SURPRISE! Trump’s Impeachment Defense Begins with 6 ‘Facts’ that Are All Lies

The day that Donald Trump has been waiting for (and whining about) has finally come. It’s the day that marks the commencement of his Fox News Legal Team’s presentation of his case against removing him from office now that he has been irrevocably impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Donald Trump, Impeach

Of course, everyone has already heard the case that Trump’s lawyers will be making. They have been making that case relentlessly on Fox News for weeks. The case that Fox viewers haven’t heard is the one by Democrats. That’s because Fox News chose to shield their snowflake viewers from any exposure to reality. Instead, they aired their own regularly scheduled, Trump-fluffing programs during prime time rather than the Senate hearings. They even admonished their viewers not to watch the hearings at all because Fox’s shills would watch for them.

To no one’s surprise, Trump’s defense was littered with familiar lies. His White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, led off by falsely characterizing the House impeachment hearings, saying that Democrats “lock[ed] everybody out of it from the President’s side.” In fact, Democrats invited the White House to participate, but the invitation was rejected in a letter from Cipollone himself. And all Republican members of the three committees holding hearings — Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight — participated and were given equal time.

Following Cipollone’s flagrant fictionalization of events, his deputy, Mike Purpura took center stage with what he said were the “six key facts that have not, and will not, change.” (video below) Let’s take a look, shall we?

FIRST: “The transcript shows that the President did not condition either security assistance or a meeting on anything.”
Actually, there has been no transcript released, only a memo purporting to summarize the phone call between Trump and Zelensky. And in that memo Trump is plainly seen to condition aid with a demand that Zelensky “do us a favor, though.” Trump then stated his interest in a conspiracy theory about a a Democratic computer server, and the Biden family. There was no discussion of corruption whatsoever.

SECOND: “President Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said that there was no quid pro quo and no pressure on them to review anything.”
In fact, Zelensky had to be careful not to upset Trump at the risk of losing the aid. You can’t ask a hostage if he’s under pressure and expect a candid answer. Zelensky told an interviewer that he didn’t “want us to look like beggars.” Then went on to say that “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.” What’s more, Trump himself confessed on national television that he did condition aid on a demand that Zelensky help him smear Joe Biden. When asked directly what he hoped to get from Zelensky, Trump said “I would think that if they’re honest about it they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens.”

Third: “President Zelensky and other high ranking Ukrainian officials did not even know the security assistance was paused until the end of August, over a month after the July 25 call.”
Not according to the Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister who said that Ukraine was aware of a U.S. freeze in military aid as early as July.

Fourth: “Not a single witness testified that the President himself said that there was any connection between any investigation and security assistance, a presidential meeting, or anything else.”
Not true. Several witnesses (i.e. Gordon Sondland, Alexander Vindman) said that Trump had made a such a connection. But if Trump’s attorneys are concerned that there wasn’t sufficient testimony from first-hand witnesses, then why is Trump prohibiting staffers like Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, etc., from testifying? Why would he block testimony from those he says would exonerate him?

Fifth: “The security assistance flowed on September 11, and a presidential meeting took place on September 25, without the Ukrainian government announcing any investigations.”
What Trump’s team isn’t saying is that those things occurred only after he got caught. They were an attempt to paper over his criminal behavior after the fact.

Finally: “The Democrats blind drive to impeach the President does not, and cannot, change the fact, as attested to by the Democrats’ own witnesses, that President Trump has been a better friend and stronger support of Ukraine than his predecessor [President Obama].”
You can hardly call threatening a country with the loss of critical military aid during a war as “friendly.” And even if there were cursory signs of friendship, that doesn’t excuse Trump’s unlawful behavior. Furthermore, Trump has been a far better friend to Vladimir Putin and Russia, the country that is invading and annexing parts of Ukraine.

If this is any indication of how the Trump defense is going to go as it proceeds through next week, we are in for some hefty heapings of falsehoods and misdirection. They haven’t even even gotten to the Bidens yet, as Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow promised to do. But rest assured, that will come. And the whole of the Trump defense will be built on distortion and deception. But that’s only because they can’t defend Trump on the facts.

