Trump is in a Panic Sweat as He Binge Watches Fox News for Leaked Conspiracy Theories

Monday morning we have been treated to a new episode in the continuing series of Donald Trump’s epic saga “How Can I Make Myself Look Even More Guilty?” It’s the tale of a traitorous president who thinks that by repeatedly lashing out against the valiant guardians of the law he will escape accountability for his treasonous crimes. In this outing we see our lead character colluding with Fox News to weave a narrative that mocks reality.

Donald Trump Fox News

Over the weekend there was a dearth of Trump tweets for an extraordinarily long seventeen hour span. The only plausible reason for this was that Fox News was covering Hurricane Florence non-stop and couldn’t engage in their usual advisory role for the President. Since Trump doesn’t have the foggiest notion what he actually believes, he was left dumb by the absence of his brain trust. But now that the hurricane has been demoted to old news by Fox, the pundits are back fulfilling their duties to the White House.

In a tweet dripping with the panic sweat of a caged rat, Trump once again portrays the investigation of his activities as a “totally illegal Witch Hunt.” Proving that he doesn’t know the meaning of the words “witch hunt” or “illegal.” Furthermore, Trump acquired his latest paranoid delusion from his senior White House advisers at Fox News. Here is what he posted:

The Fox News story, as reported by Catherine Herridge (video below), did assert that former FBI attorney Lisa Page testified in a closed-door session of Congress that that there was no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia. Herridge said that:

“A transcript reviewed by Fox News shows that during her recent closed-door interview on Capital Hill, Page testified that collusion was still unknown nine months into the FBI’s Russia case when the special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed. Quote: ‘I think this represents that even as far as May 2017, we still couldn’t answer the question.'”

Herridge later characterized Page’s testimony as an “admission that there was no evidence of Russian collusion.” But that is not what Page said. According to Herridge’s own reporting Page merely said that it was an open question. If anything she was saying that, while there was evidence, there wasn’t hard proof. What Page actually said was that “it still existed in the scope of possibility that there would be literally nothing.” That means there was a chance nothing happened, not that nothing happened.

Contrary to Trump’s assertion that “the case should never have been allowed to be brought,” this is exactly the sort of scenario that calls for a special counsel to conduct a more in depth and independent investigation. Still, the Justice Department, acting with an abundance of caution, didn’t request a special prosecutor until after Trump fired FBI director James Comey, signalling the possibility of obstruction of justice. And it cannot be reiterated enough that it was a Trump appointee (Rod Rosenstein) who named a life-long Republican (Robert Mueller) for the job.

So Trump is, once again, demonstrating that he spends an inordinate amount of time watching Fox News and regurgitating the nonsense he learns from it. That’s no longer in question. What isn’t being asked is how Fox News got Page’s testimony from a closed session of Congress? Who leaked it and why only parts that help Trump (if they are deliberately misinterpreted)? What about the rest of her testimony? Shouldn’t that be released now to insure that the leaked portions are viewed in their proper context?

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the remainder of Page’s testimony to be made public. The Republicans in charge of that information don’t want a fair reading of what took place. That’s why they cherry-picked some ambiguous comments and delivered them exclusively to Fox News. And it was tailor made for their number one viewer to validate his already preposterous fantasy that there is a nefarious “deep state” cabal working to destroy him. What a coincidence.

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

Trump and Fox News Whine About the Cost of Mueller Probe – But Here’s Why it’s a Bargain

It’s just another typical Friday morning in America where the President of the United States is venting his pent up rage on Twitter. The spectacle of Donald Trump’s embarrassing and dishonest tweetstorming has become as routine as the sunrise. And this morning’s episode of “As the Trump Tweets” was every bit as confounding as all the episodes that preceded it.

