Attorney Genuflect Bill Barr has Fully Morphed Into a Fox News Trump-Fluffer

On Monday the Inspector General of the Justice Department released his report on the origins of the Russia probe. The top-line conclusion was that it “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI.” Yet somehow Trump embraced the report with delusional glee. He even boasted that it was “one of our great achievements.”

William Barr, Donald Trump

Now Trump’s Attorney Genuflect, Bill Barr, is disputing the very same IG Report that a deranged Trump said was a victory for him. This is the sequel to the aftermath of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller, when Trump insisted that it “totally exonerated” him, while simultaneously disparaging it as a hoax and a witch hunt. It takes a mind that is either brazenly dishonest or severely dysfunctional to attack a report that you also claim vindicates you. But that is what Trump did then, and is reprising now.

Barr was interviewed by NBC’s Pete Williams on Tuesday morning (video below). The whole interview was a bizarre affair that exposed Barr’s flagrant biases and his abandonment of principle, integrity, and honesty. He demonstrated that he is not the Attorney General for the people of the United States, but a shill for private citizen Trump. His remarks reflected the glassy-eyed devotion of a cult follower whose adoration for Dear Leader is unflappable. Barr began by dismissing three years of criminality by Trump and Company:

“I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press.”

Barr is forgetting that in the past three years many of Trump’s closest associates have been indicted and convicted, including Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Micheal Cohen, and Roger Stone. And there were dozens of other indictments that are still pending. Plus, Mueller’s report found at least 270 contacts between the Trump team and Russia-linked operatives. That is hardly the result of a “bogus narrative.”

By blaming his slanderous criticisms on the press, Barr is just parroting his White House Overlord and the glassy-eyed sycophants on Fox News. The AG continued in this vein sounding more like Sean Hannity and Alex Jones than the chief law enforcement officer of the nation. Barr made the ludicrous and unsupported assertion that Trump “was clearly spied upon” by the FBI. Then he continued saying that…

“From a civil liberties standpoint, the greatest danger to our free system is that the incumbent government use the apparatus of the state … both to spy on political opponents but also to use them in a way that could affect the outcome of an election.”

First of all, Trump was not spied on, he was investigated. Barr is using language that is deliberately prejudicial. No police officer engaged in collecting evidence would ever say that they were “spying” on a murder suspect. What’s more, the FBI wasn’t even investigating Trump. They were legitimately probing the suspicious activities of individuals connected to his campaign.

It’s also troubling that Barr refers to valid and justified FBI investigations as “the greatest danger” to our system of government. Apparently he thinks it’s worse than Russians hacking our elections and launching massive campaigns of propaganda in support of Trump. Barr also doesn’t seem concerned that Trump “used the apparatus” – not of the state – but of a foreign state “in a way that could affect the outcome of an election.’ This was evidently not a problem for Barr. In fact, he appears to think it’s commonplace and acceptable:

“Presidential campaigns are frequently in contact with foreign persons. And indeed, in most campaigns there are signs of illegal foreign money coming in.”

WHAT? That’s not only false, it’s insane. No campaign professional would agree that such contact occurs “frequently,” if ever. And if Barr has proof that “most campaigns” are receiving “illegal foreign money,” why on Earth isn’t he prosecuting anyone?

He went on to falsely state that “there was and never has been any evidence of collusion” with Russia. In fact, the Mueller Report said that, while he could not unequivocally establish such collusion, there was actual evidence. Just not enough to indict. What’s more, Mueller affirmed that Trump “welcomed and encouraged” Russian interference in the 2016 election, and then sought to cover it up. That alone should warrant his impeachment.

On Tuesday morning Trump relaunched his attack on the FBI. This time against Christopher Wray, the FBI Director that Trump himself appointed. Wray’s offense was to affirm the findings of the independent Inspector General. The one Barr that is discrediting and publicly humiliating. Bill Barr is a disgrace to the office of Attorney General. He deserves to be impeached and removed from office every bit as much as Trump does. He is purposefully reorganizing the Justice Department as the defense team and PR operation for a corrupt president. And isn’t that Fox News’ job?