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

Trump Admits that He’s Only Interested in a Lie-Filled Reality TV Impeachment Show

Trump has been tweeting up a storm on this fourth day of his Senate impeachment trial. Most of it has been retweets of the sycophantic Trump-fluffers who vainly try to defend the indefensible criminality of Trump. But some are more puzzling than others, such as the one where he agreed with Joe Biden that he should be impeached and removed from office.

Donald Trump TV Set

However, in addition to his tweet agreeing with Biden, Trump also tweeted what amounts to an admission that he isn’t really concerned about the outcome of the Senate trial at all. That’s because the GOP leader, Mitch McConnell, has already assured him that he won’t permit a fair hearing to take place and that the outcome will be manipulated in Trump’s favor. So Trump tweeted this:

First of all, Trump had an invitation to have his representatives and witnesses appear during the House hearings, but he refused. So he can’t complain about not being represented when that was his own decision. Secondly, The prospect of the Trump defense in the Senate being pushed to Saturday was entirely the work of Mitch McConnell. The Democrats had no power to alter the schedule dictated by the GOP leader. And it appears likely that McConnell will alter it himself and shift the commencement of the Trump defense to Monday.

That said, it’s notable that what Trump is whining about isn’t how his case will be made to the senators who will be voting on his fate as president. Nope. What Trump is upset about is that his defenders might not have as big a television audience as he would like. In other words, he’s only interested in the reality TV elements of his impeachment hearings. That’s a so typically Trumpian.

Trump already has the benefit of Fox News, which has not been airing the Senate hearings during prime time. Fox has also benched their Senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, in order to keep his contrary views away from the snowflakes who watch Fox (Napolitano called the evidence for Trump’s impeachment and removal “ample and uncontradicted”). Fox did, however, interrupt coverage of the hearings on Friday to show Trump giving a speech at the anti-abortion March for Life. They were in alone in that editorially biased decision.

In the end everything about Trump’s behavior and commentaries is focused on one thing only: What is in his own best interest, never mind the American people or the fate of the nation. It’s his malignantly narcissistic, massive ego that must be satisfied first. And ironically, that’s what got him into all this trouble to begin with.

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

HUH? Trump Agrees with Biden that He Must Be Impeached and Removed From Office

The longer the impeachment hearings for Donald Trump go on, the more deranged he becomes. He is clearly frightened and fixated on the proceedings despite his frequent and unconvincing dismissals. On Friday morning he once again posted a frantic flurry of more than fifty tweets assailing the Democrats in congress as they press their case against him.

Donald Trump, Joe Biden

Embedded in this Twitter tantrum, Trump included his familiar whining about how he is such a helpless victim of the meanies in the Democratic Party who refuse to adore him. He repeated for the umpteenth time his demand that everyone “Read the Transcripts” of his clearly incriminating phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. And he retweeted a phalanx of StormTrumpers in Congress and the media who are valiantly defending the indefensible. But perhaps the most bizarre tweet of the bunch was this beaut:

Trump is quoting Joe Biden’s assessment that Trump could gain some advantage after emerging “victorious” from the Senate’s impeachment trial. That’s debatable, but Biden’s view is not unreasonable. What’s peculiar is that Trump is latching onto – and agreeing with – Biden’s comments that “Congress has no choice, it has a Constitutional responsibility.” Biden is referring to to the responsibility to impeach Trump and remove him from office. And Trump, as expressed in this tweet, apparently agrees with that. Good to know.

The view that Trump will be “harder to beat” following these hearings is not cast in stone. On one hand, Trump has already been impeached, and that’s forever. The Senate hearings are driving home the facts surrounding Trump’s criminal coercion of Zelensky and his efforts to cover it up. They are also revealing the Republicans’ unprincipled obsession with suppressing new evidence and witness testimony. Consequently, any “acquittal” by a partisan vote of the GOP majority would immediately and totally lack credibility. And Trump’s guilt would still be presumed by most Americans, as it is now.

