Peak Stupidity: Ranking GOP Member of House Intel Committee Thinks Asking for Straws is Socialism

The most recent polls show that the American people, particularly the young, are not generally fearful of what used to be portrayed as the scourge of socialism. In fact, a more enlightened public is now aware that some of this country’s most cherished institutions (Medicare, Social Security, public schools, etc.) were developed directly from socialist ideas. And new policies that advocate universal health coverage and tuition-free college are gaining in popularity.

Devin Nunes

Of course those views are not shared by the Fox News viewing Deplorables who still worship at the Cult of Donald Trump. Their disdain for an agenda that seeks to mitigate the historically high income inequality, and to make fairness in jobs, taxation, and education a priority, is as strong as ever. And it’s strength is rooted in the ignorance of what socialism actually is.

A perfect example of that ignorance exposed itself Sunday morning in the form of a tweet by Republican Devin Nunes. He is best known for his corrupt chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee wherein he distorted the hearings it held and colluded with Trump to shape White House propaganda. With the Democrats having taken over the majority in the House, Nunes is now the ranking member, while Adam Schiff was elevated to chairman.

The tweet Nunes posted displays his pitiful misunderstanding of socialism, while also advancing his prejudicial views. He tweeted that:

Nunes is breaking the sound barrier of dumbassedness here. He is somehow associating a policy that seeks to reduce pollution and waste with his nightmare of a government controlled society. But free citizens in a democracy frequently enact bills that produce a desired and positive effect. That’s actually a validation of freedom, not some imaginary “Straw Police State.”

Nunes must also oppose separating recyclable garbage, banning cancer causing asbestos, health warnings on cigarettes, and increasing vehicle fuel efficiency standards. Anything that actually improves the lives of the people is inherently anti-Republican, because it interferes with their right to unlimited profits despite the public harm.

What’s more, Nunes is blissfully unaware of his own embrace of socialism. As a farmer in the Central Valley of California (although that is in dispute), Nunes has received tens of thousands of dollars in government subsidies. The district that he represents has received nearly half a billion dollars since 1995. How would Nunes define those handouts to people and businesses who are already prosperous?

This is the kind of idiocy that marks the Republican aversion to, and attacks on, socialism and the new breed of proud Social Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It is the result of being uninformed and unwilling to learn. And that problem is exacerbated by Fox News, who disseminate the lies and distortions of numbskulls like Nunes. It’s one of the reasons that Donald Trump says that he “loves the uneducated.” Without them he would never have been elected and no one would show up at his cult rallies.

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

Total Transparency? What Trump Really Means When He Lies About Exposing the Phony Witch Hunt

There has never been a president who has expressed more animosity toward the intelligence community he is supposedly leading than Donald Trump, His open disdain for the Department of Justice, the FBI, and all of the other intelligence agencies throughout the federal government and the military, is well documented. He even prefers the word of Russia’s Vladimir Putin to his own intel resources.

Donald Trump

On Monday evening it was revealed that Trump ordered the declassification of a select group of documents involving the the investigation of his nefarious connections to Russia. It’s a conspicuously cherry-picked set of docs that were previously requested by the smarmy and ultra-biased Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes. Needless to say, these items were chosen to deceitfully advance Trump’s paranoid “witch hunt” narrative. However, they actually pose a significant risk to intelligence sources and methods, while also adding to Trump’s expanding portfolio of obstruction of justice charges.

So naturally Trump made a statement on Tuesday morning to try to shore up his crumbling arguments against the work of special counsel Robert Mueller (video below). Trump unironically told the press that “I want total transparency.” Sure he does. He continued saying that:

“This is a witch hunt. Republicans are seeing it. The Democrats know it’s a witch hunt, too, but they don’t want to admit it because that’s not good politics for them. But it’s a terrible witch hunt and it’s hurt our country. And the things that have been found over the past couple of weeks about text messages back and forth are a disgrace to our nation. And I want transparency, and so does everybody else. As you know, congressional committees came to me and they wanted this, and I did it based on their request. But I think it’s a good thing because we should open it up for people to see.”

