Fox News Issues Rare Story Correction – Trump, Who Retweeted It, Does Not

You have to cut Fox News a little slack. If they made public corrections for every mistake, or outright lie, they’d have no time left for any new lies. Consequently, when they do offer a correction it’s deserves some attention, if not appreciation.

Fox News

This rare mea culpa occurred Tuesday morning on Fox and Friends (video below). Steve Doocy took a moment to address some comments made on the program the day before. They were discussing a report by The Hill that provided some details on memos written by former FBI director James Comey about his meetings with Donald Trump. The report stated that some of the memos were retroactively designated as confidential or secret. But Fox and Friends completely misrepresented the story. Correspondent Jillian Mele described it as:

“[A] brand new bombshell report [that] accuses Comey of putting our national security at risk. According to The Hill, the former FBI director’s personal memos detailing private conversations with President Trump contained “Top Secret” information.”

The truth is that none of the memos were “Top Secret.” As noted above, some were classified at lower levels. But nowhere in the story did it say that any of the classified data was made public. Therefore, there was no security risk. On Tuesday morning, Doocy made this wholly inadequate correction on the air:

“Yesterday on this program, we aired and tweeted this story saying former FBI Director James Comey leaked memos containing top secret information. We were mistaken in that. According to the report, half of the memos contain information classified at the secret or confidential, not top-secret, level. Markings of the documents in which Mr. Comey leaked are, at this point, unclear. Just wanted to straighten that out.”

First of all, Comey didn’t “leak” anything. That’s a deliberately incendiary and overtly biased term. Comey merely made his own personal recollections to public. That’s something that is done in every political memoir ever published.

Secondly, there is confirmation from the Columbia professor who gave the memos to the press that nothing classified was revealed. So Doocy’s attempt to falsely inject malfeasance into the story is just plain dishonest. Clearly, he had no intention of straightening anything out.

While Doocy’s remarks only partially corrected the record, there’s another deceiver who hasn’t even gone that far. Donald Trump retweeted the phony segment from Fox News. And his added commentary made it even worse, saying “Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!” Trump tweeted that unfounded opinion just minutes after it was conveniently broadcast on Fox News for him. However, while Fox has backtracked, Trump has not. His reckless accusation still remains on his Twitter feed unaltered or updated.

Trump is hopelessly addicted to the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. He watches them obsessively and frequently tweets what they say in real time. Yesterday he posted four segments from the program on Twitter, Today he added three more. And yet, when it is abundantly clear that the information is wrong, he stands by it with unwavering faith. Even when they admit they are wrong. That says a lot about our thin-skinned, ego-driven, bull-headed president, doesn’t it?

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

The Fox News President: Trump’s Twitter Feed is Now Hype Central for Fox and Friends BS

The news keeps getting worse for Donald Trump, his administration, and even his family. The just concluded “G19: Embarrassing America World Tour” produced nothing but ridicule for Trump. From the insane proposal to partner with Vladimir Putin on cyber security, to the promotion of Ivanka to world leading seat-filler. Trump’s misadventures abroad served only to affirm his unfitness for the office he holds.

Donald Trump

So when the news gets bad, Trump gets busy. That is, he spends even more time watching Fox News to find morsels of propaganda he can disseminate. It’s a pattern that has long been recognized by veteran Trump watchers. And, more often than not, the clips he passes along to his glassy-eyed disciples are culled from his favorite “news” show, Fox and Friends. It’s a relationship that predates his presidency. Long before he entered politics he had a regular segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” It served as the launching pad for his eventual campaign and a platform from which he could attack President Obama. What’s more, it’s a corrupt, profit-making syndicate that benefits both Trump and Fox News.

Monday morning provides an object lesson in Trump’s mutually exploitative alliance with the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. In the space of just one hour, Trump tweeted four clips from the program that buttressed his defenses on some blossoming scandals. It’s clear that this is where he gets his information and talking points. He must have forgotten that, as President of the United States, he has a vast intelligence and PR infrastructure at his disposal. These are the early morning tweets that Trump felt were important to bring to the attention of the nation:

Topping his agenda, Trump retweeted a clip that criticized the media for covering his tweets. But just think how upset he would be if they didn’t. It was a bland swipe at the press by a professional shill who failed to make any substantive point. But it did get in Trump’s daily dose of media bashing.

