Trump Orders Fox News VP Hope Hicks to Break the Law By Withholding Docs From Congress

One of the most brazenly dishonest claims emanating from Donald Trump was expressed recently in this tweet saying that “there has NEVER been a President who has been more transparent.” Of course, the truth is that Trump has been extraordinarily resistant to allowing full and unfettered investigations into his activities as President, as a candidate, and as a private businessman.

Hope Hicks

Trump famously refused to grant special counsel Robert Mueller an interview. He declined to answer questions in written form. And most recently he decreed that he will fight any and all requests for information coming from Congress, and will oppose any attempts to subpoena documents or testimony. He has already seen to it that senior administration officials have put themselves in legal jeopardy by failing to comply with lawful subpoenas. They include White House counsel Don McGahn, Attorney General William Barr, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

However, now Trump has taken another unprecedented step into the realm of pure totalitarianism to which he clearly aspires. He sent a letter to former White House aides Annie Donaldson and Hope Hicks advising them to break the law as well by ignoring document subpoenas. These women are no longer in the employ of the President and their compliance is not covered by assertions of executive privilege. Donaldson was the deputy White House Counsel under McGahn. But Hicks, who served as Trump’s Communications Director, has a unique problem.

Hope Hicks is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for the Fox Corporation, which is the parent company of Fox News. That means that Trump is actually ordering an employee of Fox to disobey a congressional subpoena. Any other corporation would have a hard time justifying adherence to such a request. Particularly a news enterprise that is supposed to be independent of political associations.

The question of Fox’s political independence, of course, is a joke. There has never been a news enterprise more closely tied to an American president than Fox News is to Donald Trump. They were responsible for his election. And ever since they have showered him and his agenda with praise, while viciously attacking his critics. The top figures on the network (Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs, etc.) have appeared at his cult rallies and given him private advice on both politics and policy.

Nevertheless, it is troubling that Trump is in a position to bark orders at executives of Fox News. This surpasses the ethical depravity of his recent call for a boycott of AT&T in order to punish CNN. If Fox obeys Trump’s commands they are complicit in his efforts to cover up his crimes. What’s more, they are derelict in their duty to cover the news by endorsing the President’s attempts to suppress it. They are, in effect, making themselves accomplices to 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.

Fox News has not commented on Trump’s illegal demands on Hicks to withhold information that Congress has constitutional authority to request. But they have previously defended Trump when he ordered former staffers to disobey subpoenas. So why would Fox change their opinion now? Well, for one thing, the others were not employed by Fox. Will that matter to a network whose political partisanship is so obvious? We’ll see. But don’t expect Fox News to the honorable thing. It’s not in their blood.

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Wannabe Dictator Trump Calls For Boycott of AT&T to ‘Do Something’ About CNN

The last time Trump left the country he breached diplomatic protocol in Japan with an infantile political attack on Joe Biden. At the same time, he took sides with Kim Jong Un, the murderous tyrant with whom he fell in love.” And now Trump is travelling abroad again, but this time, as he prepared to depart for the U.K., he managed to embarrass America before he even left by insulting the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

Donald Trump Tyrant Dictator

Having arrived in England, Trump sought to escalate his diplomatic incompetence with another attack on the U.S. media. That in itself is to be expected from the president who hates the freedoms protected by the First Amendment and regards the press as “the enemy of the people.” However, this time he is attacking American institutions from foreign soil and attempting to bully them into obedience to his will.

These comments are despicable on many levels. First of all, he is admitting that the only news source he is comfortable watching is the Trump-fluffing sycophants of Fox News. And when away from home, he desperately needs Fox to stroke his fragile ego. Furthermore, he fails to document he what describes as “all negative” with any examples. Suffice to say that any criticism of him was enough to get him to change the channel to less objectionable programming like cooking or golf.

Trump is also displaying his utter ignorance of the television business. CNN is not only enjoying their highest ratings in years, they are more profitable than ever. But no one will be surprised that Trump is either stupid or lying. That’s the new normal for the Era of Trump.