It’s funny how Trump thinks he knows what Democrats want and are secretly thinking. Particularly since he doesn’t even know what is in the documents that he just declassified at the request of partisan hacks in Congress. But it’s his claim to wanting transparency that really tests the limits of believability. If Trump is really committed to transparency, here are a few other matters that he might want to consider being transparent about:

  • His tax returns. He promised to release them several times, but that’a promise he never intended to keep. Presumably due to the numerous illegal and embarrassing things we would learn if he did release them.
  • Transcript of meeting with Vladimir Putin. Trump met with Putin for a couple of hours in Helsinki, but has refused to disclose what was discussed, even to his own national security officials.
  • Obama’s birth certificate. Trump said that “investigators” he sent to Hawaii “cannot believe what they’re finding.” We know how they feel.
  • Brett Kavanaugh’s file. Tens of thousands of pages relating to Kavanaugh’s service in the George W. Bush White House are still being withheld by Trump.
  • Emails and text messages related to Russia. While Trump did selectively declassify some of these documents, they were limited to those produced by people he regards as “deep state” enemies (James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr) He refuses to release the same sort of documents by Devin Nunes, Jeff Sessions, Sean Hannity, Wikileaks, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, etc.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive list. Trump is surely withholding much more information regarding his finances, his campaign, his relationship with Putin and Russia, and his myriad relationships with the women he was cheating on his wife (wives) with. This is not the behavior of someone genuinely interested in transparency. It’s just another dishonest representation by a notorious liar who is now trying to employ the deceitful, punitive practices of the dictators he admires.

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

Devin Nunes To Fox News: Stephen Colbert is ‘The Danger That We Have in This Country’

The first year of Donald Trump’s presidency has seen innumerable crises develop domestically and throughout the world. There have been several shootings on school campuses. Our elections have been tampered with by Russia, and they’re still doing it. Trump is threatening nuclear war with North Korea. And his proposal to impose tariffs (mostly on our allies) sent the stock market into a tailspin.

Stephen Colbert & Trump Baby

So what does Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee, consider to be one of the most serious hazards facing America? Well, of course, it’s late night television comedy, and specifically Stephen Colbert. Nunes was interviewed on Fox News by their resident Financial Distortion Anchor, Neil Cavuto (video below). The segment had nothing to do with the economy, but it did get to the bottom of the frightening assault on America by radical satirists. It began withe this probing exchange:

Cavuto: You mention that the media doesn’t present a fair case of [Trump/Russia]. Maybe the indication of that is that you’ve recently become the butt of late night comic jokes. Particularly Stephen Colbert was up on Capitol Hill. I think making you the butt of some jokes. What did you think of that? Did Colbert make any effort to talk to you?”
Nunes: Well, I think that this is the danger that we have in this country. The left controls not only the universities in this country, but they also control Hollywood in this country, and the mainstream media. So conservatives in this country are under attack and I think this is a great example of it.

Exactly. Stephen Colbert absolutely is “the danger” that America faces. And kudos to Cavuto for bringing up this looming peril. Where else but on Fox News could this travesty be exposed? Nunes points out that the reason the nation is undergoing such unprecedented turmoil is that leftists have seized control of the most powerful institutions in the country – universities and Hollywood – and are using them to enslave the minds of decent citizens. However, he doesn’t explain why these scurrilous lefties allowed Republicans to control the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House.

Also unexplained is how the special counsel, Robert Mueller, managed to get (so far) nineteen indictments and five guilty pleas connected to his investigation of Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. But rest assured, somehow it’s the fault of universities, Hollywood, and Colbert. And Nunes isn’t taking it laying down. He doesn’t intend to be the butt of anyone’s joke, no matter how much he deserves it. In fact, he likes it:

Nunes: So I hope they continue to do it. Because on the one hand you’ll see the left and the media running out there saying “OMG, this is the end of the world. The Russians attacked our democracy. And we have evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” However, they can’t show it. They have no proof […] they resort to going to their friends in Hollywood to make fun of people and attack people who are trying to get to the truth. I enjoy the attacks. If they want to continue to attack me, that’s fine.”