Donald Trump

Among the topics that riled up the Tweeter-in-Chief was how much money was being spent on the special counsel investigation into his collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice. Trump is aghast that the reported price tag so far has reached nearly $17 million dollars. Of course he surely didn’t know know that until he saw it during his “Executive Time” watching Fox News. They featured a segment on this with their chief intelligence correspondent, Catherine Herridge. She replied to a question as to whether there were “Any new details about the skyrocketing costs of the Russia investigation?” She said (video below):

“Well, we’ve got the report itself. And according to that report the taxpayer funded special counsel Russia probe spent nearly $17 million, as you say, since they opened, or Robert Mueller took over the investigation last year. […] according to the Justice Department report about $10 million has been spent between October and March. That includes $4.5 million spent by Mueller’s team and another $5.5 million spent by the Justice Department on other expenditures that are attributable to the investigation.”

Herridge then parroted Trump’s tweet that said precisely what she just finished saying, but added his customary partisan bullpucky that there was “No Collusion, except by the Democrats.”

However, neither Trump nor Fox News provided any context for the this expense report other than falsely portraying it as “skyrocketing.” The truth is that $17 million dollars is not especially high for this sort of legal inquiry. The Republican investigation of the Clintons over Whitewater cost more than $80 million (and found no evidence of wrongdoing). The total costs of the GOP-run Benghazi hearings were more than $20 million (also no wrongdoing. The investigation into Iran-Contra cost about $47 million. The cost of sixty votes attempting to repeal ObamaCare was at least $87 million. And Trump’s visits to his resort at Mar-A-Lago cost $67 million.

Put another way, the federal budget is currently about $4.1 trillion. Which means that $17 million is only about 0.0004% of the budget. It would be like someone making $50,000 a year and spending 20 cents. And it has already produced dozens of indictments and five guilty pleas. That seems like a pretty cost efficient expenditure for rooting out the traitorous behavior of a president and his cronies, and their efforts to obstruct justice. Don’t ya think?

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

Fox News Laughably Mangles Report on Mueller’s Subpoena for Russia Docs From Trump Org

There was breaking news on Thursday about the investigation into Donald Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. Special counsel Robert Mueller issued a new subpoena to the Trump Organization for all documents related to its dealings with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. It’s a significant development that indicates that the investigation is continuing to expand and has the President squarely in its sights.

Robert Mueller Trump

So it will surprise nobody that Fox News found a way to report this news that is both trivializing and confusing. In fact, they made it sound like good news for Trump. The mission of Fox News, of course, is to act as a shield for Trump and his Republican backers by defending him, and maligning his critics, at all costs. To that end Fox News host Dana Perino broke into her program with a Fox News Alert to rapidly misinform their viewers before any morsels of the truth could get out. She interviewed reporter Catherine Herridge on the Mueller subpoena (video below):

Perino: The New York Times is reporting that special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents related to Russia. Chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge is on Capitol Hill. Catherine, this news just broke right before the hour started.
Herridge: That’s right Dana. I’ve been making some phone calls and I spoke with one of the President’s personal attorneys who confirmed to me that the Trump Organization has been working closely and cooperatively with the office of the special counsel Robert Mueller. And at this time he was unaware that a subpoena had been issued, but he was going to check further. The key thing he said was the driving force, or the objective of the subpoena, whether it was in fact going down a new line of inquiry, or whether this was what they call a “wrap up subpoena” or a “clean up subpoena,” which is when you request records as you’re getting close to the end the of the investigation and you’re trying to tie up some loose ends.

First of all, it’s notable that Herridge only called Trump’s personal attorney to confirm this report, rather than someone at the Justice Department who would have knowledge of the subpoenas they issue. It’s also notable that Herridge didn’t identify the attorney she spoke with. Were these remarks off the record or anonymous?

More to the point, the introduction of the terms “wrap/clean up subpoena” muddies up the reporting. A quick Google of the terms found few results that weren’t referencing this Fox News segment. In fact, it’s a rather pointless distinction because all subpoenas are intended to secure information that’s relevant to the investigation and could lead to new paths of inquiry. But this spin by Fox News is intended to imply that the investigation is nearing completion and that nothing incriminating has been found. But they weren’t through trying to further deflect from the Trump/Russia connection:

Perino: So it might not signal a new aggressive approach by the special counselor?
Herridge: Well what we know through our own independent reporting is that the special counsel has been looking at the issue of the United Arab Emirates, and whether there was any financial input into the campaign by the United Arab Emirates, or whether there was a promise of better treatment after the election because of their support of then-candidate Trump.

