Frantic Gaslighting: Trump Accuses Lester Holt of ‘Fudging’ Interview Where He Incriminated Himself

Thursday morning most of the media was focused on the first public memorial service for the late Sen. John McCain. So as the nation was united in paying tribute to McCain, Donald Trump naturally took to his Twitter throne and fired off a series of frighteningly incoherent outbursts at what he regards as “the enemy of the people.” It’s his way of continuing to show contempt for a man that had the audacity to challenge him.

Donald Trump

The substance of Thursdays’ tweetstorm was typically centered on his aversion to, and fear of, the free press and the Constitution. He began by taking a swipe at a perennial foe, CNN. Trump lashed out at the network’s boss, Jeff Zucker, and called on AT&T to fire him. Think about that. The president of the United States is issuing orders to a private company in order to control their executive management. That’s pretty much the definition of fascism.

But Trump didn’t stop there. The next tweet in the tantrum was aimed at NBC and their news anchor, Lester Holt. What Trump said was obviously pulled from the recesses of a deeply disturbed mind. It was based on nothing resembling reality, but it did serve to advance his mission to Make America Stupid Again:

This is a perfect example of Trump disseminating utter bullcrap to his pathetic and glassy-eyed cult followers who will believe anything Dear Leader disgorges. The interview with Holt was not “fudged” in any way, and Trump offers no evidence to support his charge. The entire interview is posted online for all to see. Trump’s sole purpose in hurling this lie is to mitigate the fact that he incriminated himself in that interview. Trump told Holt that he fired FBI director James Comey because of the Russia investigation.

So Trump literally confessed to obstruction of justice on national television. Now he’s trying to back out of it by saying the interview was doctored. But everyone knows that he’s making that up out of pure desperation. And by doing so he only makes things worse by being so transparently dishonest and by bringing attention back to his guilt. Even Fox News was taken aback by Trump’s glaringly false allegation.

Trump continued his Twitter tirade with a more generalized attack on what he called the “totally dishonest” media. He said that “Truth doesn’t matter to them,” and that “they only have their hatred & agenda.” This is coming from the man who has been documented as telling more than 4,200 lies since his poorly attended inauguration (which he lied about). And he’s also the man whose whole presidency has been marinated in hate and bigotry. He can’t go a single day without tossing around vicious and infantile insults at anyone he perceives as insufficiently worshipful.

Finally (for the time being), Trump circled back around to CNN to reiterate some completely fake allegations about a recent story concerning his troubles with his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, had told CNN that Cohen might tell special counsel Robert Mueller that the President knew about the infamous Trump Tower meeting with the Russians before it occurred. Davis later backpedaled and said that he could not actually confirm that. Note that he did not say it wasn’t true, only that he was no longer comfortable with the comment. That’s probably because it could put his client in legal jeopardy because it contradicted what Cohen told Congress.

Subsequently, Trump, Fox News, and other rightist media began accusing CNN of flubbing the story. But they actually got it right. It was Davis who admits that he made a statement that he would no longer stand by. That isn’t CNN’s fault, especially since they also had other sources corroborating their reporting. They continue stand by the story.

The fact that Trump would take this time, as the nation is still mourning the passing of John McCain, to trot out his self-serving delusions, is indicative of his utter lack of character and class. He simply isn’t able to allow anyone else to have the spotlight for a day or two. But the ludicrous charge that Lester Holt tampered with the video of his interview shows that Trump will propound any lie, no matter how outrageous and unfounded, to deceive the nation. And that sort of dishonesty has been the hallmark of his tenure so far in the White House.

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

Scared Sh*tless: Der Fuhrer Trump Threatens to Cancel ‘All Future Press Briefings’

The fallout from Donald Trump’s incompetently executed firing of FBI Director James Comey continues to rain down hard on his administration. Not only did he transparently interfere with an active investigation of his collusion with Russia, but he admitted as much in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.

Comey Trump

At one point in the interview, Holt pressed Trump “Did you ask, am I under investigation?” Trump responded saying that “I actually asked him, yes. I said, if it’s possible, will you let me know, am I under investigation? He said, you are not under investigation.”

