Trump Finally Leaves His Palm Beach Resort to Return to His Day Job: Watching Fox News

On Christmas day, Donald Trump posted a tweet wishing everyone a “great Christmas” (not merry?) and then promised that “tomorrow it’s back to work in order to Make America Great Again.” He then spent the next seven days at his luxurious Mar-A-Lago golf resort in Palm Beach, Florida. He had no presidential duties on his schedule and his only public appearances were on the golf course or at private galas.

Donald Trump Fox News

On January 2, Trump finally made it back to Washington, D.C., and the White House he has called “a dump.” It took him a week from his tweet, but he eventually returned to what he considers to be his job: Watching Fox News. That was apparent by the stream of tweets he posted Tuesday morning. Each one following closely a segment from that morning’s airing of Fox and Friends. He began the New Year Twittapalooza with a dark message that affirms his authoritarian tendencies:

In that one tweet Trump manages to breach a variety of principles required for a free society. First, he makes unsubstantiated allegations against Hillary Clinton, a former political opponent, and her aide, Huma Abedin. Trump actually calls for them to be jailed, without evidence, or even a trial. He was tipped to this nonsense while watching a correspondent from the Daily Caller on Fox and Friends. The Daily Caller is the website run by by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Secondly, Trump disparaged the Department of Justice as a tool of the “Deep State,” a term of paranoia that he picked up from his pal, Sean Hannity. Of Course the Justice Department is currently run by Trump appointees and he recently said that he has the “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.” That’s a scary thought, and it isn’t true, but it calls into question his criticism that implies the whole institution is conspiring against him and his glassy-eyed disciples.

Finally, Trump made a point of dragging former FBI Director into this web of alleged criminals that he wants to lock up. That would be a legally perilous act since he would be persecuting someone that is a likely witness in charges that may be filed against Trump and his associates. It would add to the counts of obstruction of justice that might already be pending.

The tweet immediately following that one thanked Brandon Judd of the National Border Patrol Council. Judd had said some nice things about Trump on Fox and Friends a few minutes before the tweet. Obviously, Trump was watching and wanted to express his gratitude, along with promoting the utterly useless border wall that has become an obsession with him.

Trump also tweeted about the situation in North Korea, reprising his infantile use of the nickname “Rocket Man.”. He bragged that sanctions (which have been in place for years) were having a “big impact,” despite the fact that recent reports reveal that North Korea is planning new ballistic missile tests within the next few days. Apparently that wasn’t part of the report that Fox News aired, so Trump didn’t hear it. And we all know he relies on Fox rather than the intelligence agencies the president commands.

For someone who insists that he doesn’t have time to watch TV, he sure watches a lot of TV. And just one network in particular. Trump’s tweeting patterns have long been documented as regurgitations of something he just saw on Fox. He rarely has an original thought. And when he does, it’s likely to be praise to himself for something he had nothing to do with.

For instance, his tweet Tuesday morning citing a report that there were zero jet airliner fatalities in 2017. He attributed that to his having been “very strict” on commercial aviation. Of course, there is no record of his having done anything that would affect this statistic. What’s more, there were also zero jet airliner fatalities in the U.S. for the past eight years, long before his do-nothing presidency. However, Trump did repeal safety regulations for coal mining, and 2017 saw a surge in mining fatalities. Is he taking credit for that too?

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

With everything going on in the world today, it’s comforting knowing that Trump is so focused on what he thinks is his job. Because most Americans would rather he be watching TV and tweeting than creating international crises or adding to the domestic trauma and divisiveness he’s responsible for. Hopefully his babysitters in the White House will keep him glued to Fox News and out of the Situation Room.

Trump Lies On Top Of Lies That He’s Now Lying That He Lied About

Confused? That’s exactly the point. Donald Trump is weaving a web of deliberate falsehoods in order to build up a tolerance to official dishonesty so that his gushing output of lies are dismissed as inconsequential and ordinary. But there is nothing ordinary about Trump’s pathological behavior and aversion to truth and decency.

