UH-OH: Trump’s Favorite Fox News Shills Admit He Extorted Ukraine to Smear Joe Biden

The impeachment trial of Donald Trump is entering its second week with his Fox News Legal Team continuing to present a defense that is wholly composed of deflections and lies. And they are sticking with that game plan despite the bombshell revelations from former National Security Advisor, John Bolton, that Trump did indeed threaten to withhold critical military aid from Ukraine in order to coerce them into helping Trump smear Joe Biden.

Donald Trump, Fox News

Bolton’s account of events is soon to be published in his book The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” These incriminating disclosures are now frustrating efforts by Senate Republicans to dispense of the impeachment trial quickly. It is becoming much more likely that a sufficient number of Republicans will seek further testimony from witnesses, including Bolton. That could open the floodgates to additional witnesses and document production.

Furthermore, the media is appropriately curious as to what Bolton might have to contribute to the pool of evidence against Trump. And that’s not just what Trump refers to as the “fake news.” Even Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox and Friends, is struggling to deal with these new reports. On Monday morning co-host Steve Doocy addressed the revelations in Bolton’s book (video below) noting that…

“Apparently it says Bolton was told ‘Trump wanted to continue freezing money to Ukraine until they helped with probes of the Bidens.’ But we heard him say in the transcripts he wanted President Zelensky to look into the Bidens and what happened in 2016. So is this a big, big, big story?”

That’s actually a good point, coming from someone who’s not known for making them. We did hear Trump say that he wanted Zelensky to look into the Bidens. Not only in the so-called “transcripts” that Trump keeps imploring people to read, but also in his own words during an episode of “Chopper Talk” wherein he was asked directly what he wanted from Ukraine and replied that…

“I would think that if they’re honest about it they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens.”

It appears that Trump’s staunchest media bootlickers are now conceding that he cannot be defended with blanket denials that he did anything wrong. They can no longer say that it was “a perfect phone call.” They must accept the fact that Trump engaged in overt extortion, but then try to argue that it wasn’t illegal or impeachable.

That’s the argument that Trump-fluffer and Fox contributor Dan Bongino made for most of this segment. Co-host Brian Kilmeade interjected that Trump’s legal team needs to include in their scenario that Trump “was wanting an investigation into what happened with the Bidens in 2016” But in order to do that, Trump would have to repudiate everything he has asserted thus far in his defense. Kilmeade also closed the segment with a bizarre new bit of advice:

“I will say this. I will say the President should take from this, between the Lev [Parnas] and Igor [Fruman] tapes that are now out, and then people writing books about him, he’s got to do better a job vetting his staff to find out if they actually want to work for him or not. Or if they actually want to leak out information about him. So he’s got to do a better job hiring people.”

Really? So the lesson that Kilmeade is conveying to Trump is not that he should take care to comply with the law and refrain from engaging in treasonous acts. It’s that he should be more careful to associate only with those whose blind loyalty can be relied upon to become willing accomplices to his crimes. Good to know that Fox News has Trump’s interests at heart, even when they are contrary to those of the nation.

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

SURPRISE! Trump’s Impeachment Defense Begins with 6 ‘Facts’ that Are All Lies

The day that Donald Trump has been waiting for (and whining about) has finally come. It’s the day that marks the commencement of his Fox News Legal Team’s presentation of his case against removing him from office now that he has been irrevocably impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Donald Trump, Impeach

Of course, everyone has already heard the case that Trump’s lawyers will be making. They have been making that case relentlessly on Fox News for weeks. The case that Fox viewers haven’t heard is the one by Democrats. That’s because Fox News chose to shield their snowflake viewers from any exposure to reality. Instead, they aired their own regularly scheduled, Trump-fluffing programs during prime time rather than the Senate hearings. They even admonished their viewers not to watch the hearings at all because Fox’s shills would watch for them.

To no one’s surprise, Trump’s defense was littered with familiar lies. His White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, led off by falsely characterizing the House impeachment hearings, saying that Democrats “lock[ed] everybody out of it from the President’s side.” In fact, Democrats invited the White House to participate, but the invitation was rejected in a letter from Cipollone himself. And all Republican members of the three committees holding hearings — Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight — participated and were given equal time.