Well, we certainly wouldn’t want to disappoint him, would we? Although it’s puzzling that he says he enjoys it while simultaneously complaining that it’s an unfair attack and a danger to the country. Is he an unpatriotic masochist?

Nunes’ remarks were rife with allegations as to the identity of the real colluders – naturally, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. And when Cavuto asked him about allegations that he was “doing the President’s bidding,” he curiously replied “I don’t know.” Then quickly stammering to add “I mean, we don’t get any orders from the White House.” Which makes perfect sense. They are probably coming from Mar-A-Lago, where the President spends most of his time.

Nunes went on to praise his committee’s work and insisted that he “follows the facts where they lead.” So long as they lead to Clinton and the Democrats. He refused to allow his Democratic committee colleagues to call witnesses. And he wouldn’t hold White House witnesses accountable when they refused to answer questions. Nunes falsely claimed that “no one would know … that Fusion GPS was paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party’ but for his efforts. In fact, it was reported by the (fake?) media long before he ever got around to it.

Once again, Fox News uncovers the atrocities in Washington that are neglected by the “mainstream” media (which, for some reason doesn’t include Fox News). And heroes like Devin Nunes are permitted time to inform the American people about what is really going on in this gawd-awful country. With journalism like this we will hopefully soon be rid of fake reporters like Colbert who are working tirelessly to destroy America.

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

Here is the Fox News segment with Cavuto and Nunes:

And here is video of Colbert’s trip to Washington, D.C.:

Footnote-in-Mouth Disease: Nunes Admits FBI Disclosed Political Data to FISA Court

Last Friday Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, unveiled his super-hyped FISA memo. He promised it would expose the FBI as a conspirator in the “deep state” cabal to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency. The fallacy that he floated rested on the premise that the FBI misled the FISA court by omitting material facts.

Devin Nunes

Specifically, Nunes charged that FBI investigators obtained a FISA warrant to wiretap former Trump advisor Carter Page based on the infamous Steele dossier. But, according to Nunes, they withheld the fact that the dossier was partly funded by Democrats associated with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Indeed, part of the funding came from the Clinton camp, but the dossier was originally financed by the conservative website, Washington Free Beacon. Nunes always seems to leave that out when this subject comes up. In his memo he wrote that:

“Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior and FBI officials.”

Setting aside the blatant partisan omissions by Nunes, there is an even bigger problem with that statement. As it turns out, the FBI’s warrant applications did contain information about the “political origins of the Steele dossier.” And the source for that fact was none other than Devin Nunes. In an interview on Fox News (of all places) he had this exchange with co-host Brian Kilmeade (video below):

Kilmeade: There was some acknowledgement that this was a political document – meaning the dossier – in a footnote at the bottom of the FISA warrant. What can you tell us about that?
Nunes: A footnote saying something may be political is a far cry from letting the American people know that the Democrats and the Hillary campaign paid for dirt that the FBI then used to get a warrant on an American citizen to spy on another campaign.

First of all, a footnote disclosing precisely what Nunes said was never disclosed proves that Nunes was deliberately lying in his memo. Footnotes are not trivialities meant to be dismissed. They are notations with additional information of interest. The fact that Nunes tried to hide their existence reveals his dishonest intent. Secondly, a footnote in a classified application to the FISA Court was never meant to be a communication to the American people. So the FBI wasn’t hiding that data, they were complying with the law. Finally, the warrant wasn’t used to spy on another campaign. It was used to monitor Carter Page who was no longer with the Trump campaign at the time the warrant was issued.

Later in the same Fox and Friends interview, Nunes accused committee Democrats of being the source of “more than a hundred leaks,” but he refused to provide any evidence for the accusation. He also asserted that Democrats have come up with “goose eggs” on whether Trump colluded with Russia. This is a common theme among Republicans. But they seem to be oblivious to the fact that whatever evidence exists is in the hands of special counsel Robert Mueller, and he isn’t talking.

All of this is further proof of the bad faith smears orchestrated by Nunes and his GOP henchmen. As usual, the more facts that emerge about any pseudo-scandal trumped up by Republicans, the more they are exposed as shameless liars. And in this case it was Nunes himself who drew back the curtain on his own dishonesty. Ironic, isn’t it?