Donald Trump Lies

In another morning tweetstorm, the Liar-in-Chief knocked off a series of embarrassingly ludicrous messages aimed at shoring up the faith of his glassy-eyed disciples. They included swings at the FBI and Hillary Clinton and special counsel Robert Mueller and, of course, the media. The one thing shared in common was a sense of desperation so thick it could stop a bazooka blast. Trump is clearly frightened out of (what passes for) his wits.

Among these tweets was one in particular that represents his brazen assault on verifiable facts. In response to the crushing news that his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is now cooperating with Mueller, Trump pounded out this absurdity:

This is one of the easiest Trump lies to refute. That’s because he’s on video saying exactly what he is now tweeting that he never said (video below):

“When I decided to just do it [fire FBI Directer James Comey] I said to myself, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.'”

So he told NBC’s Lester Holt that he fired Comey specifically because of the Russia investigation at the FBI. An investigation that Comey refused to halt at Trump’s insistence. Flynn, of course, was at the heart of the investigation. And we know now that he lied to the FBI to cover up the involvement of himself and others in the Trump campaign and administration, possibly including Trump.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he fired Flynn because he lied to Vice-President Mike Pence and the FBI. That was a new revelation. It was the first time that Trump acknowledged knowing that Flynn lied to the FBI. And if he knew that when he fired him, that is a confession to obstruction of justice.

Comey testified under oath before Congress that Trump asked him to stop the investigation. Now Trump is calling Comey a liar. But if you look at the record of both men in public life, it’s clear that Trump is the one that it is impossible to believe. He currently has racked up over 1,600 lies just since his inauguration. And this latest tweet is a new lie wherein he is lying about his previous lies. And what’s really sad – and somewhat frightening – is that there are still people who believe him.

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

Unprecedented Chaos in the Trump White House: 6 Key Posts Turnover in Only 6 Months

The first term of Donald Trump’s administration is only six months old, But it’s such an unmitigated disaster that it’s effectively already over. Many of the top positions in the White House have failed spectacularly. Trump’s campaign assertion that he “has the best people” begs the question: best at what? Obviously they aren’t the best at governing or performing the jobs for which they were hired.

Donald Trump

In only six months Trump has already replaced several of his key staffers. And others are anxiously waiting for the ax to fall on their own precariously exposed necks. This is a historically catastrophic degree of turnover by officials tasked with essential civic duties. There is simply no way any administration can be functional with so much perilous volatility.

The departments that have seen their leaders repealed and replaced are not trivial figureheads. They are mission critical managers upon whom rest competent governance and national security. What follows are some of the posts that are already starting over after a disastrous half year of Trump’s failure of leadership.

National Security Advisor
Within a mere three weeks of his appointment, Gen. Michael Flynn was dismissed under a cloud of scandal. He was closely associated with Russian operatives during Trump’s campaign. What’s more, he failed to disclose those relationships as required by law. Trump said that he fired Flynn for lying to him and Vice-President Pence about his meetings with Russians. However, Trump denied that there was anything improper about the meetings.

Press Secretary
The most visible person in any presidential administration is the press secretary. Trump’s first choice for that post was Sean Spicer (Fibby Spice). In the few months that he managed to hold onto the job he was castigated for being overtly dishonest. His first public appearance was spent lying about the crowd estimates at Trump’s inaugural address. It was all downhill from there. Spicer often claimed not to have spoken with the President on key questions raised by reporters. And in an attempt to avoid further bad publicity, he shut down the daily press briefings or prohibited cameras. During his tenure far-right fringe outfits like Breitbart News and Alex Jones’ Infowars were granted press credentials. And all of this took place under the president who declared the media “the enemy of the American people.”

Communications Director
The first person appointed to this post was not especially noteworthy. Michael Dubke’s short tenure went almost completely unnoticed. He was replaced briefly by Sean Spicer in an acting capacity. Then Trump named Anthony Scaramucci to the post permanently. Scaramucci came screaming out of the gate with wild accusations and insults directed at Spicer and others in the administration. His profanity-laced diatribes against Trump’s Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon made headlines for the worst possible reasons. But he did represent the President in the vulgar fashion to which is accustomed.

