White House Shills Flagrantly Lie About Trump Hobbling the FBI Probe of Kavanaugh

It’s another Pleasant Valley Sunday at the White House as Donald Trump dispatches his surrogates to the Sunday morning news programs to assure America’s Deplorables that everything is fine despite the political fires raging all around them.

Donald Trump

The topic of the day is undoubtedly the pending confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. His recent testimony regarding allegations of sexual assault against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford did nothing to exonerate him. But he did reveal himself to be a hot headed, ultra-partisan who traffics in preposterous conspiracy theories and has no aversion to lying about himself or others.

As a result of that hearing, rogue Republican Sen. Jeff Flake concluded that he could not vote to confirm Kavanaugh unless there was an FBI investigation into the charges. So Trump was reluctantly forced to comply and instructed the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh’s background check. Unfortunately, our relentlessly deceitful president sought to game the system by putting harsh restrictions on what the FBI could look into. After this underhanded tactic was exposed, Trump whined on Twitter that it wasn’t true. He accused NBC News of having “incorrectly reported” the story, even though it was also reported by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

On the Sunday Circus of news shows, Trump’s surrogates are now making the rounds to reinforce his false claims. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News that “The White House is not micromanaging this process,” and that “the Senate is dictating the terms.” And Senior White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway had this exchange with Jake Tapper of CNN:

Conway: The White House is not getting involved in the FBI investigation in that way. The president very much respects the independence of the FBI and feels, as he said last night, that they should be looking at anything they feel is credible within this limited scope.
Tapper: What does that mean, ‘within this limited scope’?
Conway: That’s up to the FBI. In other words, I’m not involved in those specific conversations.

Of course none of those protestations were true. NBC’s follow up reporting on the matter reiterated that:

“The FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about how to proceed with its weeklong investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a senior U.S. official and another source familiar with the matter tell NBC News.

“According to the sources, the president’s Saturday night tweet saying he wants the FBI to interview whoever agents deem appropriate has not changed the limits imposed by the White House counsel’s office on the FBI investigation — including a specific witness list that does not include Julie Swetnick, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in high school.”

And furthermore…

“A White House official made clear that the White House is the client in this process. This is not an FBI criminal investigation — it is a background investigation in which the FBI is acting on behalf of the White House. Procedurally, the White House does not allow the FBI to investigate as it sees fit, the official acknowledged; the White House sets the parameters.”

The conservative, Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal affirmed NBC’s reporting that:

“it was unlikely that the shape of the investigation would change without official communication from the White House that it wanted the bureau to interview other people beyond the list already provided.”

So that’s confirmation that the White House is calling the shots and that they did provide a list of approved witnesses. Clearly Trump is determined to insure that whatever investigation is conducted will not be thorough or impartial. He’s deliberately stacking the deck against Dr. Ford to protect his tainted nominee. That raises the question of whether this process will satisfy Sen. Flake who initiated it. If it doesn’t, he may vote against confirming Kavanaugh, which could sink the nomination.

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

There is also the possibility that the FBI will consider itself empowered to explore any matter that is raised during their investigation, which could include the other witnesses as well as Kavanaugh’s truthfulness during his congressional testimony. There’s abundant evidence that Kavanaugh did perjure himself. So there are significant speed bumps on the road to Kavanaugh’s seat on the Supreme Court. And with any luck this nomination will crash and burn.

On Kavanaugh: GOP Senator, And Fox News, Now Support an FBI Probe – of Democrats?

On Friday Sen. Jeff Flake monkey wrenched the Republican’s plan to “plow through” the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation and install an accused rapist on the Supreme Court. Donald Trump tried for weeks to forestall any effort to get at the truth by having the FBI supplement their background check with this new information. But Flake’s refusal to vote for Kavanaugh without such a probe forced Trump and the GOP to back down.

Fox News, Brett Kavanaugh

The FBI is likely to conduct a fair and professional investigation into the allegations of Christine Blasey Ford. But they might also report on other matters that reflect on Kavanaugh’s suitability to get this lifetime appointment. That could include shady financial dealings, unsavory personal associations, or lying to the FBI or to Congress.

Consequently, Fox News has sprung into action to try to prophylactically inoculate Kavanaugh from whatever bad news might emerge. They have been furiously campaigning on Kavanaugh’s behalf and viciously maligning his critics, including Dr. Ford. As part of that effort they invited Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy to visit with the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends to flood the zone with some obvious distractions. It began with co-host Griff Jenkins asking Cassidy to walk him through what’s coming next. Cassidy replied:

“This is part of a broader Democratic strategy to coordinate in that coordination, seek to delay. How many more charges can be brought out to smear this man? To create legitimate doubts in the minds of some, the American public? It’s a tactic of coordination leading to the delay. There’s other things the FBI should to do, but it should investigate whether there is this intent to coordinate the actual coordination.”