Technically, that’s true. The UAE, along with other areas of financial misdeeds, is under investigation. But that has nothing to do with this new subpoena that specifically seeks documents from Trump related to Russia. This is an obvious dodge to create confusion and pretend that Russia isn’t the focus of this investigation. And the segment ended with a virtual admission that their furious spinning was probably all made up:

Perino: I’ve never heard of clean up subpoenas. I’m glad I had you on.
Herridge: I know. I learned of them recently too. That’s the kind of subpoena you want, apparently.
Perino: I used to work at the Justice Department. Someone was holding out on me.

See? It’s all very innocent. There’s nothing to worry about here. And the fact that these two experienced media professionals never heard of the type of subpoena that they just introduced on the air shouldn’t raise any suspicions. According to Fox News Mueller’s new subpoenas are not only uncontroversial, they are “the kind of subpoena you want.” It’s actually good news for Trump. And Fox News is the only place you’re gonna get that kind of twisted analysis.

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

Fox News Helped A Criminal Hacker Spread Lies About Clinton, FBI Report Reveals

The lengths to which Fox News will go to smear Democrats are still being tested. To date they have shown no qualms about making defamatory inferences, character assassination, and outright lying. But one of the most loathsome tactics they’ve employed is their readiness to embrace unsavory characters as “credible” sources. They often cite known conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck for news analysis. And Fox News reporters are always more likely to believe Vladimir Putin or Ayatollah Khamenei or anyone rather than Hillary Clinton.

Fox News

A superb example of this was just revealed with new findings by the FBI following their investigation into Clinton’s email server. Part of the controversy involved a Romanian hacker who claimed to have accessed Clinton’s server. Marcel Lazar, aka Guccifer, was interviewed in jail by Fox’s Catherine Herridge. Her report stated that he had “easily – and repeatedly – breached” Clinton’s server’s security. He told Herridge that “For me, it was easy … easy for me, for everybody,” Herridge also said that Guccifer had “provided extensive details about how he did it and what he found.”

Herridge also reported the response from Clinton’s campaign:

“There is absolutely no basis to believe the claims made by this criminal from his prison cell. In addition to the fact he offers no proof to support his claims, his descriptions of Secretary Clinton’s server are inaccurate. It is unfathomable that he would have gained access to her emails and not leaked them the way he did to his other victims.”

So given the wild assertions of a jailed Romanian hacker, whose claims Fox admitted they “could not independently confirm,” and the official statement from Clinton’s spokesperson, who do you think Fox News believed?

Consistent with the Fox’s disregard for honesty and ethics, the network latched onto Lazar and his transparent deceit. Fox doesn’t care whether or not he’s telling the truth so long as it’s damaging to Clinton. And why bother giving consideration to an American who has served the public for decades when you have the word of a foreign criminal who might say anything to get a reduced sentence? However, it wasn’t long before the FBI came out with its conclusions following their investigation:

“On May 26,2016 the FBI interviewed Lazar who admitted he lied to FOX News about hacking the Clinton server. FBI forensic analysis of the Clinton server during the timeframe Lazar claimed to have compromised the server did not identify evidence that Lazar hacked the server.”

That’s a pretty definitive refutation of Fox’s star witness. This is someone that formed the basis for an extended smear campaign of Clinton that traversed across the network’s schedule. The hosts of Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt speculated that the hacking probably involved many others and would lead to a Clinton indictment. On Fox’s The Five, Eric Bolling repeated Lazar’s claims, as did his co-host, Kimberly Guilfoyle, who also linked it incoherently to Benghazi.