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

The Desperate Fox News Effort to Spin the Nunes Memo is a Pretty Bogus ‘Bombshell’

The Republican chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Devin Nunes, spent the last couple of weeks alleging that he had proof of an all-consuming, “deep state” conspiracy to destroy Donald Trump. He didn’t. But that didn’t stop him from beating the drum for partisan drivel that was giddily embraced by many of his GOP colleagues, as well as the conservative media echo chamber.

Not surprisingly, Fox News was the first, and most enthusiastic, torch carrier for the overblown hype that Nunes was peddling. Take a look at how they presented the “news” announcing the memo’s release:

Fox News

Okay, that last one in the bottom-right was from Saturday Night Live, but even they have better journalistic ethics than Fox News does. The others are from Fox’s primetime Trump-fluffers Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, and Saturday’s pitiful wannabe propagandist, Jesse Watters. And what they all have in common is the compulsion to characterize the super-dud Nunes memo as a “Bombshell.”

Let’s be clear, the memo fell as flat as the Earth that Fox’s science deniers are perpetually squawking about. It failed utterly to prove any of the allegations its authors and promoters had put forward. In fact, it literally proved the case made by Democrats that the FISA court’s granting of a surveillance warrant for Trump flunky Carter Page had nothing to do with the Russia investigation or the work of special counsel Robert Mueller. If anything, that was the “bombshell” produced by the memo. And even several Republicans who sit on the Intelligence Committee agree. As reported by Talking Points Memo:

  • Trey Gowdy (R-TN): “I actually don’t think it is has any impact on the Russia probe.”
  • Brad Wenstrup (R-OH): “I don’t think it really has anything to do with” Mueller’s probe.
  • Chris Stewart (R-UT): “This memo has frankly nothing at all to do with a special counsel.”
  • Will Hurd (R-TX): “I don’t believe this is an attack on Bob Mueller.”

None of these Republican members of Nunes’ committee agree with Nunes. Nor do they agree with Trump’s deranged tweet that the Nunes Memo “totally vindicates” him. The measure of psychosis that Trump displays by his narcissistic self-delusion is off the scale. And therefore, so is the hyperbolic, pro-Trump editorializing of the well-orchestrated Fox News “bombshell” amen chorus. They can’t even tell the truth when their own side is dismissing the vacuous memorandum (with an emphasis on the “dumb”).

And don’t expect the designated media expert of Fox News, Howard Kurtz, to set the record straight. He is currently promoting his new book, Media Madness, that is a right-wing take on how much the media allegedly hates Donald Trump. (To be accurate, it isn’t just the media. It’s the vast majority of Americans, but that’s another subject). One of the reasons that Kurtz’s book has rocketed up to #710 on Amazon is that he is undoubtedly the worst media analyst in the business. In one of his recent book tour appearances on Fox News (of course) he said that…

“There is something about Donald Trump, the candidate and now the president, where many journalists and commentators believe they have some kind of mission to save the country from an erratic president. And that’s not journalism.”

Actually, that absolutely is journalism. Kurtz apparently thinks that the mission of the media is to be an obedient lap dog that serves no purpose other than presidential stenography. But the Founding Fathers put a unique protection in the Constitution for freedom of the press specifically because it is sometimes required to take positions that will offend the powerful. It is the duty of the press to alert citizens when their leaders are corrupt, lying, treasonous, ignorant, and even erratic. And it’s all the more critical when we have a president who is all of the above. That is, without a doubt, a real bombshell that is ready to blow bigly.

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

Donald Trump is Right: ‘People Should Be Ashamed.’ Especially Trump, Nunes, and the GOP

The long-anticipated public unveiling of the highly partisan and corruptly biased “Nunes Memo” is finally out. And it proves nothing but the bad faith and desperation of congressional Republicans and Donald Trump who authorized its release. There is little of substance to arrive at any conclusions that the government abused its power or acted improperly. In fact, it reflects more negatively on its authors than anyone else.