The argument that Trump would be stronger rests only on the notion that his cult followers might be more motivated to turn out in November. But that’s speculative at best. His most fervent supporters are already as buzzy as they can possibly be. And he isn’t likely to attract new supporters simply because the GOP-run Senate let him off the hook.

Nevertheless, Trump is continuing to pretend that all this impeachment stuff is helping him and hurting Democrats. That view might make him feel better and provide some encouragement to his despondent Deplorables, but it isn’t founded on any factual basis. And it won’t alter the public perception that he is a liar who has betrayed his country to further his own personal and political ambitions.

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

MISSING: Fox News Legal Expert Who Said Evidence Against Trump is ‘Ample and Uncontradicted’

The Fox News coverage of the Senate impeachment hearing has been just as bad as might have been expected. Even worse, actually. To be sure, their prime time Trump-fluffers have been predictably adoring and servile as they heap praise on Donald Trump and his defenders, while shoveling bile on his critics. Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, have spared no shame in slobbering over Dear Leader while slandering the Democrats prosecuting him.

Donald Trump, Andrew Napolitano

The reason it’s been even worse than expected is that Fox News has ignored large swaths of the hearings. They chose to air their regularly scheduled programming rather than the live proceedings from the Senate. That way they can prevent their already ill-informed audience from accidentally being exposed to the truth about Trump.

Fox even advised their dimwitted viewers to avoid watching the hearings with admonitions like “We’re showing you the good stuff – it was unbelievably boring,” and “I don’t know how people can follow it,” and “We watched so that you don’t have to,” and “It is a little bit like watching paint dry,” and “If I were a terrible host I would force you to endure watching.” Fox News is behaving like parents shielding their children from naughty words. Which may explain why Fox viewers behave so much like children.

So while CNN and MSNBC were airing the hearings in prime time, Fox News was airing their squawking heads attacking responsible journalism, disparaging the Democratic managers, and insisting that Trump was as pure and virginal as Mother Mary. It’s a bizarre spectacle to see people in the media advocating against being fully informed and proactively disinforming them. But then, that’s what Fox News does every day.

Consequently, Fox’s viewers got their customary mush of one-sided blather. And their number one viewer, Donald Trump, will be spared the agonizing torture of encountering anything remotely negative – or truthful – about him.

Contributing to this extreme bias is the mystery disappearance of Fox’s Senior Judicial Analyst, Andrew Napolitano. He has not made a single appearance on the network during the most prominent judicial story of the decade. Instead, Fox has exclusively featured such pro-Trump commentators as Trey Gowdy and Andrew McCarthy. Napolitano has previously provided a far more cogent analysis with clear-eyed recognition of Trump’s guilt (for instance, here and here and here).

Had Napolitano been booked to give his impression of the impeachment hearings, he might have sparked some severe cognitive injuries. Particularly for Trump. Napolitano was permitted to publish an op-ed on the Fox News website that presented a starkly different viewpoint than anyone that Fox allowed on the air. He wrote that the impeachment trial…

“…is not a charade or a joke or a hoax. It is deadly serious business based on well-established constitutional norms. The House of Representatives — in proceedings in which the president chose not to participate — impeached Trump for abuse of power and contempt of Congress. The abuse consists of his efforts to extract a personal political ‘favor’ from the president of Ukraine as a precondition to the delivery of $391 million in military aid.”

Napolitano also addressed the question of Congress charging Trump with impeachable offenses saying that…

“…there is enough evidence here to do so. Federal election laws proscribe as criminal the mere solicitation of help for a political campaign from a foreign national or government. There is no dispute that Trump did this. In fact, the case for this is stronger now than it was when the House impeached him last year. Since then, more evidence, which Trump tried to suppress, has come to light.

