Hannity Freaks Out Over Holding Trump Accountable for His Coronavirus Death Toll

Donald Trump is without question the most reckless, ignorant, and incompetent president in America’s short history. Nevertheless, he is renowned for failing to take responsibility for any of his calamitous failures. Trump will vainly shift blame to others, employ awkward deflections, and lie shamelessly to avoid being held accountable. With Trump, the buck is always handed off to an innocent political foe or some hapless flunky.

Donald Trump Sean Hannity

Fortunately for Trump, he has a cadre of glassy-eyed disciples in right-wing media who will cover for him no matter how ludicrous the circumstances. Most of them reside at State TV (aka Fox News), such as his shadow chief-of-staff-infection, Sean Hannity. Trump relies on Hannity as a defensive shield against uncomfortable facts, propaganda dissemination, and contorted political strategy. And on Saturday Hannity fulfilled all three of those roles in a brief blog post.

The headline on Hannity’s harrangue was “A NEW LOW: Schiff Says ’50,000 Americans Are Dead’ Because Trump Wasn’t Impeached and Removed.” He lashed out at Rep. Adam Schiff for what he said were “Schiff’s vicious comments.” Elaborating, Hannity charged that…

“Congressman Adam Schiff escalated his war-of-words with the Trump administration Saturday; saying “50,000 Americans are dead” because the President was not impeached and removed from the Oval Office.”

What Hannity was referencing was a portion of a Schiff interview on Friday with Chris Hayes on MSNBC (video below). Schiff accurately observed about Trump that “A man with no moral compass will never find his way, and this president certainly hasn’t.” The subject of the segment was Trump’s tragically negligent response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Hayes asked Schiff about comments he made at the conclusion of Trump’s impeachment that speculated about the grave necessity of removing Trump from office to avert future catastrophes. Schiff’s response speculated about the degree of damage Trump would still be capable of if he remained:

“How much damage could he really do? We posed that question to the Senate and we answered it by saying that he could do an awful lot of damage. But frankly, Chris, I don’t think we had any idea how much damage he would go on to do in the months ahead.

There are 50,000 Americans now who are dead in significant part because of his incompetence. Because of his inability to think beyond himself and put the country first. I don’t think we would have ever anticipated that his brand of narcissism and his brand of incompetence, sometimes his brand of malevolence, would be so fatal to the American people.

To be clear, Hannity’s assertion that Schiff said 50,000 Americans are dead because Trump wasn’t removed from office is inaccurate. What Schiff is that the deaths were because of Trump’s incompetence. Of course, those deaths would not have occurred had he been removed, but neither would they have occurred had he not been incompetent. What’s more, the severity of the coronavirus casualties is being under reported. The death toll is now over 65,000 with more than 1,100,000 infected.

A month ago Trump said that he would consider a total of 65,000 deaths to be a “victory.” That was an estimate for August that we reached in April. A few days ago his son-in-law (and senior advisor), Jared Kushner, called it a great success story.” But yesterday Trump was busy tearing down and reconstructing the goal posts at 100,000 fatalities. Expect those posts to be pushed back further in a few weeks.

As for Hannity, his concern about not holding Trump accountable for the death toll isn’t surprising. But he is also failing to hold himself accountable. He spent the past couple of months dismissing the coronavirus as an insignificant form of the flu. As a result, a recent study revealed that watching Hannity actually increased one’s likelihood of dying from the disease. So it would be wise to practice social distancing from Hannity as well as all other Fox News viewers and Trump supporters. You can’t be too careful these days.

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

Trump Chokes When Asked ‘What’s Your Message to Putin’ on Election Interference

Democrats are currently engaged in heated primary season with multiple candidates still jockeying for position. And the media attention on this is having a severe effect on Donald Trump. Narcissists don’t like it when they are not the center of attention. Consequently, Trump is ratcheting up his psychotic outbursts in order to seduce the press to stay focused on him.