That was followed by the first of two clips making blatantly false charges against former FBI director James Comey. What Fox called “a brand new bombshell report” was actually a misreading of the facts. A story in The Hill reported that some of the memos produced by Comey were retroactively designated as classified. However, it did not say that the classified memos were distributed to the media. In fact. the Columbia professor who received the memos denies that anything sensitive was revealed. But that didn’t stop Trump from recklessly charging that “Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!” Trump took his position just minutes after it was conveniently broadcast on Fox News for him. And he is apparently unaware that it is inappropriate for a president to make prejudgments as to guilt. It biases the potential jury pool and makes a fair trial, should there ever be one, nearly impossible.

The second Comey-related clip featured brand new Fox News contributor, Jason Chaffetz. He resigned his position as chair of the House Oversight Committee last month to join Fox. In this clip Chaffetz attacked Comey while a chyron displayed Trump’s tweet that was inspired by an earlier Fox segment. The circle is complete.

Finally, Trump retweeted a segment that chastised New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio. They were outraged that he missed a vigil for a slain police officer. While it’s important to participate in events like that, Fox ignored that it isn’t always possible. DeBlasio was attending the G20 summit in Germany on business for the city. In other words, he was doing his job and was unable to attend a ceremony that was tragically unplanned.

Trump and his communications team frequently complain that the media doesn’t cover important issues like healthcare and immigration and terrorism. That, of course is untrue. Those issues are covered, despite Trump’s attempts at creating distractions. However, the complaints are ludicrous on their face. When you look at what Trump himself focuses on, it isn’t the media’s fault if they cover the President’s official pronouncements on Twitter. Especially when he hasn’t held a press conference since February. He is letting everyone know where his priorities lie. And if it’s with bullshit he gleans from Fox and Friends, well, that’s just because that’s who he is. Anyone hoping for something more is doomed to be bitterly disappointed.

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

FACT CHECK: Trump Tells Fox News that Mueller’s Staffers are ‘All Clinton Supporters’

The constant stream of falsehoods that emanate from Donald Trump has made no sign of slowing down. This weekend Trump, who has not had a TV interview in over a month, gave two to Fox News. And not surprisingly, he provided some new nuggets of dishonesty to the pile he has amassed since becoming president.

Donald Trump

In an interview with Ainsley Earhardt of Fox and Friends, the Fox News host unleashed a barrage of brutal softballs at the President. She prefaced her inquiries with flattering language about how smart he was for pretending to have tapes of himself and James Comey (which is potentially unlawful witness tampering). And she comforted him with partisan assertions that “Democrats are in denial.” But Earhardt laid it on extra thick when the issue of Trump’s collusion with Russia came up:

“Robert Mueller, do you think he should recuse himself? He is good friends with James Comey. He’s hired some attorneys that were part of Hillary Clinton’s foundation and have given money to President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns. Should he recuse himself?”

Could Earhardt have composed a more fawning, servile, obsequious question? She must be so doubtful that he could come up with a coherent response, she provided one for him. Trump eagerly embraced the leading question and blindly agreed that Mueller is “very, very good friends with Comey.” Then he whined that “there has been no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that.” Everybody? Well, that’s if you don’t count dozens of legal experts, intelligence professionals, and investigators currently researching the matter. But then he went even further over the edge:

“I can say that the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters, some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous, if you wanna know the truth.”

Indeed, it is ridiculous. But not in the way Trump thinks. PolitiFact reviewed his remarks and found them top be “Mostly False.” As it turns out, only three of the eight attorneys hired by Mueller were Clinton supporters. And any associations that any of them had were incidental and fully permissible under the “Rules of Professional Responsibility.” That assessment, by the way, came from Peter Carr, a spokesperson for Jeff Seesion’s Justice Department. And it was consistent with the summary ruling by PolitiFact:

“Three of the eight available Mueller hires made campaign contributions to Clinton, which undermines Trump’s statement that all are Clinton supporters. Furthermore, none of them have worked for Clinton directly. Two represented either the Clinton Foundation or an aide, never her, and working for WilmerHale, which has also represented key members of Trump’s White House.”