On whether Trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” Napolitano concluded that “the evidence is ample and uncontradicted.” Naturally, these sort of rational, independent opinions are verboten on Fox News. That’s why Napolitano had to be muzzled and stuffed in a basement somewhere in the bowels of Fox News headquarters.

After going to the trouble of censoring the Senate hearings and replacing them with drooling Trump propagandists, Fox could hardly allow these ideas to leak into the general population of vulnerable Trump cult followers. Their lack of critical thinking skills would subject them to the unbearable discomfort of reality. And that would violate everything Fox News stands for.

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

Does Trump Have Impeachment Dementia Or Are His Lies Just Getting More Bizarre?

There is something grossly disturbing about how extreme Donald Trump has become in his frantic outbursts decrying the fact that he has been impeached. It’s like watching a paranoid schizophrenic sinking deeper into the delusional hallucinations that drive his deviant behavior. Except this one has access to nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump Red Face

On Monday morning, Trump was suffering from an especially severe case of the whines. This was manifested on his Twitter feed where he posted a string of typically narcissistic messages exalting himself, interspersed with vitriolic attacks on his foes. The trigger for this episode may have been the release of his impeachment trial briefing by his Fox News legal team. The document is 110 pages of expanded Twitter rants that fail to even address the substance of the charges against him. Trump’s lawyers are focused solely on their ludicrous theory that whatever Trump did was okay and that he should not be convicted and removed from office even if every allegation is proved true.

Meanwhile, Trump himself is focused on an imaginary universe wherein everything morphs into whatever he wishes it would be at whatever moment he wishes it. That’s the only explanation for a couple of his morning tweets that bear no resemblance to reality. For instance…

Anyone who has paid even peripheral attention to the impeachment proceedings knows that the House wanted John Bolton’s testimony very much. The problem was that Trump invoked the fake privilege of “absolute immunity” in order to prohibit Bolton, and many other White House staffers, from testifying. There is no way that Trump could not know this. So he is either deliberately lying or mentally unhinged. Which would also explain this other tweet…

The House proceedings were always conducted fairly. Every Republican member of the relevant committees was give equal time to question witnesses and provide defensive arguments. Both Democrats and Republicans had counsel who were also afforded equal time to press their case in the hearings. The only diversion from equality was the absence of testimony from Trump’s White House. But again, they were only absent due to Trump’s refusal to allow them to participate. This is another situation that Trump has to be fully aware of, unless he is certifiably insane or flagrantly dishonest.

So it was Trump who was responsible for the absence of witnesses he is complaining about. And it was Trump whose refusal to cooperate produced the unfairness he is whining about. And it was actually people like Rep. Adam Schiff, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, who were advocating for fairness all along. Trump was, and still is, the obstacle. That was articulated concisely in the Democratic response to Trump’s brief:

“Only if the Senate sees and hears all relevant evidence — only if it insists upon the whole truth — can it render impartial justice. That means the Senate should require the President to turn over the documents he is hiding. It should hear from witnesses, as it has done in every impeachment trial in American history; it especially should hear from witnesses the President blocked from testifying in the House. President Trump cannot have it both ways. His Answer directly disputes key facts. He must either surrender all evidence relevant to the facts he has disputed or concede the facts as charged. Otherwise, this impeachment trial will fall far short of the American system of justice.”

The tweets above show that Trump is either suffering from a massively psychotic departure from reality, or that he is shamelessly distorting the truth that everyone else can see as plain as day. That in itself would suggest that Trump is a few fries short of a Happy Meal. But then, what else is one to conclude about someone who has been documented to have told more than 16,000 lies in three years; or who cozies up to murderous dictators; or who compliments himself as “A Very Stable Genius.” It is simply no longer possible to ignore that America’s “president” is out of his friggin’ mind! Which means the same must be true for the cult followers who continue to support him in Congress, the press, and the wingnutty contingent of the public.