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

Terrified that His Taxes Will Become Public, Trump Sics His DOJ on the Supreme Court

Last week’s impeachment hearings revealed overwhelming evidence of the criminal behavior of Donald Trump. The witnesses were largely from his own administration, including Dr. Fiona Hill who was a top aide to Trump’s ultra-conservative National Security Advisor, John Bolton. And every one of them testified that Trump improperly threatened to withhold military funds from Ukraine unless they helped him smear a political rival. In fact, Trump himself admitted it.

Donald Trump

However, in just the few hours since the hearings adjourned, there have been some startling stories of corruption and dirty dealing by Trump and his sycophantic defenders. The ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, has been implicated in a scandal of his own wherein he was seeking foreign assistance to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. Which is precisely the crime that the Committee is investigating Trump for. As for Trump, he visited his Friends at Fox News to spread propaganda manufactured by Russia. But These aren’t the only problems Trump faces.

The state of New York has been trying to get Trump’s tax returns as evidence in a case probing alleged campaign finance violations. Trump, of course, has been refusing to cooperate, but having lost in the lower courts, Trump is taking his challenge to the Supreme Court. In advance of any decision, the Department of Justice is now weighing in with their own opinion. And naturally they are siding with Trump. This is just further proof that Attorney Genuflect Bill Barr is a toady for Trump who is breaching his oath to serve the American people.

There is no justification for the DOJ to interfere with this litigation. It is outside of the purview of the Department as it involves Trump personally and is not associated with his duties as president. What’s more, the case that the DOJ is presenting to the Supreme Court is typically biased, shallow, and weak on legal rationale. According to their filing

“The brief, filed by Solicitor General Noel Francisco, says allowing Manhattan prosecutor Cyrus Vance to obtain the tax returns would create a precedent that ‘may subject the president to highly burdensome demands for information’ and ‘raises the risk that prosecutors could use subpoenas to harass the president as a result of opposition to his policies.'”

Literally none of that is is justification for the Justice Department to interfere with this case. The President is not immune to investigations by state prosecutors. And it isn’t the DOJ’s job to define what constitutes a “burden” to the President. Nor is the DOJ permitted to insert itself into what may or may not be a political affair. The President has his personal attorneys for those purposes. The brief went on to say that…

“’The United States has a substantial interest in protecting the office of the president and the powers and duties vested in that office,’ the brief reportedly reads. ‘The United States also has a substantial interest in protecting the autonomy of the federal government from potential interference by the states.'”

To the extent that the DOJ is tasked with “protecting the office of the president,” it is limited to the his official duties, not his personal affairs. Especially those that took place prior to his election. However, the argument that the DOJ has an interest in protecting the President “from potential interference by the states,” is downright ludicrous. It is, in effect, a claim to protect the President from the nation he is sworn to serve. If upheld it would set a precedent that allows any president to violate state laws with impunity. And along with the tax laws that are central to this case, that could include rape and murder.

Trump’s stubborn refusal to release his taxes – as every other president in modern times has done – is a pretty good indication that there is something terribly wrong hidden in them. He isn’t even pretending to be audited anymore. Now he claims that just asking to see his returns is an abuse of power. He’s just sending his lackeys out to make absurd arguments in the hopes that he can keep his skeletons in the closet. And while the DOJ’s case is so thin as to be laughable, it is not outside the realm of possibility that it will be received favorably by a Supreme Court that is stacked with right-wingers and Trump appointees. Time will tell if they honor the law and the Constitution more than their misplaced loyalty to a criminal president.

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

Trump’s Bizarre Defense of Fellow Sexual Predator Brett Kavanaugh is Legally Incomprehensible

The New York Times published a story this week that contained new and credible allegations of sexual assault by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. While the article buried the charges in the body of the story, the victim, Deborah Ramirez, provides a harrowing account of Kavanaugh’s behavior that is consistent with the experiences of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and others.

Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh

The renewed controversy over the Donald Trump nominated Justice has stirred the debate over Kavanaugh’s fitness to serve on the Court. There are already calls for investigations and even inquiries into whether Kavanaugh should be impeached. Among the justifications for his ouster from the bench is the now apparent fact that he lied to the Senate during his confirmation hearing. And he had no business being confirmed at all considering the fact that the FBI failed to investigate the charges against him, including those by Ramirez.

Enter Donald Trump. It comes as no surprise that Trump would rush to the defense of his nominee. Not just because he needs to validate his choice, but also because they share so much in common. Trump is also a serial sexual predator who has been accused by more than twenty women of harassment and/or assault. So naturally Trump lashed out on Twitter to protect Kavanaugh from the truths that are emerging.