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin

Trump’s latest plea for attention is a desperate and bizarre appeal for what he portrays as fairness for Bernie Sanders in the primaries. Of course, Trump couldn’t care less about how the Democratic primaries are conducted, other than to slather them with mud and lies. His phony concern for Sanders is actually a play straight from the Russian playbook and intended to sow discord and chaos. And running his defense is Fox News who are making ludicrous assertions that the media and Democrats are the “Agents of Russia.”

Recent reports revealed that American intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia is, once again, interfering with the presidential election. The reports detailed Russia’s efforts to tip the scales in favor of Trump and Sanders. Trump’s own Office of the Director of National Intelligence, led by Joe Maguire, sent a deputy to brief Congress about this a couple of weeks ago. This news made Trump irate. Not the news that Russia was attacking our democracy, but the news that Congress was told about it. So Trump fired Maguire and replaced him with Rick Grennel, a Trump toady who has no experience whatsoever in intelligence.

So with an impending national crisis involving a hostile foreign enemy attempting to subvert our election, Trump was confronted by a reporter who asked a simple, but significant question:

“Have you been briefed that Russia is trying to help Bernie Sanders and, if so, what’s your message to Putin?”

Pay close attention to that question, and then consider Trump’s reply (video below):

“Nobody said it. I read where Russia’s helping Bernie Sanders. Nobody said it to me at all. Nobody briefed me about that at all […] They leaked it. Adam Schiff and his group, they leaked it to the papers. And, as usual, they ought to investigate Adam Schiff for leaking that information. He should not be leaking information out of intelligence. They ought to investigate Adam Schiff.”

So Trump’s response to a question on what message he has for his pal Vladimir Putin, who is trying to foul our election is “They ought to investigate Adam Schiff.” Really? Trump had absolutely nothing to say to Putin. His only interest is in persecuting an elected member of Congress who is complying with his oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Putin, on the hand, is held harmless as he continues to attack this country. As long as Putin’s anti-American plots are designed to benefit Trump, Trump is content to allow them to proceed.

What’s more, Trump’s remarks are wholly unfounded and reckless. He has no evidence that Schiff leaked anything. It’s more likely that it was a Republican congressman (Devin Nunes?) who spilled to the press. And Trump doesn’t specify who he thinks should be investigating Schiff. Russia? Attorney Genuflect Bill Barr? Rudy Giuliani? Fox News? And if that’s not enough, Trump is also admitting his ignorance of Russian activity that everyone else already knows. Either his national security team is serving him poorly, or he’s lying (or both).

Trump followed up those remarks with a tweet that made things even worse:

Once again, Trump is baselessly accusing Schiff of leaking classified information. However, Trump also suggests that the “information” that Schiff allegedly leaked was made up. In which case, it wouldn’t be classified. But worst of all, Trump overtly threatens Schiff with being “caught” and suffering “a very unpleasant experience!” All without a hint of evidence that Schiff did anything wrong.

This is part and parcel of Trump’s psychopathy that drives him to seek vengeance and to persecute his perceived enemies. It’s a frightening descent into fascistic totalitarianism. And with each passing day Trump is less and less worried about exposing those tendencies and acting on them. This is precisely the behavior that many warned Trump would engage in if Senate Republicans didn’t have the guts to expel him from office. And as it worsens, the blame needs to be evenly spread around from Trump to the GOP to Fox News and the rest of the Reich-wing media.

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

Trump Orders Justice Dept to Persecute His Critics and Pamper His Accomplices

There really is no bottom. Now Wannabe Dictator Donald Trump is bringing fascism to America. He is directing his corrupt Justice Department to investigate and prosecute (persecute) his critics. Meanwhile, he lobbies for light sentences and dangles pardons for his bootlicking sycophantic criminal accomplices. This is not normal. And it demonstrates that Republicans who thought Trump might learn from his impeachment were frighteningly mistaken and/or deluded.

