Reality TV Law: Trump Recruits His Impeachment Defense Team from Fox News

Donald Trump famously boasted that he “knows all the best people.” It turns out that that’s only true if what he meant by “best” was the foremost crooks, liars, and bootlickers. His administration has witnessed a parade of moral slackers and incompetents. He has fired more of his own appointees than any president in history. These are people that he lauded as “brilliant” until their termination, when he castigated them as “idiots.”

Fox News, Impeach Trump

A troubling hallmark of the Trump White House has been its reliance on staffers that Trump plucked from Fox News. They include Larry Kudlow, K.T. McFarland, Ben Carson, Sebastian Gorka, Richard Grennell, Jonathan Wachtel, Heather Nauert, and more. The truth is that Trump doesn’t really know anybody with any experience or record of accomplishment. He’s a former reality TV game show host who does nothing but golf, tweet, and watch Fox News.

So it comes as no surprise that as his impeachment looms before him, he resorts to the only source for personnel he’s familiar with to recruit his legal team. That team is already led by a frequent Fox News talking head, Jay Sekulow. And now Trump has announced that he’s filling up the roster with more of the same flunkies he’s seen over and over again on Fox.

The new members of Trump’s impeachment defense team are Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Ray, and Pam Bondi. All of them have been regular fixtures on Fox News as the network strives to host only those who will shamelessly suck up to the President by unflinchingly defending him and ruthlessly maligning his critics. And it’s from these televised auditions that Trump selects his closest associates and most trusted allies. This is a president who only values appearances. It is more important to him that his advocates perform well on television than that they exhibit intelligence, integrity, or fealty to facts. So let’s take a closer look at the stuffed suits Trump has hired to defend him:

Ken Starr…
…is best known as the independent counsel who couldn’t find any wrongdoing on the part of Bill Clinton, so he settled for a smarmy, albeit consensual, sex scandal as the basis for impeachment. Starr himself was later fired from his post as the president of Baylor University amid allegations of sexual misconduct on the football team. And another item on his resume is having worked for Trump pal and pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein.

Alan Dershowitz…
…is remembered as a member of the O.J. Simpson defense team. Trump likely appreciates his ability to get acquittals for people who are obviously guilty. He also must appreciate Dershowitz’s slobbering displays of affection and total faith in Trump’s purity and innocence. Dershowitz also worked for Epstein. Is this a pattern forming?

Robert Ray…
…took over the independent counsel office when Ken Starr left. Other than his frequent Trump-fluffing appearances on Fox and Friends, he isn’t particularly well known for anything significant.

Pam Bondi…
…is the former Attorney General for the state of Florida. She was caught in a campaign finance scandal wherein she accepted an illegal $25,000 donation from a Trump charity and then promptly dropped a case against his bogus Trump University that was later found to be guilty of fraud.

So the reality TV presidency is now being extended to the legal team that he’s relying on to absolve him of the high crimes and misdemeanors that led to his impeachment. It’s not much more than a cast of made-for-TV characters who will be preaching to the cameras and viewers at home, rather than to the assembled “jurors” in the Senate chamber. From Trump’s perspective this might seem like a smart move since the majority Republicans in the Senate have pretty much already declared their intentions to acquit him regardless of the evidence.

However, the American people are not going to be as forgiving as Trump’s GOP sycophants in Washington. They already believe that Trump is guilty, and a majority support his impeachment and removal from office. So it isn’t likely that Trump will find success in the melodramatic soap opera stunts deployed by this team of Fox News litigators. Team trump may have the system rigged for an acquittal, but the voters are going to hear all the evidence and make their own judgment come November.

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

Fox News is SHOCKED that President Obama Knew What Was Going On During His Presidency

Republicans are flailing furiously as they try to avoid sinking further into the depths of Donald Trump’s presidential sewer. The controversy over the now-former White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s domestic violence continues to simmer as Trump’s excuses and explanations keep changing. And Trump’s legislative incompetence is preventing a popular resolution to the immigration debate from progressing.

