Deputy Attorney General Suddenly Names Special Counsel In Trump-Russia Scandal

The drama surrounding Donald Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia just a took a significant turn. According to NBC News (video below), Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein just appointed a Special Counsel to oversee the Trump/Russia investigation. Rosenstein has named former FBI director Robert Mueller, a George W. Bush appointee who also served under Obama, to the role.

Robert Mueller Special Counsel Trump

This development comes shortly after Rosenstein had said there wasn’t a need for such a counsel. But that was before the recent revelations that Trump had disclosed classified information to Russian officials. Also, recently revealed were former FBI Director James Comey’s notes that told of Trump’s attempts to get him to end the inquiry of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The notice from Rosenstein says that:

“In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.” […]

“Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result.”

ABC News reports that:

“Mueller will have 60 days to put together a budget for resources to conduct the investigation and that budget must be approved by Rosenstein. Attorney General Jeff Sessions previously recused himself from all matters related to the presidential campaign. […]

“As special counsel, Mueller can be expected to have the full powers and independent authority to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions of any United States attorney. These powers include the ability to take matters before a grand jury, issue subpoenas and assign federal agents to the case.”

It’s too soon to assess whether this investigation will be a comprehensive one that holds all involved parties accountable. But it’s a good sign that it is being taken out of the hands of compromised people in the Justice Department. This is a breaking story and more will be reported as it becomes known.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump Uses Coast Guard Commencement Speech to Whine About How Bad He is Treated

With his presidency circling around him (and down the drain), Donald Trump ventured out to New London, Connecticut, to deliver a commencement speech at the United States Coast Guard Academy. It was the sort of predictably friendly audience that the President craves to feed his insatiable ego. Which must be why he was unable to pass up the opportunity to whine about how much it sucks to be him.

Donald Trump

In the course of spreading around some hollow platitudes and thanking those who supported him, Trump found time to lash out at his perceived enemies:

“I want to take this opportunity to give you some advice. Over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair. You will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted. But you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight. Never, ever, ever give up. Things will work out just fine.

“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately. Especially by the media. No politician in history – and I say this with great surety – has been treated worse or more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down. You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams.”

Poor Donnie. He’s had it so bad. Born into wealth and handed everything he ever wanted without having to lift a finger. And now, as President of the United States of America, he feels that he is put upon by forces more powerful than he. Trump doesn’t have the vaguest notion that he is responsible for every hardship he’s suffering. It’s his arrogance and pitiful ignorance that has delivered him to the dregs in which he is now mired.

As for being treated worse than any president in history – is he out of his paranoia-infested mind? He personally led the assault on Barack Obama, America’s first African-American president, with accusations of being ineligible for office because he wasn’t born in the U.S. He cast doubt on Obama’s intellect, ethics, and patriotism. He even accused Obama of being a terrorist sympathizer and the founder of ISIS.

The rest of the Republican Party was no better. They obstructed everything Obama tried to do. From day one they decreed that their top goal was to make him a one-term president. And they denied him his constitutional duty to appoint a Supreme Court justice, something that was never done to any previous president.

And Obama is only one example of a president who was treated worse than Trump. Bill Clinton was impeached over a personal sexual affair. And does really Trump think he was treated worse than John F. Kennedy? Abraham Lincoln had travel incognito to avoid to assassins before one was successful. And it’s worth noting that to the extent that Trump is treated badly, it is well deserved. He’s treated precisely the way an ignorant, corrupt, racist, pathological liar, should be treated.

There’s one thing we know with “great surety.” Donald Trump is suffering from malignant narcissism. One of the prominent symptoms is his relentless whining. Although that’s something that he actually considers an asset. In an interview in August of 2015, Trump was asked about his tendency to whine. His response was to brag about it and declare that:

“I am the most fabulous whiner. I do whine, because I want to win. I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.”

