Awkward: Giuliani Implies that Mueller Has ‘Uncovered Something’ that Proves Trump is Guilty

There has been talk in recent days about the peculiar disappearance of Donald Trump’s lead Russia attorney, Rudy Giuliani. After a flurry of embarrassing media appearances a few weeks ago, Giuliani has been uncharacteristically quiet. Perhaps he’s still confused about the ongoing investigation that he said was “essentially over” a couple of months ago. He laughably told Fox News that Mueller and company are “just in denial.” But as of Friday afternoon, the cause for worry was relieved when the New York Times released a new interview.

Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump

Let’s just set aside Rudy’s choice of the allegedly failing New York Times as the platform for his latest public pronouncements. After all, there’s nothing unusual about the President’s lawyer fraternizing with “the enemy of the American people” is there? And on Saturday morning Trump tweeted his baseless prediction that the Times was going out of business. Nevertheless, Giuliani saw fit to call the Times when he wanted to unveil some new PR bullcrap. He told the Times that he was issuing new demands that must be met before Trump would interview with special counsel Robert Mueller:

“If they can come to us and show us the basis and that it’s legitimate and that they have uncovered something, we can go from there and assess their objectivity,”

In other words, if Mueller has the goods on us, we’ll talk. If we’ve successfully hidden our crimes, screw you. Notice that Giuliani isn’t saying that there is nothing to be uncovered. He’s saying that any evidence of crimes that might be uncovered would determine whether Trump would be deposed. That’s about as close as you can get to an admission that incriminating information exists without just pleading guilty. But the Trump camp doesn’t want to show their dirty hands unless the prosecutors already have them nailed.

Even with this new position regarding Trump’s reluctance to come clean, Giuliani betrayed his own bad faith negotiating by conceding that Mueller was unlikely to agree to the interview demands. So Giuliani is just throwing more obstacles in the path of justice, and he’s doing it deliberately. And according to the Times, this obstruction doesn’t stop there:

“The president’s lawyers want Mr. Mueller to explain how the Justice Department gave him the authority to investigate possible obstruction of justice by the president in what began as a counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s election meddling. […]

“The lawyers also want evidence that the special counsel exhausted every other investigative measure before asking the president to answer questions, and that he is the only person who could provide them with the information they are seeking.”

With regard to the explanation for Mueller’s authority to investigate obstruction of justice, Giuliani could have answered that question by simply reading the Justice Department’s order appointing Mueller. It explicitly grants him investigative authority over the Russian meddling affair and any matters that arose from it. And the demand that all other sources of evidence be exhausted before Trump will talk is just plain loony. It’s like saying that the ringleader of a bank robbery will only testify if prosecutors already know everything. Trump is the ringleader, and his testimony is relevant regardless of what other evidence has been obtained. But then, his avoidance (fear) of testifying is relevant in its own way.

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

The bottom line here is that Giuliani is just engaging in obvious delaying tactics that have no legal basis. He actually admits it by conceding that the special counsel will reject his impotent demands. It’s a strategy that betrays Trump’s consciousness of guilt. This is not the behavior of someone who is confidant of his innocence. And by floating the existence of evidence that has yet to be uncovered, Giuliani is once again doing harm to his own client. Nice work, Rudy.

Gaslighting: Did Trump’s Own Lawyers Leak the Memo He’s Accusing the Justice Dept of Leaking?

The New York Times has published an article about a memo by Donald Trump’s lawyers that asserts essentially that the President is above the law. The memo asserts that the Constitution empowers Trump to terminate any inquiry and, therefore, makes him immune to prosecution or even questioning by legal authorities.

Donald Trump

That, of course is nonsense and has no legal foundation. Nevertheless, the Times’ article states that:

“President Trump’s lawyers have for months quietly waged a campaign to keep the special counsel from trying to force him to answer questions in the investigation into whether he obstructed justice, asserting that he cannot be compelled to testify and arguing in a confidential letter that he could not possibly have committed obstruction because he has unfettered authority over all federal investigations.”

