LOCK ‘EM UP: Fox News Leaks Classified Info Based on Anonymous Sources – Trump Retweets

The White House recently embarked on a campaign to flush out the throngs of leakers in their midst. Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a press briefing to announce that anyone caught leaking would face stiff consequences. So it’s interesting that this warning is already being ignored by a surprising offender.

Fox News Donald Trump

On Donald Trump’s favorite TV show, Fox and Friends, co-host Steve Doocy interviewed U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. In the course of their conversion Doocy let slip some information he obtained from a story on Fox News. The story revealed that U.S. satellites had detected North Korea loading anti-ship cruise missiles on a patrol boat. That, apparently, was not information approved for public dissemination. And Haley let Doocy know that in no uncertain terms (video below):

DOOCY: Ambassador, on the front page of foxnews.com right now there is a story that apparently the intel community has picked up anti-ship cruise missiles were being loaded onto a patrol boat or patrol boats in North Korea. What can you tell us about that?
HALEY: I can’t.
DOOCY: Why?
HALEY: I can’t talk about anything that’s classified. And if that’s in the newspaper that’s a shame. But –
DOOCY: You have no reason to believe that’s not accurate though?
HALEY: I have no reason to comment on it.
DOOCY: (Laughing) OK.
AINSLEY EARHARDT: That shouldn’t be in the newspaper? Is that another leak I guess?
HALEY: You know, it’s one of these things, I don’t know what’s going on. But, I will tell you it’s incredibly dangerous when things get out into the press like that. You are not only just getting a scoop on something, you are playing with people’s lives. And this has got to stop. Whatever the leaks are coming from, if somebody thinks they are getting power or fame from it, all you are doing is putting Americans in danger.

Haley was adamant in her first response that she could not answer Doocy’s questions. But that didn’t stop him from pressing her further. She reiterated her intention to refrain from commenting. Doocy thought that was funny. Haley had to school him on the serious nature of the data he was pushing her to reveal.

As if it weren’t bad enough that Fox News was disclosing classified information, there was another culprit with loose fingertips. Trump, as usual, was watching Fox and Friends this morning. He retweeted three separate stories that he had seen on the broadcast. One of them was the story about North Korea with the classified data. So Trump was participating in the leaking of information that his own U.N. ambassador warned was “incredibly dangerous,” and “playing with people’s lives.” What’s more, he was propagating info obtained from anonymous sources. Recall, Trump’s position on the use of sources who are not identified in news reports:

It is endlessly perplexing that Trump still gets his intelligence data from Fox News. Apparently he is unaware of the resources he has at his disposal within the government he allegedly manages. Had he contacted his National Security Advisor or the CIA, he might have been cautioned as to the sensitive nature of the data he was about to publish. But that’s too much to ask this notoriously ignorant and reckless so-called president.

The only question now is whether the Department of Justice will follow through on their threat to prosecute anyone found to be leaking. This past weekend, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared on Fox News Sunday. He told Chris Wallace that he would prosecute whoever was discovered to be violating the law. He specifically that included members of Congress and the White House. In this case, Donald Trump is unambiguously guilty. And this is not the first time that Trump has breached this legal directive. If the DoJ expects to be taken seriously they need to investigate Trump’s leaks and prosecute if warranted. Otherwise, they will have no credibility to prosecute any other alleged leakers.

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

Could Trump Be Prosecuted for Leaks Under New Department of Justice Directive?

The still nascent presidency of Donald Trump is rife with controversies and scandals. His financial conflicts of interests and unsavory connections to Russia have dominated his short tenure in office. Additionally, he has produced no legislative accomplishments. Most notably, the failure of his efforts to kill ObamaCare went down in flames. He has made no progress on immigration, taxes, terrorism, or his lame-brained border wall.

Rod Rosenstein Fox New

However, Trump regularly signals what issues are of most importance to him. And judging by the frequency of his tweets, it has little to do with matters critical to the nation. Rather, he is variously obsessed with either the media, last November’s election, or the torrent of White House leaks. Most experts agree that leaks occur when an organization is in disarray. But in Trump World it is blamed on a shadowy conspiracy of “deep state” saboteurs.

On yesterday’s edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (video below). Much of the segment specifically addressed the question of leaks and what the Justice Department intends to do about them. Wallace sought to follow up on remarks made last week by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Those comments sparked some controversy for implying that journalists could be targeted for prosecution. Rosenstein walked that back a bit in the following exchange:

Wallace: Some of the people who engage in leaks, I don’t have to tell you, are not the members of the so-called ‘deep state’ or faceless bureaucrats inside intelligence agencies. They are White House officials. They are members of Congress. If you find any of them have committed these leaks – have disclosed classified information – will you prosecute?
Rosenstein: “What we need to look at in every leak referral we get, we look at the facts and circumstances. What was the potential harm caused by the leaks? What were the circumstances? That’s more important to us than who it is, than who is the leaker. So if we identify somebody, no matter what their position is, if they violated the law and that case warrants prosecution, we’ll prosecute them.
Wallace: Including White House officials and members of Congress?
Rosenstein: Including anybody who breaks the law.