So Trump’s allegations (and that of many of his media surrogates) that the investigation is biased politically and motivated against him, is a bald-faced lie. If only that were an isolated incident in this presidency. Unfortunately it is the rule, rather than the exception. And anyone who takes Trump at his word is shamelessly begging to be made a fool of and deliberately deceived.

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

Delusional Donald: Trump is SHOCKED By Poll That Asks Whether People Believe Trump or Comey?’

Poor Donald Trump. As president he is now forced to sit in the White House and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fake news, rather than enjoying his alleged fortune. If there is one thing that’s clear about his new job, it’s that he hates it. He admitted that it was much harder than he thought it would be. That’s probably why he spends so much time avoiding work at his luxurious golf resorts.

Donald Trump

Not surprisingly, his detachment from the office drives him further from any alignment with the American people. His approval ratings are historically low, and his policies are opposed by significant majorities. As someone who likely suffers from Malignant Narcissism, Trump is unable to cope with this rejection. Consequently, he invents scenarios wherein he is uncharacteristically beloved. He imagines massive, adoring audiences that don’t exist. He makes wildly delusional claims that everyone agrees with him.

This may explain his inability to process polling that shows him decidedly out of favor. The latest example is an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that asked “Who are you more likely to believe, former FBI Director James Comey or Trump?” According the pollsters:

“By a 2-to-1 margin, Americans say they are more likely to believe former FBI Director James Comey than President Donald Trump when it comes to their differing accounts of events that led up to Comey’s firing, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

“Forty-five percent of respondents say they are more likely to believe Comey’s version of events from his June 8 testimony to the U.S. Senate, versus 22 percent who are more likely to believe what Trump has said.”

A deeper dive into the poll has even worse news for Trump. For instance, when broken down by party affiliation, only fifty percent of Republicans said they believe Trump. Also, his overall disapproval shot up eight points since last month.

Nevertheless, Trump is convinced that the only problem is how the media portrays him. The Washington Post reports that Trump “thinks media reports automatically treat Comey’s version of events as superior to his own.” And why not? Trump has a long record of lying about pretty much everything (see the Trump Bullshitopedia) He has never told the truth about his net worth or taxes. He frequently changes positions on political issues. One day he’ll claim to have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, and the next day he’ll deny ever meeting him. And his references to data about jobs or immigration or terrorism seem to be made up on the spot.

On the other hand, James Comey has a long career in public service that is unmarred by any suggestion dishonesty. While his judgment was questioned during the 2016 election, his veracity was not. And nothing has come to light since the congressional hearings that contradicts his testimony. Even Trump has validated it. Despite calling him a liar on several occasions, Trump is now asserting that he manipulated Comey into telling the truth. Responding to questions about his May 12 tweet implying that he had tapes of his conversations with Comey, Trump now says it was a bluff to scare him into honesty. Unfortunately for Trump, it’s also a confession of witness intimidation.

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

So a plurality of the American people believe Comey over Trump. And Trump himself says that Comey has been telling the truth. So why is the President still so surprised by the public’s reaction? Why does he still think it’s the media’s fault rather than his own compulsive lying? Why is he in such an acute state of denial? These are question that are better put to a psychiatrist than a political analyst. But Donald Trump’s mental state is obviously cause for concern. And without intensive care and treatment we can only expect it to get worse.

Lyin’ Trump Now Says He Has ‘No Idea’ If There Are Any Recordings of Him and Comey

Six weeks ago Donald Trump created a controversy that crossed several ethical and legal lines. Of course, that’s something he does with such frequency it’s impossible to know which one it is this time. Hint: It involves Twitter (hmm, that doesn’t narrow it down either). Let’s end the suspense. On May 12, Trump tweeted this:

Donald Trump

The immediate response to that was concern that Trump was emulating Richard Nixon and secretly recording conversations in the Oval Office. That, of course, would be a flagrant breach of privacy and protocol. It would make people reluctant to speak candidly when visiting the White House. And it would open the door to numerous legal vulnerabilities for both Trump and his guests.

