Networks Swoon Over ‘Fiery, Fierce’ Fani Willis, Insists She Won’t Lose Trump Case

February 16th, 2024 5:14 PM

The Friday morning broadcast network news shows were in spin mode to defend and cheer on leftist queen and Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis as she gave “fiery, fierce”, “defiant”, and “dramatic” testimony in a hearing as to whether she will be tossed off the Georgia 2020 election case against former President Trump and his 18 co-defendants due to a romantic relationship with Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade.

And, naturally, they used this rah-rah push to reassure their liberal audiences not to worry and that, in the end, Willis will keep the case and mean old Trump will be made a felon.



ABC’s Good Morning America did its part. Co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos proclaimed Willis gave “[f]iery she fights to stay on the case.”

Atlanta-based correspondent Steve Osunsami had the full segment and opened by framing the issue on Willis’s terms:

[Willis] continues her fight today against lawyers who want her removed from the election interference case. The question at the heart of this case is whether or not she financially profited from her romantic relationship with the lawyer she hired. She strongly said the answer is no.

“From the minute she took the witness stand...Fulton County Prosecutor Fani Willis was pushing back against any idea that her relationship with the special prosecutor she hired was a means to make money off of her prosecution of former President Donald Trump and 18 others,” he added.

What followed was one favorable soundbite of Willis after another as she firmly denounced her critics and parroted Willis’s claim as though it’s not-at-all concerning that she’d pay Wade “the money back” for their escapades, “sometimes thousands of dollars, in cash” she’d hoard at home.

Instead of point out Wade’s dishonesty on his sex life outside marriage, Osunsami focused on how “[w]hen Wade took the witness stand...he said she wouldn’t let him pay for everything because she’s an independent woman.”

Osunsami concluded by comforting fellow lefties that Willis isn’t in any actual peril:

The judge isn’t expected to immediately make a ruling, but if he removes her, the state could appoint a new prosecutor who would then decide if this case moves forward. But it would still be a tall order for Willis to be removed from this election interference case[.]

To double down, chief legal analyst Dan Abrams later told Stephanopoulos that “I think she may still survive the effort to disqualify her” despite it having been a “bad day...personally.”

Over on CBS Mornings, co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King rallied to Willis’s aid, touting in the Eye Opener of Willis’s “fiery testimony.”

Featured co-host Vladimir Duthiers also framed the hearing as filled with “dramatic testimony from the D.A. in charge of former President Trump’s election interference case in Georgia” had America “riveted.”

Congressional correspondent Nikole Killion did even more to prop up the “defiant,” “fiery,” and “fierce” Willis (click “expand”):

KILLION: Fiery and fierce —

WILLIS: Don’t be cute with me and then think that you’re not going to get an answer.

KILLION: — a defiant Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis took the stand to defend her personal relationship with a special prosecutor she hired, Nathan Wade.

WILLIS: Mr. Wade, I would say, has been my friend since 2020.

KILLION: Several of the co-defendants in the 2020 election interference case looked on while former President Trump slammed the testimony as “a...scam.”

WILLIS: You think I’m on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I’m not on trial, no matter how hard you try to put me on trial.

KILLION: The hearing was prompted by a complaint from co-defendant Michael Roman who, along with Trump, wants Willis disqualified and the case thrown out. Their attorneys allege Willis personally and financially benefited from her involvement with Wade and claimed he was paid more than $650,000 by Willis’s office as the pair took lavish trips to the Caribbean, Florida, and Napa Valley, California.

WILLIS: He likes wine. I don’t really like wine to be honest with you. I like Gray Goose.

NATHAN WADE: Our relationship wasn’t a secret. It was just private.

KILLION: Wade insisted Willis reimbursed him for the trips in cash.

WADE: She’s a very independent, proud woman. [SCREEN WIPE] It actually was a point of contention between the two of us. She is going to pay her own way.

WILLIS: But I’ve always paid my fair share on these trips, so I didn’t — not look at them as gifts.

Killion at least had the wherewithal to throw in sound from CBS News legal analyst Jessica Levinson, who said the “jaw-dropping testimony” had “almost certainly shaken the public’s confidence in this particular trial and this was a great day for Donald Trump in a courtroom that he never appeared in.”

“It’s a gift that he couldn’t have even asked for,” she added.

King returned to it a few minutes later with Trump-obsessed correspondent Robert Costa, who deflected from Willis’s unethical behavior by urging viewers to keep their eyes on the prize of convicting Trump (click “expand”):

KING: What do you make of that? I mean, on some level, she clearly wanted to defend her reputation — not on some level, she wanted to. Most times, when you hear allegations, people stay silent. The fact that she walked into the courtroom, took the stand, and was very clear about where she stood. Did that help or hurt the case, or does it matter?

COSTA: It only matters if she’s dismissed from the case. If Judge McAfee decides to say she’s not going to be part of it, that could make it hard for the case to come to trial in Georgia before the election. But if this is just a storm for her, she moves forward with the prosecution in the coming months and Trump will face sweeping charges along with his co-defendants about trying to overturn the election.

DOKOUPIL: But he will use what he saw in the courtroom yesterday from Fani Willis — 

COSTA: There’s the legal war

DOKOUPIL: — to make his case politically.

COSTA: — and the political war.

KING: Yeah, they’re saying a good day for Donald Trump. I don’t know about that.

DUTHIERS: I mean, we’ll see. As you say, if the judge says that there was no impropriety, it’s not a good day.

COSTA: Look, Republicans are look at having a nominee who’s a felon if he’s convicted in the hush-money criminal trial.

DOKOUPIL: And a mean —

COSTA: That’s had to say it’s a good day, politically.

DOKOUPIL: — and a meaningful number of people in polls have said, if the conviction come through, that could sway them.

NBC’s Today was more muted with co-host Hoda Kotb conceding Willis “fac[ed] tough questioning” and while co-host Craig Melvin used the “fiery” descriptor, Saturday Today co-host Laura Jarrrett admitted Trump “may have found a strategic advantage” after a “combative” “Willis unloaded on the stand...trying to defend her reputation and save her election interference case.”

Jarrett explained the version of events offered by Willis “differ[ed] from the one offered by Willis’s former friend, testifying Thursday their relationship started years before.”

In the second hour, Jarrett emphasized that “[t]he stakes are high here. If the judge removes Willis from the case, her entire office would be disqualified and a different prosecutor could reshape charges Mr. Trump faces.”

To see the relevant transcripts from February 16, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).