[UPDATE:] Scaramucci has been fired. Sources say that the new White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, wanted to select his own team. Translation: Get that vulgar piece af crap out of my White House.

Chief of Staff
And speaking of Reince Priebus, shortly after Scaramucci’s unhinged tirade, Priebus was ousted from his job. But like a good little sycophant, he praised both Trump and Scaramucci on his way out the door. Entering the Oval Office to replace Priebus was Gen. John Kelly, currently Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Trump announced Kelly’s appointment in glowing terms that highlighted the “spectacular” job Kelly did at DHS. It is, therefore, curious that Trump would take this star performer from his job protecting America, and selfishly limit his role to one of protecting just the President.

Secretary of Homeland Security
Of course, Kelly’s transfer leaves the vital post of DHS secretary vacant. It remains to be seen who Trump will offer as a replacement. Some Washington insiders have speculated that he might move Attorney General Jeff Sessions into the job. But you have to wonder why Trump would give such an important job to someone he has publicly said has disappointed him? The answer may be that Trump wants an excuse to remove Sessions as AG so that he can replace him as well. It’s no secret that Trump wants to fire special counselor Robert Mueller. Sessions can’t do that because of his recusal on matters related to that investigation.

FBI Director
Last May Trump shocked the nation by firing FBI Director James Comey. That impetuous and self-serving action set in motion many of Trump’s current problems. It’s why Sessions had to recuse himself. And it’s why there is a special counselor investigating Trump, his campaign, and his finances. In particular, Trump has exposed himself to impeachable charges of obstruction of justice. Comey’s department was investigating Trump’s unsavory connections to Russia. Trump even admitted that his reason for firing Comey was because of “this Russia thing.”

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

These high-level staff turnovers are unique for a presidency that’s only six months old. It speaks to the incompetence and erratic nature of this president. The rest of his cabinet is just as conflicted, corrupt, and unqualified as those that have been cast out. They just haven’t had their public meltdowns yet. And if anyone is surprised by the turmoil in Washington, they haven’t been paying attention. Donald Trump is the most conflicted, corrupt, and unqualified of the bunch. And his day will come as well. Hopefully before he has had a chance to do much more damage.

Fox News Issues Rare Story Correction – Trump, Who Retweeted It, Does Not

You have to cut Fox News a little slack. If they made public corrections for every mistake, or outright lie, they’d have no time left for any new lies. Consequently, when they do offer a correction it’s deserves some attention, if not appreciation.

Fox News

This rare mea culpa occurred Tuesday morning on Fox and Friends (video below). Steve Doocy took a moment to address some comments made on the program the day before. They were discussing a report by The Hill that provided some details on memos written by former FBI director James Comey about his meetings with Donald Trump. The report stated that some of the memos were retroactively designated as confidential or secret. But Fox and Friends completely misrepresented the story. Correspondent Jillian Mele described it as:

“[A] brand new bombshell report [that] accuses Comey of putting our national security at risk. According to The Hill, the former FBI director’s personal memos detailing private conversations with President Trump contained “Top Secret” information.”

The truth is that none of the memos were “Top Secret.” As noted above, some were classified at lower levels. But nowhere in the story did it say that any of the classified data was made public. Therefore, there was no security risk. On Tuesday morning, Doocy made this wholly inadequate correction on the air:

“Yesterday on this program, we aired and tweeted this story saying former FBI Director James Comey leaked memos containing top secret information. We were mistaken in that. According to the report, half of the memos contain information classified at the secret or confidential, not top-secret, level. Markings of the documents in which Mr. Comey leaked are, at this point, unclear. Just wanted to straighten that out.”

First of all, Comey didn’t “leak” anything. That’s a deliberately incendiary and overtly biased term. Comey merely made his own personal recollections to public. That’s something that is done in every political memoir ever published.

Secondly, there is confirmation from the Columbia professor who gave the memos to the press that nothing classified was revealed. So Doocy’s attempt to falsely inject malfeasance into the story is just plain dishonest. Clearly, he had no intention of straightening anything out.