Oh. So that’s his secret. Has he gotten tired of winning yet?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

DAMAGE CONTROL? Putin Offers Transcript of Trump’s Meeting with Russians to Rescue His Puppet

With each passing day the precarious status of Donald Trump’s presidency becomes ever more wobbly. The latest controversy involves disquieting allegations that Trump disclosed top secret intelligence information to Russian officials visiting the White House. Since this story first broke, the President and his shills have offered varying responses. They began with outright denials. Then, undercutting his own staff, Trump tweeted that it was true, but legal. The record to date is one of diversion and obfuscation.

Putin Voted

Enter Vladimir Putin. The man credited with putting Trump in the White House has come to the rescue of his most valuable asset. Speaking at a news conference in Sochi, Putin criticized the turmoil surrounding Trump. He asserted that “[T]he United States has been developing political schizophrenia.” It’s hard to argue with that. However, Putin’s solution to the problem only exacerbates it. Talking Points Memo is reporting that:

“Russia President Vladimir Putin offered Wednesday to turn over to Congress records of President Donald Trump’s discussions with Russian diplomats in which Trump is said to have disclosed classified information. His offer added a bizarre twist to the furor over Trump’s intelligence disclosures. […] Putin told a news conference that he would be willing to turn over notes of Trump’s meeting with the Russian diplomats if the White House agreed.”

“Bizarre” only begins to describe this. First of all. it’s significant that Putin has a record of the White House encounter that he’s willing to make public (if the White House agrees). Particularly because the President has made no such claim or offer. In fact, only Russia’s press were permitted into the meeting. The U.S. media was explicitly excluded. Furthermore, what makes Putin (or anyone) think that his transcript would be considered a credible account of what occurred? He has an obvious vested interest in concealing any transfer of intelligence data he acquires from Trump. His own spy network would benefit from the data more if his foes in Israel, Syria, and elsewhere were in the dark.

Putin’s offer can serve as much more than a life preserver for the floundering American president. It can also be exploited by conservative media to protect Trump from further criticism. That would fit with Russia’s known efforts to plant stories in the press that advance their foreign policy goals. Russia has been determined to be the source of thousands of self-serving fake news articles. This could just be the latest part of that ongoing propaganda effort.

From press reports it’s unclear exactly what sort of documentation Putin has. According to NPR he used the Russian word “zapis” which can be translated as either a written record or a recording. That opens speculation as to whether the Russian diplomats brought surveillance equipment into the Oval Office. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell had an opportunity to address that with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Wednesday morning. His response was somewhat unnerving:

Really? How hard would it be to sweep the Oval Office for listening devices? And shouldn’t he be a little worried about the prospect that Russia could bug the White House and he wouldn’t know? This is just further evidence that Team Trump is dangerously inexperienced and incompetent. And that’s the best case scenario. The worst case is that Trump isn’t worried about Russian listening devices because he is the listening device. If he’s telling our secrets to the Russians himself, then why would would they need to plant a bug?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

LMFAO: Fox News Must Wish They Waited Before Lauding Trump for Not Tweeting About Russia Leak

True to form, Donald Trump took to Twitter after the Washington Post revealed his reckless disclosure of classified information to Russian officials. This occurred at a White House meeting with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The fallout from the story has driven new demands for independent investigations of Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. Trump’s tweets were typically self-serving and lacking relevant detail and substance:

Donald Trump

These tweets also contradicted previous responses from the White House dismissing WaPo’s story. First the administration claimed the story was false. Now Trump himself has abandoned that tack. He’s admitting that he divulged information, possibly classified, but that he’s allowed to do so. But even that is a transparent dodge. The problem here isn’t whether the President is acting legally with regard to classification status. It’s whether he’s acting prudently with regard to national security. Divulging information that could advantage hostile foreign nations (i.e. Russia), and alienate allies, could violate other laws.

Following the story’s publication, Fox News went into Emergency Trump Defense Mode. The memo must have gone out to demean the Post and the contents of its story. Because everyone on Fox had the same message. They disputed the Post’s reporting and absolved Trump of any wrongdoing. But the pinnacle of flagrant Trump fluffing occurred, as usual, on Fox and Friends.