If Rosenstein can be taken at his word, Donald Trump may be in even more trouble than previously thought. Leaks from any administration are made for a variety of reasons. It may be because someone is genuinely concerned about a course of action and has no other recourse to alter it. Sometimes a leaker is angling for position or acting out of vengeance. And sometimes leaks are deliberate attempts by the White House to disseminate information that it wants disseminated.

For example, Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s short-lived communications director, recently outed his boss as a leaker. During an interview on CNN, Scaramucci defended Trump’s reluctance to concede that the Russians were responsible for hacking during last year’s election. He even offered “evidence” by way of an anonymous insider:

“You know, somebody said to me yesterday — I won’t tell you who — that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it.”

That, of course, is grade AAA bullshit. Professional spies may be good at what they do, but they are not infallible. Scaramucci is suggesting that the Russians are so superior in their clandestine operations that their American counterparts are helpless yokels, incapable of facing off against the almighty Ruskies. But more important was what Scaramucci said next. After CNN’s Jake Tapper challenged Scaramucci’s hypocritical use of an anonymous source, the Mooch spilled the beans:

“How about it was – how about it was the President, Jake? I talked to him yesterday. He called me from Air Force One.”

So here we have a White House official admitting that the President was the source of a leak that disclosed inside information. Trump’s observations about the capabilities of Russian intelligence ought to be regarded as top secret. But this business was aired on national television at the behest of Donald Trump. On another occasion, Trump leaked classified data to Russian diplomats visiting the White House. This leak may have put intelligence assets of an ally at risk of discovery or termination.

Who knows what else the President might have leaked. Handing out information that advances the administration’s interest is an ago-old tactic. Dick Cheney did it to plant the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And Trump has his own media operation headquartered in the White House and led by Breitbart News chairman, Stephen Bannon. Remember, this is the same guy who used to call newspapers and pretend that he was a publicist working for, well, himself.

So if Trump is later found to be the source of leaks to the media, will the Department of Justice keep their word and prosecute him? That’s an open question for the time being. They have not been especially anxious to pursue criminal investigations of the President. And, of course, Trump remains poised to fire anyone he thinks is getting too close to the truth. In the end, it may only be possible to obtain justice with a truly independent counsel, or a Democratic congress. Stay tuned.

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

REPORT: Trump Considering Replacing ‘Beleaguered’ Attorney General Sessions With Rudy Giuliani

The past couple of weeks has seen Donald Trump becoming ever more buried in scandal and controversy. Much of it is related to the ongoing questions about his unsavory connections to Russia. However, lately there have been new concerns emanating from a floundering White House that increasingly sees itself as under siege. The anxiety is getting so intense that Trump tweeted a plea for Republicans in Congress to protect him.

Rudy Giuliani

Setting aside the fact that it is not the job of Congress to protect the President (they are a co-equal check and balance on the executive branch), Trump’s worries extend to his his cabinet, with which is he decidedly unsatisfied.

That is especially true of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Recently Trump castigated his former favorite shill in what appears to be an attempt to force his resignation. He told the New York Times that Sessions’ recusal from the Russia probe caused him to regret the appointment. That was followed by a leaked report revealing Sessions meetings with Russians. There is speculation that the White House was the source of that leak. And on Monday morning Trump referred to Sessions as his “beleaguered” attorney general. Ironically, it is Trump who is “beleaguering” him.

A report just published by Axios is stirring the waters even more. They are hearing talk of Sessions being replaced by Rudy Giuliani. That would be an astonishing development. Giuliani is one of Trump’s most strident supporters. It would be suspicious if he should be put in that position as Trump’s legal woes expand. His fierce loyalty to Trump make it impossible to imagine that he’d run the Justice Department with the necessary independence.

But there are other reasons to be concerned about Giuliani running the Justice Department. His background is rife with controversy in both his political and personal lives. And he has much in common with the darkest side of Donald Trump. For instance:

  • Giuliani is a confirmed Birther.
  • Giuliani is a serial adulterer.
  • Giuliani asserts that he would prosecute Hillary Clinton.
  • Giuliani is frequently on Fox News and officiated at the wedding of Roger Ailes.
  • Giuliani implemented the racist stop-and-frisk policy for New York policing.
  • Giuliani eliminated New York’s control and command center for emergency response. This hampered rescue efforts after 9/11.
  • Giuliani business clients include the Canadian company that is building the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
  • Giuliani gave a speech to the Iranian organization Mujahedeen Khalq, which was on a State Department list designating it a terrorist organization.
  • Giuliani has a personal reverence for Vladimir Putin, who he said, “makes a decision and he executes it quickly. And then everybody reacts. That’s what you call a leader.”

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

Should Sessions be forced out as many insiders expect, Trump may lean on his pal Giuliani to do his dirty work at the Justice Department. The degree of sycophancy that Giuliani has displayed would make it likely he would willingly fire special counselor Robert Mueller. And stifling the investigations into his Russian affairs and finances is a top priority of Trump’s since he fired former FBI director James Comey. However, if any of this transpires there’s still a question as to whether Giuliani could be confirmed by the Senate. Even some Republicans might be wary of installing Trump’s consigliere as Attorney General.