The worst part of this Twitter tirade, though, is Trump’s gleeful assault on an American business. He doesn’t care who he hurts so long as he can get vengeance for whatever slight he thinks he’s the victim of. That’s typical of his inherent weakness and narcissism. But make no mistake, his petulant whining is aimed at more than 250,000 employees of an American company. It is totally unprecedented for an U.S. president to call for a boycott of an U.S. company with tens of thousands of American workers. And his malicious smear is even worse coming from overseas.

And as if all of that weren’t bad enough, Trump’s attack is based on his displeasure with how the free press is doing their job. What he thinks is negative reporting is really just a factual representation of what he actually does and says. The media can’t help it if his words and actions are glaringly dumb and harmful. And what exactly does Trump think that AT&T should do? He insists that they should be “forced to make big changes at CNN.” But forcing the press to behave in a manner that is acceptable to political leaders is what we would expect from the fascist regimes that control their media. Which is what Trump is advocating and yearning for.

What’s more, while he whines that the world “gets a false picture of USA” from CNN, the world has actually made a deliberate choice. Fox News used to be carried in the U.K. but they discontinued their service two years ago because nobody was watching it A company spokeswoman said that…

“Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK. We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK.”

So Trump wants to boycott AT&T, hurt American workers, and dishonor the Constitution, all in an effort to bully the media into slobbering over him the way Fox News does. Never mind that the Brits have already rejected the lies and propaganda that is the hallmark of Fox’s deceitful brand of “journalism.” Like his pals Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping, and Vladimir Putin, Trump wants to coerce the press into acting like his own personal PR agency. And the sentiments in these tweets are direct attacks on the free press, as well as free markets. They are are antithetical to long held and cherished American principles. But then, so is almost everything Trump does and says.

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


WEIRD: Trump ‘Liked’ Some Wonderfully Anti-Trump Tweets on His Twitter Page

This is too strange not to mention. While Trump is posting rancid tirades, infantile insults, and flagrant lies on Twitter, he (or perhaps a rogue aide) is also Liking some very obvious anti-Trump tweets (see pix below).

Donald Trump

The appearance of these liked tweets is, to say the least, peculiar. They include one that features a quote from George Orwell’s 1994: “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” This Like has already been been undone, but it’s meaning is unmistakable. Last week Trump tweeted a denial that he had ever the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, was “nasty”. Never mind that he was captured on video saying it.

Still on his list of Liked tweets is one that says “Please, after several typos he’s just not presidential material.” It’s hard to argue with that, but why did Trump Like it? And then there’s one that features a picture of Trump with a recent denial that he had anything to do with Russia, but that actually admitted that Russia helped him win the election. And finally, he Liked a tweet that says “for one so self-possessed, you aren’t very self-aware. You’ve hurt the GOP as much as anybody.”

Is this more evidence that Trump is losing what’s left of his already deficient mental faculties? Does he fail to grasp the meaning of these tweets? Is there a mole on the Trump social media team? Who knows. And who cares? It’s not like his other tweets are overflowing with intelligence or meaning. But still…

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

Donald Trump, Twitter Likes


Despite Preposterous Denials, Trump Has a History of Calling People (Particularly Women) ‘Nasty’

Whenever Donald Trump embarks on some foreign escapade, the prospects for his creating an international incident are impossible to ignore. Case in point, he just returned from Japan where he launched a political attack on Joe Biden, a potential election opponent, in violation of the diplomatic maxim that “politics stops at the water’s edge.” Even worse, he cited his murderous friend and dictator, Kim Jong Un, to reinforce the infantile insult he aimed at Biden’s intelligence.

Donald Trump, Nasty

That was last week, This is now. Trump is heading next to the U.K. And he has outdone himself by embarrassing America before he even got there. In an interview with a British newspaper Trump responded to a question about some critical remarks that Duchess Meghan Markle made about him in 2016. Claiming ignorance (which is believable), Trump replied “No, I didn’t know that she was nasty.”

