The presidency of Donald Trump has been a slow motion disaster for the past twenty months. But the velocity of his crumbling regime has been ramping up in recent days. His campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted on eight felonies. His personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight felonies as well. Plus, Cohen testified that Trump was in on the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
On Thursday morning the temperature continued to rise. Daveid Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer, and a close Trump pal, was granted immunity in order to provide information about Trump’s illegal campaign finance affairs. So fearing the worst, Trump took refuge in his “safe space” that he knows will always offer comfort, consolation, and a shield from any and all criticism – Fox News.
Ainsley Earhardt of Fox and Friends was dispatched to rub salve on the President’s wounds (video below). And she really came through. Asking a series of softball questions that Trump could swat away with ease, Earhardt sat through the entire twelve minutes nodding like a bobble-head doll. She didn’t challenge Trump on a single subject, despite his flagrant and easily provable lies. For instance, Trump rattled off false statistics about employment; he said that James Comey is Robert Mueller’s best friend; he alluded to imaginary crimes that Hillary Clinton committed; and he claimed that the FBI raided Manafort’s home at 5:00 in the morning with guns. None of that, and most everything else he said, is true.
One particular exchange in this televised tongue bathing stood out as a revealing confession by Trump. Earhardt asked him about Cohen’s testimony at his pleading that Trump directed him to make the hush money payouts. And Trump’s answer was, to say the least, peculiar:
Earhardt: He [Michael Cohen] said in one story that you didn’t know anything about the payments. And now he’s saying that you directed him to make these payments. Did you direct him to make the payments?
Trump: He made the deals. He made the deals. And by the way, he pled to two counts that aren’t a crime. Which nobody understands. I watched a number of shows. Sometimes you get some pretty good information by watching shows. Those two counts aren’t even a crime. They weren’t campaign finance. […] A lot of lawyers – on television – and also lawyers that I have say that they are not even crimes.
Notice that Trump’s response did not address whether he directed Cohen to make the payments. He said twice that Cohen “made the deals,” but never denied that he directed Cohen to do so. Then Trump quickly pivots to an absurd statement that Cohen pleaded to two counts of something that isn’t a crime. Of course, anyone who isn’t brain-dead knows that you can’t plead guilty to a crime that doesn’t exist. It’s like saying “I plead guilty to eating brussel sprouts. And I’ll do it again, dammit” As it turns out, there is no law against eating brussel sprouts and, thus, nothing to plead to. He’s absolutely correct when he says that “nobody understands” this. Somebody needs to explain it to Trump. I’d suggest a kindergarten teacher, because they have experience with stubbornly immature students.
However, what was truly disturbing is when Trump disclosed where he gets his legal advice. He’s the President of the United States and has whole departments of lawyers working for him in the White House and the Justice Department, as well as his personal legal team. And yet, he tells Earhardt that his legal expertise comes from “watch[ing] a number of shows.” “Sometimes,” he says, “you get some pretty good information by watching shows.”
Trump doesn’t say which shows, but it’s a pretty safe bet it’s Fox and Friends or Sean Hannity. That would explain why he believes that someone can plead guilty to crimes that don’t exist. But if this is the source of his consultations on matters of law, he is in bigger trouble than he can possibly imagine.
For the record, this is the second time Trump has identified TV as his source for critical data on presidenting. In August of 2015, Trump responded to a question from Chuck Todd about who his advisors are for military issues. Trump said that “I watch the shows.” But then, what more would you expect from the Reality TV president?
It’s interesting that Trump credits television with providing so much good information. Because he still thinks that the press is, in the whole, corrupt and dishonest. He reiterated that when Earhardt asked him if the press is “the enemy of the people.” “Absolutely not,” he said. But went on to contradict himself saying that only “Eighty percent of the media is the enemy of the people.” So he gets his legal advice from the other twenty percent? With consultants like that, and TV lawyers like Rudy Giuliani implicating Trump in criminal acts every time he’s on the tube, Trump is headed for an extended stay in Leavenworth – or maybe Gitmo.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.