Following Cipollone’s flagrant fictionalization of events, his deputy, Mike Purpura took center stage with what he said were the “six key facts that have not, and will not, change.” (video below) Let’s take a look, shall we?

FIRST: “The transcript shows that the President did not condition either security assistance or a meeting on anything.”
Actually, there has been no transcript released, only a memo purporting to summarize the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. And in that memo Trump is plainly seen to condition aid with a demand that Zelensky “do us a favor, though.” Trump then stated his interest in a conspiracy theory about a a Democratic computer server, and the Biden family. There was no discussion of corruption whatsoever.

SECOND: “President Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said that there was no quid pro quo and no pressure on them to review anything.”
In fact, Zelensky had to be careful not to upset Trump at the risk of losing the aid. You can’t ask a hostage if he’s under pressure and expect a candid answer. Zelensky told an interviewer that he didn’t “want us to look like beggars.” Then went on to say that “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.” What’s more, Trump himself confessed on national television that he did condition aid on a demand that Zelensky help him smear Joe Biden. When asked directly what he hoped to get from Zelensky, Trump said “I would think that if they’re honest about it they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens.”

Third: “President Zelensky and other high ranking Ukrainian officials did not even know the security assistance was paused until the end of August, over a month after the July 25 call.”
Not according to the Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister who said that Ukraine was aware of a U.S. freeze in military aid as early as July.

Fourth: “Not a single witness testified that the President himself said that there was any connection between any investigation and security assistance, a presidential meeting, or anything else.”
Not true. Several witnesses (i.e. Gordon Sondland, Alexander Vindman) said that Trump had made a such a connection. But if Trump’s attorneys are concerned that there wasn’t sufficient testimony from first-hand witnesses, then why is Trump prohibiting staffers like Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, etc., from testifying? Why would he block testimony from those he says would exonerate him?

Fifth: “The security assistance flowed on September 11, and a presidential meeting took place on September 25, without the Ukrainian government announcing any investigations.”
What Trump’s team isn’t saying is that those things occurred only after he got caught. They were an attempt to paper over his criminal behavior after the fact.

Finally: “The Democrats blind drive to impeach the President does not, and cannot, change the fact, as attested to by the Democrats’ own witnesses, that President Trump has been a better friend and stronger support of Ukraine than his predecessor [President Obama].”
You can hardly call threatening a country with the loss of critical military aid during a war as “friendly.” And even if there were cursory signs of friendship, that doesn’t excuse Trump’s unlawful behavior. Furthermore, Trump has been a far better friend to Vladimir Putin and Russia, the country that is invading and annexing parts of Ukraine.

If this is any indication of how the Trump defense is going to go as it proceeds through next week, we are in for some hefty heapings of falsehoods and misdirection. They haven’t even even gotten to the Bidens yet, as Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow promised to do. But rest assured, that will come. And the whole of the Trump defense will be built on distortion and deception. But that’s only because they can’t defend Trump on the facts.

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

Trump Admits that He’s Only Interested in a Lie-Filled Reality TV Impeachment Show

Trump has been tweeting up a storm on this fourth day of his Senate impeachment trial. Most of it has been retweets of the sycophantic Trump-fluffers who vainly try to defend the indefensible criminality of Trump. But some are more puzzling than others, such as the one where he agreed with Joe Biden that he should be impeached and removed from office.

Donald Trump TV Set

However, in addition to his tweet agreeing with Biden, Trump also tweeted what amounts to an admission that he isn’t really concerned about the outcome of the Senate trial at all. That’s because the GOP leader, Mitch McConnell, has already assured him that he won’t permit a fair hearing to take place and that the outcome will be manipulated in Trump’s favor. So Trump tweeted this:

First of all, Trump had an invitation to have his representatives and witnesses appear during the House hearings, but he refused. So he can’t complain about not being represented when that was his own decision. Secondly, The prospect of the Trump defense in the Senate being pushed to Saturday was entirely the work of Mitch McConnell. The Democrats had no power to alter the schedule dictated by the GOP leader. And it appears likely that McConnell will alter it himself and shift the commencement of the Trump defense to Monday.

That said, it’s notable that what Trump is whining about isn’t how his case will be made to the senators who will be voting on his fate as president. Nope. What Trump is upset about is that his defenders might not have as big a television audience as he would like. In other words, he’s only interested in the reality TV elements of his impeachment hearings. That’s a so typically Trumpian.