It’s bad enough that Trump would malign an American member of British royalty in comments to the English press, but Trump only made matters worse by later denying that he ever said what he is on video saying. He really does believe that his glassy-eyed disciples will obey his edicts to ignore their own eyes and ears and listen only to what he tells them. He tweeted that…

Never mind the video evidence of his childish trash talk. Trump has his own version of reality cultivated from decades of self-delusion and narcissistic indulgence. And it’s especially comical that Trump thinks he’s entitled to an apology from the press that correctly reported precisely what he said. His behavior is completely in line with his past where his tendency to disparage women as “nasty” has been demonstrated over and over again. For instance:

Clearly Trump is comfortable characterizing strong, independent women as “nasty” just for daring to challenge his chauvinistic misogynism. That’s a sign of a pitifully weak man who is afraid of honest encounters with people who obviously have more intelligence and integrity. But just for the sake of balance, it should be noted that Trump has also cast the same insult at some of his sycophantic male suck-ups:

This is the humiliation that America is currently having to endure for the sin of allowing this cretin to get anywhere near the White House. His petulant antics would shame a twelve year old. But Trump is apparently impervious to shame. It’s that unique immunity that allows him to lie, cheat, insult, whine, and generally behave in a manner that really can only be described as pretty damn nasty.

LATE ADDITION: This is on surprise. Trump has now added House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the list of women he says are “nasty.”

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


Nitwit Trump Sycophants Celebrate Poll that Shows His Disapproval at 52 Percent

Every now and then the catastrophic failure that is emblematic of Donald Trump’s presidency is revealed in the bizarre behavior of its own bewitched disciples. The StormTrumpers are an extraordinarily blind following of cultists who are oblivious to any bad news concerning their misanthropic Messiah.

Donald Trump drinking

That single-minded devotion and self-delusion explains how a pretend billionaire fooled millions into believing that he is a man of the people; how an adulterous, serial sexual offender convinced evangelicals that he is a saintly servant of God; how a notorious liar and cheat is worthy of their trust; and how a treasonous admirer of brutal, authoritarian tyrants is seen by his fanatics as an icon of liberty.

It also explains the reaction from TrumpWorld to a new poll released by Harvard CAPS/Harris. The results of this survey show that Trump has an approval rating of 48 percent and a disapproval of 52 percent. Having a majority of voters with a negative view is hardly anything to brag about. Except, that is, to Trump and his confederacy of bootlickers. Never mind that the poll’s methodology is not widely respected as it consists of a static panel of online respondents.

Still, 48 percent is a high water mark for a loser president who has never cracked 50 percent. But it still means that most Americans are put off by the president who thinks that he’s everyone’s favorite, even if he does say so himself (here and here and here and here and here and here and here). It’s also notable that this poll is an outlier that exceeds the average of recent polls which is currently about 43 percent.

Nevertheless, the Trump Brigades are out in full force cheering about these pathetic numbers. They have managed to shut their eyes to the other findings in the poll that show that only 39 percent of voters say the country is on the right track. Or that only 37 percent say they would definitely or probably vote for Trump in 2020. These intrusions of reality are dutifully ignored by the likes of these fawning suck-ups:

  • Official Team Trump
  • Matt Wolking, Deputy Director of Communications for Trump’s 2020 campaign.
  • Kimberly Guilfoyle, Senior Adviser for Trump’s 2020 campaign (and Don Jr’s girlfriend).
  • Charlie Kirk, President of the rightist group Turning Point USA.
  • Bill Mitchell, right-wing radio yakker.
  • The Daily Caller, website founded by Fox News host and white nationalist Tucker Carlson.
  • Jim Hoft, aka Gateway Pundit, aka Stupidest Man on the Internet.
  • Infowars.

All of the above and more tweeted gleefully that the this poll marked “the highest point in two years” for Trump. And they genuinely believe that it’s a real accomplishment to poll underwater two years into your presidency. That kind of psychosis is apparently contagious as it replicates the same strain that Trump is suffering from. Although Trump’s symptoms are far worse. Just last week he was ragging on the “fake news” and bragging that “my poll numbers are very good. […] If you people would give straight news I’d be at 70. I’d be maybe at 75.”