Fox News Obama Hannity

Meanwhile, over at Fox News there is a budding pseudo-scandal involving an email that President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, sent to herself last year. The email was essentially a documentation of her notes after an Oval Office meeting. There is nothing remotely controversial about the email (which Rachel Maddow breaks down brilliantly here), but that doesn’t stop Fox News from trying to whip up outrage in their easily excitable and dimwitted viewers.

The most hair raising excerpt that the Fox folks could find is a single sentence that says merely that Obama “reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.” Grab the smellin’ salts, Bertha. That darky Kenyan tried to do some stuff the way it’s ‘sposed to be done!

Throughout the day Fox News hammered on this irrelevancy as if they had just resolved O.J. Simpson’s search for the “real” killers. And by the evening Sean Hannity was primed and rarin’ to go with his own hyperbolic distortions of reality. His ranting was on the order of Alex Jones-style conspiracy freak-outs. But that’s become so common it hardly needs mentioning. What stood out were the comments of one of his trio of ultra-rightist guests (video below). After offering his own interpretation of the Rice email as “CYA” (cover your ass), Hannity asked GOP Florida Attorney General (and enthusiastic Trump-fluffer), Pam Bondi for her interpretation. Bondi replied that:

“Of course that’s what it is. And to say that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, didn’t know what was going on is ludicrous.

Well, thank you very much. That was generous of Bondi to concede that the former president was well informed and competent. It is certainly ludicrous to suggest that Obama was ever negligent or inattentive in his duties. That’s such a stark contrast from what most Americans think about the current president. Even Republicans have been adamant that Trump doesn’t know what the heck is going on at any point in time.

For instance, they insist that he knew nothing about the Porter affair. He didn’t know that the anti-Muslim videos he retweeted were fake. He didn’t know that Nazis were marching in Charlottesville. He didn’t know that his son was meeting with Russians. He didn’t know that he wasn’t supposed to tell Russian diplomats secrets he learned from Israeli intelligence. He didn’t know how hard it would be to be president. And on and on.

Given Trump’s obvious ignorance on so many issues critical to governing, it’s nice to see that someone appreciates that Obama knew what was going on. And for that opinion to make it to the air on Hannity’s program is downright startling. Unless I’m missing something. You don’t think I’ve misinterpreted Bondi’s meaning, do you?

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

Trump Spends 100K From His ‘Charity’ To Quash Fraud Charges In NY

Last week news surfaced that Donald Trump made an illegal donation to Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi. Just days later she dropped a fraud investigation of his Trump University. The timing of the payoff raised speculation about corruption and bribery. Additionally, the $25,000 gift to Bondi’s political action committee violated laws governing the activities of charitable foundations. Trump was required to pay a $2,500 fine and reimburse his foundation.

Citizens United Trump

Now there is news of fresh corruption on Trump’s part. A new report reveals that the Trump Foundation also paid out $100,000 to a group battling the attorney general of New York. At the time AG Eric Schneiderman was already suing Trump U. for defrauding students of the phony school.

The donation this time is troubling for several reasons. While this gift was not illegal, it reeks of political corruption. Citizens United, the recipient of the 100 G’s, is best known for its role in the Supreme Court decision to allow corporations and the wealthy to contribute unlimited amounts to political causes without disclosure. They also happened to be suing Schneiderman when Trump made his donation. Trump must have seen this as an irresistible opportunity to escalate his attack on the New York AG. He had already been embroiled in very public fight for months. Trump’s anti-Schneiderman blitz included lawsuits, ethics complaints, and Trumpian style Twitter tirades that consisted mainly of insults and smears. And now he was bankrolling another flank in the battle.

There appears to be a clear pattern of Trump using his ostensibly charitable foundation as a vehicle for funneling tax-free dollars into projects that benefit him personally and politically. The gift to Citizens United was made around the same time that they were suing Schneiderman. It was the first time the Trump foundation donated to Citizens United. And it was the largest gift dispensed by his Foundation that year. By comparison, the Police Athletics League got only a quarter of that amount.