Donald Trump

The entire Nunes Memo was published and is available for anyone to review. Trump has already had his say in a brief media encounter, where he whined that “A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves, and much worse than that.” He’s actually right, although not in the way he thinks. The embarrassment will fall on Trump himself, and his comrades in the Republican Party. This is a transparently political act intended to undermine the special counsel’s investigation of Trump and his treasonous, Russia-loving associates. Shockingly, it’s Trump who is attempting to accuse his own hand-picked FBI and Department of Justice leadership with “unthinkable” politicization. On Friday morning prior to the memo’s release he tweeted:

The Nunes Memo is a logical mess in addition to being patently dishonest. It outlines five points that its authors regard as salient to their argument that America’s top law enforcement institutions are engaged in a “deep state” conspiracy against Trump. It’s hopelessly partisan and bereft of independent affirmation. What follows is a summary, with annotations, of the five points:

1) The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application.

Nunes is aghast that information was allegedly withheld from the FISA Court, but he’s the one leaving out facts. For instance, the fact that the Steele dossier was originally funded by a conservative media outlet, The Free Beacon. Also, Nunes refuses to allow a Democratic response to his memo to be made public.

2) The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow.

Nunes asserts that the FISA application “cited extensively” on an article by Yahoo’s Isikoff. What Nunes is not disclosing is what else the application cited. In fact, the FISA application is still classified. However, in Isikoff’s article he refers to “multiple sources.” So Steele’s dossier was not the sole evidence presented to the FISA court:

“U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue.”

Another thing unaddressed by Nunes et al, is that the FISA court never relies on a single source of evidence. He is insulting this court by implying that they would be fooled by a partisan document and wouldn’t seek further testimony before issuing a warrant. And for the record, the FISA judges are appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – a Republican.

3) Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein. [and that] Steele “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”

So what? Does Nunes think that someone conducting opposition research would be a supporter of the target of the research? Steele’s opinions about Trump in no way impact any factual data that he uncovers. That’s also true with regard to FBI employees and other law enforcement personnel.

4) According to the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the time of the initial Page FISA application. […] Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.

The “infancy” or maturity of the dossier’s verification is utterly irrelevant to the FISA court. They are not finding guilt or innocence, but merely justification for proceeding with an investigation. And it’s interesting that Nunes asserts something that McCabe told Congress in closed hearings, but doesn’t provide a direct quote. It’s just his interpretation without any necessary context. McCabe’s testimony could have been quite different and Nunes is purposefully misrepresenting it, which he has been known to do.

5) The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation.

This may be the most significant item in the Nunes memo. It’s affirming that the FISA court’s warrant wasn’t even the instigation for the investigation into Trump’s connections to Russia during and after his campaign. Therefore, everything that Nunes is complaining about in all of what precedes this part of the memo is irrelevant. Even if the entire phony controversy over Page’s surveillance was excised from the investigation it would have negligible impact on the outcome.

This whole charade is just another effort by Trump and Republicans to deflect from, and discredit, Robert Mueller and others looking into Trump’s criminal activities. But it’s such a weak attempt it hardly requires a reply. It is brazenly biased and fails to make a single point that it alleges. And it’s further proof that these cretins are more interested in protecting Putin and Russia and those who are colluding with them, than with respect for the law and the welfare of the nation. And the perpetrators of this fraud will surely regret it when the truth comes out. #MuellerTime

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

Fox News Business Network Has Fully Transitioned From Financial Reporting to Trump Shilling

When Fox News began in 1996, the intention was to develop an overtly partisan, right-wing network that would skew the news to the ultra-conservative views of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes. After achieving that goal they set their sights on a business network that would eventually do the same thing.

Fox News Bartiromo

The Fox Business Network was never aimed at providing useful financial information. When it launched they put Neil Cavuto at the helm, a move that can only be interpreted as advancing the same conservative biases that infest his daily program on Fox News. And the execrable Lou Dobbs has long been a fixture on the channel. Three years ago they hired Maria Bartiromo who had been a financial correspondent on CNBC for twenty years. But it’s obvious now that Bartiromo has been inducted into the Fox mindset as she shamelessly disgorges wingnut propaganda.