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

Trump’s Perverse Impeachment Defense: He Should Not Be Impeached Even If He’s Guilty

The Senate trial of Donald Trump’s Articles of Impeachment is set to begin on Tuesday. In advance of that, the Democrats released a 111 page brief on how they intend to prosecute the case against Trump. It’s a detailed and comprehensive outline of the high crimes and misdemeanors that justify Trump’s conviction and removal from office.

Donald Trump, Constitution

On the other side of the aisle, Trump’s motley crew of Fox News lawyers released a shallow and lie-riddled response that hardly touches on the specific allegations against Trump. In fact, Trump’s official answer to the Articles of Impeachment is an emotional seven page rant that repetitiously makes a single point: that “the Articles of Impeachment are constitutionally invalid” because they “fail to allege any crime or violation of the law.” It further states that it is “a lawless process that violated basic due process,” and that its consideration would be “subverting the will of the American people.”

Every bit of that is utterly false and has no legal basis as a defense. The charge that there is no crime alleged is false because Trump’s efforts to coerce the Ukrainian president into aiding his scheme to smear Joe Biden is, in fact, a crime. So is withholding military aid allocated by Congress and signed by the President. So is ignoring Congressional subpoenas for documents and ordering his subordinates not to cooperate. But even if those weren’t crimes, it wouldn’t matter because the Constitution doesn’t require violations of criminal statutes. For one thing, there weren’t any criminal statutes at the time the Constitution was written.

As for due process, that is a right granted in courts of law conducting criminal prosecutions. Due process doesn’t apply here because impeachment is a political process conducted in the Congress. Even so, Trump was permitted to present his witnesses and defense, but he declined to do so. He even refused after complaining about not having such an opportunity. And he’s still refusing to allow witnesses and documents that he says are exculpatory.

The claim that impeachment “subverts” the will of the people is bizarre on its face. Was it subverting the will of the people when Clinton was impeached? How could any impeachment – which is, of course, in the Constitution – be pursued without the prospect of removing an elected president? To suggest, as Trump’s response does, that impeachment is “a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their President,” is to assert that the Framers were out of their minds for including impeachment in the Constitution in the first place. They obviously didn’t include it with the intention that it never be used because it might result in a president being removed from office. And Trump probably shouldn’t raise the issue of “the will of the people” to “freely choose their President,” when he lost the election by 3,000,000 votes. If the will of the people were being respected, Hillary Clinton would be president.

To bolster his argument that impeachment is invalid, Trump assigned the newest member of Fox News legal team, Alan Dershowitz, the task of presenting his case to the media. Dershowitz was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos where he offered up this preposterous legal theory:

Stephanopoulos: Is it your position that President Trump should not be impeached even if all the evidence and arguments laid out by the House are accepted as fact?
Dershowitz: That’s right.

The foundation of Dershowitz’s argument is that abuse of power and obstruction of Congress do not meet the criteria for impeachment under the Constitution. So he isn’t arguing that Trump isn’t guilty of abuse of power or obstruction of Congress, only that, in his view, the Constitution allows him to do so.

Think about that. Dershowitz, as well as Trump’s defenders in Congress and the press, believe that a president may abuse power and obstruct Congress without ever having to worry about being held accountable. They can collude with adversarial foreign governments to interfere with an election. They can publish stolen emails and other private documents to smear their opponents. They can withhold critical funds in order to coerce foreign leaders to do their bidding on personal matters. And they can refuse to disclose such behaviors, and even lie about them to the American people.

That’s the crazy vision that Trump and the Republican Party are offering to the nation. That’s their depraved interpretation of the Constitution. And that’s the legal basis for which they believe Trump should be exonerated. They know that they cannot defend Trump as innocent, so they’re embracing his guilt as acceptable. That’s how far Trump and the GOP have fallen.

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

BONUS ADDITION: Dershowitz is flagrantly contradicting himself on the question of whether a crime is a necessary criteria for impeachment. In an interview with CNN’s Larry King in 1998, Dershowitz said that impeachment “certainly doesn’t have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime.” So there’s that. Democrats should play video of that during the Senate trial immediately after Dershowitz’s statement.