Both Trump and Citizens United deny that there was any connection between Trump’s donation and the litigation that Citizens United was pursuing. However, the connections between the two continue to this day. The president of Citizens United is David Bossie who is now Trump’s deputy campaign manager. The lawyer for Citizens United was Donald F. McGahn who is now the chief counsel for the Trump campaign. Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Trump’s campaign, has produced films with Bossie, including “Hillary, the Movie,” that was at the center of the Citizens United Supreme Court case. And Bossie has taken the helm of the anti-Clinton PAC that was run by Kellyanne Conway until she became Trump’s campaign manager a few weeks ago.

This web of ultra-rightist conspirators deepens the perception of dirty politics that permeates the Trump campaign. And the interweaving of Trump’s personal and political objectives stretches the outer boundaries of ethical behavior. His foundation operates as a virtual slush fund to advance his private interests.

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

Meanwhile, the media obsesses over the Clinton Foundation that has devoted billions of dollars to saving lives around the world. It’s a press fetish that persists despite the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing. Yet somehow they manage to assert some sort of equivalence between the two. That is nothing short of journalistic malpractice that helps Trump prop up his criminal enterprise. And it’s an ethical failure the media needs to correct.

Donald Trump Caught Outright Lying About ‘Donation’ To Florida Attorney General

For several weeks much of the media has been panting breathlessly over minuscule disclosures related to the Clinton Foundation. Never mind that there has not been any finding that Hillary Clinton violated any law or granted any special favors. The so-called “liberal” media has latched onto the story with a fierce determination to find wrongdoing. Meanwhile, another story has been getting short shrift despite actual findings of guilt.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump made a $25,000 donation to a political group called “And Justice For All.” The group was supporting the reelection of Pam Bondi, the Attorney General of Florida. At the time Bondi was investigating whether to join a multi-state lawsuit against Trump University for fraud. Within days of receiving the check, Bondi opted out of the lawsuit. But the stench of corruption doesn’t stop there.

The funds for the donation were drawn from the Trump Foundation, a personal account intended for donations to non-profit charities. It was illegal for such funds to be given to a political campaign. When the IRS questioned Trump’s people about it, they said that the funds went to a charity in Kansas with a similar name. That’s the first lie.

Trump may have thought the matter was put to rest after he paid a $2,500 fine to the IRS. He also reimbursed his Foundation from his private account. Additionally, according to the statute in Florida, Bondi would have to return the funds to the donor. However, there is no record that that was ever done.

Now Trump has responded to questions about the donation. In his typically incoherent rambling he dismissed the entire affair as a mistake:

“I never spoke to her, first of all; she’s a fine person beyond reproach. I never even spoke to her about it at all. She’s a fine person. Never spoken to her about it. Never. Many of the attorney generals turned that case down because I’ll win that case in court. Many turned that down. I never spoke to her.”

That’s the second lie. Do you get the impression that he wants to convey that he never spoke to her? You’re not alone. The problem is that Bondi disagrees. According to the Associated Press:

“Florida’s attorney general personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates.”

Furthermore, Bondi was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox Business today and confirmed that she solicited the donation from Trump. With the disclosure that Bondi and Trump did actually talk about the donation, and the fact that the Florida investigation was nixed shortly thereafter, it’s hard not to view this as a bribe. What’s more, Trump has bragged about doing this often in his business affairs:

“When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me,”

This is standard operating procedure for Trump. And it isn’t even the only time he did it with regard to the Trump University fraud. He also appealed to the Texas AG to drop the Trump U. case being considered in that state. After the Texas case was dropped, Trump cut a check to the gubernatorial campaign of then attorney general, now Texas Governor, Greg Abbott.

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

With such clear cut evidence of a crime, you might think the media would give this more than a sideways glance. On Fox News the Bondi story has not been covered at all. And yet, as Media Maters reported, Fox “spent Tuesday obsessing over Hillary Clinton coughing during a rally.” Because that’s what passes for news at Fox. And they certainly wouldn’t want to tell the truth about Trump after investing the last couple of years in his candidacy.