Mr. Trump has made dozens of appearances on the network, the vast majority of his individual interviews as president. And he's an avid onlooker who often tweets his real-time reactions to Fox News broadcasts.
Stars like Mr. Hannity and Jesse Watters – "my watters," as Mr. Trump called him on a Friday rally – ate the white house in the evening. Mr. Hannity and Ms. Pirro once entered the stage with Mr. Trump during an election rally in Rush Limbaugh's hometown of Cape Girardeau, MO.
At Fox News headquarters in Manhattan, proximity has led to some uneasiness among the reporters, and the host's opinion is increasingly controversial on how to handle Mr. Trump and the impeachment investigation.
On Friday, Mr. Smith, the chief anchor and executive editor of the network's breaking news unit, once blamed Mr. Trump for lying for lies, "he revealed that he had had enough. In a surprise announcement, he said he would leave the network after 23 years; Friends said he was dismayed by the company's homage to Mr. Trump's primetime cheerleaders.
Fox News review revealed that there was a theory in social media about Mr. Smith's departure from a meeting last week, Rupert Murdoch and Attorney General William Barr. In fact, Mr. Smith had been thinking about getting out for weeks. (It remains unclear what the Barr Murdoch meeting meant, with the aides of both men refusing to elaborate on it, and the president said in comments to the reporters on Friday he did not know what they were discussing.) Nevertheless, that Barr Murdoch meeting pointed to the unusual proximity between a news network and a presidential administration.