Reality TV Law: Trump Recruits His Impeachment Defense Team from Fox News

Donald Trump famously boasted that he “knows all the best people.” It turns out that that’s only true if what he meant by “best” was the foremost crooks, liars, and bootlickers. His administration has witnessed a parade of moral slackers and incompetents. He has fired more of his own appointees than any president in history. These are people that he lauded as “brilliant” until their termination, when he castigated them as “idiots.”

Fox News, Impeach Trump

A troubling hallmark of the Trump White House has been its reliance on staffers that Trump plucked from Fox News. They include Larry Kudlow, K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastian Gorka, Richard Grennell, Jonathan Wachtel, Heather Nauert, and more. The truth is that Trump doesn’t really know anybody with any experience or record of accomplishment. He’s a former reality TV game show host who does nothing but golf, tweet, and watch Fox News.

So it comes as no surprise that as his impeachment looms before him, he resorts to the only source for personnel he’s familiar with to recruit his legal team. That team is already led by a frequent Fox News talking head, Jay Sekulow. And now Trump has announced that he’s filling up the roster with more of the same flunkies he’s seen over and over again on Fox.

The new members of Trump’s impeachment defense team are Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Ray, and Pam Bondi. All of them have been regular fixtures on Fox News as the network strives to host only those who will shamelessly suck up to the President by unflinchingly defending him and ruthlessly maligning his critics. And it’s from these televised auditions that Trump selects his closest associates and most trusted allies. This is a president who only values appearances. It is more important to him that his advocates perform well on television than that they exhibit intelligence, integrity, or fealty to facts. So let’s take a closer look at the stuffed suits Trump has hired to defend him:

Ken Starr…
…is best known as the independent counsel who couldn’t find any wrongdoing on the part of Bill Clinton, so he settled for a smarmy, albeit consensual, sex scandal as the basis for impeachment. Starr himself was later fired from his post as the president of Baylor University amid allegations of sexual misconduct on the football team. And another item on his resume is having worked for Trump pal and pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein.

Alan Dershowitz…
…is remembered as a member of the O.J. Simpson defense team. Trump likely appreciates his ability to get acquittals for people who are obviously guilty. He also must appreciate Dershowitz’s slobbering displays of affection and total faith in Trump’s purity and innocence. Dershowitz also worked for Epstein. Is this a pattern forming?

Robert Ray…
…took over the independent counsel office when Ken Starr left. Other than his frequent Trump-fluffing appearances on Fox and Friends, he isn’t particularly well known for anything significant.

Pam Bondi…
…is the former Attorney General for the state of Florida. She was caught in a campaign finance scandal wherein she accepted an illegal $25,000 donation from a Trump charity and then promptly dropped a case against his bogus Trump University that was later found to be guilty of fraud.

So the reality TV presidency is now being extended to the legal team that he’s relying on to absolve him of the high crimes and misdemeanors that led to his impeachment. It’s not much more than a cast of made-for-TV characters who will be preaching to the cameras and viewers at home, rather than to the assembled “jurors” in the Senate chamber. From Trump’s perspective this might seem like a smart move since the majority Republicans in the Senate have pretty much already declared their intentions to acquit him regardless of the evidence.

However, the American people are not going to be as forgiving as Trump’s GOP sycophants in Washington. They already believe that Trump is guilty, and a majority support his impeachment and removal from office. So it isn’t likely that Trump will find success in the melodramatic soap opera stunts deployed by this team of Fox News litigators. Team trump may have the system rigged for an acquittal, but the voters are going to hear all the evidence and make their own judgment come November.

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

Trump-Fluffing Fox News ‘Judge’ is Profoundly Ignorant of Impeachment and the Constitution

Donald Trump is giving the world a close-up look at what happens when a reality TV game show host is foolishly put in charge of a government that he is wholly unprepared to manage. Apparently being a pathological liar, and sleazy wannabe playboy, who ran bankrupt casinos and fraudulent charities was not particularly good experience for leading a nation.