On her Sunday program, Sunday Morning Futures, Bartiromo interviewed Republican inquisitioner Trey Gowdy on a subject that Fox News and the GOP have been desperately trying to revive: Hillary Clinton’s crime-riddled past (video below). Never mind that she has been the target of blatantly prejudiced investigations for twenty years that haven’t turned up a hint of wrongdoing. With all of Donald Trump’s illegal entanglements, the GOP needs to find ways to muddy the public discourse.

The questions that Bartiromo asked Gowdy are all that is needed to observe how hopelessly biased she is. Each one was a leading question that implied criminal intent to Clinton. As if Gowdy needed any help in turning his partisan innuendo into outrageous allegations. Here are the severely slanted questions Bartiromo asked verbatim:

“Do you now have the documents that you have been requesting to best assess whether or not there was a massive abuse of power by the FBI around the election last year?”

“So where does this lead? I mean, you’ve been stonewalled since August. You’re finally getting documents last week and this week week that you’ve been asking for since August. We know for example when you look at the Hillary Clinton side of things, her IT manager, Brian Tagliano, initially said he never deleted anything to the FBI. He told the FBI ‘I didn’t delete anything.’ Then apparently has an ‘aha’ moment and says ‘Oh wait, yes. I did delete emails.’ After we know that those were actually recovered. And he gets immunity. So he gets immunity despite the fact that he lied to the FBI, deleted emails, and didn’t tell anybody that there were these emails that existed.”

“Peter Strzok, when he was texting his girlfriend, Lisa Page, said that we need an insurance policy in place. Now Congressman, we have been hearing bits and pieces of this so-called Russia probe, so-called collusion between Trump and the Russians, with absolutely zero evidence. Was that the insurance policy? Peter Strzok essentially saying to his mistress, ‘Look, we’re just gonna keep on investigating Donald Trump should he win.'”

“Americans want to see the rule of law. If we cannot trust the FBI, the CIA – by the way, the IRS. We know what the IRS did a year ago, or two years ago. Then what is the point of the freedoms of America?”

“Let me ask you this because we’ve been watching this Russia probe. How long is this gonna go on? Because we still haven’t had any evidence of any collusion. When is it appropriate for Bob Mueller to come out and say ‘Yes, definitively there is no collusion here. But what I have uncovered is collusion at the top of the FBI between the FBI leadership and Hillary Cliinton.”

“We can’t have confidence if nothing is ever being done and there isn’t any accountability here. Obviously you have been searching for the truth. Devin Nunes is searching for the truth. But people are questioning the head law enforcement individual.

These are the sort of questions that hardly require answers. The response is built into the inquiry. Particularly notable is the question that seeks to put words into special counsel Mueller’s mouth implying collusion on Clinton’s part. And asserting that Gowdy and Nunes are truth-seekers is painfully delusional. They are among the most acutely biased Republicans in the country. But Bartiromo regards them as more credible than the nation’s top law enforcement professionals. Yet this is the unethical posture that Bartiromo has taken in order to serve her masters at Fox News and in the Trump administration. It’s downright embarrassing and more than a little nauseating.

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

Desperate Trump Tweets Threat To Investigate Debunked Clinton/Russia Uranium Deal

The walls are losing in around Donald Trump. Allegations concerning his unsavory connections to Vladimir Putin and Russia continue to accumulate. His closest associates are being investigated by the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. The 2016 election was tainted by revelations of meetings between Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives. And the Justice Department has already certified that Russia interfered with the election in an effort to harm Hillary Clinton and Boost Trump. The FBI is currently investigating the Trump campaign’s complicity.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

In the heat of all that, Congress is under fire for failing to hold independent hearings on the mounting scandals involving Trump and Russia. GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has himself been implicated in shady behavior. He reportedly met with a secret “source” at the White House prior to holding a press conference last week. At the presser Nunes released information intended to help the President evade further scrutiny. Then Nunes returned to the White House to brief Trump without ever sharing his information with the committee.