While Doocy’s remarks only partially corrected the record, there’s another deceiver who hasn’t even gone that far. Donald Trump retweeted the phony segment from Fox News. And his added commentary made it even worse, saying “Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!” Trump tweeted that unfounded opinion just minutes after it was conveniently broadcast on Fox News for him. However, while Fox has backtracked, Trump has not. His reckless accusation still remains on his Twitter feed unaltered or updated.

Trump is hopelessly addicted to the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. He watches them obsessively and frequently tweets what they say in real time. Yesterday he posted four segments from the program on Twitter, Today he added three more. And yet, when it is abundantly clear that the information is wrong, he stands by it with unwavering faith. Even when they admit they are wrong. That says a lot about our thin-skinned, ego-driven, bull-headed president, doesn’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 Fox News President: Trump’s Twitter Feed is Now Hype Central for Fox and Friends BS

The news keeps getting worse for Donald Trump, his administration, and even his family. The just concluded “G19: Embarrassing America World Tour” produced nothing but ridicule for Trump. From the insane proposal to partner with Vladimir Putin on cyber security, to the promotion of Ivanka to world leading seat-filler. Trump’s misadventures abroad served only to affirm his unfitness for the office he holds.

Donald Trump

So when the news gets bad, Trump gets busy. That is, he spends even more time watching Fox News to find morsels of propaganda he can disseminate. It’s a pattern that has long been recognized by veteran Trump watchers. And, more often than not, the clips he passes along to his glassy-eyed disciples are culled from his favorite “news” show, Fox and Friends. It’s a relationship that predates his presidency. Long before he entered politics he had a regular segment on Fox and Friends called “Mondays with Trump.” It served as the launching pad for his eventual campaign and a platform from which he could attack President Obama. What’s more, it’s a corrupt, profit-making syndicate that benefits both Trump and Fox News.

Monday morning provides an object lesson in Trump’s mutually exploitative alliance with the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends. In the space of just one hour, Trump tweeted four clips from the program that buttressed his defenses on some blossoming scandals. It’s clear that this is where he gets his information and talking points. He must have forgotten that, as President of the United States, he has a vast intelligence and PR infrastructure at his disposal. These are the early morning tweets that Trump felt were important to bring to the attention of the nation:

Topping his agenda, Trump retweeted a clip that criticized the media for covering his tweets. But just think how upset he would be if they didn’t. It was a bland swipe at the press by a professional shill who failed to make any substantive point. But it did get in Trump’s daily dose of media bashing.

That was followed by the first of two clips making blatantly false charges against former FBI director James Comey. What Fox called “a brand new bombshell report” was actually a misreading of the facts. A story in The Hill reported that some of the memos produced by Comey were retroactively designated as classified. However, it did not say that the classified memos were distributed to the media. In fact. the Columbia professor who received the memos denies that anything sensitive was revealed. But that didn’t stop Trump from recklessly charging that “Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!” Trump took his position just minutes after it was conveniently broadcast on Fox News for him. And he is apparently unaware that it is inappropriate for a president to make prejudgments as to guilt. It biases the potential jury pool and makes a fair trial, should there ever be one, nearly impossible.

The second Comey-related clip featured brand new Fox News contributor, Jason Chaffetz. He resigned his position as chair of the House Oversight Committee last month to join Fox. In this clip Chaffetz attacked Comey while a chyron displayed Trump’s tweet that was inspired by an earlier Fox segment. The circle is complete.

Finally, Trump retweeted a segment that chastised New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio. They were outraged that he missed a vigil for a slain police officer. While it’s important to participate in events like that, Fox ignored that it isn’t always possible. DeBlasio was attending the G20 summit in Germany on business for the city. In other words, he was doing his job and was unable to attend a ceremony that was tragically unplanned.