Donald Trump

Trump’s Attorney Genuflect, Bill Barr, announced that he will be revising the sentencing recommendations for convicted felon Roger Stone. The prosecutors who tried the case recommended seven to nine years based on established legal guidelines. But Barr’s intervention is based on nothing more than Trump’s angry tweets. And if that’s not bad enough, Barr is assuming control of virtually everything that comes into the Justice Department that involves Trump. And Trump is obviously pleased…

The spectacle of seeing a president congratulate his toady AG for letting a convicted criminal off the hook should send shivers up the spines of the American people. Stone was found guilty of five counts of lying to Congress, and one count each of witness intimidation and obstruction. But his friend in the White House is pulling strings so that he doesn’t have to pay the price for his crimes. As a result of Barr’s interference, all four of the federal prosecutors who tried the case have quit.

What’s more, Trump’s tweet also makes a dangerously reckless and baseless accusation that former special counsel Robert Mueller “lied to Congress.” Trump doesn’t bother to cite any alleged falsehood, probably because he just made it up to slander Mueller. In a subsequent tweet Trump asserted, also without any foundation, that the career DOJ lawyers who tried Stone are “Rogue prosecutors.”

Trump has frequently weighed in on the criminal prosecutions of his associates. Just the fact that he has so many associates who have been prosecuted and found guilty is horrifying. But his reaction has been to lobby for lighter sentences or to issue pardons himself. Some of this confederacy of felons include his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, his deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and more.

On the other side of that legal coin, Trump has accused many of his political adversaries of crimes without any evidence whatsoever. In addition to Robert Mueller, Trump charged that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff “is a corrupt politician and a criminal;” that “Nancy [Pelosi] is every bit as guilty;” that “Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI;” and that “The Biden family was PAID OFF.” None of these allegations have an iota of evidence for support. They are purely driven by the animosity and vengeance of a wrathful president.

It has been widely known for years (decades?) that Trump is a vile and vindictive person who relishes punishing his perceived enemies. And he perceives enemies virtually everywhere, as he himself recently confessed. But the fact that he has an administration full of glassy-eyed cult followers who will obediently serve his will makes him all the more dangerous. And the Department of Justice is at the top of that list.

What this means is that there is nothing left to separate America from the totalitarian regimes and their tyrants that Trump so admires. This was articulated well by Sen. Chuck Schumer Wednesday on the floor of the Senate. It cannot be overstated how unusual it is for a speech like this to take place. but his words should be taken seriously if this country is to restore justice and preserve democracy:

“The President is claiming that rigging the rules is perfectly legitimate. He claims an absolute right to order the Justice Department to do anything he wants. And the President has as his Attorney General an enabler. And that’s a kind word. Does anyone think it’s out of the question that Pres. Trump might order the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden or anybody else without any evidence that supports such an arbitrary violation of individual rights?

“Oh, I know. Some far-right conspiratorial writer, who has no credibility and who just makes things up, writes it, Fox News puts it on, Sean Hannity or someone talks about it, and then the president says ‘Investigate.’ That is third world behavior – not American behavior.”

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

STFU: Why Did the Media Cover Every Word of Trump’s Post-Impeachment Gloating?

Here we go again. In 2016 the press disgraced itself by falling victim to the reality TV campaign of Donald Trump. They broadcast every rally and public address live and uninterrupted as if it had some news value. It didn’t. They were just providing Trump with millions of dollars of free air time.

Donald Trump Not Exonerated

The press utterly failed in its journalistic obligations during the 2016 campaign with their fixation on a candidate that stuffed his speeches full of lies, insults, and self-exaltation. Their preference for featuring Trump’s cult rallies was blatantly unfair. They were not giving the same amount of time or exposure to any of his opponents during the Republican primary or the general election. Some of the media recognized their profoundly biased and unprofessional conduct after the election and even apologized to the nation for letting them down.

Well, they seem not to learned a damn thing. On Thursday morning Trump gave an address from the White House that he previously tweeted would be “to discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!” That preview was bad enough, serving as a warning that the speech would be a feast of falsehoods and a celebration of having escaped accountability for his obvious crimes.

Why would the press rush to cover something that Trump himself falsely described as the “country’s victory” and a “hoax”? He telegraphed his intention to exploit the event for his own selfish purposes. And that’s exactly what he did.