In the midst of this, Trump has now engaged in a pitifully obvious attempt at diversion. He posted the following tweets Monday evening:

Under the circumstances, asking the Intelligence Committee to investigate the Clinton’s is a transparent act of desperation. Especially since the Committee under Nunes’ control has zero credibility. In addition, the matters Trump cited have all been investigated by numerous legal and congressional entities. There was no wrongdoing found by the Clinton’s or President Obama. PolitiFact summed up the findings in a comprehensive analysis last year after a prior accusation by Trump. They rated Trump’s accusations “Mostly False” and said in part:

Russia’s nuclear energy agency, which also builds nuclear weapons, bought a controlling stake in Uranium One. The company has mines, mills and tracts of land in Wyoming, Utah and other U.S. states equal to about 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity.

So, to be clear, the 20 percent is capacity, not uranium that has been produced.

Given that Russia doesn’t have the licenses to export uranium outside the United States, it was likely more interested in Uranium One’s assets in Kazakhstan, the world’s largest uranium producer, our colleagues said. […]

The State Department did approve the Uranium One deal, but it didn’t act unilaterally. It was one of nine U.S. government agencies, plus independent federal and state nuclear regulators, that had to sign off on the deal.

And as FactCheck.org noted in a related fact check, while any of the nine agencies could have objected to the deal, only President Barack Obama had the power to veto it.

So there was nothing untoward about the deal in the first place, and Clinton didn’t have the power to approve or reject it anyway. Consequently, Trump’s only motivation could be to divert attention away from his potentially treasonous activities. It’s a pathetic scheme that is so clumsy it can’t possibly work. And that is the most damning proof of his desperation and fear. Stunts like this are only likely to exacerbate his situation.

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

So keep tweeting, Mr. President. Your outbursts merely serve to dig you in deeper. They certainly won’t have any effect on the law enforcement professionals examining your activities during and following the campaign. And as the evidence continues to expose your malfeasance you will lose even more support from your fellow Republicans in Congress. You know, the ones you just insulted because they didn’t buy into your phony healthcare scam.

Press Secretary Spicer Won’t Deny That Trump Planted An Alibi For His Wiretapping Lie

A few weeks ago, Donald Trump tweeted that he had “Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower.” But he never bothered to provide any evidence of the charge. To the contrary, he cited sources that were either lacking any credibility or didn’t back him up. Nevertheless, he has continued to push the phony story despite being repudiated by both Democrats and Republicans.

Donald Trump Lies

On Wednesday, Devin Nunes, the GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, made a public statement asserting that he had received information about surveillance in Trump Tower. He didn’t identify the source of the information, nor who was being surveilled. But he did say that there may have been “incidental” data involving Trump or his team that was picked up. In a follow up on Thursday he was asked if the source of this information was the White house. Nunes gave a meandering response that notably did not include a denial.

Later, during Thursday’s White house press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer was asked to comment on the same matter. That resulted in this peculiar exchange:

Question: Chairman Nunes today refused to definitively rule out that he received the information he announced yesterday on surveillance, that he got that from the White House. So will you rule out that the White House, or anyone in the administration, gave Chairman Nunes that information?

Spicer: I don’t know what he actually briefed the President on, but I don’t know why he would come in to brief the President on something that we gave him. I don’t know that that makes sense. I did not sit in on that briefing. I’m not… It just doesn’t… So I don’t know why he would brief the Speaker and then come down here to brief us on something that we would have briefed him on. It doesn’t really seem to make a ton of sense. So I’m not aware of it, but it doesn’t really pass the smell test.

You’ll notice that Spicer danced around the response but never ruled out that the information came from Trump. He merely expressed confusion as to why that would have happened. Of course, the reason is obvious. Trump had a vested interest in Nunes making a public statement that could be twisted into a validation. To date, Trump has still not provided any support for his reckless accusation that Obama wiretapped his phones. Now it appears that two of Trump’s defenders have blatantly refused to deny that the White House concocted their own alibi.

Why would both Nunes and Spicer be so conspicuously reluctant to give a straight forward denial that Trump planted his own story? All they would have to say is “No, the President didn’t do that.” Instead they leave open the possibility that Trump is once again acting as his own PR rep. And that’s something that really doesn’t pass the smell test.

[Update: A new report alleges that Nunes met his “source” at the White House the day before his press conference. This advances the planted alibi theory.]

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