Trump already has the benefit of Fox News, which has not been airing the Senate hearings during prime time. Fox has also benched their Senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, in order to keep his contrary views away from the snowflakes who watch Fox (Napolitano called the evidence for Trump’s impeachment and removal “ample and uncontradicted”). Fox did, however, interrupt coverage of the hearings on Friday to show Trump giving a speech at the anti-abortion March for Life. They were in alone in that editorially biased decision.

In the end everything about Trump’s behavior and commentaries is focused on one thing only: What is in his own best interest, never mind the American people or the fate of the nation. It’s his malignantly narcissistic, massive ego that must be satisfied first. And ironically, that’s what got him into all this trouble to begin with.

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

HUH? Trump Agrees with Biden that He Must Be Impeached and Removed From Office

The longer the impeachment hearings for Donald Trump go on, the more deranged he becomes. He is clearly frightened and fixated on the proceedings despite his frequent and unconvincing dismissals. On Friday morning he once again posted a frantic flurry of more than fifty tweets assailing the Democrats in congress as they press their case against him.

Donald Trump, Joe Biden

Embedded in this Twitter tantrum, Trump included his familiar whining about how he is such a helpless victim of the meanies in the Democratic Party who refuse to adore him. He repeated for the umpteenth time his demand that everyone “Read the Transcripts” of his clearly incriminating phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. And he retweeted a phalanx of StormTrumpers in Congress and the media who are valiantly defending the indefensible. But perhaps the most bizarre tweet of the bunch was this beaut:

Trump is quoting Joe Biden’s assessment that Trump could gain some advantage after emerging “victorious” from the Senate’s impeachment trial. That’s debatable, but Biden’s view is not unreasonable. What’s peculiar is that Trump is latching onto – and agreeing with – Biden’s comments that “Congress has no choice, it has a Constitutional responsibility.” Biden is referring to to the responsibility to impeach Trump and remove him from office. And Trump, as expressed in this tweet, apparently agrees with that. Good to know.

The view that Trump will be “harder to beat” following these hearings is not cast in stone. On one hand, Trump has already been impeached, and that’s forever. The Senate hearings are driving home the facts surrounding Trump’s criminal coercion of Zelensky and his efforts to cover it up. They are also revealing the Republicans’ unprincipled obsession with suppressing new evidence and witness testimony. Consequently, any “acquittal” by a partisan vote of the GOP majority would immediately and totally lack credibility. And Trump’s guilt would still be presumed by most Americans, as it is now.

The argument that Trump would be stronger rests only on the notion that his cult followers might be more motivated to turn out in November. But that’s speculative at best. His most fervent supporters are already as buzzy as they can possibly be. And he isn’t likely to attract new supporters simply because the GOP-run Senate let him off the hook.

Nevertheless, Trump is continuing to pretend that all this impeachment stuff is helping him and hurting Democrats. That view might make him feel better and provide some encouragement to his despondent Deplorables, but it isn’t founded on any factual basis. And it won’t alter the public perception that he is a liar who has betrayed his country to further his own personal and political ambitions.

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

MISSING: Fox News Legal Expert Who Said Evidence Against Trump is ‘Ample and Uncontradicted’

The Fox News coverage of the Senate impeachment hearing has been just as bad as might have been expected. Even worse, actually. To be sure, their prime time Trump-fluffers have been predictably adoring and servile as they heap praise on Donald Trump and his defenders, while shoveling bile on his critics. Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, have spared no shame in slobbering over Dear Leader while slandering the Democrats prosecuting him.

Donald Trump, Andrew Napolitano

The reason it’s been even worse than expected is that Fox News has ignored large swaths of the hearings. They chose to air their regularly scheduled programming rather than the live proceedings from the Senate. That way they can prevent their already ill-informed audience from accidentally being exposed to the truth about Trump.

Fox even advised their dimwitted viewers to avoid watching the hearings with admonitions like “We’re showing you the good stuff – it was unbelievably boring,” and “I don’t know how people can follow it,” and “We watched so that you don’t have to,” and “It is a little bit like watching paint dry,” and “If I were a terrible host I would force you to endure watching.” Fox News is behaving like parents shielding their children from naughty words. Which may explain why Fox viewers behave so much like children.