LATE BREAKING: The Washington Post is reporting that Ted Cruz is also being considered as a replacement for Sessions. That would be a remarkable political turnaround for Lyin’ Ted whose father collaborated with JFK’s assassins. However, known as the most hated man in the Senate, he may find it even harder to get confirmation from his Senate colleagues.

Jeff Sessions Floats a Racist Plan to Make Americans – Not Mexico – Pay for the Border Wall

The 100 day mark is rapidly approaching in Donald Trump’s already failed presidency. And as it nears he is becoming more desperate to produce an achievement he can brag about. Ironically, he now pretends that the 100 day milestone is a ridiculous standard.” Never mind that he cited it himself repeatedly.

Jeff Sessions

At the top of his list is his promise to build a wall along the southern U.S. border and make Mexico pay for it. It’s clear that Mexico has no intention of shelling out for such a ludicrous project. Consequently, Trump and his team have been flailing wildly to come up with an alternative payment scheme they can spin as dinging Mexico. The latest was proposed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions Sunday on ABC’s This Week:

“We’re going to get paid for it one way or the other. I know there’s $4 billion a year in excess payments, according to the Department of the Treasury’s own inspector general several years ago, that are going to payments to people – tax credits that they shouldn’t get. Now, these are mostly Mexicans. And those kind of things add up – $4 billion a year for 10 years is $40 billion. There are a lot of ways we can find money to help pay for this.”

As pointed out in Politico, Sessions was likely referring to a Treasury Department report published in 2011. It found that there were people who are not authorized to work in the U.S. but had received $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits. However, the report didn’t mention Mexicans or any other nationalities. That was an assumption spurred by bigotry. Trump tried to pass off this same lie during the campaign, but was slapped down by PolitiFact:

“Trump conflates ‘illegal immigrants’ with ‘unauthorized workers,’ a group composed largely of undocumented immigrants but also legal immigrants and others. The $4.2 billion refers to the amount given in tax credit refunds for children, the large majority of whom are U.S. citizens.”

That’s right. While some of the recipients of these tax credits may have been unauthorized workers, the beneficiaries were their children. These kids are citizens who were born in the United States. In effect, Sessions is proposing that funds intended to help American children should be diverted to Trump’s border wall instead.

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

Perhaps the biggest deception in this mean-spirited scheme is even if the beneficiaries were Mexican, the money wouldn’t be coming from Mexico. These are funds from the U.S. Treasury collected from U.S. taxpayers. So it’s Americans who would be paying for the wall with money originally intended to help American kids. But Sessions is trying to spin it as a way to get Mexico to pay. The dishonesty and cruelty of this contrivance is nauseating – and typical of Team Trump.

Fox News ‘White’ Washes Racist Past Of Trump’s Attorney General Nominee

The Trump transition marches on with another name being floated for a prominent role. This time it’s Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-AL) who is reportedly being tapped for Attorney General. Jeff Sessions would join white nationalist Stephen Bannon and religious bigot Michael Flynn in Donald Trump’s inner circle.

Jeff Sessions

The choice of Sessions is perfectly aligned with Trump’s well-documented record of prejudice and division. But it’s not particularly suited for leadership of the Justice Department which is responsible for enforcing civil rights laws. Prior to his senate service, Sessions was a U.S. attorney and attorney general in Alabama. He was nominated by President Reagan for a seat on the federal bench, but failed to receive confirmation from a majority Republican senate. Among the reasons were his criticisms of the NAACP as un-American and communist-inspired. He also referred to a black lawyer as “boy,” and called white attorneys who defended black clients “race traitors.” No wonder former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke tweeted his support saying:

Ordinarily, this sort of behavior would be disqualifying for a high profile government post. But in the Age of Trump there are no depths too low for an aspiring public figure to sink. Trump himself has engaged in the most abhorrent forms of hate-speech aimed at African-Americans, women, Muslims, and others. And throughout it all, Fox News was there to tidy up his bigotry and re-frame it as bold, straight talk.

That’s exactly what happened Friday morning on Fox & Friends when guest host Ed Henry interviewed Trump advisor Brad Blakeman. Predictably impressed, Blakeman said that Trump “couldn’t pick a better candidate” than Sessions. He lauded the Senator as:

“…a guy who is steeped in the law, got an excellent reputation, was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1981 to be the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, served for more than a decade, then became the attorney general thereafter of Alabama, and then the U.S. Senator. So he’s got a stellar record.”

Henry deftly dodged the substance of Blakeman’s glowing tribute to Sessions. Instead, he diverted to unrelated questions about Republican frustration with Democratic AG’s Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. But for some reason Henry ignored the glaring omissions in Blakeman’s revisionist history.

An ethical journalist would have pointed out that Sessions was rejected for a judgeship due to blatantly racist behavior. That information is directly relevant to the duties of the Attorney General who has jurisdiction over the federal justice administration. But on Fox News it is potentially damaging to their mission of right-wing propaganda. Consequently, it’s left out of the discussion and their viewers remain blissfully ignorant. So even in the Age of Trump, some things never change.

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