Ever since that tweet, the nation has pressed Trump to reveal whether or not he was making such recordings. His response was always a smug dodge and eventual refusal to supply an honest answer. That resulted in an ongoing suspicion as to whether he could be trusted in otherwise private conversations.

In addition, the tweet was a blatant threat aimed at former FBI Director James Comey. Trump intended to throw him off balance with the suggestion that the covert taping might contradict his congressional testimony. It didn’t work. Comey’s cheeky reply was “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” If nothing else, the tweet represented an unambiguous attempt at witness intimidation.

However, on Thursday morning Trump ended the mystery. He posted a couple tweets denying that there was any covert taping going that he was aware of:

Unfortunately, those tweets don’t end the controversy. The first question that has to e asked is: If he has “no idea” whether there are any tapes, then why didn’t he just say that weeks ago? He seems to think that being president is like being a contestant on a reality TV show. He obviously doesn’t believe he has any obligation to be truthful with the public he purportedly serves.

Secondly, with the confession that he didn’t make any recordings, he is affirming that his original comment was in fact witness intimidation. The only purpose of suggesting the existence of such tapes would be to influence Comey’s testimony. It is the behavior of a bully who thinks he can get his way with offhand threats.

Finally, it would be naive to accept Trump’s latest version of events as the gospel truth. His past is littered with so many shameless lies (see the Trump Bullshitopedia) that anyone assuming he’s telling the truth now is too mentally unstable to live outside an institution. It is entirely plausible that he does have tapes, but that they affirm Comey’s testimony and incriminate Trump. Under such circumstances it would behoove him to deny the tapes exist and try to destroy them.

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

In any case, Trump’s sudden and dubious confession doesn’t really clear the air. There is still confusion that is entirely the result of his own irresponsible deception and self-serving manipulation. It may still come to pass that recordings are discovered and made public. His own tweet implies that others might have made recordings without his knowledge. That in itself would be evidence of gross negligence for a president. But there is one thing in that regard that is in his favor. Everyone would readily believe that he could be both gross and negligent. Congratulations, Donnie.

Trump’s Lawyer Repeatedly Contradicts President’s Claim that He’s Under Investigation

Donald Trump and his administration are not known for their ability to communicate a consistent, coherent message. They have a history of wildly contradictory statements and absurd deflections from reality. So it isn’t surprising that Trump’s new lawyer, Jay Sekulow, has continued that tradition. He made several appearances on the Sunday morning news shows that did nothing but contribute to the confusion surrounding the investigation into Trump’s obstruction of justice.

Sekulow Trump CNN

On all of these programs the discussion was related to a story in the Washington Post saying Trump is under investigation. The Post reported that on the basis of five (count ’em, five) sources who requested anonymity. Of course, Trump has previously railed against the use of anonymous sources despite using them himself when it suits him. However, professional journalists have relied on such sources with great accuracy for as long as there has been journalism.

Trump’s response to the story was expressed in a tweet that apparently confirmed the Post’s account:

That’s simple enough. The President is explicitly agreeing with the Post that he is being investigated. And the investigation concerns, in part, the events leading to the termination of former FBI Director, James Comey. He’s also blaming it on someone at the Justice Department who told him to do it. Never mind that he told NBC’s Lester Holt it was his decision alone. A decision that he made before consulting the DOJ. The bottom line is that everyone is on the same page with regard to the existence of an investigation. Right?

Wrong. Mr. Sekulow, Trump’s attorney, objects. On each of his Sunday interviews he blatantly contradicted his client. He repeated that the President is not now, nor has he ever been, under investigation. But his attempts to support that argument were ludicrous. Let’s begin with the most friendly forum for Trump’s representative, Fox News. Chris Wallace noted that Sekulow himself said that Trump is being investigated.

Sekulow: [Trump] is being investigated for taking the action that the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, recommended him to take by the agency that recommended the termination.
Wallace: First of all, you’ve now stated that he is being investigated after saying that he …
Sekulow: No.
Wallace: You just said that he’s being investigated.
Sekulow: Let me be crystal clear so you completely understand. We have not received, nor are we aware of any investigation of the President of the United States.