So while CNN and MSNBC were airing the hearings in prime time, Fox News was airing their squawking heads attacking responsible journalism, disparaging the Democratic managers, and insisting that Trump was as pure and virginal as Mother Mary. It’s a bizarre spectacle to see people in the media advocating against being fully informed and proactively disinforming them. But then, that’s what Fox News does every day.

Consequently, Fox’s viewers got their customary mush of one-sided blather. And their number one viewer, Donald Trump, will be spared the agonizing torture of encountering anything remotely negative – or truthful – about him.

Contributing to this extreme bias is the mystery disappearance of Fox’s Senior Judicial Analyst, Andrew Napolitano. He has not made a single appearance on the network during the most prominent judicial story of the decade. Instead, Fox has exclusively featured such pro-Trump commentators as Trey Gowdy and Andrew McCarthy. Napolitano has previously provided a far more cogent analysis with clear-eyed recognition of Trump’s guilt (for instance, here and here and here).

Had Napolitano been booked to give his impression of the impeachment hearings, he might have sparked some severe cognitive injuries. Particularly for Trump. Napolitano was permitted to publish an op-ed on the Fox News website that presented a starkly different viewpoint than anyone that Fox allowed on the air. He wrote that the impeachment trial…

“…is not a charade or a joke or a hoax. It is deadly serious business based on well-established constitutional norms. The House of Representatives — in proceedings in which the president chose not to participate — impeached Trump for abuse of power and contempt of Congress. The abuse consists of his efforts to extract a personal political ‘favor’ from the president of Ukraine as a precondition to the delivery of $391 million in military aid.”

Napolitano also addressed the question of Congress charging Trump with impeachable offenses saying that…

“…there is enough evidence here to do so. Federal election laws proscribe as criminal the mere solicitation of help for a political campaign from a foreign national or government. There is no dispute that Trump did this. In fact, the case for this is stronger now than it was when the House impeached him last year. Since then, more evidence, which Trump tried to suppress, has come to light.

On whether Trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” Napolitano concluded that “the evidence is ample and uncontradicted.” Naturally, these sort of rational, independent opinions are verboten on Fox News. That’s why Napolitano had to be muzzled and stuffed in a basement somewhere in the bowels of Fox News headquarters.

After going to the trouble of censoring the Senate hearings and replacing them with drooling Trump propagandists, Fox could hardly allow these ideas to leak into the general population of vulnerable Trump cult followers. Their lack of critical thinking skills would subject them to the unbearable discomfort of reality. And that would violate everything Fox News stands for.

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

White House Counsel Regurgitates Trump’s Most Flagrant Lie at Impeachment Hearing

After three years of relentless lying, it’s clear to most Americans the Donald Trump is incapable of telling the truth, particularly about himself. He is the most prolific liar ever recorded, having already racked up more than 16,000 documented falsehoods. Trump has made it plain that he will lie about anything – great or small.

Donald Trump, Adam Schiff

Making matters worse is that Trump’s proclivity for prevarication is apparently contagious. He is a fabrication carrier who infects all those around him. And on the opening day of Trump’s impeachment hearing in the Senate, Trump’s disease of deceit was ravaging through the body of his White House counsel, Pat Cipollone. This is far more troubling than the fantastical fictions of Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, or his sycophantic mouthpieces in Congress or the wingnut press. Cipollone is employed by the American people to represent their interests and to protect and defend the Constitution. He is not Trump’s lawyer.

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop Cipollone from delivering a statement (video below) that was riddled with lies, beginning with his ludicrous assertion that “President Trump is a man of his word.” How anyone can say that with a straight face is inconceivable. Cipollone also claimed that House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff, prohibited Republicans from participating in the House hearings. But not only did they participate, they had equal time with the Democrats. This is so egregiously false that it can’t be merely a misstatement.

Yet even that was not the most profoundly dishonest comment by Cipollone. He went on describe a scenario that was such a jumble of inaccuracies and outright nonsense that it makes everything else he might say utterly unbelievable. He began…

“It’s very difficult to sit there and listen to Mr. Schiff tell the tale that he just told. Let’s remember how we all got here. They made false allegations about a telephone call. The president of the United States declassified that telephone call and released it to the public. How’s that for transparency?”