Trump’s first inclination is always to blame everything on the media. It’s his way of telegraphing to his cult followers that, despite the facts and the evidence, what they are hearing is not to be believed. Trump’s assertion that Kavanaugh is “an innocent man who has been treated HORRIBLY,” has no basis in reality. And it’s absurd to suggest that he has been treated worse than his victims.

However, Trump goes completely off the ledge when he offers his advice that Kavanaugh should sue the press and his accusers for libel. Trump has often threatened to sue his own accusers, but always chickens out. During the 2016 campaign he swore that “All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.” Those lawsuits never came to pass. His lawyers surely told him that truth is a defense against libel, and the proceedings would subject him to discovery, wherein he would have to provide all relevant documents and evidence in his possession. There is no way he would do that.

Even worse, Trump said that “the Justice Department should come to [Kavanaugh’s] rescue.” This is further proof that Trump believes the Justice Department serves as his personal attorney, and can serve the same function for Kavanaugh. Clearly Trump has no idea how government works. But, unfortunately, he does have an Attorney General, William Barr, who doesn’t care how government works and is willing to violate the Constitution on behalf of a criminal president.

Trump’s glaring ignorance is apparent throughout these tweets. He obviously doesn’t know what “recrimination” means. Just retaliating against the women in these matters by calling them “liars” is recriminatory. And they have also been disparaged as drunks and sluts. Trump’s complaint that his critics are trying to “scare [Kavanaugh] into turning Liberal,” and to “influence his opinions,” makes no sense whatsoever. How would holding Kavanaugh accountable for his past behavior – and more recent lies – cause him to rule more favorably for the people causing him so much trouble? If anything, it would have the opposite effect.

Let’s be clear. The only reason Trump is even bothering to make a stink about this is that he’s afraid for his own fate. He even said as much in another tweet where he asked if it “sounds familiar” that Kavanaugh’s criticisms were based “on threats of Impeaching him over made up stories.”

Trump regards this as an attack against him. He doesn’t care about Kavanaugh or the Supreme Court, and certainly not the law. He sees this as criticism of his choice for the nomination and his own sex crimes. And anything that reflects negatively on him must be attacked with the full force of his viciousness and dishonesty. That’s how the diseased minds of malignant narcissists work. And Trump is, once again, providing a textbook example of this. Sadly, it’s also an example of why no one with these hostile and destructive psychoses should ever serve as president.

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

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

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

Donald Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

While Defending Kavanaugh, Ted Cruz Inadvertently Defines Trump as a Sexual Predator

You can always count on Ted Cruz, the smarmiest man in Washington, to demonstrate how he has earned his reputation for nausea-inducing callousness. When all around him are being merely grotesque, Cruz manages to up the ante and spin the disgust meter three times around. And Friday morning he reaffirmed his unique talent for obnoxious blather.

Ted Cruz, Donald Trump

The Senate Judiciary Committee was preparing to vote on whether to send the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the full Senate. Each senator was given an opportunity to say a few words on on the positions they are taking prior to the vote. When Cruz’s turn came around he thought he would make an argument for why Kavanaugh could not possibly be a sexual predator (video below):

“Now all of us know from human experience, that if someone is a sexual predator – if someone is committing the kinds of actions that have been alleged – that it is very rare that they are a one-time offender. That if someone is carrying out this kind of conduct, they typically have a pattern of doing so over and over and over again. We have seen powerful men throughout society – in politics, in journalism, in Hollywood – whose careers have rightly been ended, but they’ve been ended for a pattern of harassment or abuse that typically extends decades, because when someone behaves like this they behave like this over and over again.”

First of all, Cruz is apparently not paying very close attention to the allegations made against Kavanaugh. There are at least three women who have come forward with credible statements that they’ve made under penalty of perjury. So Kavanaugh fits Cruz’s definition of a predator. But more troubling is that there is another person in public life that fits the description even better.

Donald Trump has been accused of sexual harassment and/or assault by at least sixteen women over a period many years. These women have provided detailed accounts of their encounters with Trump. And Trump himself has validated the charges by admitting that, because he is famous, he feels that he is allowed to assault (i.e. grab) women any time he wants and get away with it.