The “Curvy Couch” potatoes ridiculed any notion that Trump had misspoken as mere hyperbole from the hysterically anti-Trump media. They began with a video from Tucker Carlson’s show wherein he complained that Trump’s critics “regard him as the single greatest threat to Western civilization since atomic weapons.” And then co-host Brian Kilmeade let this nonsense loose:

“The also thing to keep in mind too is, Donald Trump didn’t tweet out last night. I thought that shows an additional discipline. Let’s listen, let my guys handle it and Dina Powell handle it. They were there, they can walk it back.”

As we already know, Trump did tweet about this. And it was only about an hour after Kilmeade lavished praise on him for not doing so. If Kilmeade thought Trump’s Twitter silence was evidence of his discipline, what does he think now? Will he correct the record on Wednesday’s program? Will he concede that Trump is lacking discipline? Even Carlson said it was fair to consider Trump “undisciplined and impulsive” before returning to his robotic exaltation.

This is the problem that all Trump defenders have to face. Even after they come to his aid, he is likely to shift gears in a way that makes them look like fools. That’s always a risk of doing business with Trump. He is so erratic and focused solely on his own welfare that you stand to get run over by a fleet of buses. And if you pivot to avoid it, you’ll just get hit again when he shifts into reverse. So good luck, suckers.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Kellyanne Conway Told Morning Joe That ‘I Need to Take a Shower’ After Defending Trump

Let’s face it, political surrogates are a weaselly species who make a career of justifying the unjustifiable. For that reason we have to have some sympathy for Donald Trump’s surrogates. They have the dirtiest job in politics, and one that exceeds the bounds of any that came before it. Chief among those poor souls is Kellyanne Conway.

Kellyanne Conway

Conway served as Trump’s campaign manager last year and is currently Counselor to the President. She has had to dive feet first into the mud on more occasions than can be counted. Consequently, she often emerged with absurdities like “alternative facts,” including the fictional Bowling Green Massacre. She was in a constant struggle to cover for Trump’s lies with lies of her own. It’s notable that she wasn’t always so supportive.

Nevertheless, she continues to get booked on cable news shows that apparently aren’t interested in honest discourse. However, there was an exception on Monday when the hosts of Morning Joe decided to reveal some some of the backstage banter that frequently is more illuminating than what gets broadcast. In a conversation about the truthiness of the Trump White House, Mika Brzezinski related an exchange she had with Conway:

“This is a woman, by the way, who came on our show during the campaign and would shill for Trump in extensive fashion. And then she would get off the air. The camera would be turned off. The microphone would be taken off and she would say, ‘Blech, I need to take a shower,’ because she disliked her candidate so much.”

The only thing surprising about Conway’s candid comments is that she she said them aloud. But she was saying what most of us were already thinking. Trying to defend a president who lies incessantly, insults his critics with vulgarities, and generally displays a level of intelligence that ranks lower than a banana slug, is going to leave a decent person somewhat nauseous. So in that context there might actually be some hope for Conway.

Brzezinski’s co-host (and fiance), Joe Scarborough added that Conway had implied that her job as a Trump apologist was merely a “summer job” which she would soon be over with. That appears not to be the case since she signed on full time with the administration. Therefore, we can expect to continue seeing her cleaning up after her floundering boss for the indeterminate future. Hopefully she has a sufficient supply of anti-bacterial soap to wash away the muck and grime.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

HOLY SH*T: Trump Leaked ‘Highly Classified Information’ to Russians During Oval Office Meeting

The negligence and incompetence of America’s Reality TV show president is having serious consequences in the realm of national security. The Washington Post is reporting that Donald Trump revealed “highly classified information” during a meeting last week with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in the White House. The Post writes that:

“Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State. The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.”

Putin got his man:
Trump Putin

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were invited to the White by Trump the day after he fired FBI Director James Comey. That’s something his Russian guests must have appreciated as it would derail the investigation into their interference with the 2016 presidential election. But what Trump disclosed during the meeting could have far reaching consequences.

