elect’s transition effort.
But OAN stands out in its on-air fealty to Trump, even when compared to the standards observed by its competitors in pro-MAGA right-wing media.
Two days before Election Day, The Daily Beast asked OAN president Charles Herring if the network would call the election for Trump if the president, as he had planned to do, declared victory preemptively. Herring responded by messaging a lengthy statement that included, “OAN is a subscriber to the Associated Press’ Votecast data and Votecount elections results technology," and that for "Winner Projections," the network "will be utilizing primarily Associated Press’ Votecast data and Votecount." (The statement also references the “expert analysis” provided by “Christina Bobb, host of Weekly Briefing.”)
In propping up an alternate media universe in which Trump didn’t lose, OAN is ignoring its own system of data collection. The AP has long since called the 2020 presidential election for Biden.
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