This country is currently on the verge of confirming an alleged sexual predator to a seat on the Supreme Court, where he would join Clarence Thomas, another alleged perv. Together they would be ruling on issues of critical importance to women, including Roe v Wade. But as bad as that is, it’s monumentally worse that the President has committed far more crimes over a longer span of time, but has not been held to account in any way. Certainly, if Kavanaugh is unfit to serve on the Supreme Court (for so many reasons) then Trump should be removed from the White House sooner than immediately. What does it say about our nation if it is incapable of preventing monsters like these from becoming powerful leaders?

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

Brett Kavanaugh’s Angry, Partisan, Yelling, and Crying Has Likely Torpedoed His Nomination

The single most damaging witness so far for the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United is without a doubt – Brett Kavanaugh. His opening statement was an extended, foaming at the mouth diatribe filled with invective and grievances against his perceived enemies. Donald Trump made it known that he was unhappy with Kavanaugh’s performance during his pitiful interview on Fox News. But if he thinks this was the way to rehabilitate his tattered reputation, he’s only proving that his faulty judgment makes him unfit to serve on the Supreme Court.

Brett Kavanaugh

The most notable impression left by Kavanaugh will be that he was furious with the women who were making allegations about his behavior, and with the Democrats in Congress who are seeking the truth. But his unhinged harangue will be viewed after the fact as detrimental to his confirmation. The spectacle of a potential justice of the Supreme Court throwing a public tantrum like this only reinforces the opinions of those who believe that he doesn’t have the temperment to do the job.

No one would hold it against him that he cried during his testimony. Well, no one except the President of the United States, Donald Trump. On more than a few occasions Trump has mocked others for showing such emotion. He routinely referred to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer as “Cryin’ Chuck.” Should we expect a similarly disrespectful tweet from the President about “Cryin’ Brett”? And if Trump was disappointed with Kavanaugh’s appearance on the friendly Fox News network, what must he be thinking now after this extended display of shouting and weeping? If anything, it makes the charges that he is a belligerent drunk more believable.

Perhaps the most harmful part of Kavanaugh’s rant was his ferocious condemnation of Democrats. He implied that they had “laid in wait” and plotted to “blow me up and take me down.” His repetitious attacks made it clear that he regards the party as a political foe. He accused Democrats of conducting a campaign against him that was “well financed” by some unnamed and evil benefactor (George Soros?). He described their opposition to him in conspiratorial terms resembling Trump’s references to a “Deep State” cabal. Specifically, Kavanaugh said that his critics were deploying a “political hit” as “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.” Seriously?

With that sort of brazen and vile partisanship, how can Kavanaugh be relied upon to be a neutral arbiter of the law? His extreme prejudice is starkly apparent. And whether or not one believes he has justification to feel this way, it disqualifies him to be a justice whose impartiality is mandatory. No judicial authority can be allowed to harbor such obvious biases. He could certainly withdraw and run for the senate, where his partisanship would be expected. But he has morally resigned as any kind of judge and now needs to recognize that fact and resign in reality.

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

Trump Stains Ceremony Honoring Fallen Peace Officers With Self-Serving Partisan Politics

On Tuesday Donald Trump held another in his series of chest-thumping, apple pie, American values, theatrical affairs. He does these obviously manipulative farces to try to prove how much he cares about whatever issue he is exploiting that day. Generally it’s an issue he has never demonstrated any real concern for. Whether its veterans, who the coward with five draft deferments pretends to adore while slashing their benefits, or working people, who the New York “billionaire” rips off in business and with tax scams that mainly benefit the wealthy, Trump just loves putting on these cons to persuade his deplorable base that he’s on their side.

Donald Trump

The latest such event was the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service on held in Washington D.C outside the Capital. The service is an annual event that honors law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. It’s a worthy affair for any leader with an honest respect for the sacrifices made by our first responders. Unfortunately, this president’s honesty is as phony as a diploma from Trump University.

This is just the sort of event that Trump can show up for and rattle off some applause lines from his TelePrompted speech. He did just that with prepared phrases like “We will protect those who protect us” and “Every American heart bleeds blue.” He praised the fallen as “among the bravest Americans to ever live,” who “faced down evil,” and “did it all with courage.” These are unarguably appropriate tributes to men and women who lost their lives in the service of others. But it all seems so hollow when the speaker lacks any hint of emotion or sincerity.