This is the sort of unfounded logic that has been promulgated by Rudy Giuliani and the Trump-fluffers on Fox News. There is no legal precedent for that conclusion, and the memo doesn’t even cite any. But what makes this even more interesting is that Trump blasted the release of the memo before it was actually released. He tweeted:

First of all, the special counsel investigation is a bargain compared to previous investigations, and it has already produced dozens of indictments and five guilty pleas. But more to the point, where did Trump get the idea that the memo was leaked? The story had not yet been published. Potential leakers might include the Times, or someone interviewed by the Times. But in order to figure out who was most likely to leak this information, you have to ask the old conspiracy question: Who benefits?

There is very little to suggest that any opponents of Trump would benefit from the disclosure of a legal position that Trump is above the law. The most likely beneficiary would be Trump himself, as he and his legal team seek to make that theory mainstream. It’s a theory that has already been advanced by his legal representatives and his supporters on Fox News.

If Trump wanted to push the notion that he cannot be questioned or indicted, then a good way to do that would be to get the New York Times to publish his own lawyers’ interpretation of the law. But he couldn’t allow it to be known that the leak came from his team. So he would then post a tweet pointing the finger of blame to the Justice Department or the special counsel, who he has already sought to discredit.

However, by posting the tweet before the article was published, he reveals that he was already aware of the article. How did that happen? Perhaps because it was him or his people who leaked the memo in the first place. The Times reporter, Michael Schmidt, was concerned about the President’s tweet and posted a tweet of his own:

If Trump or his team were responsible for the leak, Schmidt could not say so without violating an agreement with his anonymous source. But his tweet suggests that Trump’s involvement was more than a little suspicious. So that puts Trump in an advantageous position. He can say what he wants about the article, the memo and how it all became public, without having to worry about being exposed as the source. That is, unless Schmidt were to regard Trump’s dishonesty about the leak as a de facto breach of the agreement that would free him to acknowledge the identity of the source.

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

All of this is highly speculative at this time, but it’s worth considering. Particularly in light of Trump’s penchant for gaslighting America. He is a known liar who will use any and every tactic for obfuscation and deceit. Which makes the probability of him leaking this memo and them blaming it on a Justice Department he despises pretty damn high.

Advanced Gaslighting: Trump is Now Denying that His Own Spokesperson Exists

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president there has been a debate over whether his frequently absurd comments were the result of his shameless dishonesty or his evident psychological degradation. Of course these are not mutually exclusive explanations for why Trump so flagrantly espouses known lies and insane conspiracy theories.

Donald Trump

In addition to diagnoses that Trump is a pathological liar, he exhibits clear signs of senility. But sometimes his ludicrous remarks are simply purposeful attempts create alternative realities that defy logic and serve no purpose other than to foster confusion and diversion. And if they’re also insulting, he probably thinks he’s hit the jackpot.

On Saturday morning Trump demonstrated this talent he has for irrational outbursts with a tweet attacking his media nemesis, the “failing” New York Times. He was lashing out about reporting on his embarrassing flips and flops with regard to whether he will meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un:

This may be one of the most unarguably deranged tweets Trump has posted to date. The “senior White House official” Trump is denying exists was Matt Pottinger who serves on the National Security Council (as reported by Yasher Ali). Pottinger actually said precisely what Trump is denying to a roomful of reporters with many more listening on a conference call. It was a background briefing that was authorized by the White House and was also attended by Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shaj.

In other words, the statement asserting that it would be impossible to hold the meeting on June 12 was an official White House communication by those responsible for that information. So Trump’s tweet is saying that his own spokespeople don’t exist. He literally said that they are not real people. Donald Trump is calling his own press staffers and national security advisors fake news.

Let that sink in. It’s one thing to falsely claim, as Trump does almost daily, that actual news that he doesn’t like is fake just because he doesn’t like it. He even does this to reporters he personally calls to “leak” information that he thinks he will benefit from. But it’s another thing entirely to send his staffers out to talk to reporters in the White House and then later deny whatever it was that he told them to say.