Right from the start Cipollone is getting everything wrong. It wasn’t Schiff who made the original (and verified truthful) allegations revealing Trump’s misconduct during the phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. It was the whistleblower, whose report was deemed credible by the intelligence community’s inspector general. Trump himself affirmed it on national TV. And Trump has still never released a transcript of the phone call, only a partial description in a memo. Now he says he has a tape recording. You’d think he would release that if it exonerated him. Cipollone continued…

“When Mr. Schiff found out that there was nothing to his allegations, he focused on the second telephone call. He and his colleagues made false allegations about that second telephone call that occurred before the one that he demanded. So the President of the United States declassified and released that telephone call. Still nothing.”

Cipollone is badly distorting the whole timeline. The only phone call that had any relevance to this inquiry was the second one that Trump keeps exhorting people to “Read the Transcript!” Indeed they should read it, because it clearly shows that Trump coerced Zelensky to help him smear Joe Biden. The first phone call was merely a congratulatory call after Zelensky won his election. Although Trump lied about that as well, claiming that they spoke about corruption. They didn’t. And Cipollone still wasn’t done lying…

“When Mr. Schiff saw that his allegations were false, and he knew it anyway, what did he do? He went to the House and he manufactured a fraudulent version of that phone call. He read it to the American people, and he didn’t tell them it was a complete fake.”

This is a flagrant, unadulterated, shameless, provable lie. And it’s a lie that Cipollone is parroting from one that Trump has been telling for months:

Let’s settle this once and for all. Trump’s obsession with Schiff stems from a brief portion of remarks made in a congressional hearing that Trump utterly failed to understand. Apparently Trump doesn’t grasp the concept of parody, or paraphrasing with emphasis, to make a point. That’s what Schiff was doing when Trump whined, falsely, that Schiff was quoting him verbatim.

Schiff actually prefaced his remarks by saying that Trump’s phone call with Zelensky “reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. Shorn of its rambling character, and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the President communicates.” So contrary to Trump’s brazen lie, Schiff was not “supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call.” He explicitly stated that he was not quoting Trump and he had no intention of misleading anyone. It’s all available for anyone to see and hear for themselves in the video.

The fact that Cipollone would repeat Trump’s nakedly dishonest account of Schiff’s remarks is proof that he is unfit to serve as a White House counsel. He knows that Trump was lying, and he knows that his repetition is also a lie. He is abusing his oath of office, his duty to the American people, and his loyalty to the nation. In a just administration he would be fired, disbarred, and prosecuted for perjury. But in Trump’s administration his disgraceful behavior will be heralded as heroic. Trump’s pseudo-patriotic cult followers are just too mesmerized to tell the difference between good and evil.

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

Trump’s Campaign Manager Responds to Bleak Fox News Poll by Insulting the American People

In recent days Donald Trump has been frantically posting tweets that proclaim him to be the most popular president ever, leading a country that is number one in the universe.” And he got that fact directly from the alien voices in his head, so it must be true. But Trump’s glowing review of himself is not only wrong, it’s evidence of his growing mental infirmity.

Donald Trump, Fox News, Hate Again

On Monday Trump dispatched his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, to the studio of his Ministry of Propaganda, Fox News. While there, Parscale met with some unexpectedly challenging questions (video below). Parscale delivered his doctrinaire dialogue that portrayed Trump and his administration as having a perfect record of nothing but success. He asserted that Trump’s standing in the polls – and in the hearts of the American people – is at an all time high. That is, of course, contrary to reality. Trump’s approval is in the low 40s in most polls. Even Trump’s favorite poll, the disreputable and biased Rasmussen poll, has Trump slumping. But these facts didn’t stop Parscale from making his blatantly false and unsupported comments.

What Parscale surely didn’t foresee was that the Fox News anchor, Bill Hemmer, would present him with some actual data that contradicted the rosy scenario he painted for Trump:

Parscale: Every standard we have to measure what’s going on with the President and trying to win victory in 2020, we’re doing better.
Hemmer: I’ve got some numbers for you. 2016 suburban voters. President Trump led Hillary Clinton by four points. Among suburban women he trailed her by only seven. Now we did a poll here at Fox about a month and a half ago, and these numbers are very different … Among suburban voters he now trails by eleven. Among suburban women he’s down by a whopping twenty-four points. How come?