Yeah, right. At this point it might be best to just humor him. He could blow an artery. After all, a couple of months ago Trump tweeted the results of a poll reported by Fox News that showed with a 55 percent approval rating. Unfortunately, Fox mixed up the numbers. That was his disapproval rating. Fox actually corrected the mistake on the air, but Trump’s tweet is still live.

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


Fox News Issues a Ludicrous Defense of Laura Ingraham’s Support for White Nationalists

On Thursday night, Laura Ingraham, host of Fox News’ primetime “The Ingraham Angle,” made some nauseating, albeit typical, remarks of the sort that have endeared her to racists, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists everywhere. It’s not the first time she’s unleashed such repugnant commentaries, but it is one of the most flagrant (video below).

Laura Ingraham, Fox News

In the hours that have passed since Ingraham’s bigoted outburst she has been roundly criticized by thousands of decent people who were understandably offended and refuse to tolerate such vile hate speech. And eventually Fox News found it necessary to make an official statement regarding the controversy. Suffice to say that Fox was not apologizing:

“It is obscene to suggest that Laura Ingraham was defending Paul Nehlen’s despicable actions especially when some of the names on the graphic were pulled from an Associated Press report on best known political extremists banned from Facebook. Anyone who watches Laura’s show knows that she is a fierce protector of freedom of speech and the intent of the segment was to highlight the growing trend of unilateral censorship in America.”

What’s obscene is that Fox News can defend Ingraham’s unabashed support for an avowed neo-Nazi. Fox claims that Ingraham was not defending Nehlen, but the actual comments on her show prove that Fox is lying. Contrary to Fox’s description of some “political extremists,” Ingraham explicitly portrayed Nehlen, and seven other ultra-rightists, as innocent victims of unhinged lefties:

“They’re trying to bully social media, satirists, people with comedic flair […] Their goal is to use Russian hacking threats and manipulation of social media as part of a larger movement to silence conservative voices ahead of the 2020 election.”

So Ingraham is painting people like Nehlen, conspiracy crackpot Alex Jones, Islamophobe Laura Loomer, et al, as merely comedians, but also as legitimate voices of conservatism. She says that they are only proponents of “border enforcement” and “national sovereignty.” And she regards these false allegations of censorship as akin to the Russian election interference in 2016. It takes phenomenal mental derangement to execute that level of dishonest spin-meistering.

The statement from Fox News also sought to wave off any criticism because the people that Ingraham chose to praise were mentioned in an article by the Associated Press. So what? The AP didn’t pay tribute to them as embattled heroes of the right. In fact, they described them as “people and groups promoting objectionable material such as hate, racism and anti-Semitism.” And that is unambiguously true for Nehlen whose anti-Semitism and racism has been on display for years. He has even called for race wars and pondered the “Jewish Question.”

What’s more, Fox must have been joking when they said that “Anyone who watches Laura’s show knows that she is a fierce protector of freedom of speech. She is literally the author of a book called Shut Up and Sing,” whose thesis is that anyone who isn’t a politician or a pundit has no right to express a political opinion. She did a whole segment where she demanded that LeBron James and Kevin Durant should shut up and dribble after they criticized Donald Trump. She even lashed out a teenage survivor of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting for having the audacity to speak out for gun safety.

That’s what Fox News regards as a “fierce protector of freedom of speech?” It’s bad enough that Ingraham goes on the air every night to advance her cause of prejudice and privilege – along with her colleagues Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. But for Fox to put out a defense of that abhorrent philosophy only makes matters worse. But it is, in the end, just what should be expected of a network whose whole reason for being is to oppress minorities, women, and anyone they believe threatens the authority of the white upper class.

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

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Dazed and Confused: Trump Can’t Keep His Mueller Stories – or Anything Else – Straight

Since Donald Trump ordered the White House Press Office to stop doing daily press briefings nearly three months ago, the only media access to the President has been his impromptu harangues on the White House lawn in front of the whirring blades of his helicopter. And there has been a noticeable deterioration of his mental faculties in each one of these reality TV style spiels. The latest on Thursday morning is a real display of his paranoid dementia.