According to sources familiar with the meeting, Trump was boasting that “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.” As if to prove it he told them about a threat that the United States could only have learned through a key espionage partner. In the course of his bragging Trump revealed “the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.” This is information so sensitive that the Post is “withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.”

Even if Trump held back on some specifics, the exchange was still dangerous because Russia would be able figure out our sources or techniques just with what Trump told them. And betraying the confidence of our partner would likely cause them to refrain from sharing information with us in the future.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The Post noted that “Senior White House officials appeared to recognize quickly that Trump had overstepped and moved to contain the potential fallout.” But significant damage was already certainly done. The disclosure of this sort of data to a hostile foreign country’s top officials is something that was predictable in the election of a novice like Trump. And now he’s proving that our greatest fears about him are coming to pass.

REPORT: Chaffetz Is Ditching His Job Spinning in Congress to Do It Professionally on Fox News

Much has been made of Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency from the ranks of reality TV game show hosts. And that surely was a dumbfounding development, with an emphasis on dumb. However, it is less often mentioned that Trump is also a former Fox News personality. He had a regular weekly phone-in segment on Fox & Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” Now that he’s in the White House the lines between Fox News and the Republican Party continue to blur. It’s often difficult to tell the players a scorecard.

Jason Chaffetz Fox News

This weekend a new report surfaced that offered an explanation for the sudden retirement announcement of Jason Chaffetz. The Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee recently disclosed that he would not be running for reelection. Sources also speculated that he would resign before his current term ended. The only explanation that Chaffetz himself provided was the familiar desire to spend more time with his family.

Now his GOP colleagues are revealing that Chaffetz has confided in them what he intends to do after leaving Washington. According to the Washingtonian:

“Chaffetz has been telling people he’ll take on what one source calls a ‘substantial role’ in on-air talent at Fox News Channel, possibly as early as July. […] ‘Let’s just say that when Jason told us he was headed to Fox, no one was surprised,’ says one senior House Republican aide.”

What is meant by “substantial role” is unclear, but implies that he will have more to do than guest commentaries. Perhaps he is angling for his own show. That would make him the third Republican politician to host a program on Fox News. Previously Mike Huckabee and John Kasich anchored shows even as they pursued elected offices. Chaffetz would be in the same position as he is expected to run for governor of Utah in the future.

Along with Huckabee and Kasich, Chaffetz would be following a well worn route from GOP politician to Fox News personality. Others include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Massachusetts senator Scott Brown, and Sarah Palin. The list gets longer when you include party operatives like Karl Rove, John Bolton, and Dana Perino.

And the road runs both ways. The Trump administration has already recruited several people from Fox News. They include Heather Nauert, Richard Grennell, K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastian Gorka, and Jonathan Wachtel. Most recently Trump nominated Fox contributor Scott Brown to be ambassador to New Zealand.

And the rumor mill is churning new speculation that Trump is looking for even more Foxies to adorn his White House. Unhappy with his current communications staff, Trump is said to be interested in hiring producers from his favorite network. Even Press Secretary Sean Spicer isn’t safe. Trump insiders are telling the media that he’s souring on Spicey and “wants Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle to take his place.”

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The symbiotic relationship between Fox News and the Republican Party is making it difficult to tell where the GOP ends and Fox begins. Is Fox the PR division of the GOP? Or is the GOP the operational unit of Fox News? It hardly matters. The bottom line is that they have effectively merged into a single entity. Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch is openly backing the Trump administration, and Trump is repaying the favor with nearly exclusive access and free advertising on Twitter. It’s a match made in Hell for America and what remains of its free press and democracy.

Whaaa? Trump Wants to Cancel All Press Briefings Because ‘The Ratings Are So High’

Last week Donald Trump floated a proposal to cancel all future press briefings. The comment was made during an interview with Jeanine Pirro on his favorite “news” network, Fox News. He followed that up with a tweet affirming his desire to silence the White House press office.