Parscale struggled to explain the decline. He first resorted to a weak complaint that the numbers were different (duh). Then he returned to his robo-recitation that Trump was doing better in everything simply because he says so. After Hemmer reiterated that Trump’s poor showing was “substantial,” Parscale directly dismissed the Fox News poll (see page 19) saying that “I just don’t think those numbers are right.” Oh? Well that settles it then.

Parscale went on to claim that Trump is “far ahead” of the Democratic candidates in fundraising. But the aggregate total for the Democrats has “more than tripled [Trump’s] 2019 cash haul … No incumbent president this century has been so thoroughly outraised by a field of challengers” And in the face of those facts, Parscale sunk to belittling American voters as inattentive to their duties in a democracy:

“Right now the American people are tuned out. Because, honestly, what’s happened with impeachment and everything else, they’ve shut down. They’re enjoying the Super Bowl. They’re watching football games. Enjoying this country’s great economy. They’re not sitting around watching this stuff.”

First of all, Parscale’s derogatory remarks destroy his own assertion that Trump is flying high in the polls. Of what significance is that if voters aren’t paying attention, as he contends? But even worse, according To Trump’s campaign boss, Americans are a bunch of lazy, unpatriotic, sports slobs who don’t care about the future of their country or the election that is only nine months away.

This insulting impression of voters by the Trump team isn’t likely to pull Trump’s poll standings out of the gutter. All it does is confirm that Trump, and everyone around him, are mired in delusional perspectives of Trump as an invincible superhero who cannot be vanquished. Never mind that they have no data to support that worshipful view. It’s not like Trump ever relied on facts – or reality – for anything else he’s ever done. The only thing he relies on is the naivete of his tiny cadre of cult followers. And that’s just not gonna cut it now that the nation knows who Trump really is.

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

Does Trump Have Impeachment Dementia Or Are His Lies Just Getting More Bizarre?

There is something grossly disturbing about how extreme Donald Trump has become in his frantic outbursts decrying the fact that he has been impeached. It’s like watching a paranoid schizophrenic sinking deeper into the delusional hallucinations that drive his deviant behavior. Except this one has access to nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump Red Face

On Monday morning, Trump was suffering from an especially severe case of the whines. This was manifested on his Twitter feed where he posted a string of typically narcissistic messages exalting himself, interspersed with vitriolic attacks on his foes. The trigger for this episode may have been the release of his impeachment trial briefing by his Fox News legal team. The document is 110 pages of expanded Twitter rants that fail to even address the substance of the charges against him. Trump’s lawyers are focused solely on their ludicrous theory that whatever Trump did was okay and that he should not be convicted and removed from office even if every allegation is proved true.

Meanwhile, Trump himself is focused on an imaginary universe wherein everything morphs into whatever he wishes it would be at whatever moment he wishes it. That’s the only explanation for a couple of his morning tweets that bear no resemblance to reality. For instance…

Anyone who has paid even peripheral attention to the impeachment proceedings knows that the House wanted John Bolton’s testimony very much. The problem was that Trump invoked the fake privilege of “absolute immunity” in order to prohibit Bolton, and many other White House staffers, from testifying. There is no way that Trump could not know this. So he is either deliberately lying or mentally unhinged. Which would also explain this other tweet…

The House proceedings were always conducted fairly. Every Republican member of the relevant committees was give equal time to question witnesses and provide defensive arguments. Both Democrats and Republicans had counsel who were also afforded equal time to press their case in the hearings. The only diversion from equality was the absence of testimony from Trump’s White House. But again, they were only absent due to Trump’s refusal to allow them to participate. This is another situation that Trump has to be fully aware of, unless he is certifiably insane or flagrantly dishonest.

So it was Trump who was responsible for the absence of witnesses he is complaining about. And it was Trump whose refusal to cooperate produced the unfairness he is whining about. And it was actually people like Rep. Adam Schiff, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, who were advocating for fairness all along. Trump was, and still is, the obstacle. That was articulated concisely in the Democratic response to Trump’s brief:

“Only if the Senate sees and hears all relevant evidence — only if it insists upon the whole truth — can it render impartial justice. That means the Senate should require the President to turn over the documents he is hiding. It should hear from witnesses, as it has done in every impeachment trial in American history; it especially should hear from witnesses the President blocked from testifying in the House. President Trump cannot have it both ways. His Answer directly disputes key facts. He must either surrender all evidence relevant to the facts he has disputed or concede the facts as charged. Otherwise, this impeachment trial will fall far short of the American system of justice.”