Donald Trump Zombie

Trump addressed several subjects including his insistence that Russia didn’t help him get elected. In his typically narcissistic fashion he told the assembled press “You know who got me elected? I got me elected.” He also briefly touched on the matter of his potential impeachment. In doing so he demonstrated that he has no idea how it works. He doesn’t know what “high crimes and misdemeanors” means. And he he wonders how the courts could allow it. Of course every high school civics student knows that impeachment is entirely within the jurisdiction of Congress and the courts have nothing to with it.

However, perhaps the most ludicrous exchanges occurred when Trump was lashing out at special counsel Robert Mueller. The recent public statement by Mueller affirmed that his investigation had found evidence of criminal activities and obstruction of justice by Trump (even Fox News said so), but that no indictments were filed due to an old and questionable policy memo at the Department of Justice. This predictably triggered Trump’s worst instincts to attack Mueller and his work (video below):

“He was conflicted. Look, Robert Mueller should have never been chosen because he wanted the FBI job and he didn’t get it, and the next day he was picked as special counsel. So you tell somebody ‘I’m sorry, you can’t have the job.’ and then after you say that he’s gonna make a ruling on you? It doesn’t work that way. Plus we had a business dispute. Plus his relationship with Comey was extraordinary.”

None of this is new in the armory of Trump’s assault rhetoric. It has all been used before by Trump so many times that he seems to be stuck in an endless and tedious tape loop. But he is also contradicting himself with regards to his opinion of Mueller. It was just two months ago that Trump told reporters that he believed that Mueller had “acted honorably” following the completion of the probe. He even gloated that “The Mueller report was great. It could not have been better.” That moment of confidence, however, was short lived.

Now Trump is back to maligning Mueller as “conflicted” for reasons that totally reside in his warped imagination. Mueller was not seeking to return to the FBI. He met with Trump only as a courtesy and to provide consultation. Mueller also did not have a “business dispute” with Trump. Although there was a minor incident when Mueller resigned his membership at Trump’s National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, because he no longer lived in the area and wasn’t using it. And Mueller has never been a close friend of James Comey. In fact, they were not even casual friends. Comey testified before Congress that he had dinner once with Mueller, but had never been to his home, didn’t have his phone number, and didn’t know the names of his kids.

But Trump wasn’t through. He still needed to repeat the same lies a few more times to make sure his gaslighting would take hold among his cult disciples.

“I think he is a totally conflicted person. I think Mueller is a true never-Trumper. He’s somebody who dislikes Donald Trump. He’s somebody that didn’t get a job that he requested that eh wanted very badly. And then he was appointed. And despite that, and despite $40 million dollars, eighteen Trump haters, including people who worked for Hillary clinton, and some of the worst human beings on Earth, they got nothing. It’s pretty amazing.”

What’s “pretty amazing” is that Trump thinks that the career law enforcement professionals that Mueller recruited from the FBI and the Justice Department are “some of the worst human beings on Earth.” That puts them in the same league – in Trump’s mind – as child molesters, drug traffickers, and terrorists. And despite the obvious insanity of these remarks, Trump’s supporters in his administration, in Congress, and in the general public, still don’t think he’s nuts. Which leads once again to the perennial question: WTF is gonna take?

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


UH-OH! Fox News on Mueller: This Was Not, As Trump Says, ‘No Collusion, No Obstruction’

Special counsel Robert Mueller took the stage on Wednesday to clarify that his investigation was not an exoneration of Donald Trump in any way shape or form. While his remarks did not expand on what he previously wrote in his report, they were a spotlight on the most relevant facts that contradict Attorney General William Barr’s dishonest mangling of the report’s conclusions and Trump’s specious claims of innocence.

Fox News, Robert Mueller

But there is something that is far more devastating for Trump than anything the special counsel said. And that’s the analysis on Fox News after Mueller’s statement. The network immediately turned to their chief political anchor, Bret Baier, for commentary on the unusual and surprising public address by Mueller. Baier wasted no time making the point that Mueller’s remarks would be troublesome for Trump (video below). He said that…

“I was struck by the tone and tenor of those remarks as he laid out his case wrapping up this report. This was not, as the president says time and time again, ‘no collusion, no obstruction.’ It was much more nuanced than that. […] He said specifically that if they had found that the President did not commit a crime on obstruction, they would have said that.”