Donald Trump, Jeanine Pirro

Among the hallmarks of Trump’s tenure is his narrow-sighted attachment to television shills who lavished him with undo praise and adoration. That resulted in numerous people from Fox News getting jobs in the Trump White House. In addition, Trump assembled his favorite Fox News hosts into a “shadow” cabinet from which he received – and often took – advice on anything from foreign affairs to healthcare to economics and more.

One of Trump’s frequent legal advisers is Fox’s “Judge” Jeanine Pirro, a disgraced jurist (with a felon spouse) and a failed politician who landed a gig at State TV where she regularly delivers bizarre exaltations of Dear Leader. On Saturday night Pirro launched into a preposterous argument opposing Trump’s impeachment. As she commonly does, she employed legal arguments that exist nowhere in jurisprudence and make no sense whatsoever.

Pirro attempted to address House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to delay transmittal of the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate until GOP leader Mitch McConnell sets procedures that allow for a fair hearing with witnesses and document production. Pirro ranted that (video below)

“I’ll tell you what I would do. I would tell Mitch McConnell that he ought to automatically dismiss it. There’s got to be a default. There’s got to be — if you’re entitled to a speedy trial, if you’re entitled to be able to — if there’s a statute of limitations, it’s passed. This thing — there should be a default judgment, overdone for non-prosecution. What is McConnell waiting for?”

Pirro must have received her law degree from Trump University. She doesn’t seem to realize that impeaching the president is not the same as a criminal prosecution. There is no provision for a speedy trial. There is no statute of limitations. If there were it certainly wouldn’t be applicable after only one month. What’s more, there no such thing as a default judgment with regard to impeachment. And there is no such thing as “overdone for non-prosecution.” with regard to anything in the law. Pirro is just making things up that she thinks sound lawyerly.

This is what happens when you rely on television “lawyers” for legal advice. Trump’s actual legal team is comprised of people he saw praising him on Fox News: Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow. And he often cites Gregg Jarrett and Mark Levin, as legal “experts,” despite the fact that they are professional Fox News flunkies who don’t do any legal work at all.

This embarrassingly shallow pool of intellect is representative of the whole Trump administration. Most of the people on his staff, and members of his cabinet, are people he recruited after seeing them on Fox. It’s one of the reasons the country is now on the verge of war with Iran. Trump’s judgment is abysmal to begin with. And it just makes matters worse that he is making incompetent and self-serving decisions on the basis of terrible advice from unqualified, bootlicking advisers. What could go wrong?

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

Despite Desperate Denials, Support for Impeaching and Removing Trump is Growing

It has never been more clear that Donald Trump will lie about anything. After launching an attack that killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC’s) Quds Force, Trump and his team claimed that Soleimani was plotting a “major” attack on Americans. Of course, he provided no evidence of that, despite how implausible it seems. Why would Iran suddenly want to provoke an armed conflict with the United States?

Donald Trump Walking the Plank

Naturally, Trump did, as always, have Fox news to cover for him. They are his Ministry of Propaganda who will eagerly and obediently affirm his lies. But regardless of how determined they are to construct a fantasy world wherein Trump is an infallible hero, the American people are not that easily fooled. A new poll by FiveThirtyEight and Ipsos has more bad news for Trump:

“A majority (57 percent) of Americans said they think Trump committed an impeachable offense. Fifty-two percent said they think Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine or his refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry constitute enough evidence to remove him from office.”

Once again, a significant majority of voters have expressed their desire to see Trump impeached and removed from office. This is not a new development. Many other polls have shown the same thing over an extended period of time. However, this poll is proof that one of Trump’s most frequent assertions about impeachment is patently false. As recently as last month Trump declared that “Impeachment has backfired thoroughly on the Democrats.” As usual, he provided nothing to support that claim. He just expects his glassy-eyed disciples to believe whatever he tells them. And, sadly, many will.