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

If Trump is going to refute his own official pronouncements from his own designated spokespeople, then the press has no responsibility honor any agreements with regard to those comments being off the record or on background. If a reporter publishes a statement from an anonymous source who lied to the reporter, the reporter is ethically permitted to reveal the identity of the source. And likewise, Trump cannot authorize statements to the media and then castigate the media for reporting what he said. The fact that he does this is proof that he doesn’t respect the press (obviously) or even the principle of truthfulness. And the press should approach everything he says, or whatever comes out of his administration, with the skepticism that his record of brazen dishonesty warrants.

UPDATE: There’s audio of Pottinger saying exactly what the press reported he said – and what Trump said was fake news:

Trump’s Dingbat ‘Friends’ at Fox News Said the ‘Failing’ New York Times Ignored a Story they Actually Broke

On Friday Morning Fox News aired an episode of Donald Trump’s favorite TV show, “Fox and Friends,” that was chock full of the sycophantic silliness that has become the hallmark of the program. They featured segments about a Republican congressional candidate who is predicting a “red” wave in California; an interview with pundi-clowns Diamond & Silk; and a piece blasting Democrats for actually holding CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel accountable for her record.

Fox News Friends

In addition to those hard hitting examples of “real” journalism, the “Curvy Couch” potatoes also discussed a news story with profound foreign policy significance. It concerned the reported capture of five top members of ISIS. This military success was important enough to have warranted a tweet from Trump on Thursday. However, the point that co-host Pete Hegseth was most eager to make was that the “failing” New York Times ignored the story, presumably because it might reflect positively on Trump.

There’s just one problem with that. It was the New York Times who broke the story on Wednesday and was the first news outlet in the U.S. to report it. Consequently, that’s likely where Trump and Fox picked up the news and repackaged it for their audiences. But that didn’t stop Hegseth from flipping through the pages of today’s Times (video below), vainly looking for the story they published two days ago, and whining:

“I looked for the ‘five ISIS leaders captured’ in the failing New York Times, and in the print edition today, I have not seen it yet.”

Try looking in Wednesday’s paper, Einstein. It’s cute that Hegseth uses Trump’s infantile nickname for the Times, proving that the President and the network are joined in a State-TV operation that would make Vladimir Putin jealous. And never mind the fact that the Times is pulling in record profits. The purpose of Trump’s insults is not to convey any accurate information, but to baselessly malign journalists who dare to tell the truth about him. Just like he did last month when he tweeted:

Since then, Trump did add two more lawyers (Rudy Giuliani and Emmett Flood) and parted with both John Down and Ty Cobb. So the Times, as usual was right. But Trump never bothered to correct his misstatement. Nor has Fox News corrected the lie about their ISIS story. This is typical of the way Fox News operates and should be expected to continue. They are as much a disreputable stain on journalism as Trump is on government.

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

The Worm Turns: Fox News is Fake News According to – Sean Hannity

It’s more complicated every day trying to cover the rapidly crumbling administration of Donald Trump. Who his friends and enemies are change by the hour. His long-time personal attorney, Michael Cohen, appears to be cooperating with prosecutors. His Chief-of-Staff, John Kelly, reportedly thinks he’s an idiot. And he isn’t the only one.

Fox News, Sean Hannity

Now Sean Hannity of Fox News is taking an unusual position with regard to to his own network. On Monday the New York Times revealed a list of questions that were reportedly prepared by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office for an interview with Trump. The list was said to have been transcribed by Trump’s lawyers who provided it anonymously to the Times. Legal analysts describe the questions as focusing on multiple issues, including collusion and obstruction of justice.

Predictably, when Hannity’s program aired he was determined to undermine the significance of these questions and the investigation in its entirety. So he started off his segment on the subject by belittling the use of anonymous sources while asserting that his anonymous sources contradicted those of the Times.

“I am told by my sources tonight that The New York Times is full of crap. A lot of those questions are not the questions that the Special Counsel is asking. Clearly a leak by the Special Counsels’s office, again with anonymous sources.” […]

“It is a disinformation campaign. How stupid is it? They want to get in the President’s mind, ‘Did you ever think of firing Mueller?’ When he never fired Mueller. And he has every right to fire Mueller constitutionaly. This is how bad the press in this country is. They’re being fed lies, disinformation to manipulate the America people.”