The hour plus speech was a rambling disgorgement of a bloated ego combined with back-slapping of the sycophantic, Republican bootlickers in the audience. Trump rattled off the names of every Trump-fluffing apologist who ran his defense in Congress. and he told brief stories about how brilliant they were for adoring him.

Of course, Trump also used this time to lash out at his perceived enemies. He repeated his tiresome charge that he was the victim of a “witch hunt.” He revived his obsession with President Obama, baselessly alleging that “a lot of people would have been in jail” if he had his way. He rehashed the Mueller probe, calling it “bullshit” despite the fact that it affirmed numerous breaches of the law and blatant obstruction of justice. He went off, again, on America’s intelligence community, complaining about “dirty cops” and other evil people. He singled out former FBI Director James Comey for special condemnation, calling him a “sleazebag.” This is the behavior of a “president” whose cult followers are currently denouncing the “decorum” of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for tearing up a copy of his Dystopian State of the Union speech.

But he wasn’t nearly through. He slandered House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as “corrupt” and a “vicious, horrible person.” Trump unwound his frequent lie that Schiff had misrepresented his remarks in the phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. He continues to insist that people read the memo that he calls a “transcript” of the call, even though it clearly indicates that he extorted Zelensky to get dirt on Joe Biden.

Naturally, Trump didn’t forget to attack Pelosi. He called her a horrible person also. But he went on to make reprehensible remarks about her faith, asserting that he “I doubts she prays at all.” Earlier in morning he made similar remarks the National Prayer Breakfast, where he attacked Mitt Romney’s faith as well, saying that he “used religion as a crutch.” and that “I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong.” This, coming from someone who pretends to be a devout Christian but can’t cite a single passage from the bible and brags that he has never asked god for forgiveness because he’s never done anything wrong.

The entire address was nothing but a propaganda filled campaign rally with an audience of StormTrumpers engaged in idol worship. It allowed Trump to lie about being exonerated (he wasn’t) and to malign his critics for a solid hour without any pushback, fact-checking, or concessions to reality. And the media chose to air the whole thing live and without interruption.

For what purpose? There was nothing remotely newsworthy about it. They could have have easily recorded it and aired it later if they found anything that served the public interest. And then they would also have been able to provide context and corrections of his numerous untruths. If this is any indication of how they are going to cover the election between now and November, America is big trouble.

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

Adam Schiff’s Closing Arguments on Trump’s Impeachment Dare the Senate to Be Decent

As the impeachment trial of Donald Trump enters into its final phase, the litigants on both sides are presenting their best arguments to persuade senators to vote for or against conviction. The President’s counsel are sticking to their complaints about the process and the partisanship of the Democrats. The Democrats, on the other hand, are pleading with members to act on the facts that many of them have publicly conceded have been proved.

Donald Trump, Adam Schiff

Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman and lead manager for the Democrats, delivered a powerful closing argument that is certain to have a place in history. He distills much of what has been revealed in testimony and documentation into a concise indictment of Trump and the justification for removing him from office. In short, Schiff warns that Trump “has betrayed our national security and he will do so again. He has compromised our elections and he will do so again. You will not change him. You cannot constrain him. He is who he is. Truth matters to you. Right matters to you. You are decent. He is not who you are.”

Well, that last bit may be debatable as Republican senators fall in line behind Trump despite conceding that what he did was wrong. Some – for example Joni Ernst and Lamar Alexander – even said they believe that Trump won’t repeat his crimes now that he’s been impeached. However, there is no evidence that Trump has ever been chastened by attempts to hold him accountable.

The six minute oratory (video below) is profoundly moving and worth listening to in its entirety. The passages quoted below are from the very beginning and the very end of Schiff’s remarks. They serve as elegant bookends to the information contained in between.

“History will not be kind to Donald Trump. I think we all know that. Not because it will be written by never-Trumpers, but because whenever we have separated from the values of our nation we have come to regret it. And that regret is written all over the pages of our history. If you find that the House has proved its case and still vote to acquit, your name will be tied to his with a cord of steel and for all of history. But if you find the courage to stand up to him, to speak the awful truth to his rank falsehood, your place will be among the Davids who took on Goliath. If only you will say ‘enough.'”