Baier also blasted Barr’s misrepresentation of the Mueller report saying that it was more nuanced than Barr’s portrayal and “In fact, it was almost exactly the opposite.” That’s the Fox News way of saying that Barr lied through his teeth. But that’s not all. There were other portions of Mueller’s statement that should also worry the White House. Including his explanation for why no criminal charges were brought. Mueller reiterated his opinion that a Department of Justice memo prohibited him from indicting a sitting president. That opinion is rejected by many legal experts and has never been affirmed by any court. But Mueller is a stickler for procedure. Consequently, his decision not to indict doesn’t mean that no crimes occurred, only that he didn’t believe that he had jurisdiction to press charges.

What’s even worse for Trump is that Mueller unambiguously threw the question of criminality squarely into the lap of Congress. He said that…

“Charging the president with a crime was not an option that we could consider” [because] “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”

That’s an explicit reference to the constitutional duties of Congress and its responsibility to initiate impeachment proceedings. Mueller could not be more clear. It emphatically refutes Trump’s tedious and repetitive whining about “witch hunts” and “hoaxes.” But that didn’t stop Trump from issuing the same impotent defense via his campaign that there was “no collusion…no case for obstruction [and that] Trump has been fully and completely exonerated.” Only a confirmed Trump cultist could still believe that.

It’s going to become harder for Trump’s allies and supporters to remain on board this sinking ship. It’s ability to stay afloat has been largely due to the buoyancy of Fox News propaganda. But with analyses like that of Baier – who was joined by Fox’s senior legal analyst Andrew Napolitano, their ultra-conservative contributor Andrew McCarthy, and others – the USS Trump is taking on water at a dangerously high rate. So expect to hear some more frantic gurgling by Trump in the hours and days to come.

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


GOP Rep. Justin Amash Butchers Trump’s Disgraced AG Barr in a Brutal Twitter Truthstorm

Two months ago special counsel Robert Mueller completed his report on Donald Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia during his campaign, and his obstruction of justice as President. He delivered the report to Trump’s handpicked flunky at the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr. And ever since, Barr’s brazenly prejudiced mangling the contents has been the subject of harsh criticism and ridicule.

William Barr, Donald Trump

However, most of the critics have predictably been Democrats appalled by the dishonesty and suppression of the facts. One notable exception is the Republican congressman from Michigan, Justin Amash. Last week Amash publicly called for impeachment proceedings of Trump based on what is already known about his criminal behaviors.

For the time being, Amash is the only Republican congressman courageous enough to take this stand for the rule of law and the honor of America’s government. And on Tuesday morning Amash went further with a tweeted essay condemning Barr’s perversion of justice and the integrity of the department he is tainting with partisan lies. The series of twenty-five tweets is a testimony that needs to be seen by every citizen. It is thorough and scathing and truthful and speaks for itself. Therefore it is presented here unedited in its entirety (each paragraph being one tweet):

Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented key aspects of Mueller’s report and decisions in the investigation, which has helped further the president’s false narrative about the investigation.

After receiving Mueller’s report, Barr wrote and released a letter on March 24 describing Barr’s own decision not to indict the president for obstruction of justice. That letter selectively quotes and summarizes points in Mueller’s report in misleading ways.

Mueller’s report says he chose not to decide whether Trump broke the law because there’s an official DoJ opinion that indicting a sitting president is unconstitutional, and because of concerns about impacting the president’s ability to govern and pre-empting possible impeachment.

Barr’s letter doesn’t mention those issues when explaining why Mueller chose not to make a prosecutorial decision. He instead selectively quotes Mueller in a way that makes it sound—falsely—as if Mueller’s decision stemmed from legal/factual issues specific to Trump’s actions.

But, in fact, Mueller finds considerable evidence that several of Trump’s actions detailed in the report meet the elements of obstruction, and Mueller’s constitutional and prudential issues with indicting a sitting president would preclude indictment regardless of what he found.