So Hannity is disputing the legitimacy of the questions published by the Times. The only problem with that is that Fox News also published the questions in an article that claimed they had independently obtained the list themselves. So if the Times is full of crap, then so is Fox News.

In addition to maligning the reporting of his own network, Hannity totally mangled his analysis of the impact of these questions. First of all, he asserts falsely that their disclosure was “clearly a leak by the Special Counsel.” But the Times explicitly reported that it was Trump’s team that leaked them. Then Hannity makes several assertions that are legally unfounded. He says that it’s “stupid” to try to get into the mind of the President. But that’s exactly how prosecutors establish intent in criminal cases. Hannity also said that Trump has the right to fire Mueller, which most legal experts say is not true. Although he could fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and appoint a replacement who could fire Mueller. But Hannity wasn’t through yet. He got even more frenzied later in the segment, saying with regard to the list of questions:

“Put it in your fireplace and burn it — because we have sources — half these questions are dumb anyway. ‘Oh, what was in your mind at the time.’ You don’t punish people or charge people – not that you can charge a sitting president, and the President has the right to fire anybody he wants – for the thoughts they have in their head.”

It’s as if Hannity is determined to put his utter ignorance about the law on display for all of American to see and laugh at. And that determination is so obviously driven by his compulsion to defend his Dear Leader, Donald Trump. And by the way, Trump is no better at this legal stuff than Hannity:

Below are the videos of Hannity’s Trump-fluffing, if your stomach is strong enough to handle it.

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

Terrified, Trump Paves the Way for Calling His Lawyer Michael Cohen a Liar When He Flips

There have never been darker clouds over the White House than there are now. Donald Trump is keenly aware that he is in deep peril and his presidency could come crashing down. Much of his concern is centered around the recent news that his lawyer, Michael Cohen, was the subject of a raid by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Trump is behaving as though he is aware of the potential for discovery of his own criminal activities. Innocent people don’t act this guilty.

Donald Trump, Maggie Haberman

Our desperately frightened president is showing his seething fear on Twitter with another of his morning tweetstorms. This one is directed at the Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, but it goes much deeper than that:

The article that triggered Trump’s rant was an analysis of the potential for Cohen to flip on Trump and spill his guts to special counsel Robert Mueller. If Trump didn’t think that was possible, he wouldn’t have lashed out like this. His attack on Haberman is a typically shallow insult without any factual basis. Third rate reporters don’t win Pulitzers. Haberman has a record of being particularly harsh on the Clintons. And he frequently calls Haberman, who has also been his guest at the White House.

Trump’s reference to “a drunk/drugged up loser” is the sort of blind attack that he specializes in. Speculation that he’s referring to Roger Stone is safe, but unconfirmed. [Update: Haberman tweets that Trump is referring to Sam Nunberg. He’s too scared of Stone]. In any case, he is proving that anyone who crosses him is subject to his wrath, even loyal supporters. Additionally, his assertion that Haberman’s sources are “nonexistent” is a common and baseless line that he throws out in a lame attempt to dismiss criticism. But it’s also a direct attack on the First Amendment.

Most troubling about this flurry of tweets is Trump’s attempt to distance himself from Cohen. His phrasing that Cohen is a “businessman for his own account” is Trump’s way of implying that he isn’t really Trump’s lawyer. Perhaps he’s just the coffee boy. Even worse is Trump’s assertion that “Most people will flip if […] even if it means lying or making up stories.” Here Trump is laying out his strategy for what he will do if Cohen does flip. He’s going to call Cohen, his personal attorney for decades, a self-serving liar who was seduced by the evil government into inventing heinous tales of criminality by Trump.

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

Trump closes with a signal to Cohen that he can stay in Trump’s good graces if he resists the efforts by the Feds and the media to coerce him into telling the truth. But if Cohen flips, Trump isn’t going to be able to credibly portray him as a liar. He would have to make people believe that Cohen would expose himself to even greater legal jeopardy by giving false testimony. So in this affair Trump is a cornered rat and he’s acting like one. That, of course, is only going to make matters worse as events continue to close in around him. Fun times ahead.