Jenkins was impressed with Cassidy’s blubbering nonsense saying “Well, that’s a great point you bring out.” Which point? The one about Democrats seeking to coordinate their coordination, or the coordinating of the coordinates that the Democrats intended to investigate? That’s not important – or intelligible. Jenkins then tried to expand the discussion by inquiring whether the FBI should investigate who leaked Dr. Ford’s letter? And Cassidy responded:

“There’s at least two senators that challenged Judge Kavanaugh’s assertion that this is part of a coordinated effort. Two. Now if they’re trying to cast doubts upon his judgement, I actually think he showed insight. Let’s actually investigate. Ask Dianne Feinstein, under oath, did she leak it, then ask her aides. By the way, we should also seek to get Dr. Ford’s therapist’s records. […] That should also be looked at to see if it does truly corroborate. Because that’s all that’s been offered by her side. And then look at this pattern of delay, coordination and obfuscation.”

Cassidy is parroting the crackpot conspiracy theories that Kavanaugh tried to foist on the nation via his totally baseless and paranoid accusations that Democrats are conducting is “a calculated and orchestrated political hit” as “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” All of the questions he asked about Sen. Feinstein have already been answered and proven to be above board and uncontroversial.

However, it’s Cassidy’s insistence that the FBI needs to probe political coordination by Democrats that is truly mind-boggling. And not just because he’s laughably incoherent. But because, even if it’s happening, it isn’t illegal, unethical, or unusual. Cassidy is attempting to criminalize ordinary activities by political parties to advance their objectives. But only as it applies to Democrats.

If Cassidy thinks that Democrats should be investigated for this, would he also agree to investigate Trump and the GOP and Fox News for their coordinated efforts to get Kavanaugh confirmed and smear his accusers? Now THAT would be fun, and probably turn up some real crimes. So bring it on.

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

Trump Caves to Jeff Flake and the ‘Radical Left’ – Orders the ‘Deep State’ FBI to Probe Kavanaugh

Welcome to the continuing saga of Brett Kavanaugh and his quest to be the second Supreme Court justice with a history of alleged sexual harassment and/or assault (and nominated by a president with an even worse history). Today’s episode brings us to the Senate Judiciary Committee where Sen. Jeff Flake has issued an ultimatum demanding that the FBI investigate the charges of Kavanaugh’s accusers before he will consent to an affirmative vote.

Donald Trump

Committee chairman Chuck Grassley actually doesn’t have the authority to call in the FBI or to put the confirmation vote on the calendar. But he essentially agreed to proceed with a promise that Flake’s condition would be honored. Subsequently, Donald Trump issued a statement saying that:

“I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file as the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”

This is a significant concession by a White House that has been fervently opposed to reopening Kavanaugh’s FBI background check. Just a couple of days ago Trump was holding a rare press conference where he refused to consider calling the FBI back in because “They don’t do this.” He elaborated saying that:

“The FBI told us they’ve investigated Judge Kavanaugh six times, five times, many times over the years. They know him very well. But here, there was nothing to investigate from at least one standpoint. They didn’t know the location. They didn’t know the time. They didn’t know the year. They didn’t know anything. And it’s like, where do you go? Also, it’s not for the FBI.”

The fact that Trump thinks that FBI cannot get involved in matters where “They didn’t know anything” would be hilarious if it weren’t so frightening. It’s exactly when little is known that the FBI is relied on to find out more. It’s called “Investigation” and it’s right there in the name of the Federal Bureau. But Trump is so ignorant of his role as president that he just makes up phony reasons to justify whatever outcome he prefers. Only last week he posted a ludicrous tweet responding to suggestions that the FBI be consulted (Isn’t there always a tweet?):

Everyone except Trump already knows why victims of sexual assault often don’t report the crimes. However, with Kavanaugh’s confirmation in trouble, Trump is now willing to defer to the “radical left lawyers” and the “Deep State” operatives lurking behind the scenes at the agency that he has been vilifying for the past two years as corrupt and out to get him.