“I put my faith in the optimism of the founders. You should too. They gave us the tools to do the job. A remedy as powerful as the evil it was meant to constrain. They meant for it to be used rarely, but they put it in the Constitution for a reason. For a man who would sell out his country for a political favor. For a man who would threaten the integrity of our elections. For a man who would invite foreign interference in our affairs. For a man who would undermine our national security and that of our allies. For a man like Donald J. Trump. They gave you a remedy and they meant for you to use it. They gave you an oath and they meant for you to observe it. We have proved Donald Trump guilty. Now do impartial justice and convict him.”

Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate are going to vote against the Articles of Impeachment regardless of the facts. They are only interested in preserving their power and demonstrating loyalty to the Cult of Trump. But thanks to Schiff and others on the House Managers team, the historical record will outlast their cowardice, complicity, and deceit. And the consequences for their weakness may be dealt out as soon as this November.

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

Trump’s Inner Mob Boss Emerges with Alarming New Threats to Politicians and the Press

One of the most prominent and disturbing elements of Donald Trump’s character (or lack thereof) is his tendency to embrace the language and behavior of mafia dons. He regards himself as an infallible and unchallengeable force who demands total obedience and blind loyalty. This weekend Trump displayed that mob boss fixation on several occasions.

Donald Trump

The recording of him telling Lev Parnas to “take out” U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovich was chilling to hear. Trump gave orders to Parnas, a shady figure with ties to Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian politicos, to “Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”

Trump’s apologists in Congress and on Fox News dismiss this as being within the President’s power to fire an ambassador. That’s true, but then either he fires her or he instructs his Secretary of State to do so. Parnas has no government role or authority to terminate the employment of an American diplomat. So what did Trump mean and why would he assign this mission to such a fringe player who is currently under felony indictment?

Similarly, Trump threatened the whistleblower who reported Trump’s extortion of Ukrainian President Zelensky, as well as the whistleblower’s White House source[s]. Trump alleged that they could be considered spies and warned “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.” That’s an overt death threat aimed at someone who legally protected from such retaliation.

On Sunday morning Trump also aimed a threat at House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff, saying that he “is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet…” Here Trump is baselessly alleging that Schiff is both “corrupt” and “sick,” two traits that are more recognizable in Trump himself. And what “price” does Trump have in mind that he’s implying Schiff will soon be paying?

This is typical behavior from Trump. And it manifested again in another Sunday tweet wherein he implied his interest in sabotaging National Public Radio (NPR) by eliminating their federal funding. This attack was triggered by an NPR reporter’s interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mary Louise Kelly asked Pompeo a couple of perfectly fair questions about Ukraine that he wanted to avoid. He became angry and erupted in a profanity laced outburst which she reported.

This led to Fox News host Mark Levin tweeting his disapproval of Kelly and asking “Why does NPR still exist,” and “Why are we paying for this big-government, Democrat Party propaganda operation?” Trump replied that it was “A very good question,” setting the stage for potential budget cuts to the public radio broadcaster.

First of all, NPR is not a “big-government, Democrat Party propaganda operation.” In fact, it receives very little federal funding. According to its latest financial report, just one percent of its annual operating budget consists of public monies. By far, most of its funding comes from corporate sponsorships, dues paid by member stations, and listener donations. The greater harm would come to radio stations that air NPR programming, most of which serve rural communities in what Trump would call his base.

What’s more, it’s simply ignorant to accuse NPR of being politically slanted to the left. If anything the opposite is true. After all, the board of its governing agency, the U.S. Global Media Agency (USGMA), is headed by Kenneth Weinstein, a Trump appointee. Also on the board … Mike Pompeo. That’s right. The Secretary of State is an ex officio member of the board of directors of the USGMA. And this is what Trump and Levin believe is a “Democrat Party propaganda operation.” It must be another department within the “Deep State” that is staffed by Trump loyalists.