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

What Fox News did here was inexcusable and irresponsible. They accepted Lazar’s claims as fact and used them as a political weapon. In none of these incidents has Fox News issued a retraction or an apology. They simply make outrageous and untrue allegations and then let them fester, even after they’ve been proven false. It’s standard operating procedure at Fox News and it’s more proof that whatever they do, it isn’t journalism.

Fox News Falsely Reports That Clinton Aide “Stormed” Out Of FBI Interview

With the market for manufactured scandals losing steam, Fox News is getting desperate for new avenues of attack against Hillary Clinton. Their already in progress effort to impeach her has been going nowhere. Trey Gowdy’s House Committee To Politicize Benghazi has wasted millions of dollars, and untold hours, but found nothing incriminating against Clinton. The accusers of Planned Parenthood have themselves been indicted. And the never-ending investigations into Clinton’s email server was recently declared to have uncovered “scant evidence” of any wrongdoing. So what will Fox News do now?

Fox News

Not to worry. Fox News will do what they always do: Invent some new controversy that they can hash around for a couple of days before everyone realizes that there’s nothing to it, and then pretend it never happened. In that spirit Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteran introduced a segment (video below) that alleged that one of Clinton’s trusted confidants was an uncooperative witness during an FBI interview about Clinton’s email.

“Long-time Clinton aide Cheryl Mills reportedly storming out of the interview over an off-limits topic,” was how Van Susteran opened the segment. The story was picked up by Fox News correspondent Catherine Herridge who got it from the Washington Post. Herridge’s lede was that this was…

“…a discussion of her conversations with Mrs. Clinton over which emails would be produced to the state department as part of the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request. […] This was negotiated to be off-limits because of attorney-client privilege.”

Van Susteren, an attorney before she joined Fox News, responded with a surprisingly coherent comment that should have put the matter to bed. She said “That actually would be routine that that would be off-limits, so it’s nothing surprising.” However, neither of them recanted the characterization of Mills as having stomped off in huff.

For some context, the Washington Post article that was the source of this story had an entirely different tone. For starters, their headline said only that “Clinton aide Cheryl Mills leaves FBI interview briefly after being asked about emails.” There was nothing in the article about anyone “storming” out. That was a rhetorical invention by Fox News. To the contrary, it was portrayed as a normal practice during such interviews when witnesses need to confer privately with their lawyers. In fact, it was the FBI investigator who was considered to have overstepped his boundaries:

“[A]n FBI investigator broached a topic with longtime Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills that her lawyer and the Justice Department had agreed would be off limits, according to several people familiar with the matter.

“Mills and her lawyer left the room — though both returned a short time later — and prosecutors were somewhat taken aback that their FBI colleague had ventured beyond what was anticipated, the people said.”

This afternoon on Fox’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” the subject was brought up again with Fox legal analyst Andrew Napolitano telling Cavuto that a “courageous” FBI agent asked questions that all parties previously agreed would be improper. He praised the FBI agent for violating the “baloney” agreement to honor attorney/client privilege.

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

So Fox News took a rather uneventful account of the FBI meeting with Mills and transformed it into a fictional battle between valiant FBI heroes and a shady Clinton crony. Admittedly, that’s a more exciting narrative than what really happened, but it’s also patently untrue. But considering the dearth of any legitimate mud that Fox has to fling at Clinton, it’s understandable that they are resorting to these desperate measures. Expect more of the same for the next five months.

Slow News Day: Fox News Correspondent With Paper Fetish Reveals Meaningless Documents

OK, Rick Perry just announced that he is running for president, but anyone who thinks that is news is probably still wondering whether Saddam had WMDs. So, in the absence of anything more substantial to report, News Corpse would like to present Catherine Herridge, a Fox News correspondent with a particularly unique on-air presence.