The disingenuousness of Trump’s address was brought into full view when he reached a part that he, or his handlers, thought could be twisted into a political message that benefited him. He raised the subject of immigration and found a way to hype his ludicrous and ineffective border wall. And then he went further with a full-on, partisan rant that abandoned the theme of honoring the fallen and dived straight into naked politics:

“We are calling on Congress to secure our borders, support our border agents, stop sanctuary cities and shut down policies that release violent criminals back into our communities. We don’t want it any longer. We’ve had it. Enough is enough!”

This exploitation of a what should be a solemn memorial service is typical of the disrespect that Trump will show whenever he decides that his needs are greater than whatever occasion he is supposedly commemorating. Whatever he believes the merits are of the policies he advocates, they are not universally held, even among this assembly of law enforcement officers. Many in the field believe that the policies adhered to in so-called sanctuary cities actually save officers lives. They make it possible for immigrants to come forward when they’ve witnessed a crime and help to bring the perpetrators to justice.

It’s pitiful that Trump can’t hold his tongue for a few minutes to let the families and colleagues of fallen officers pay tribute to their loved ones. He has to turn it into an affair that brings the attention back to him and makes his own priorities the focus of the day. And for comparison, here is how a dignified president addresses the same event with respect and admiration for those who serve and their families:

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

President Barack Obama at the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in 2015:

Donald Trump Actually Admitted He’s a Flaming Idiot Four Times Yesterday

The past two years has been a veritable circus as Donald Trump clowned his way through the presidency. He’s proven beyond a shadow of doubt that he is utterly incapable of governing. His pathological lying and relentless boasting are the hallmarks of his oratory. And for some reason he insists demonstrating that he’s a complete imbecile who fails to understand the simplest concepts.

Donald Trump

However, even with that record of buffoonery, Trump outdid himself in his speech yesterday that was supposedly about infrastructure. He spent maybe two minutes out of more than sixty on that topic, squeezed in between embarrassing exaltations of himself and infantile insults of his perceived enemies. But what distinguished this speech more than anything else were his own admissions of stupidity. It was a startling thing to watch. Here are a few of the things that Trump needed to make sure that everyone knew he couldn’t grasp:

He Doesn’t Know What a Community College Is:

“I don’t know what that means, a community college. Call it vocational and technical. People know what that means. They don’t know what a community college means […] and I tell people, call it vocational from now on, it’s a great word, it’s a great word. Call it vocational and technical perhaps, but use vocational, because that’s what it’s all about. People know what that means, we don’t know what a community college means.”

Who doesn’t know what “community college” means? The phrase is its own definition. It’s a college that’s in the community. Is that so hard? What’s more, it is not the same as a vocational or technical school. Vocational schools generally focus on a specific skill such as nursing or mechanics. Community colleges are more like conventional four-year institutions with a broad range of study. They award Associates Degrees and are often starting points to pursue higher education. But Trump is fixated on the word “vocational” most likely because he just learned it. He has done the same thing with other words like “comprehensive” and “reciprocal” when those entered his vocabulary. He doesn’t realize that the rest of America already knows these words, or he assumes they’re as dumb as he is.

He Doesn’t Know That His Wall is Not Being Built:

“We’re getting that sucker built. That’s what I do. I build. I was always very good at building. It was my best thing. I think better than being president, I was always very good at building.”

Somebody showed Trump a picture of a wall under construction and told him it was the border wall that he has been yammering about for two years. It wasn’t. It was a part of a wall in California that was undergoing an upgrade that was approved by the Obama administration. However. Trump’s assessment of being better at building than being president is an easy call. Not because he was ever good at building, but because he’s better at anything than he is at being president.

He Doesn’t Know How Judges are Made:

“You know, when I got in, we had over 100 federal judges that weren’t appointed. I don’t know why Obama left that. It was like a big beautiful present to all of us. Why the hell did he leave that? Maybe he got complacent?”

Why? Because the Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, deliberately refused to hold hearings or confirmations for President Obama’s nominees. This wasn’t a secret tactic that might have eluded Trump’s attention. McConnell did it openly and was criticized harshly for his perversion of democracy. But Trump thinks the vacant seats were the result of that black president being lazy. Cause you know how “those” people are.