Trump and his communications team frequently complain that the media doesn’t cover important issues like healthcare and immigration and terrorism. That, of course is untrue. Those issues are covered, despite Trump’s attempts at creating distractions. However, the complaints are ludicrous on their face. When you look at what Trump himself focuses on, it isn’t the media’s fault if they cover the President’s official pronouncements on Twitter. Especially when he hasn’t held a press conference since February. He is letting everyone know where his priorities lie. And if it’s with bullshit he gleans from Fox and Friends, well, that’s just because that’s who he is. Anyone hoping for something more is doomed to be bitterly disappointed.

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

FACT CHECK: Trump Tells Fox News that Mueller’s Staffers are ‘All Clinton Supporters’

The constant stream of falsehoods that emanate from Donald Trump has made no sign of slowing down. This weekend Trump, who has not had a TV interview in over a month, gave two to Fox News. And not surprisingly, he provided some new nuggets of dishonesty to the pile he has amassed since becoming president.

Donald Trump

In an interview with Ainsley Earhardt of Fox and Friends, the Fox News host unleashed a barrage of brutal softballs at the President. She prefaced her inquiries with flattering language about how smart he was for pretending to have tapes of himself and James Comey (which is potentially unlawful witness tampering). And she comforted him with partisan assertions that “Democrats are in denial.” But Earhardt laid it on extra thick when the issue of Trump’s collusion with Russia came up:

“Robert Mueller, do you think he should recuse himself? He is good friends with James Comey. He’s hired some attorneys that were part of Hillary Clinton’s foundation and have given money to President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns. Should he recuse himself?”

Could Earhardt have composed a more fawning, servile, obsequious question? She must be so doubtful that he could come up with a coherent response, she provided one for him. Trump eagerly embraced the leading question and blindly agreed that Mueller is “very, very good friends with Comey.” Then he whined that “there has been no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that.” Everybody? Well, that’s if you don’t count dozens of legal experts, intelligence professionals, and investigators currently researching the matter. But then he went even further over the edge:

“I can say that the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters, some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous, if you wanna know the truth.”

Indeed, it is ridiculous. But not in the way Trump thinks. PolitiFact reviewed his remarks and found them top be “Mostly False.” As it turns out, only three of the eight attorneys hired by Mueller were Clinton supporters. And any associations that any of them had were incidental and fully permissible under the “Rules of Professional Responsibility.” That assessment, by the way, came from Peter Carr, a spokesperson for Jeff Seesion’s Justice Department. And it was consistent with the summary ruling by PolitiFact:

“Three of the eight available Mueller hires made campaign contributions to Clinton, which undermines Trump’s statement that all are Clinton supporters. Furthermore, none of them have worked for Clinton directly. Two represented either the Clinton Foundation or an aide, never her, and working for WilmerHale, which has also represented key members of Trump’s White House.”

So Trump’s allegations (and that of many of his media surrogates) that the investigation is biased politically and motivated against him, is a bald-faced lie. If only that were an isolated incident in this presidency. Unfortunately it is the rule, rather than the exception. And anyone who takes Trump at his word is shamelessly begging to be made a fool of and deliberately deceived.

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

Delusional Donald: Trump is SHOCKED By Poll That Asks Whether People Believe Trump or Comey?’

Poor Donald Trump. As president he is now forced to sit in the White House and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fake news, rather than enjoying his alleged fortune. If there is one thing that’s clear about his new job, it’s that he hates it. He admitted that it was much harder than he thought it would be. That’s probably why he spends so much time avoiding work at his luxurious golf resorts.

Donald Trump

Not surprisingly, his detachment from the office drives him further from any alignment with the American people. His approval ratings are historically low, and his policies are opposed by significant majorities. As someone who likely suffers from Malignant Narcissism, Trump is unable to cope with this rejection. Consequently, he invents scenarios wherein he is uncharacteristically beloved. He imagines massive, adoring audiences that don’t exist. He makes wildly delusional claims that everyone agrees with him.

This may explain his inability to process polling that shows him decidedly out of favor. The latest example is an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that asked “Who are you more likely to believe, former FBI Director James Comey or Trump?” According the pollsters:

“By a 2-to-1 margin, Americans say they are more likely to believe former FBI Director James Comey than President Donald Trump when it comes to their differing accounts of events that led up to Comey’s firing, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

“Forty-five percent of respondents say they are more likely to believe Comey’s version of events from his June 8 testimony to the U.S. Senate, versus 22 percent who are more likely to believe what Trump has said.”