Trump’s foul and menacing behavior is notable not only for its similarity to that of a mob boss. It represents an imminent danger to innocent people in politics and the press. Past episodes of this rhetoric has resulted in actual bomb threats and other attempted violence. And the scary part is that that is precisely what Trump wants. He is a bully who believes that he can get his way through threats and intimidation. It actually fits the legal definition of terrorism.

If he isn’t stopped he will only get worse. That’s why his impeachment is so urgent. Even if he were to be defeated at the ballot box in November, that would give him 77 days to exact revenge on those he deemed to have betrayed him. That’s a risk that American can’t afford.

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.

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.

Trump Keeps Whining About Impeachment, So Why Doesn’t He Offer a Defense?

One of Donald Trump’s most frequently articulated complaints is that the impeachment hearings are being conducted in a manner that is unfair to him. He grumbles daily (hourly) about due process and wonders why his attorney isn’t allowed to cross-examine the witnesses. Nevermind that everyone knows that “defendants” are not permitted legal representation during an investigation. That right kicks in at trial.

Donald Trump, Impeach

Apparently Trump believes that police detectives must drag the suspect’s lawyer around with them when they conduct interviews. He has surely been told that that isn’t true, but he clings to this absurdity anyway. He also must know that Congress is in an investigatory phase of impeachment. His perspective is already being presented by the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. But if he is concerned that fact witnesses who support his positions aren’t being heard, it’s only because he has refused to allow them to testify. What’s more, there is nothing preventing him from testifying himself. He often says that he is his own best spokesman. However, on this matter he is clearly afraid to speak on his own behalf under oath.

Consequently, Trump resorts to his favored mode of communication: his Twitter machine. On Thursday morning he pounded out seventeen (17!) tweets mostly obsessing about impeachment and the raw deal he thinks he’s been dealt. And the one thing they all have in common is that they completely avoid any substantive defense for his actions. Not a single time does he provide any exculpatory evidence or even an argument that contains some rational account of his innocence.

For the most part, Trump’s tweets focus on attacking either the press or his perceived enemies in Congress. Chief among his targets is Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who Trump, in his infantile way, likes to call Adam “Schitt.” But more to the point, his rage-tweeting included this lament that his fantasies aren’t aligned with the real world:

Anyone paying attention has heard Trump’s tiresome and repetitive declarations that his phone calls with Ukrainian President Zelensky were “perfect,” whatever that means. However, the “transcripts” (actually summary memos) explicitly reveal that Trump did link U.S. military aid to Ukraine digging up dirt on Joe Biden (aka quid pro quo/bribery/extortion). And Trump’s hostility and fear of Schiff was just getting warmed up:

It’s important to note that Trump never details what he thinks makes Schiff corrupt. It’s simply an ad hominem attack intended to rile up his base and salve his tender ego. That’s why he lashes out with blanket insults that malign anyone who dares to criticize him as “human scum.” And yet, somehow he he still has the audacity to contend that he’s “winning big” which, were it true, you would expect him to stop crying over it so much. When has an actual winner ever been so obsessed with all the evidence of him being a loser? But Trump’s angst-ridden anxiety was still just getting started. He still needed to parrot something utterly false that he had just seen on Fox News:

First of all, the man who has been documented as having told more than 13,000 lies ought not to be maligning the honesty of anyone else. Particularly when he can’t cite a single falsehood. Furthermore, the comments Trump quoted from Fox News are easily debunked. The Committee rules are public information. There is nothing in them that gives Schiff the power “unilaterally to release edited transcripts.” All transcripts are reviewed for accuracy by both parties and even the witnesses.

As for the Committee jurisdiction, that is entirely the purview of the majority Democrats and the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who also scares the bejesus out of Trump. For the record, Schiff’s committee has been designated as one of several investigating committees. Eventually, the Judiciary Committee will preside over impeachment, if there is one.

The fact that Trump communicates so frequently, and with such vigor, however never bothers to offer a substantive defense, is indicative of one thing: He has no defense. That is affirmed by the questioning by Republicans during the impeachment hearings wherein they completely avoid substance in favor of innuendo, conspiracy theories, and baseless, tabloid-style accusations. If Trump had a coherent defense he would use it. And he would allow those he claims are his supporters to present their case before the committee. That’s the big question. Why would an innocent man prohibit the testimony of those he says would exonerate him? Hmmm?