Fox News Catherine Herridge

For some reason, Herridge insists on augmenting her reporting with visual aids. Whenever she discusses some government revelation that was discovered in a memo or email or agency report, she feels the need to hold up a handful of papers to validate her reporting. Of course, the papers she displays cannot be read on the TV screen and really just take up space. For all the viewer knows, they are instructions to assemble an IKEA bookcase, or the results of her recent colonoscopy. [Note: If Fox’s graphics are to be believed, all of the examples above have something to do with Benghazi, an issue that Fox has tried in vain to scandalize for years]

The only thing interesting about this behavior is that Fox News regards this stagecraft as enhancing the storytelling on the part of their reporter. There is an inference that Fox viewers are persuaded by this “evidence” that whatever Herridge is saying must be true because there are some papers in her hand with printing on them. It is emblematic of the shallow standards of journalism as practiced by Fox News and the low bar for authenticity required by its audience.

In short, this useless theatrical gimmick captures the core of Fox’s broadcast methodology: Wave a shiny object on the screen while making unsupported assertions about its meaning. It’s basically the same tactic they use to promote Megyn Kelly and ISIS videos.

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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Fox News Wastes No Time Lying About Pelosi’s Comments On The Benghazi Kangaroo Committee

Two weeks ago Republican House Speaker John Boehner announced the formation of the House Select Committee On Politicizing Benghazi. Since that time, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has been weighing whether to participate in the obvious charade being performed by House Republicans. Today she decided that Democrats needed to be represented on the panel and named the five members who would fill that role (Pelosi video).

Fox News Pelosi

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Fox News carried the announcement (although they cut short their coverage when the new ranking member, Elijah Cummings began his remarks), but they wasted no time following the event to utterly distort what Pelosi had just said. She began by lamenting that it was unfortunate that “…the Republican obsession with Benghazi has not been about the victims, their families, or our country.” And she could not have been more clear about her condemnation of the blatant partisanship and politicization of the process by Republicans. [Emphasis added]

Pelosi: Over the past two weeks we have engaged in good faith discussions with Speaker Boehner over the shape and standards of the Select Committee. We had hoped for a level of fairness, transparency, and balance. Especially considering the subject matter. We were not able to reach any agreement. Regretably, the Republican approach does not prevent the unacceptable and repeated abuses by committee Chairman Issa in any meaningful way.

Consequently, Pelosi concluded that the history of Republican corruption in previous hearings made it “all the more reason for Democrats to participate.” That’s not a particularly compelling argument. The risk that participation would confer a measure of credibility to the committee was more than enough reason to abstain. Nevertheless, Pelosi had made her decision despite some lingering doubts.

Pelosi: I could have argued this either way. Why give any validity to this effort? But I do feel it’s important to the American people to have a pursuit of these questions in as fair and open and balanced way as possible. That simply would not be possible leaving it to the Republicans.

Immediately following Pelosi’s remarks, Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson broke in with a loaded question for correspondent Catherine Herridge. But it was Herridge’s response that twisted Pelosi’s words into an unrecognizable pile of Fox-excreted cow droppings (Fox video).

Carlson: I don’t know how you feel about this, but I’m stunned that Nancy Pelosi has made this decision because we just heard from Jay Carney a few moments ago, still calling it a Republican conspiracy theory.

Herridge: Well, Gretchen, the thing that jumped out at me in this news conference is that there seems to be a subtle shift in tone. What we have heard consistently from the Democratic leadership is that this is going to be a kangaroo court. We did not hear that at the news conference. I think what we heard was a recognition by the Democrats that they must now engage in a very serious way with the Republican-led Select Committee. And this is a reflection of the fact the members of this Republican Select Committee are very serious in nature.

Where on earth did Herridge get the impression that Democrats were recognizing any speck of seriousness on the part of the Republican pretenders orchestrating this phony committee? Pelosi had just slammed them as repeatedly abusive and untrustworthy when left alone. It almost seems as if Herridge is attempting to portray Pelosi as expressing respect for the committee she just finished denouncing as unfair and unnecessary. Herridge continued, and added a new element of political intrigue to the discussion.