Wallace deserves some credit for not letting Sekulow get away with contradicting both himself and Trump. But Sekulow’s attempt at crystal clarity just dodges the substance of his own prior remarks. So let’s move on to Meet the Press with Chuck Todd:

Todd: Let me begin with getting some clarification here. The President tweeted this week “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director.” When did the President become aware that he was officially under investigation by the special counsel?
Sekulow: The President is not under investigation by the special counsel. The tweet from the President was in response to the five anonymous sources that were purportedly leaking information to the Washington Post about a potential investigation of the President.

Sekulow’s reply doesn’t begin to answer the question. In fact, it makes no sense. How does Trump’s alleged response being aimed at the Post’s story change the meaning of it? That question comes up again when Sekulow appears on CNN’s State of the Nation with Jake Tapper (video below):

Tapper: The President said “I am being investigated” in a tweet and people take his word on that. But you’re his attorney. You’re saying that when the President said that he was not accurate.
Sekulow: No. The President was – It was 141 (sic) characters. There’s a limitation on Twitter, as we all know. And the President has very effective utilization of social media. So here’s what we have. The President issued that tweet, that social media statement based on a fake report, a report with no documented sources from the Washington Post. […] The President’s response was as it related to the Washington Post report. He cannot in a Twitter statement include all of that in there. But the Washington Post statement came out that morning. There should be no confusion. The President is not under investigation.

Now Sekulow is asserting that the Post’s story is fake. Of course, he doesn’t provide any evidence to substantiate that allegation. As a lawyer he should know better. But even that reckless remark doesn’t explain why Trump said that he is being investigated. Sekulow tried to bolster his defense by asserting that Twitter’s character limit is what prevented Trump from being clear. But Trump’s tweet contained only 111 characters. So he had twenty-nine to spare. And according to Sekulow, “the President has very effective utilization of social media.” So he could easily have added “WaPo Says,” or even “the fake news WaPo says.” So there was no impediment by Twitter on Trump making an accurate statement.

At this point it should be noted that Sekulow is not telling the truth about whether Trump is under investigation. All he can say honestly is that he isn’t aware of any investigation. He cannot say that there isn’t one. Wallace called him that and he agreed. Nevertheless, he repeated the same falsehood on the other programs. It’s a propaganda tactic aimed at convincing people that Trump is pure as the driven snow. But his execution is so inept that he just winds up muddying the waters and making his client look guilty. Which I suppose is a professional hazard for lawyers with guilty clients.

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

Trump vs. Comey: A New Poll Has Great News About Who America Really Trusts

The Senate Intelligence Committee hearings last week with James Comey have already had a profound impact on the political landscape. They produced numerous revelations that compound Donald Trump’s problems. Despite Trump’s delusional claim that he was “vindicated,” Comey’s testimony was devastating. He called out the President for lying (several times), obstructing justice, smearing the press, and hiding secret recordings. In Trump’s cartoon brain that’s vindication.

Donald Trump

In response to the hearings, the White House Defense Forces quickly deployed to apply a thick layer of reality distortion. Much of their strategy was to demean Comey’s character and pretend nothing pertinent was revealed. Unfortunately, their logic was painfully flawed. Particularly the assertion that Comey had cleared the President despite also being tagged as a liar.

Now the first national poll on the subject has been published. The Huffington Post and YouGov partnered to get America’s impression of the epic Trump/Comey standoff. The results were unambiguous:

“By a 20-point margin, 46 percent to 26 percent, Americans say Comey is more honest and trustworthy than Trump, with the remainder unsure.”

What’s more, the poll found that Trump is far less liked than the former FBI Director. His unfavorable rating hit fifty-three percent. That’s consistent with most other polls that put Trump’s approval at historic lows. By contrast, Comey’s unfavorablilty is only thirty-three percent.

The poll delved into some specific areas that were covered in the hearings. For instance, when asked whether Trump sought Comey’s pledge of loyalty, fifty percent of respondents said he did. A mere fifteen percent believed Trump’s denial. And as to whether Trump pressured Comey to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, a plurality of forty-two percent agree with Comey’s account. Further boosting Comey’s position, by 17 points (45 to 28), Americans say that Trump was wrong to fire Comey.