This poll not only demonstrates that the public favors Trump’s impeachment, it also shows that this sentiment is growing, not backfiring as Trump says. The poll also reveals that most Americans want the Senate to conduct a fair impeachment hearing with witnesses and document production. During the House hearings Trump whined bitterly about wanting witnesses to testify, while simultaneously prohibiting them from doing so. Now he is opposed to such testimony and is pressuring GOP leader Mitch McConnell to decline to have hearings at all.

Trump is obviously afraid of a reality that places him in political peril. so he concocts an alternative version of it that better matches his narcissistic world view. And he passes that along to his cult followers who are just as anxious as he is to latch unto some comforting falsehoods. It would be a pathetic state of affairs for any individual. But when that individual is the President of United States it’s downright dangerous.

The situation currently unfolding with Iran is an excellent example of how Trump’s pathological dishonesty impacts world affairs. Not only do the American people doubt everything Trump says, so do nations that would otherwise form alliances with the U.S. to combat terrorism. Trump’s lying results in forcing America to drift alone in a sea of uncertainty and disrepute. The sooner we are rid of him, the better.

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

Trump-Fluffers at Fox News Begin War Mongering Before Soleimani’s Body is Cold

On the second day of the new year Donald Trump launched a new conflict in the Middle East, this time with the region’s largest military, Iran. Contrary to his frequent promises to withdraw the United States from the Middle East, Trump’s assault is likely to result in another prolonged war that will be costly in both lives and dollars.

Donald Trump

No American will mourn the demise of General Qasem Soleimani. He was the leading purveyor of Iran’s international terrorism and was responsible for hundreds fatalities among both Americans and civilians in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. But the mission to assassinate Iran’s second highest military leader in Iraq was nevertheless a provocative act that could lead to further unnecessary tragedies for the U.S. and the region.

This is particularly apparent since Trump has no coherent strategy, policy, or end game. He failed to consult members of Congress as the law requires and, therefore, had no legal authorization for the attack. And in a flurry of syrupy, worshipful retweets, Trump included one by disgraced pundit Dinesh D’Souza that shamefully implied that had Trump told Congress they would have told Iran. To date, the only one who has disclosed state secrets to hostile foreign nations is Trump when he speaks to Putin.

In fact, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that he discussed this attack with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in advance. So Trump informed Russia, but not Congress. It’s also notable that, by targeting an individual, as opposed to military assets, Trump possibly violated international laws against assassination.

Trump’s initial justification for the attack is that it was executed in order to prevent imminent future attacks on Americans. However, he provided no evidence of any such threat. It sounds very much like the false assertions of the Bush administration alleging nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Also familiar is the statement by Pompeo, who baselessly claimed that “We have every expectation that people not only in Iraq, but in Iran, will view the American action last night as giving them freedom.” That recalls Dick Cheney’s preposterous assertion that “My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators [in Iraq].”

Immediately following Trump’s attack, Fox News predictably leaped to his defense with a vigor that can only be described as gleeful. Although he was on vacation, Sean Hannity called into his own program to insist that Iran had “put American lives in jeopardy and the president very quickly acted,” and that it was “a huge victory and total leadership by the president.” But Brian Kilmeade of Fox and Friends was representative of the Fox position when he rebutted Geraldo Rivera’s criticism of the attack by gloating that “I will cheer this on. I am elated.”

Make no mistake. This is the host of a popular Fox News program expressing his elation about a potential war that would result in untold casualties of Americans for a purpose that no one in the Trump administration has been able to define.

If you’re looking for a plausible reason for why Trump would take this action at this time, look no further than the news that broke earlier the same day. The release of newly unredacted emails from Trump’s national security personnel that state unequivocally that Trump knew his withholding of military aid to Ukraine was illegal. The discovery of this provides additional urgency for the Senate to agree to call witnesses and to introduce documents when it takes up Trump’s impeachment.

Trump knows this, and it escalates his fear that impeachment could result in his removal from office. So in order to deflect from the growing political peril he is enduring, Trump appears to have taken the course of action that he once falsely accused President Obama of considering: Start a war with Iran:

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