In noting why Barr thought the president’s intent in impeding the investigation was insufficient to establish obstruction, Barr selectively quotes Mueller to make it sound as if his analysis was much closer to Barr’s analysis than it actually was:

Barr quotes Mueller saying the evidence didn’t establish that Trump was personally involved in crimes related to Russian election interference, and Barr then claims that Mueller found that fact relevant to whether the president had the intent to obstruct justice.

But Mueller’s quote is taken from a section in which he describes other improper motives Trump could have had and notes: “The injury to the integrity of the justice system is the same regardless of whether a person committed an underlying wrong.” None of that is in Barr’s letter.

As a result of Barr’s March 24 letter, the public and Congress were misled. Mueller himself notes this in a March 27 letter to Barr, saying that Barr’s letter “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.”

Mueller: “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

To “alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen,” Mueller urged the release of the report’s introductions and executive summaries, which he had told Barr “accurately summarize [Mueller’s] Office’s work and conclusions.”

Barr declined; he allowed the confusion to fester and only released the materials three weeks later with the full redacted report. In the interim, Barr testified before a House committee and was misleading about his knowledge of Mueller’s concerns:

Barr was asked about reports “that members of [Mueller’s] team are frustrated…with the limited information included in your March 24th letter, that it does not adequately or accurately necessarily portray the report’s findings. Do you know what they’re referencing with that?”

Barr absurdly replied: “No, I don’t…I suspect that they probably wanted more put out.” Yet Mueller had directly raised those concerns to Barr, and Barr says he “suspect[s]” they “probably” wanted more materials put out, as if Mueller hadn’t directly told him that.

In subsequent statements and testimony, Barr used further misrepresentations to help build the president’s false narrative that the investigation was unjustified.

Barr notes that Mueller did not “find any conspiracy to violate U.S. law involving Russia-linked persons and any persons associated with the Trump campaign.” He then declares that Mueller found “no collusion” and implies falsely that the investigation was baseless.

But whether there’s enough evidence for a conviction of a specific crime which Mueller thought was appropriate to charge is a different and much higher standard than whether the people whom Mueller investigated had done anything worthy of investigation.

In truth, Mueller’s report describes concerning contacts between members of Trump’s campaign and people in or connected to the Russian government.

For instance, Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner took a meeting with a Russian lawyer whom Trump Jr. had been told worked for the Russian government and would provide documents to “incriminate Hillary,” as part of the Russian government’s “support for Mr. Trump.”

It’s wrong to suggest that the fact that Mueller did not choose to indict anyone for this means there wasn’t a basis to investigate whether it amounted to a crime or “collusion,” or whether it was in fact part of Russia’s efforts to help Trump’s candidacy.

Barr says the White House “fully cooperated” with the investigation and that Mueller “never sought” or “pushed” to get more from the president, but the report says Mueller unsuccessfully sought an interview with the president for over a year.

The report says the president’s counsel was told that interviewing him was “vital” to Mueller’s investigation and that it would be in the interest of the public and the presidency. Still Trump refused.

The president instead gave written answers to questions submitted by the special counsel. Those answers are often incomplete or unresponsive. Mueller found them “inadequate” and again sought to interview the president.

Ultimately, the special counsel “recogniz[ed] that the President would not be interviewed voluntarily” and chose not to subpoena him because of concerns that the resulting “potentially lengthy constitutional litigation” would delay completion of the investigation.

Barr has so far successfully used his position to sell the president’s false narrative to the American people. This will continue if those who have read the report do not start pushing back on his misrepresentations and share the truth.

Amash pointedly began this rebuke of Barr by chastising him for “deliberately misrepresent[ing] key aspects of Mueller’s report.” He concluded by charging that Barr “used his position to sell the president’s false narrative.” And finally, Amash could not be more on point by calling on his Congressional (mainly Republican) colleagues to “start pushing back … and share the truth.” This has not been articulated better by any Democrat or other Trump critic. And with a few more Republicans joining the crusade for truth and accountability, the American people may finally get justice and Trump’s fate will be sealed.