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

Will this change the outcome of the confirmation vote? Who knows. It depends on whether the FBI finds corroboration of the charges against Kavanaugh. But they might also find evidence that he lied during his FBI interviews or his congressional testimony (which he did). That would also be disqualifying for an aspiring Supreme Court nominee. Well, under ordinary circumstances it would. But with today’s cravely partisan Republican Party controlling the Congress, pretty much anything goes.

Trump Tweets ‘Big Story’ About the FBI that Turns Out to Be a Big Lie By Wingnut Website

The tribulations of Donald Trump continue to mount as news of his crumbling network of accomplices gets more dire with each passing day. Just this week his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was convicted of eight felonies and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to felonies of his own. Then two close associates – David Pecker of the National Enquirer, and Allen Weisselberg, CFO of the Trump Organization – were granted immunity by federal prosecutors in exchange for their cooperation.

Donald Trump

As usual, when ever Trump sees dark clouds gathering he attempts to blow them away by creating a windstorm of his own. It’s an obvious tactic that just makes him look desperate and even more guilty. On Saturday morning he deployed this scheme with a series of tweets intended to distract from the Mueller probe and the slow-motion apocalypse that is his presidency:

The “Big story” that Trump refers to is one that has been in circulation for nearly two years now. It revolves around allegations that Hillary Clinton engaged in some vaguely defined wrongdoing connected to her handling of classified documents. This matter has been investigated by everyone from the FBI to various Republican-controlled committees in the House and Senate. And even when starkly partisan players in Congress were pushing hard to find misdeeds, they never did.

If getting “to the bottom of all of this corruption” was actually on Trump’s agenda, he would not be relying on Fox News as his source for information. After all, he has the world’s most sophisticated intelligence operations at his fingertips, but he still prefers the imbecilic sycophants on Fox and Friends to experienced law enforcement professionals.

The big story that has Trump triggered now is one that alleges that the FBI failed to review thousands of Clinton’s emails during their investigation in 2016. Trump attributes the story to Fox News, but it originated with a website, The Federalist, that is a virulent right-wing fount of extremist propaganda. The article authored by Paul Sperry is an interminably long screed that offers nothing but conjecture, when it isn’t rehashing ancient history about alleged Clinton misdeeds.

The key point that Trump’s tantrum focuses on is the charge that the FBI deliberately ignored thousands of Clinton’s email that were discovered on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, who was married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Sperry asserts that some 675,000 emails were found, but that the FBI only reviewed 3,077 of them. That’s because the FBI conducted an automated review that identified the vast majority of these emails as duplicates that they had received and reviewed from other sources. Sperry casts doubts on the FBI’s ability to have effectively screened out the duplicates, but he offers no proof for that contention, and he completely ignores the fact that computers are quite capable of comparing text.

Somehow, Trump concludes from this dubious article that the emails that were supposedly unreviewed were “REALLY BAD” and “disasters.” Where he got that from is anyone’s guess because even Sperry never made that claim. Nevertheless, on the weakness of this report, Trump is threatening, again, that he “may have to get involved” in the work of what should be the independent Justice Department. He has long claimed that he has that right and that he could even run the investigation himself if he wanted to. Imagine that: a president who personally takes control of the persecution of his political enemies. That says pretty much everything you need to know about the wannabe dictator in the White House.

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

Did Donald Trump Snub the FBI’s 110th Anniversary Because of the So-Called ‘Witch Hunt’?

Thursday July 26, 2018, was the 110th anniversary of the founding of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It’s a milestone that was somehow missed by the Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump. That snub was out of character for Trump who has made a point of congratulating numerous other governmental agencies, particularly in law enforcement and the military.

Donald Trump

Of course, his recognition of other agencies was always just a gesture of pseudo-patriotism intended to make himself appear to be supportive of the heroes who sacrifice so much on behalf of their country.

He even congratulated himself on his electoral college victory (and popular vote loss) over Hillary Clinton:

However, neglecting to celebrate the FBI’s anniversary might be more than just a lapse in memory or the fault of an inattentive aide. Trump is currently being investigated by the FBI, the Justice Department, and a special counsel, Robert Mueller, who was once the director of the FBI. Trump calls these investigations “witch hunts” despite having already produced dozen of indictments and five guilty pleas.

He has publicly insulted his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and FBI Director Chris Wray, all of whom he appointed. And even though he has occasionally differentiated the FBI rank and file from their leadership, perhaps he is still reluctant to give any of them any credit while the investigations are in progress.

In Trump’s mind it might be easier to malign the FBI if he is indicted, or otherwise implicated in criminal activity, if he hasn’t already praised them on their anniversary. So screw ’em. What doesn’t benefit Donald Trump isn’t deserving of recognition. That’s the Trump Way. And if the work of the men and women in the FBI is callously cast aside, too bad.