Donald Trump

Trump’s casual suggestion that he might just cancel all future press briefings reflects his tendencies toward fascist authoritarianism. The presidency is not his fiefdom. It is a position of service to the people. Press briefings are the method by which the people’s intermediaries in the media have opportunities to hold national leaders accountable. They cannot be replaced by written press releases. What’s more, Trump’s anger is entirely misplaced. He’s mad at the press because he and his staff are incompetent.

But Trump went even further with his hostile proposal to wrap his presidency in a soundproof cocoon. And his reasoning sunk even deeper into an illogical rant that exposes his deranged thought processes:

“These press conferences are like the biggest thing on daytime television, OK. You see the ratings. They’re blowing away everything, on just about, I think, everything, on daytime television. What I’d love to do is stop them.”

So Trump is now intent on stopping pressing briefings because – – – they are too popular? Trump is actually right, for once, about ratings. The Sean Spicer Show (Fibby Spice) does pull in an audience. And ratings reflect what America’s TV viewers want to see. Apparently they are anxious to see the media holding the President accountable and forcing his administration to explain its actions.

So obviously Trump wants to put an end to that. Ironically, three weeks ago Trump cited those same ratings as the reason he would never part with Spicer. He told the Washington Post that “I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.” Now insiders are hinting that Spicer will soon be replaced, possibly by Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle.

So what happened between then and now that made him so scared of the ratings? Could it possibly be that he’s incapable of justifying his unethical actions and comments with regard to the firing of FBI Director James Comey? Does he recognize that he’s confessed to impeachable acts and needs to shut down the press before the country finds out? Clearly his motivation, at least in part, includes a desire to punish the media. He said so himself:

“They will be very unhappy, because the ratings are so high that I don’t know what these networks are going to do. They’re going to start to cry. They get free ratings because of me and yet they don’t treat us fairly.”

Setting aside Trump’s authoritarian tendencies to clampdown on the press, his concept of their purpose is painfully ignorant. He is not there to produce ratings for the media. And to the extent that he does it’s a reflection on the public’s interest in government, not his popularity. But the kicker is that Trump thinks the media owes him positive coverage because of the ratings that he claims are his doing. Donald Trump can’t stop acting like a reality TV game show host long enough to be president. And that, along with his narcissism, paranoia, and general incompetence, makes him an imminent threat to the nation.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Trump is Frantically Looking to Hire Fox News People to Staff His Flailing Press Office

The controversy over Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey continues to unfold. And the President insists on making matters worse with comments that are implicit admissions of impeachable offenses. For instance, Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that he asked Comey if he was a subject of an FBI investigation. He also asked Comey to pledge an oath of loyalty and threatened him with releasing secret tape recordings. All of these could be regarded as ethical breaches sufficient to warrant an impeachment inquiry.

Donald Trump Sean Spicer

While the core story is as disturbing as anything that’s come out of Washington in decades, there are spin-offs that are equally unsettling. Among them are recent reports concerning the toxic status of Trump’s White House Press Office. Sean Spicer and company have been taking a severe beating over their inability to communicate a consistent, coherent message. They have lost credibility among their peers and, apparently, their bosses as well. On Friday Jeanine Pirro of Fox News asked Trump if Spicer’s job was secure. He pointedly declined to give a straight answer.

Trump is so upset that he actually proposed eliminating the daily press briefings and communicating via Twitter. He also suggested that he might just hold weekly press conferences by himself. An article in the Associated Press noted that Trump “increasingly sees himself as the White House’s only effective spokesperson.” While the absence of regular press avails would ordinarily be an unprecedented insult to the public trust, in the case of this White House it hardly matters. Very little of substance, or truth, is derived from their daily get-togethers.

Now there are reports that Trump is sending out feelers to reshape his press operation more to his liking. In the same AP article there was a line that revealed where Trump’s thinking is headed for the near future:

“Trump is mulling expanding the communications team and has eyed hiring producers from Fox News, according to one White House official.”