The tweets above show that Trump is either suffering from a massively psychotic departure from reality, or that he is shamelessly distorting the truth that everyone else can see as plain as day. That in itself would suggest that Trump is a few fries short of a Happy Meal. But then, what else is one to conclude about someone who has been documented to have told more than 16,000 lies in three years; or who cozies up to murderous dictators; or who compliments himself as “A Very Stable Genius.” It is simply no longer possible to ignore that America’s “president” is out of his friggin’ mind! Which means the same must be true for the cult followers who continue to support him in Congress, the press, and the wingnutty contingent of the public.

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

Reality TV Law: Trump Recruits His Impeachment Defense Team from Fox News

Donald Trump famously boasted that he “knows all the best people.” It turns out that that’s only true if what he meant by “best” was the foremost crooks, liars, and bootlickers. His administration has witnessed a parade of moral slackers and incompetents. He has fired more of his own appointees than any president in history. These are people that he lauded as “brilliant” until their termination, when he castigated them as “idiots.”

Fox News, Impeach Trump

A troubling hallmark of the Trump White House has been its reliance on staffers that Trump plucked from Fox News. They include Larry Kudlow, K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastian Gorka, Richard Grennell, Jonathan Wachtel, Heather Nauert, and more. The truth is that Trump doesn’t really know anybody with any experience or record of accomplishment. He’s a former reality TV game show host who does nothing but golf, tweet, and watch Fox News.

So it comes as no surprise that as his impeachment looms before him, he resorts to the only source for personnel he’s familiar with to recruit his legal team. That team is already led by a frequent Fox News talking head, Jay Sekulow. And now Trump has announced that he’s filling up the roster with more of the same flunkies he’s seen over and over again on Fox.

The new members of Trump’s impeachment defense team are Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Ray, and Pam Bondi. All of them have been regular fixtures on Fox News as the network strives to host only those who will shamelessly suck up to the President by unflinchingly defending him and ruthlessly maligning his critics. And it’s from these televised auditions that Trump selects his closest associates and most trusted allies. This is a president who only values appearances. It is more important to him that his advocates perform well on television than that they exhibit intelligence, integrity, or fealty to facts. So let’s take a closer look at the stuffed suits Trump has hired to defend him:

Ken Starr…
…is best known as the independent counsel who couldn’t find any wrongdoing on the part of Bill Clinton, so he settled for a smarmy, albeit consensual, sex scandal as the basis for impeachment. Starr himself was later fired from his post as the president of Baylor University amid allegations of sexual misconduct on the football team. And another item on his resume is having worked for Trump pal and pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein.

Alan Dershowitz…
…is remembered as a member of the O.J. Simpson defense team. Trump likely appreciates his ability to get acquittals for people who are obviously guilty. He also must appreciate Dershowitz’s slobbering displays of affection and total faith in Trump’s purity and innocence. Dershowitz also worked for Epstein. Is this a pattern forming?

Robert Ray…
…took over the independent counsel office when Ken Starr left. Other than his frequent Trump-fluffing appearances on Fox and Friends, he isn’t particularly well known for anything significant.

Pam Bondi…
…is the former Attorney General for the state of Florida. She was caught in a campaign finance scandal wherein she accepted an illegal $25,000 donation from a Trump charity and then promptly dropped a case against his bogus Trump University that was later found to be guilty of fraud.

So the reality TV presidency is now being extended to the legal team that he’s relying on to absolve him of the high crimes and misdemeanors that led to his impeachment. It’s not much more than a cast of made-for-TV characters who will be preaching to the cameras and viewers at home, rather than to the assembled “jurors” in the Senate chamber. From Trump’s perspective this might seem like a smart move since the majority Republicans in the Senate have pretty much already declared their intentions to acquit him regardless of the evidence.

However, the American people are not going to be as forgiving as Trump’s GOP sycophants in Washington. They already believe that Trump is guilty, and a majority support his impeachment and removal from office. So it isn’t likely that Trump will find success in the melodramatic soap opera stunts deployed by this team of Fox News litigators. Team trump may have the system rigged for an acquittal, but the voters are going to hear all the evidence and make their own judgment come November.