A deeper dive into the poll has even worse news for Trump. For instance, when broken down by party affiliation, only fifty percent of Republicans said they believe Trump. Also, his overall disapproval shot up eight points since last month.

Nevertheless, Trump is convinced that the only problem is how the media portrays him. The Washington Post reports that Trump “thinks media reports automatically treat Comey’s version of events as superior to his own.” And why not? Trump has a long record of lying about pretty much everything (see the Trump Bullshitopedia) He has never told the truth about his net worth or taxes. He frequently changes positions on political issues. One day he’ll claim to have a relationship with Vladimir Putin, and the next day he’ll deny ever meeting him. And his references to data about jobs or immigration or terrorism seem to be made up on the spot.

On the other hand, James Comey has a long career in public service that is unmarred by any suggestion dishonesty. While his judgment was questioned during the 2016 election, his veracity was not. And nothing has come to light since the congressional hearings that contradicts his testimony. Even Trump has validated it. Despite calling him a liar on several occasions, Trump is now asserting that he manipulated Comey into telling the truth. Responding to questions about his May 12 tweet implying that he had tapes of his conversations with Comey, Trump now says it was a bluff to scare him into honesty. Unfortunately for Trump, it’s also a confession of witness intimidation.

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

So a plurality of the American people believe Comey over Trump. And Trump himself says that Comey has been telling the truth. So why is the President still so surprised by the public’s reaction? Why does he still think it’s the media’s fault rather than his own compulsive lying? Why is he in such an acute state of denial? These are question that are better put to a psychiatrist than a political analyst. But Donald Trump’s mental state is obviously cause for concern. And without intensive care and treatment we can only expect it to get worse.

Lyin’ Trump Now Says He Has ‘No Idea’ If There Are Any Recordings of Him and Comey

Six weeks ago Donald Trump created a controversy that crossed several ethical and legal lines. Of course, that’s something he does with such frequency it’s impossible to know which one it is this time. Hint: It involves Twitter (hmm, that doesn’t narrow it down either). Let’s end the suspense. On May 12, Trump tweeted this:

Donald Trump

The immediate response to that was concern that Trump was emulating Richard Nixon and secretly recording conversations in the Oval Office. That, of course, would be a flagrant breach of privacy and protocol. It would make people reluctant to speak candidly when visiting the White House. And it would open the door to numerous legal vulnerabilities for both Trump and his guests.

Ever since that tweet, the nation has pressed Trump to reveal whether or not he was making such recordings. His response was always a smug dodge and eventual refusal to supply an honest answer. That resulted in an ongoing suspicion as to whether he could be trusted in otherwise private conversations.

In addition, the tweet was a blatant threat aimed at former FBI Director James Comey. Trump intended to throw him off balance with the suggestion that the covert taping might contradict his congressional testimony. It didn’t work. Comey’s cheeky reply was “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” If nothing else, the tweet represented an unambiguous attempt at witness intimidation.

However, on Thursday morning Trump ended the mystery. He posted a couple tweets denying that there was any covert taping going that he was aware of:

Unfortunately, those tweets don’t end the controversy. The first question that has to e asked is: If he has “no idea” whether there are any tapes, then why didn’t he just say that weeks ago? He seems to think that being president is like being a contestant on a reality TV show. He obviously doesn’t believe he has any obligation to be truthful with the public he purportedly serves.

Secondly, with the confession that he didn’t make any recordings, he is affirming that his original comment was in fact witness intimidation. The only purpose of suggesting the existence of such tapes would be to influence Comey’s testimony. It is the behavior of a bully who thinks he can get his way with offhand threats.

Finally, it would be naive to accept Trump’s latest version of events as the gospel truth. His past is littered with so many shameless lies (see the Trump Bullshitopedia) that anyone assuming he’s telling the truth now is too mentally unstable to live outside an institution. It is entirely plausible that he does have tapes, but that they affirm Comey’s testimony and incriminate Trump. Under such circumstances it would behoove him to deny the tapes exist and try to destroy them.