None of this can be considered good news for the White House. Consequently, they have engaged in a full-court press to muddy the waters with obvious distractions and outright lies. This effort is led, of course, by Trump and his Twitter feed. In the wee hours of Sunday morning Trump tweeted:

Once again, his logic falls into the category of nonsense. In order for the “leaks” to be prevalent, or even illegal, they would have to be truthful. A leak that disclosed information that wasn’t true could not be a violation of the law. However, nothing Comey disclosed could accurately be described as a leak. He simply published his account of a conversation that was neither classified nor privileged. Every Washington memoir ever published did the very same thing. Furthermore, Trump’s continued Comey bashing could itself be found to be unlawful. Some legal opinions regard it as witness intimidation and/or obstruction of justice.

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

So Trump has revealed the tactics he intends to pursue to extricate himself from this dilemma. And for the most part they involve character assassination and flagrantly implausible denials. The media brigade of StormTrumpers have already fanned out across the dial to spew the White House talking points. But Trump himself is remaining barricaded in his luxurious bunker (aka golf resort). He is frantically avoiding the press and has taken only two questions in nearly a month. One of the questions was whether he would be willing to testify under oath. “One hundred percent,” he replied. That answer may come back to haunt him.

Trump’s Claim that Comey’s Testimony is a ‘Complete Vindication’ is Delusional – Here’s Why

After much anticipation, former FBI Director James Comey appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. His testimony was in parts both revealing and tedious. And the posture of the senators questioning him was predictably biased. However, there was one observer who managed to totally miss the significance of the hearings. And you’ll never guess who.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump was successfully distracted by his handlers who worked feverishly to keep him from tweeting during the hearings. It was the second longest absence from Twitter since he became predisent But that vacation couldn’t last forever, and Friday morning Trump was back online. Along with his standard free ad for Fox and Friends, Trump blurted out this self-serving comment:

As with many of Trump’s remarks, this one needs further examination. For one thing, it appears he’s claiming vindication by Comey’s “many false statements and lies.” If the statements were lies, how do they vindicate anything? But more to the point, vindication generally comes from someone agreeing with your account of events. Let’s take a look at some of what Comey said that Trump thinks vindicates him.

1) Comey said several times that Trump is a liar. He noted that he kept detailed memos of his meetings with Trump because he was “honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting.” Comey also testified that Trump lied about the reasons he was fired and his derogatory characterization of the FBI. Trump also was accused of lying about who initiated the contacts and requested meetings.

2) Comey unambiguously implicated Trump in obstruction of justice. He told the Committee that Trump asked him to ditch his investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. After clearing the room, Trump said he “hoped” Comey would “let this go,” which Comey took as a directive.

3) Comey decisively affirmed that Russia had interfered with the 2016 presidential election. He declared that “There is no fuzz on that. It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community.” And just to rub in how absurd Trump’s whining about fake news is, Comey added “That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.”

4) In the contest of credibility, Comey challenged Trump to release any recordings he might have. Trump had previously tweeted an implication that such tapes exist. Comey’s response: “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” Then he prodded Trump to come clean.

5) And to top it off, Trump joins in the chorus of right-wing media salivating over Comey’s admission that he released some of his memos to the press through an associate. However, it isn’t leaking to publish your own account of events in which you took part. If it were, every Washington memoir would have to be considered a leak. There was nothing confidential or classified in the memos. Comey had every right to tell his side about what occurred since Trump had already done so.

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

So this is what Trump regards as vindication? Being called out for lying, obstructing justice, smearing the press, and hiding secret recordings. Most people would consider that a harsh indictment. But in Trump’s world there are only pro-Trump rainbows and golden showers. [Of rain. Get your mind out of the gutter].

WTF? Paul Ryan’s Excuse for Trump’s Obstruction of Justice is ‘He’s New at Government’

Donald Trump’s still nascent presidency has had more go wrong than any administration before it. And it began falling apart from day one. His inauguration was a poorly attended flop that Trump had to lie about to save face. He’s had two executive orders banning Muslims struck down by federal courts. His attempt to repeal ObamaCare failed in the GOP-controlled House before passing and stalling in the GOP-controlled Senate. He still hasn’t produced a tax reform bill. His first National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, lasted less than three weeks. And, not surprisingly, he has lower approval ratings than any modern day president at this stage of their term.