New York Times Shatters Trump’s Denial that He Took 150G From a Ukrainian Oligarch

Poor Donald Trump. He continues to be a victim of of his own ignorance and acutely deficient comprehension skills. As a result he misunderstands even the simplest subjects and then lashes out in mindless tantrums that only make him look even more foolish. It’s a downward spiral of psychotic collapse that repeats itself on a nearly daily basis. And despite all the evidence to the contrary, Trump still thinks he’s a “stable genius.”

Donald Trump

On Wednesday Trump was typically miffed at the “fake” news he perceived being published by the “failing” New York Times. Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman of the Times posted a well researched article about Trump receiving $150,000 from a Ukrainian oligarch as payment for a twenty minute video address in September of 2015. The money was “donated” to Trump’s foundation which has a notably poor record of doing any charitable work. In fact, it has been found to have unlawfully funneled money to Trump via phony transactions. In one case the foundation bought a portrait of Trump that it hung at his golf resort. On another occasion foundation funds were used to pay a legal settlement that was owed by Trump personally.

Per usual, Trump expressed his outrage at the Times via Twitter:

Trump’s tweet doesn’t in any way refute the reporting by the Times. In fact, he validates it. And Trump’s failure to grasp what’s obvious was noted by the article’s authors on Twitter here and here. In the article the authors explicitly note that:

“The special counsel is investigating a payment made to President Trump’s foundation by a Ukrainian steel magnate for a talk during the campaign, according to three people briefed on the matter, as part of a broader examination of streams of foreign money to Mr. Trump and his associates in the years leading up to the election.”

And that:

“The event, his first foray into global politics during the campaign, was set up by Doug Schoen, a veteran political consultant and pollster who works with Mr. Pinchuk, according to a person familiar with how the speech was arranged. Mr. Schoen, a frequent Fox News guest, has known Mr. Trump for years and contacted him personally to set it up at the end of August 2015, according to the person.”

So Trump is correct. It was Schoen who set up the speech. But the speech wasn’t for Schoen, nor did Schoen pay for it. How could he? He’s just a Fox News shill who pretends he’s a Democrat so he can get booked on Fox and bash Democrats. It was the Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk who was Trump’s benefactor. Schoen was a go-between. Pinchuk is a steel magnate who has been accused of dumping Ukrainian steel into U.S. markets. He engaged Schoen, who knew Trump, to facilitate the appearance.

Even more suspicious is the fact that it was Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, who solicited the donation. That’s the same Michael Cohen whose home and offices were just raided by the FBI. According to the Times, Schoen “had gotten to know Mr. Cohen by running into him in the green room at Fox News.” Well, as the Church Lady would say, “isn’t that convenient?”

Once again, Trump’s wild-eyed indignation has no basis in reality. He’s simply disgorging illogical outbursts that fail to advance any coherent objective, other than whining about the media. And in this case of Trump’s unhinging, as in most all of the others, the media was just doing its job responsibly, accurately, and honestly. Trump thinks that if he hollers and stamps his feet enough, everyone will agree with him. But he’s only pointing out how pathetic he is at comprehending a simple news story. SAD!

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

John Dowd’s Exit Proves That Trump Can’t Be Trusted When He Says He Won’t Fire Mueller

The legal team representing Donald Trump took a major hit on Thursday. His lead attorney, John Dowd, has reportedly resigned. This was the part of Trump’s defense that is focused on matters related to the special counsel investigation into his campaign’s connections to Russia. So along with the chaos that is rampant in the Trump White House, his personal legal affairs are similarly falling apart.

Donald Trump Robert Mueller

What makes this news especially significant is that less than two weeks ago Trump declared that he was happy with his legal team and any reports to the contrary were fake news. Naturally, he committed to that via his Official Presidential Announcement Office, Twitter:

In what may be a personal best for Trump, he only lied four times in that tweet. First, the New York Times is not failing. It is enjoying record high subscriptions and revenue. Second, the story is obviously not false, purposely or otherwise. Third, Trump did add a new lawyer – Fox News shill, Joseph DiGenova. And fourth, he apparently wasn’t all that happy with his lawyers, hence the Dowd departure. And that unhappiness was not a recent occurrence. As reported by the Times:

“Mr. Dowd, who took over the president’s legal team last summer, had considered leaving several times in recent months and ultimately concluded that Mr. Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice.”