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

In any case, Trump’s sudden and dubious confession doesn’t really clear the air. There is still confusion that is entirely the result of his own irresponsible deception and self-serving manipulation. It may still come to pass that recordings are discovered and made public. His own tweet implies that others might have made recordings without his knowledge. That in itself would be evidence of gross negligence for a president. But there is one thing in that regard that is in his favor. Everyone would readily believe that he could be both gross and negligent. Congratulations, Donnie.

Trump’s Lawyer Repeatedly Contradicts President’s Claim that He’s Under Investigation

Donald Trump and his administration are not known for their ability to communicate a consistent, coherent message. They have a history of wildly contradictory statements and absurd deflections from reality. So it isn’t surprising that Trump’s new lawyer, Jay Sekulow, has continued that tradition. He made several appearances on the Sunday morning news shows that did nothing but contribute to the confusion surrounding the investigation into Trump’s obstruction of justice.

Sekulow Trump CNN

On all of these programs the discussion was related to a story in the Washington Post saying Trump is under investigation. The Post reported that on the basis of five (count ’em, five) sources who requested anonymity. Of course, Trump has previously railed against the use of anonymous sources despite using them himself when it suits him. However, professional journalists have relied on such sources with great accuracy for as long as there has been journalism.

Trump’s response to the story was expressed in a tweet that apparently confirmed the Post’s account:

That’s simple enough. The President is explicitly agreeing with the Post that he is being investigated. And the investigation concerns, in part, the events leading to the termination of former FBI Director, James Comey. He’s also blaming it on someone at the Justice Department who told him to do it. Never mind that he told NBC’s Lester Holt it was his decision alone. A decision that he made before consulting the DOJ. The bottom line is that everyone is on the same page with regard to the existence of an investigation. Right?

Wrong. Mr. Sekulow, Trump’s attorney, objects. On each of his Sunday interviews he blatantly contradicted his client. He repeated that the President is not now, nor has he ever been, under investigation. But his attempts to support that argument were ludicrous. Let’s begin with the most friendly forum for Trump’s representative, Fox News. Chris Wallace noted that Sekulow himself said that Trump is being investigated.

Sekulow: [Trump] is being investigated for taking the action that the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, recommended him to take by the agency that recommended the termination.
Wallace: First of all, you’ve now stated that he is being investigated after saying that he …
Sekulow: No.
Wallace: You just said that he’s being investigated.
Sekulow: Let me be crystal clear so you completely understand. We have not received, nor are we aware of any investigation of the President of the United States.

Wallace deserves some credit for not letting Sekulow get away with contradicting both himself and Trump. But Sekulow’s attempt at crystal clarity just dodges the substance of his own prior remarks. So let’s move on to Meet the Press with Chuck Todd:

Todd: Let me begin with getting some clarification here. The President tweeted this week “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director.” When did the President become aware that he was officially under investigation by the special counsel?
Sekulow: The President is not under investigation by the special counsel. The tweet from the President was in response to the five anonymous sources that were purportedly leaking information to the Washington Post about a potential investigation of the President.

Sekulow’s reply doesn’t begin to answer the question. In fact, it makes no sense. How does Trump’s alleged response being aimed at the Post’s story change the meaning of it? That question comes up again when Sekulow appears on CNN’s State of the Nation with Jake Tapper (video below):

Tapper: The President said “I am being investigated” in a tweet and people take his word on that. But you’re his attorney. You’re saying that when the President said that he was not accurate.
Sekulow: No. The President was – It was 141 (sic) characters. There’s a limitation on Twitter, as we all know. And the President has very effective utilization of social media. So here’s what we have. The President issued that tweet, that social media statement based on a fake report, a report with no documented sources from the Washington Post. […] The President’s response was as it related to the Washington Post report. He cannot in a Twitter statement include all of that in there. But the Washington Post statement came out that morning. There should be no confusion. The President is not under investigation.