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

No Evidence of Bias: Trump’s ‘Witch Hunt’ Lie Gets Burned to Ashes By Democratic Congressman

Last week the Inspector General of the FBI released a comprehensive report on the Bureau’s handling of probes into Hillary Clinton’s email. Donald Trump and his fluffers in the right-wing media immediately set out to convince the American people that the report “totally exonerates” him. It didn’t do anything of the sort.

Robert Mueller Trump

However, facts have never stopped Trump and Co. from blathering incoherently about his infallible awesomeness. And his obsessive need to constantly exalt himself was exhibited yet again on Tuesday during a speech before the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Although it was difficult to find anything in his address that related to independent businesses.

The speech (which aired in full only on Fox News) was a typical Trumpian stemwinder that caromed wildly between unrelated subjects primarily focused on praising himself and smearing his critics. He once again falsely blamed Democrats for his own policy of traumatizing innocent immigrant children. And, of course, he ranted idiotically about Democrats wanting open borders and welcoming MS-13 gang members. He accused the media of helping child traffickers. He proposed cutting off aid to countries where immigrants come from (which would only result in more people needing to leave those countries). And he actually adopted the crackpot conspiracy that the children in his concentration camps are crisis actors.”

Included in this televised meltdown was another stab by Trump to pretend that the FBI’s IG report exonerated him from charges being investigated separately by special counsel Robert Mueller. The IG’s report had nothing at all to do with that. Trump’s latest tantrum was triggered by hearing himself saying the name of Hillary Clinton. He segued from that to a conclusion that the IG report had incriminated Clinton. It didn’t. Trump whined:

“Didn’t she already have her chance? I tell you what, when you read that IG report with these really dishonest people – and I was never a ‘Deep State’ guy – lemme tell ya, we got some bad people that are doing bad things. But when you read that IG report about how she got away with what she got away with, it’s a disgrace.”

Back in the real world, the report did not find any wrongdoing by Clinton whatsoever. In fact, it wasn’t even part of the purpose of the inquiry. The IG was looking into the the conduct of the Bureau and it’s employees. It did find that there was some inappropriate activities by the director, James Comey, and a couple of agents. But on the whole it concluded that Clinton was more often the victim of the bad behavior at the Bureau, and that it likely led to disadvantaging her – not Trump – in the election.

This fact was addressed in a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee where the IG, Michael Horowitz, and the current FBI Director, Chris Wray, testified. The Republicans on the committee were uniformly focused on trivial aspects of the report that they twisted into impotent attacks on Clinton. However, they ignored the more salient aspects, including the conclusion. The Democratic ranking member of the committee, Elijah Cummings, did not ignore that. Cummings, quoting the IG report, said:

“We found no evidence that the conclusions by the department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations. Rather, we determine that they were based on the prosecutors’ assessment of the facts, the law, and past department practice.”

No Evidence of Bias. That should put a big fat period on the debate over whether the FBI acted out on any internal bias. It should, but when you’re dealing with a dishonest crybaby like Trump, and his genuflecting defenders, anything goes. Trump will never stop whining about his delusional “Witch Hunt” because deep down he knows that it is a false narrative.

He knows that he’s guilty and that he’s very likely going to be exposed and held to account. He sees his former lackeys (Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, etc.) flipping on him, or getting ready to. And nothing he does hinders the progress of special counsel Mueller. So he has little else to offer in the way of a coherent defense other than to shout maniacally in all caps. And that is already wearing thin.

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

How a Crackpot Conspiracy Theory Went From a Flake to Fox News to Trump’s Twitter

The most conspicuous indicator of Donald Trump’s guilt is his own frightened and suspicious behavior. That is generally played out on his Twitter account with panicky outbursts that are never supported by facts and often make no sense at all. He is inadvertently producing a documentation of the decline and fall of an illegitimate American demagogue with utter disregard for the peril he faces.

Donald Trump

Trump’s desperation was on full display Wednesday in a flurry of sweaty tweets that unwound a horror story starring himself as a victim of a “Deep State” cabal determined to roll his doughy body to garlic knots. As you peruse the following eruption of crazy remember that there isn’t a speck of it that’s true, or even sane. So curl up with a pillow to clutch and come along for a ride down Daffy Drive:

Holy Shitake Mushroom. Trump’s Twitter tantrums are well known, but this goes way beyond his ordinary, every day, lunacy. The cerebral spasm above took place over the span of an hour on Tuesday. Isn’t that a work day in Washington?