What this tells us is that Trump cannot be trusted when he says that everything is hunky dory and there is no reason to suspect that there will be any changes in his administration. In fact, a Trump claim that someone on his staff has his complete confidence and isn’t going anywhere is the best indicator that he is about to be canned. Just ask former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. If they are smart, Jeff Sessions, H.R. McMaster and John Kelly better have their bags packed.

By the same token, special counsel Robert Mueller should be keenly aware that Trump is aiming for his hide. Never mind the implausible statements from the White House that firing Mueller “is not being considered.” Of course it is. It is very likely the most prominent subject consuming Trump’s limited brain capacity. And as noted above, claims by Trump that somebody’s job is safe are merely precursors to their eventual and humiliating termination.

Democrats in Congress have been trying to pass legislation that will protect Mueller from Trump’s seething wrath. Acting on behalf of the majority of Americans, they have introduced bills that would either require such a termination to be affirmed by a panel of independent judges, or otherwise allow the special counsel to appeal the firing. Republicans have been forthrightly opposing these efforts. Their excuse is always that there is no risk of Mueller being fired because the President says so. But it’s clear that Trump’s word is worthless. And beyond these political concerns, there is the likelihood that firing Mueller would set off a constitutional crisis leading to impeachment.

The changes in Trump’s legal representation are just the latest example of his doing the opposite of what he said he would do. Almost everyone he has fired to date was forewarned by a “heartfelt” affirmation of confidence. Consequently, the GOP ought not to be calmed by Trump’s denials that he might fire Mueller. Quite the opposite, they should recognize that it’s at the top of his agenda. And the protective legislation that Democrats have offered should be passed as quickly as possible. Anything else would be a demonstration of willful ignorance and neglect of their civic duty.

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

Hannity Repeatedly Called for Mueller to Be Fired in June 2017 When Trump Tried to Fire Him (Video)

Thursday night the New York Times released a disturbing story about Donald Trump’s ongoing malfeasance in office. The news that Trump ordered his White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller was another confirmation of the President’s attempt to obstruct justice and punish anyone he perceived to be a threat. The fact that the firing was only averted because McGahn refused to comply and threatened to quit doesn’t lessen the breach of law and ethics.

Donald Trump Sean Hannity

Not surprisingly, Fox News was contemporaneously backing Trump at the time without disclosing their collusion with the White House. Media Matters looked back and found video of the biggest Trump-fluffer on Fox News, Sean Hannity, advocating for the resignation, recusal, or termination of the special counsel.

Was it a coincidence that Hannity was speed-ranting about firing Mueller at exactly the same time that Trump was trying to do that? The tally per Media Matters was that Hannity pressed these attacks at least 111 times last June.

Trump was asked about the New York Times report while in Davos for the World Economic Forum. He casually sneered at the camera with his customary and tedious complaint that it’s “Fake news, folks. Fake news. Typical New York Times fake stories.” However Trump is ignoring that the story was confirmed by NBC, Politico, the Washington Post, CNN, and even Fox News. So is Fox now fake news to Trump as well? He didn’t say.

And don’t expect Fox News to bring it up. They barely covered the story when it broke on Thursday, or the following morning. And when they did cover it they dismissed it as the media being anti-Trump and using unreliable anonymous sources. However, the best presentation of Fox’s determination to defend Trump at all costs came with Hannity (of course), who was in the middle of his program when the news broke. At first Hannity predictably rejected the story as the media attacking his perfect president. But shortly thereafter Fox’s Ed Henry reported that his own source confirmed what the Times reported. Hannity’s reaction was priceless. He quickly went from “Fake news,” to “OK, it’s real news,” to “Oh look, a car crash.”