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

Terrified Trump Lies and Lashes Out at Nancy Pelosi, Calling Her ‘Grossly Incompetent’

The impeachment hearings continue on Capitol Hill with the testimony of Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman and others from the administration. Their depositions already reveal incriminating evidence against Donald Trump and his efforts to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That isn’t expected to change during the live testimony, although Republicans will surely try to assassinate their characters and change the subject.

Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi

As for Trump, he began the morning with his customary hostility toward Democrats and the legal and proper process that is underway. It is the duty of Congress to ascertain the facts about an unlawful bribery conspiracy intended to benefit Trump’s reelection prospects. And since the facts are all aligned against him, he is wholly consumed with defaming his perceived foes, Democrats and the press. That objective was neatly summarized in his remarks during a White House press avail wherein he unleashed a tirade that was completely devoid of any substantive defense of his actions. It was pure venom and wrath (video below). He began…:

“The woman [Nancy Pelosi] is grossly incompetent. All she wants to do is focus on impeachment, which is just a little pipe dream she’s got. And she can keep playing that game.”

Naturally the first inclination of Trump is to throw insults at his enemies. And of course they are completely lacking in any factual basis. Trump is well known for spewing whatever vile nonsense comes into his hollow head at any given moment, so his attack on Pelosi as “grossly incompetent” is just an empty slur. In fact, he had a very different opinion of her when Democrats won control of the House in 2018:

However, Trump was far from finished with his morning malice. He continued by introducing an imaginary scenario that he pulled straight from his asinine fantasies of how he thinks the world should be:

“I’ve been told – who knows if this is so, but I think it’s so. I have pretty good authority on it – that she’s using USMCA (United States, Mexico, and Canada Trade Agreement) because she doesn’t have the impeachment votes, so she’s using USMCA to get the impeachment vote. And it doesn’t matter because right now you have a kangaroo court headed by little shifty Schiff, where we don’t have lawyers, we don’t have witnesses, we don’t have anything.”

To be clear, Trump was told this by the voices in his head. There is absolutely no evidence of Pelosi associating the USMCA with the impeachment vote. What’s more, it’s already been established that she has the votes of a significant majority of Democrats for impeachment. But Trump couldn’t help himself and had to pound out another insult aimed at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. Trump has previously displayed his rank childishness by insulting the Chairman as Adam “Schitt.”

And still Trump wasn’t through. His whining about not having his lawyers or witnesses at the hearing could be resolved by him agreeing to testify. He tweeted that he would consider that, but anyone holding their breath waiting for it to happen better have a soft place to fall when they pass out. Also, not having Rudy Giuliani there can only be seen as a positive.

Finally, Trump exhibited the depth of his delusion by claiming that “The Republicans are absolutely killing it” at the hearing. He apparently hasn’t heard any of the incriminating testimony. Then he rattled off his routing ranting about the whole thing being a hoax and how the Founders, who deliberately wrote impeachment into the Constitution, would have nevertheless opposed it. And he has the bizarre impression that he’s a beloved leader who is doing well in the polls. Perhaps so, if he thinks that having a majority of Americans favor his impeachment and removal from office is “doing well.” In his diseased mind the Democrats are are simply out to get him, but…

“It’s had the opposite effect, because you’ve seen the polls and I’m the highest I’ve ever been in the polls. You don’t hear that on television because the news and the Democrats are one and the same.”

The reason you don’t hear that Trump is high in the polls is because it isn’t true. But that’s just another of the fallacies that Trump is disseminating. On Monday he tweeted with shock that Nancy Pelosi said “It is dangerous to let the voters decide Trump’s fate.” Which would be shocking if she actually said that. In reality, Pelosi only said that not conducting the impeachment inquiry would be dangerous “because the President is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.” That’s very, very different, and true. Trump’s “quote” actually came, not from Pelosi, but from Mike Emanuel of Fox News. Is anyone surprised?

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