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

Sean Hannity and Fox News are Up to Their Hair Plugs in the Lev Parnas Affair

With each new day there are new and damning revelations affirming Donald Trump’s criminal behavior related to Ukraine and efforts to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden and subvert the 2020 election. The latest bombshells come from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, whose nefarious activities include extorting Ukrainian President Zelensky and surveilling former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovich.

Fox News Sean Hannity

Parnas was interviewed on MSNBC Wednesday by Rachel Maddow in a wide ranging discussion that made it clear that Trump “knew exactly what was going on” and was lying about his feigned ignorance of Parnas and his mission. But the evidence of Trump’s guilt is abundant. Also interesting is the evidence of Hannity’s guilt, and that of Fox News.

Proof is emerging of Hannity’s relationship with the Giuliani Crew. Hannity himself is in bed with Parnas. They have had communications that resulted in Hannity tweeting about bogus allegations of Ukrainian interference in the U.S. election to help Hillary Clinton. That tweet was deleted, but remains archived. Trump, however, didn’t delete his subsequent tweet promoting Hannity’s story on the subject that same night. Likewise, The Giuliani Crew also communicated with Don Trump Jr, who posted a tweet attacking Yovanovich. So their is an unbroken chain of propaganda circling around between Trump, Giuliani, his Ukraine mob, Fox News, and back to Trump and his crime family.

What’s more, Parnas had much to share about the complicity of Fox News in Trump’s plot to coerce Zelensky into helping him smear Biden. The Giuliani team worked with right-wing author John Solomon to disseminate their lies. At the time Solomon worked for The Hill, but is now employed by Fox News. So naturally Hannity unleashed a furious assault on Parnas and the network that hosted him. Hannity’s rage was so intense that he lapsed into the sort of incoherent outbursts you might hear from a paranoid schizophrenic on a street corner shouting at passing cars (video below). He began…

“Yesterday, last-ditch effort, Hail Mary, smear job, yup the congenital liar attached new documents to the articles of impeachment. Including so-called evidence from a former Giuliani contact. Oh by the way on conspiracy TV. The guy is facing federal charges from the Southern District of New York. You don’t really want to mess with those people.”

Did you follow that? Apparently Hannity is upset that new incriminating evidence about Trump has come out. But he can’t rebut any of it, so he unloads a barrage of nasty adjectives. He glosses over the fact that Parnas is working with Trump’s lawyer, but hones in on his having been indicted. And while Hannity is adamant that that’s a problem for Parnas, it doesn’t seem to be a problem for other Trump comrades who are under indictment or already convicted, including his campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his national security adviser Michael Flynn, his personal attorney Michael Cohen, and his fixer Roger Stone. Hannity continued…

“So [Parnas] goes right to state-run MSDNC conspiracy channel media. Keep in mind when people like him, trying to stay out of jail, think about this, how many times have we heard from the liberals ‘oh you can’t waterboard, or use enhanced interrogation because people will say anything, they’ll lie to make it end.’ Well people trying to stay out of jail, in my humble opinion, they’ll say anything.”

Now Hannity thinks that MSNBC is “state-run” media. You have to wonder what state Hannity thinks that it’s being run out of. It must be the “Deep State.” And it’s cute that Hannity is trying to connect an indicted defendant giving testimony to waterboarding. No one has tortured Parnas. He is simply doing what many defendants do when faced with prosecution. He’s turning state’s evidence. That’s a voluntary action to secure a lighter sentence. And it does not have the pitfalls of torture, where victims will indeed say anything to make it stop. A defendant providing testimony must tell the truth or any agreement made with prosecutors is null and void.

However, Hannity’s description of defendants saying anything to stay out of jail actually fits Trump much better. After all, he is known to be a pathological liar anyway. And he doesn’t have any agreement with prosecutors to worry about voiding. He’s lying through his capped teeth to avoid prison. And he clearly doesn’t care what he says, or how ludicrous the lie, if he thinks it will either deflect from his guilt or help him to evade accountability. The whole lot of them are neck deep in criminal behavior. And if more disclosures like those Parnas is serving up come to pass, they are all going to be sharing a cell block.

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