Herridge: So this is a recognition by the Democrats that they must seriously engage, and that it would be a political mistake not to be engaged and to leave some of these issues unanswered. Especially leading up to the midterm elections.

Note that this is the first reference to politics. Pelosi said nothing about it in her remarks, but Herridge has now accused Pelosi of making a politically driven decision aimed at the upcoming midterm elections in November. Herridge’s introduction of politics is as baseless and offensive as the the Republicans efforts to fundraise off of the Benghazi tragedy. And then she follows up with a decidedly biased and negative characterization of the Democrats just assigned to the committee.

Herridge: What’s also striking to me, I think you could make the argument that several of the committee members are true partisans and have been on the attack on Benghazi from the get-go. So they seem to have been picked by the Speaker (sic) as way to answer these Republican allegations the administration, in effect, dropped the ball on Benghazi, they mislead the American people, and even more specifically that there was real negligence at the State Department that was led by Mrs. Clinton.

Really? After praising the Republicans on the committee as “serious,” Herridge is calling the Democrats “true partisans” who have been on the attack? Wouldn’t that description better fit the Republicans (and, of course, Fox News) who have been attacking on this issue for nearly two years? Herridge even mistakenly referred to Pelosi as the Speaker as she launched into a diatribe against Democrats, the administration, and Hillary Clinton, whom she baselessly called “negligent.” At this point Carlson chirped back in to dishonestly put words into Pelosi’s mouth.

Carlson: So Catherine, you’ve been covering this from the beginning. What happened in these meeting with John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi to go from just last week Pelosi saying Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, and not wanting to talk about it, to now saying “Well, we need to give validity to this effort?”

Of course, Pelosi never said that she needs to give validity to the committee. Quite the opposite. She clearly communicated that the only reason she was participating in the GOP farce was because it is so utterly lacking in validity. However, Herridge is demonstrating why the Democrats should have refrained from participation. Because even when they explicitly declare that the committee has no validity, Fox News and the GOP will twist their words to imply a validity that doesn’t exist. And if that isn’t enough, Herridge then went on to heap more praise on the Republican members of the committee.

Herridge: There is a real recognition that this is going to be a serious-minded investigation. The Republicans have chosen people with the requisite oversight background, also a legal background, two former U.S. attorneys, and they will, in effect, be able to move through this in a very methodical way. And they will be able to fill in these gaps. And it’s these gaps that represent, I believe, based on my reporting, real jeopardy for the Democrats, for the White House, and even more specifically, for former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and what this may mean for her possible presidential ambitions.

Once again, Herridge has injected politics into the debate, along with her perspective/hope that the committee’s work will be harmful to Democrats, particularly President Obama and Secretary Clinton. And if she hasn’t yet made herself clear, this is how she framed her bottom line.

Herridge: But the bottom line, for the folks at home, is the Democrats recognize it’s going to be a serious effort, and would be a political mistake not to engage in the fullest possible way.

In all, Herridge said four times that Democrats recognize that the committee will conduct a serious investigation, despite having no confirmation of that view from any Democrat. Herridge simply made it up, (much like the way Fox News produces most of their stories). And she repeatedly thrust politics into the discussion. In that regard she may be revealing the true motives of Fox News and the Republican Party. Neither are the least bit interested in a search for answers or solutions. From the start, the Benghazi fever that has infected Fox and the GOP was always about politics. It was, and is, an attempt to tarnish the President and to conduct a preemptive strike against Hillary Clinton’s possible campaign for president in 2016. They couldn’t care less about the American lives that were lost or about ways to prevent such loss in the future.

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The reporting by Fox News recounted above came just seconds after Pelosi’s televised announcement about the Democratic members she assigned to the committee. So Fox had to have been prepared in advance with the harshly partisan and political response that ensued. This was an orchestrated hit job on Pelosi that was likely devised by Fox’s CEO, and former Republican media strategist, Roger Ailes. And it illustrates, once again, that Fox is not even pretending to be a news enterprise. It is a brazenly partisan division of the Republican Party and a mouthpiece for raging conservatism.