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


Trump Cries ‘Fake News’ Over a Joke that Nailed His Hate for Biden and Love for Kim Jong Un

There is something particularly abhorrent about a political leader who disparages his fellow citizens on foreign soil and takes the side of murderous tyrants over American patriots. But that is precisely what Donald Trump has been doing while on his golf and sumo junket to Japan. He explicitly lashed out at his political foes in a way that borders on disloyalty and even betrayal.

Joe Biden, Donald Trump Baby, Fake News

When Trump landed in Tokyo, he almost immediately launched a hostile assault on Joe Biden, one of his potential opponents for president in 2020. In doing so he gleefully took sides with the America-hating North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un. Trump tweeted that he “smiled when [Kim] called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual.” Let’s set aside the fact that this exchange almost certainly never happened. It’s even worse if Trump invented it in his own diseased mind.

Trump later doubled down on these vile insults with comments during a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He told the world’s media that “I don’t take sides as to who I’m in favor of and who I’m not, but I can tell you that Joe Biden was a disaster.” Notice that he contradicted himself in the space of a single sentence by claiming to not take sides, and then taking sides against Biden.

Then on Monday morning – Memorial Day – Trump tainted the holiday of reverence for departed patriots by once again raising the issue of his preference for Kim over Biden. This time he couched his animus in a tweet that attempted to celebrate some imaginary victory over what he routinely refers to as the “Fake News.”

As he does frequently, Trump fails to let anyone know what the heck he’s talking about. He cites an alleged admission of error by an Ian Bremmer, but doesn’t say who that is or what his misstatement was. As it turns out, Bremmer is a political scientist who posted a humorous tweet the day before. It said “President Trump in Tokyo: ‘Kim Jong Un is smarter and would make a better President than Sleepy Joe Biden.'” Most people would have seen that this was a satirical comment that was based on Trump’s actual stated opinions. Nevertheless, because it was presented as a “quote,” Bremmer deleted the tweet and apologized for not having been clearer about it being a joke. That was hardly necessary. Not only was the humor obvious, the message was accurate.

None of that, however, stopped Trump from exploiting the matter in his own indignant tweet. He referred to it as “completely ludicrous,” which it definitely was not. Then he tried to smear all of the media as “fake,” despite the fact the Bremmer is not a journalist and does not represent any media organization. And then Trump complained about people getting away with saying anything they want. Apparently he would prefer that we abolish free speech and only permit officially approved statements. What’s more, for someone who has been documented to have lied more than 10,000 times, Trump’s complaint comes off as a rather hysterical hypocrisy.

Finally, Trump once again advocates for reforming libel laws so that he can sue those he believes have offended him. He has been doing this since his presidency began, and probably before that. News Corpse reported one especially notable meeting last year wherein Trump said that his administration would “take a strong look” at libel law reforms, which he apparently forgot to do. Not that it was really necessary. There are adequate laws already in place that prohibit the media from knowingly making false statements. But what Trump is proposing would very likely blow up in his face, as noted in the article linked above:

“No one has exposed himself to more potential libel allegations than Donald Trump. Every time he calls a reporter a liar, or asserts as fact that unnamed sources don’t exist, or alleges that a story was deliberately made up, Trump is slandering those reporters and harming their reputations and careers. Every time he lashes out with his juvenile nicknames at people he is claiming are ‘lyin,’ ‘failing,’ or ‘crooked,’ he is asserting a falsehood that could trigger litigation under his reforms.”

Trump couldn’t really care less about libel laws. All he wants is the ability to suppress dissent by intimidating his critics with threats of bogus lawsuits. He views everything in terms of the mob-style thuggery that he was accustomed to using in his Manhattan real estate business. And he thinks he can transfer that to White House politics. But he is likely to be sorely disappointed. His efforts to malign the media in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people,” along with his displays of affection for foreign dictators over Americans, is not likely to be a successful strategy. That isn’t how you win the hearts and minds of the nation. And Trump’s historically low approval ratings are pretty good evidence that his hate-spewing methods don’t work.

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