The fact that Hannity was so adamant about Mueller’s termination last June cannot be disregarded as an accident. Mueller had only been appointed in May, so there was hardly time for Hannity to get worked up about his investigation. There had to have been some incentive for him to go ballistic in so short a period of time. And since we know that Trump and Hannity talk often, it is likely that Trump encouraged Hannity to go after Mueller to justify him getting axed by Trump. In fact, Hannity’s smear campaign of Mueller last June is just further affirmation of the New York Times’ reporting that Trump was (and is) after Mueller’s scalp.

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

Missing From Trump’s ‘Dishonest and Corrupt Media’ Awards: Any Dishonesty or Corruption

It will come as no surprise that Donald Trump’s latest media stunt turned out to be just another narcissistic waste of time and energy. Back on January 2, Trump posted an announcement on Twitter that he would be hosting what he called “The Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards of the Year.” It was an ironic choice considering his well documented proclivity for lying. But undeterred by facts or shame, Trump eventually went ahead with his award ceremony.

Donald Trump

Having been forewarned that this gala affair would run afoul of ethics laws if it was produced by the White House, Trump handed it off to a compliant Republican Party Politburo. The list of “honorees” was posted on the GOP website Wednesday afternoon and then immediately crashed the site. When the awards eventually became available they were presented with this introduction:

“2017 was a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage, and even downright fake news. Studies have shown that over 90% of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative.”

That’s the perfect lead in to these phony awards because it is itself demonstrably dishonest. The claim that “over 90% of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative” came from the ultra-rightist Media Research Center and was aired on Fox News by his his favorite show, Fox and Friends. It is a thoroughly biased and utterly false study that fails to back up its conclusions with facts. And to the extent that there were negative reports on Trump during the year, it’s because he did so many negative things. It isn’t the media’s fault if they accurately cover that.

The winners of Trump’s Dishonest and Corrupt Media awards all shared at least one thing in common: None of them were either dishonest or corrupt. They were mostly minor errors that were quickly corrected. No evidence was offered to prove that there was any deliberate intention to deceive or mislead. Here, for the record are the awardees:

  1. The New York Times’ Paul Krugman claimed on the day of President Trump’s historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover.
  2. ABC News’ Brian Ross CHOKES and sends markets in a downward spiral with false report.
  3. CNN FALSELY reported that candidate Donald Trump and his son Donald J. Trump, Jr. had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks.
  4. TIME FALSELY reported that President Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office.
  5. Washington Post FALSELY reported the President’s massive sold-out rally in Pensacola, Florida was empty. Dishonest reporter showed picture of empty arena HOURS before crowd started pouring in.
  6. CNN FALSELY edited a video to make it appear President Trump defiantly overfed fish during a visit with the Japanese prime minister. Japanese prime minister actually led the way with the feeding.
  7. CNN FALSELY reported about Anthony Scaramucci’s meeting with a Russian, but retracted it due to a “significant breakdown in process.”
  8. Newsweek FALSELY reported that Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda did not shake President Trump’s hand.
  9. CNN FALSELY reported that former FBI Director James Comey would dispute President Trump’s claim that he was told he is not under investigation.
  10. The New York Times FALSELY claimed on the front page that the Trump administration had hidden a climate report.
  11. And last, but not least: “RUSSIA COLLUSION!” Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!

Trump led off with the “failing” New York Times, whose two mentions gave it a second place to the four that CNN received. But conspicuously, most of the items were ridiculously trivial. Crowd size, feeding fish, and hand shakes hardly seem worthy of recognition for most dishonest and corrupt. Others weren’t even news stories, but opinions or other trifles. And this was, sadly, the best they could do.

Contrast that with the sort of awards that Trump might have been given if he were the recipient of similar trophies. They would include his purposeful lying about voter fraud, the firing of FBI Director James Comey, accusations that Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI, and his relentless assertions that inquiries into his collusion with Russia were a hoax. That was actually PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year for 2017.

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

It’s fitting that these fake awards flopped so badly. Trump has been making dubious and dangerous allegations about the media throughout his presidency. The purpose is to damage the credibility of the one non-governmental institution that can hold him accountable for his despicable, and criminal, behavior. But clearly this phony spectacle failed to hit its target. It was petty and transparently self-serving. And it will be quickly forgotten after the requisite mockery that it deserves.