Now Sekulow is asserting that the Post’s story is fake. Of course, he doesn’t provide any evidence to substantiate that allegation. As a lawyer he should know better. But even that reckless remark doesn’t explain why Trump said that he is being investigated. Sekulow tried to bolster his defense by asserting that Twitter’s character limit is what prevented Trump from being clear. But Trump’s tweet contained only 111 characters. So he had twenty-nine to spare. And according to Sekulow, “the President has very effective utilization of social media.” So he could easily have added “WaPo Says,” or even “the fake news WaPo says.” So there was no impediment by Twitter on Trump making an accurate statement.

At this point it should be noted that Sekulow is not telling the truth about whether Trump is under investigation. All he can say honestly is that he isn’t aware of any investigation. He cannot say that there isn’t one. Wallace called him that and he agreed. Nevertheless, he repeated the same falsehood on the other programs. It’s a propaganda tactic aimed at convincing people that Trump is pure as the driven snow. But his execution is so inept that he just winds up muddying the waters and making his client look guilty. Which I suppose is a professional hazard for lawyers with guilty clients.

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

Trump vs. Comey: A New Poll Has Great News About Who America Really Trusts

The Senate Intelligence Committee hearings last week with James Comey have already had a profound impact on the political landscape. They produced numerous revelations that compound Donald Trump’s problems. Despite Trump’s delusional claim that he was “vindicated,” Comey’s testimony was devastating. He called out the President for lying (several times), obstructing justice, smearing the press, and hiding secret recordings. In Trump’s cartoon brain that’s vindication.

Donald Trump

In response to the hearings, the White House Defense Forces quickly deployed to apply a thick layer of reality distortion. Much of their strategy was to demean Comey’s character and pretend nothing pertinent was revealed. Unfortunately, their logic was painfully flawed. Particularly the assertion that Comey had cleared the President despite also being tagged as a liar.

Now the first national poll on the subject has been published. The Huffington Post and YouGov partnered to get America’s impression of the epic Trump/Comey standoff. The results were unambiguous:

“By a 20-point margin, 46 percent to 26 percent, Americans say Comey is more honest and trustworthy than Trump, with the remainder unsure.”

What’s more, the poll found that Trump is far less liked than the former FBI Director. His unfavorable rating hit fifty-three percent. That’s consistent with most other polls that put Trump’s approval at historic lows. By contrast, Comey’s unfavorablilty is only thirty-three percent.

The poll delved into some specific areas that were covered in the hearings. For instance, when asked whether Trump sought Comey’s pledge of loyalty, fifty percent of respondents said he did. A mere fifteen percent believed Trump’s denial. And as to whether Trump pressured Comey to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, a plurality of forty-two percent agree with Comey’s account. Further boosting Comey’s position, by 17 points (45 to 28), Americans say that Trump was wrong to fire Comey.

None of this can be considered good news for the White House. Consequently, they have engaged in a full-court press to muddy the waters with obvious distractions and outright lies. This effort is led, of course, by Trump and his Twitter feed. In the wee hours of Sunday morning Trump tweeted:

Once again, his logic falls into the category of nonsense. In order for the “leaks” to be prevalent, or even illegal, they would have to be truthful. A leak that disclosed information that wasn’t true could not be a violation of the law. However, nothing Comey disclosed could accurately be described as a leak. He simply published his account of a conversation that was neither classified nor privileged. Every Washington memoir ever published did the very same thing. Furthermore, Trump’s continued Comey bashing could itself be found to be unlawful. Some legal opinions regard it as witness intimidation and/or obstruction of justice.

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

So Trump has revealed the tactics he intends to pursue to extricate himself from this dilemma. And for the most part they involve character assassination and flagrantly implausible denials. The media brigade of StormTrumpers have already fanned out across the dial to spew the White House talking points. But Trump himself is remaining barricaded in his luxurious bunker (aka golf resort). He is frantically avoiding the press and has taken only two questions in nearly a month. One of the questions was whether he would be willing to testify under oath. “One hundred percent,” he replied. That answer may come back to haunt him.