Trump, Tucker, FOX News, and January 6th are in the news - sort of

A story that as of early Wednesday had not gotten much attention was broken on Monday by Eriq Gardner at the subscription site Puck.

The left-wing site Mediaite picked it up later on Monday and quoted excerpts. I managed to get access to the original.

According to Gardner:

The former president is demanding the network turn over footage and communications that he could use to defend himself against a civil lawsuit from police officers who blame him for the Capitol riot.

Gardner goes on to report:

. . . the former president has subpoenaed Fox News for Tucker Carlson’s unaired interview with Steven Sund, the former U.S. Capitol Police chief, along with any communications about that interview, according to information I’ve obtained. Trump is seeking the tapes and messages as part of his defense against a lawsuit filed by seven police officers who sustained injuries that fateful day. A federal judge has already rejected Trump’s argument that the First Amendment shields him from liability in the civil suit, which has now proceeded to the discovery phase.

Remarkably, Fox News is fighting Trump’s demands. After receiving the subpoena, the network’s attorneys sent a response letter to the former president, arguing that the materials are shielded from compelled disclosure under reporter’s privilege. Additionally, the network challenged whether the interview was really “crucial” to his defense and suggested that he may be able to obtain the information more directly, by deposing Sund, for example.

Carlson, who lost his Fox News show before the interview with Sund could air, recently disclosed during a podcast with Russell Brand that Sund had claimed the Jan. 6 crowd was riddled with federal agents. In other words, Trump might wish to use the interview in an attempt to deflect blame from himself.


The author of the article, Eriq Gardner, describes himself as “Former legal editor-at-large at The Hollywood Reporter; now Founding Partner and National Correspondent for Puck, reporting on the intersection of law, media, Hollywood, and Wall Street.”

Puck was launched in September 2021.

According to an article at Bloomberg (also behind a paywall):

Puck News is a new media company that aims to cover the four centers of power in the U.S.— Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Washington, and Wall Street. The venture built on two concepts: that journalism shouldn’t be free, and that journalists need to be more like social media influencers.


In her Mediaite article about Gardner’s Puck article, Jennifer Bowers Bahney observes:

It remains unclear why Trump’s team would need to fight Fox News for access to information from Sund. The retired police chief recently published a book about the Jan. 6 attack, which he promoted with an extensive press tour.

If Fox News doesn’t comply with the subpoena, Trump could file a motion that would force the network to hand over the recording. Fox did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


The day after Puck broke this story, the media world became obsessed with the latest federal indictments of President Trump on four felony charges relating to the January 6th “insurrection.” That development quickly absorbed all of the oxygen in the daily news cycle, as evidenced by FOX News going total on the story including running commercial-free programming - news and analysis - from the time the news broke around 5:30 p.m. ET until 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday. CNN and MSNBC also reported on little else during the rest of the day on Tuesday.

Eventually, this story may get some major coverage in that it involves the “ideological red meat” audience hooks of Tucker Carlson, FOX News, and Donald J. Trump.


Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who has covered national politics and the politics and economics of health care, popular culture, and media for over five decades.  He is a regular contributor to the BBC Radio and Television. His web page with links to his work is  Peter's extensive American Thinker archive:  Peter's Twitter account is @pchowka.

Image: Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0


If you experience technical problems, please write to