Paul Ryan

All of this could have been (and was) predicted. During the campaign Trump was often criticized for his total lack of experience and temperament. Those were not idle complaints, but serious concerns for someone aspiring to such an important position. Leading the world’s richest, most powerful nation is not something you learn on the job. Which makes what Paul Ryan said on Thursday afternoon so bizarre (video below).

The Republican Speaker of the House was asked about Trump’s conversations with former FBI Director, James Comey, whom he later fired. Reporters wanted to know whether those conversations constituted obstruction of justice. Ryan offered that he would not have held similar conversations, but then gave this excuse for Trump doing so:

“The President’s new at this. He’s new to government. So, he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses. He’s just new to this.” […] “He’s new at government, and so therefore I think that he — he is learning as he goes.”

Well that’s comforting. Ryan doesn’t seem troubled much that the President is such an amateur that he stumbled into an impeachable violation of the law. Trump is so ill-prepared for the job that he couldn’t even rely on more experienced staff to guide him through areas with which he was unfamiliar. And as far as Ryan is concerned, Trump should be excused because he’s still in training.

The problem with that is readily apparent. Trump’s cloddish behavior with Comey is just a taste of what can go wrong. What happens if Trump’s ignorance of “long-running protocols” causes him to crash headlong into an international incident? He has already shown a propensity for insulting our allies and praising hostile adversaries. What would prevent that from escalating into a full scale war? After all, Trump is still learning the ropes of this presidenty stuff.

The fact that America has a president who is patently unprepared for the job is frightening by itself. But compounding that with a Speaker who thinks it’s acceptable to tolerate an apprentice Commander-in-Chief is markedly worse. After all, the legislative branch of government is supposed to function as a check and balance on the executive branch. Unfortunately, it appears that Ryan will be about as effective as a drunken brakeman on a runaway train.

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

Comey Slams Trump’s Media Bashing About Russia: ‘As Unfake As You Can Possibly Get’

Throughout Donald Trump’s campaign for president, and his subsequent residence in the White House, he has displayed a visceral hatred for the media. Virtually any story that was the least bit critical was branded as “fake news.”

Comey Trump

Trump is especially sensitive to allegations stemming from his unsavory connections to Russia. The linkages between himself, his family, and his associates are plentiful and disturbing. And despite the confirmation of numerous meetings and investigations, Trump stubbornly denies any relationship. His belligerent denials are a rejection of reality and often attempt to shift blame elsewhere. For instance:

Thursday’s Senate hearing with James Comey briefly, but significantly, touched on this issue. The former FBI Director was asked specifically about Trump’s characterization of the Russian interference in the election. His answer was an unequivocal repudiation of Trump’s anti-media position:

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM): The President has repeatedly talked about Russia’s involvement in the U.S. election cycle as a “hoax” and as “fake news.” Can you talk a little bit about what you saw as FBI Director that demonstrates how serious this action actually was, and why there was an investigation in the first place?

James Comey: There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. And they did it with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. And it was an active measures campaign driven from the top of that government. There is no fuzz on that. It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community. And the members of this committee have seen the intelligence. It’s not a close call. That happened. That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.

What Comey is referring to is the overwhelming agreement that Russia actively interfered with the election. Seventeen separate intelligence agencies, from the State Department to the Pentagon, all independently affirm that. In fact, the only official resistance comes from the White House itself.

Having no credible argument to refute the consensus about Russia’s activities, Trump resorts to smearing the media. It’s a weak line of attack based entirely on his personal animus and driven by desperation and fear. But it’s also dangerous. Trump is purposefully denigrating an institution that is vital to the stability of a healthy democracy. He is attacking the very nature of the free press. And it is his intention to undermine the public’s confidence in all news providers. That is among the reasons that advocates for journalists branded Trump as “an ‘unprecedented threat’ to press freedom.”

Comey’s testimony reiterates what many have said before him. And it is a potent indictment of Trump’s irresponsible and reckless media bashing. And yet, the predictable result of his remarks will be an escalation by Trump of his assaults on the press. Hopefully the press will have the courage to defend their own honor and not let Trump get away with his self-serving campaign to destroy ethical journalism.

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