That is a wholly inappropriate question for a president to ask an FBI director under any circumstances. But in this case, Trump already told Holt that the dinner where this occurred was one where Comey was seeking to stay on as director. So Trump was actually tying Comey’s job prospects to the investigation. Elsewhere it was reported that Trump had tried to extract a loyalty pledge from Comey, which Comey refused.

These comments are literally impeachable offenses all by themselves. Trump’s intimidation tactics were obvious and intolerable. Not surprisingly, the media reported on what he said, which always makes him mad. But this morning’s tweetstorm included some frightening suggestions of a tyrannical mindset:

First of all, Trump is making excuses for his press representatives dispensing misinformation (lies) to the public. That is never acceptable. If there is some question about the facts, the correct answer is “I don’t know. I’ll get back to you.” But Trump’s people instead decided to pollute the discourse with falsehoods.

More importantly, Trump’s casual suggestion that he might just cancel all future press briefings reflects his tendencies toward fascist authoritarianism. The presidency is not his fiefdom. It is a position of service to the people. Press briefings are the method by which the people’s intermediaries in the media have opportunities to hold national leaders accountable. They cannot be replaced by written press releases.

What’s more, Trump’s anger is entirely misplaced. He’s mad at the press because he and his staff are incompetent. The issue that preceded his outburst was Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying that Trump fired Comey at the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That wasn’t true, and Trump himself contradicted it the next day in his interview with Holt by saying that he already planned to fire Comey regardless of the recommendation. So in Trump’s deranged brain, the press must be punished and banished.

Another item in this morning’s Twitter tirade was also notable for its threat to democracy and the rule of law:

REALLY? Trump is implying that he might be keeping Nixon like secret recordings. Comey isn’t the one who should be worried if such tapes exist. Their existence, and Trump’s use of them to intimidate, would be another justification for impeachment. And something tells me that the contents of any such tapes would affirm Comey’s account of what occurred at their meetings. Trump, after all, is a pathological liar.

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

Fox News Debate Moderator’s Ex-Boss Is Prepping Trump For The Debates

The 2016 presidential debates are now set with dates and moderators. They will be the most influential campaign events in the final two months of this election cycle. How they are produced and managed can have an impact nearly as significant as the performance of the candidates.

Baby Trump

For the past few weeks Donald Trump has been whining about the debate formats and moderators. Unlike Hillary Clinton, he has still not officially accepted the invitation to participate. To the contrary, he has been threatening to ditch the whole affair. He tweeted that the debates as scheduled were “Unacceptable,” and that “Hillary & the Dems are trying to rig the debates.” Furthermore, in an attempt to work the refs, he told Time Magazine that “certain moderators would be unacceptable, absolutely.”

Well, Donald Trump’s tantrums may have yielded some results (much like they did throughout the GOP primary debates). The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) just released their list of moderators. Lester Holt of NBC will host the first debate on September 26. The second will feature CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Radditz in a town hall format. The final debate will be moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News.

The CPD managed to select journalists with reputations for fair, if bland, reporting for the first two debates. The problem comes in the third debate with Chris Wallace. Until a few weeks ago Wallace reported to Roger Ailes, the disgraced ex-CEO of Fox News who was ousted following multiple charges of sexual harassment. Prior to his exit, Wallace defended Ailes vigorously, and they remain close friends.

Ailes is now working for the Trump campaign, specifically helping to prep him for the debates with Clinton. The close relationship between Ailes and Wallace is unseemly at best. Will Ailes try to influence his pal on the topics or questions that will be asked? Will Wallace show favor to the candidate employing his friend and former boss?

While these questions can’t be answered with any certainty, the mere suggestions create enough of a conflict to have disqualified Wallace from moderating. Imagine the Republican howling that would ensue if a Clinton aide had a similar relationship with a debate moderator. Trump himself would throw fits of outrage at the bias and corruption of the system. Yet there has been nary a peep from anyone in the campaigns or the press about this blatant favoritism.

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

The presence of Wallace on the debate stage sets a low standard for fairness that will be difficult to overcome. Only time will tell if he has any interest in doing so. But the most revealing aspect of this development is what has not occurred. Donald Trump has not (as yet) complained about the lineup. That’s a pretty good indicator that he feels he got what he wanted. Too bad the voters who will be watching won’t be able to say the same thing.