The most interesting part of this story is how Trump came to the telling of it. ThinkProgress retraced its origins and the path it took to Trump World. It seems the fearsome tale began with an innocent enough bit of bullpucky in an anonymous tweet. The author was stirred by text messages between FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that he badly misconstrued as some sort of subversive plot. Never mind that the texts made no mention of Trump or his campaign, or that the Senate released them months ago without controversy.

From there the trail led to the notorious conspiracy crank, Gateway Pundit, who posted a typically lie-riddled account of the non-affair. At around the same time Reddit’s fruitcake forum, r/conspiracy, was spewing nonsensical comments alleging the same misconduct by the FBI gone rogue. And finally, the viral strain hit peak media velocity when Lou Dobbs of Fox News latched onto it. This is undoubtedly where Trump got it from.

The fact that such obviously insane hypotheses can get loose in the mediasphere is a sad reflection on the state of American political discourse. But it’s no surprise that when it does, it’s Fox News that plays the most prominent role in its dissemination. And of course, once it’s broadcast on Trump’s favorite TV network, it can’t be long before it shows up in his Twitter feed.

This is how low the bar is in the Era of Trump. The White House is now challenging Glenn Beck and Infowars for supremacy of psychotic derangement. It’s no longer bad enough that we have climate science deniers insisting that Jesus rode dinosaurs off the edge of the flat Earth. We now have a president who is parroting the fevered dementia of anonymous Twitter goofballs as if it were authenticated journalism. #SAD.

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

Fox News Outs FBI Informant For Trump After Warnings It Would Create Security Risks

There is one cable news network that has made its proclamations of hyper-patriotism a part of its brand since the day it was founded. Fox News incorporates American flag logos into virtually every graphic that appears on the screen. And its hosts and guests relentlessly sermonize on the divine infallibility of the nation under almost any circumstances.

Donald Trump Fox News

The exceptions to this rule are those that involve their Dear Leader, Donald Trump. Whenever there is some controversy regarding the investigations into his collusion with Russia, financial corruption, or sexual misconduct, Fox News immediately changes course to lambaste the government institutions charged with keeping the nation safe and enforcing the law. Patriotism goes out the window whenever the FBI or other intelligence agencies begin to close in on Trump’s criminality.

A foreboding example of this emerged this weekend as reports that the FBI employed informants to ascertain whether Trump’s campaign was working with Russian operatives to help him win the election. Trump took to Twitter to post a frantic series of posts denouncing these investigations and misrepresenting the FBI’s conduct. Trump characterized the Bureau as “implanting” spies in his campaign for political purposes. In reality, they were seeking information about possible crimes using undercover sources, which is in keeping with their mission to protect the public, including Trump. But now the obviously panicked President is threatening his own Justice Department with ludicrous demands:

There is, of course, no evidence that any political shenanigans were being undertaken by the FBI or the Obama administration. But Trump’s interest in interfering with undercover investigations poses a serious problem for law enforcement. He and his sycophants in the right-wing press have been calling for the FBI informant’s identity to be revealed. However, that information would likely lead to security risks for both the informant and any other operation he might have been involved with. People’s lives may literally be at risk.

So naturally Fox News went ahead and reported the informant’s identity. Never mind the damage it does to ongoing inquiries or human lives. According to an article by Fox News, the Daily Caller (a website founded by Tucker Carlson who currently hosts a primetime show on Fox) was first to identify the informant. That news was subsequently regurgitated by the New York Post, which is owned by the same parent company as Fox News. So at least three members of the Fox family have been actively outing an undercover FBI asset.

The original stories about this informant were published by the New York Times and the Washington Post. Neither one disclosed his identity. But both were apparently correct despite Trump’s tedious accusations of them being “fake” news. However, Fox had no problem with endangering Americans and American interests. What’s ironic, though, is that this reckless brand of pseudo-journalism didn’t even support their premise that this was all a clandestine plot to destroy Trump. Their own article notes that the informant was not a deep state Obama spy, but had previously worked for the administrations of Nixon, Ford and Reagan.

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

In conclusion, what we have here is an attempt by Fox News to assist Trump in defaming the FBI in order to help a criminally suspect president. And their attempt fails due to the partisan affiliation of the informant who, it turns out, is a staunch Republican. But it succeeds in endangering American lives and ongoing investigations to protect the country in matters that may be unrelated to Trump. So we should all recognize Fox News for their stalwart patriotism that they demonstrate by deliberately hurting the country and its citizens.