Finally, Trump took to Twitter for another display of ignorance wrapped in a critique of one of his favorite foils. His tweet accused Jeff Bezos, owner of both Amazon and the Washington Post, of failing to pay taxes and exploiting the Post Office:

Really? First of all, the Post Office is everyone’s “delivery boy.” It’s their whole purpose for being. And Amazon’s use of their services is actually a source of enormous revenue for them. Secondly, Amazon does collect sales taxes in every state in the country that imposes them. The fact that Trump doesn’t know this just shows that he has never bought anything from Amazon or bothered to ask anyone who has. His real target is Bezos, who he thinks is ordering the Washington Post to write critical stories about him. Also, it’s hypocrisy on a grand scale for Trump to criticize others for not paying taxes. He has bragged about not doing so and insisted that it was evidence of his genius as a businessman. At least Amazon’s tax releases are public information, unlike Trump’s.

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

It’s one thing for Trump’s critics to lay into him whenever he does something foolish. But it’s another when he himself admits his foolishness and seems to revel in it. But what’s really frightening is that there are so many people who hear these admissions and don’t find anything troubling about them. His disciples are members of his cult and blindly believe whatever he tells them, no matter how obvious the truth is.

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.

YOU’RE FIRED: Trump Sacks U.S. Attorney Probing Fox News For Hiding Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

On Friday the White House announced that it was asking forty-six U.S. Attorneys to submit their resignations. They were further instructed to clear out their desks by the end of the day. Replacing staff at the Department of Justice is a routine part of most administration transitions. However, it is rarely done so ham-handedly without prior notice or opportunity to orient the replacements.

Preet Bharara Donald Trump

By acting so impetuously, Donald Trump is leaving numerous in-progress investigations without leadership or direction. They include cases involving terrorism, drug trafficking, civil rights abuses, and more. There is no reason to rush these lawyers out the door. Most are career attorneys who have served during both Democratic and Republican administrations.

One possible explanation for Trump’s hastiness could be something he saw the night before on Fox News. Sean Hannity demanded that anyone affiliated with the Obama administration be summarily dismissed ASAP. What he was advocating was nothing short of the purges conducted by old-school tyrannical regimes. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that Trump carried out the ideological cleansing the next day. But there is abundant evidence that Trump responds obediently to things he sees on Fox News.

Which makes the case of fired attorney Preet Bharara especially troubling. Bharara is the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In that jurisdiction he has had responsibility for high profile prosecutions of organized crime, Wall Street corruption, and political malfeasance. He has a reputation for being thorough and non-partisan. He was even personally asked to remain by President-Elect Trump last November, which he agree to do.

What makes Bharara’s dismissal so controversial is that one of the cases he is currently investigating involves Fox News. Last month the New York Daily News reported that:

“The feds are conducting an ‘ongoing criminal investigation’ of Fox News Channel and whether Rupert Murdoch’s company hid from investors the payments it made to employees who alleged they were sexually harassed, an attorney alleged in court Wednesday.” […]

[Attorney Judd Burstein, representing former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros] “said Fox News’ payouts to female employees claiming sexual harassment are not disclosed in Fox’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, which could be a violation of federal securities law.”

The ever-increasing number of former female Fox News staffers alleging sexual harassment is not just a moral atrocity. It also threatens to cost the network millions of dollars and loss of prestige. The current rash of scandals began with Gretchen Carlson and quickly spread to others including Andrea Tantaros, Juliet Huddy, and even Megyn Kelly. As such it’s pertinent to any analysis of the company’s fiscal health and they have a responsibility to inform investors. Fox News already lost its founder and CEO. Roger Ailes, as a result of the scandal.

To say the least, it is unseemly for Trump to shove Bharara out the door while he is working on such a sensitive case. Fox News is Trump’s most devoted media cheerleader, thus Trump has an incentive to shield them from legal jeopardy. And for this act of presidential protection to take place immediately after a plea from Hannity – Fox’s most adoring Trump fluffer – just compounds the inappropriateness.

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

Bharara, as a matter of principle, refused to cooperate with the Trump purge. CNN reported that he would not comply with the request for a resignation. In effect, he dared Trump to fire him. And given Trump’s penchant for petty vengeance, that is exactly what Trump did. This opens the door for a replacement who Trump is already considering. Marc Mukasey is a lawyer who counts among his clients Fox’s ex-CEO Roger Ailes. Were he to assume the position, it is unlikely that the case against Fox News would proceed. This is how Trump drains the swamp.