That should fix everything. When your press office isn’t lying well enough, get yourself some professionals to do it. For the record, Trump has already tapped Fox News for several administration appointments. Former Foxies on the White House payroll currently include K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastion Gorka, Heather Nauert, Richard Grennell, and Jonathan Wachtel. There has never been an administration that was so packed with people from a major news enterprise. And now that’s going to get even worse.

Among the rumored changes is one that predicts the departure of Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Trump insiders are telling the media that Trump “wants Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle to take his place.” Guilfoyle was an attorney who is currently a co-host of Fox’s right-wing gab-fest, The Five. She has never been a journalist and has no experience in press relations. That surely won’t bother Trump who regards inexperience as an asset. Trump may also appreciate Guilfoyle’s admiration for Vladimir Putin, who she thought would be a better president than Barack Obama. And if you don’t believe the anonymous sources speculating about Guilfoyle, the story broke two days earlier on Alex Jones’ Infowars. So that should settle it.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

By bringing in Fox News producers and presenters, the White House press office would take on a new identity as an overtly partisan purveyor of propaganda. So one might ask, what’s the difference? Well, it would also cement Trump’s image as a TV character who relies on the fakery of entertainment values over honest journalism. And it would reinforce the relationship between Trump and Fox, which is already a marriage of political convenience and ideology. But most of all, it would abandon any hope of securing the respect of the American public or the world at large. It would turn the press office into a punchline. And considering that the Trump administration is already a bad joke, they don’t really have that far to go.

The Lawyers Trump Used to Clear Him of Russian Ties Were the ‘Russian Law Firm of 2016’

File in the “You Can’t Make This Shit Up” file. Friday morning Donald Trump released a letter from his attorneys that purported to absolve him of any conflicts of interest stemming from dealings with Russia. The letter stated that the lawyers had reviewed ten years of Trump’s tax returns and affirm that he has had no income from Russian sources “with a few exceptions.”

Trump/Putin

Another way of saying that is that Trump did have some income from Russian sources. However, the larger problem with this letter is that there is no way to confirm any of its claims. What’s more, the way that Trump plays with the truth, they could be saying that he has not received any income personally from Russia, but his businesses might still have extensive financial ties.

But what makes this self-serving dispatch all the more peculiar is that the law firm representing Trump in this matter, Morgan, Lewis, has deep ties to Russia itself. ABC News reports that:

“In 2016, however, Chambers & Partners, a London-based legal research publication, named the firm ‘Russia Law Firm of the Year’ at its annual awards dinner. The firm celebrated the ‘prestigious honor’ in a press release on its website, noting that the award is ‘the latest honor for the high-profile work performed by the lawyers in Morgan Lewis’ Moscow office.'”

Needless to say, the optics of this are atrocious. Couldn’t Trump have found a purely American law firm to attest to his patriotic business dealings? Does everyone with whom he associates have hidden connections to Russia? Is Vladimir Putin handling his PR?

The honor bestowed upon this law firm may not be particularly significant. They have an office in Moscow and do considerable business there. And the award is from a private entity, not the Russian government. So it may all be an innocent coincidence. But there have been an awful lot of those erupting around Trump & Co. Plus, the law firm’s website makes note of their specialties. Some of them seem especially well-suited to Trump’s organization, including real estate property transactions:

“Our Moscow office includes more than 40 lawyers and staff who have been working together for many years. Our lawyers are well known in the Russian market, and have deep familiarity with the local legislation, practices, and key players.” […]

“We are particularly adept at advising our clients about compliance and sanction matters.”

Well, that’s not suspicious at all, is it? For Trump to send this firm out to sweep away any unsavory speculation was astonishingly inept, at best. At worst it is evidence of his steel-trap embrace of all things Russian. And it makes it all the more imperative that he release all of his tax returns for himself and his businesses. Without access to that information all the American people have is the word of a severely compromised and untrustworthy charlatan.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.