The REAL Criminal: Roger Stone Was Prosecuted for Covering Up for Trump

On Thursday morning the media was glued to a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. That’s where Judge Amy Berman Jackson would be handing down the sentence for Donald Trump’s longtime political fixer, Roger Stone, who was convicted on all seven counts of lying to Congress and witness intimidation.

Donald Trump, Prison

Stone’s sentencing was thrown into a whirlwind of controversy after Trump and his Attorney Genuflect, Bill Barr, interfered with the ordinary procedures for prosecutors to recommend the sentence. Barr overruled the prosecutors’ recommendation for seven to nine years as being “too harsh,” despite the fact that they were within the established guidelines. And Trump unleashed a frantic flurry of tweets condemning the courts, the Justice Department, and congratulating Barr for “taking charge of a case that was totally out of control.”

Trump considered the prosecution of Stone a “miscarriage of justice.” But the twelve Americans on the jury unanimously disagreed. Now Judge Jackson has sentenced Stone to forty months in prison. He’ll be joining several other Trump associates who ran afoul of the law, such as his personal attorney Michael Cohen and his campaign chairman Paul Manafort. It really doesn’t pay to do business with Trump.

While Stone’s sentence caps the latest chapter in his melodrama, it does not accurately reflect what should be the main story line. Stone is a supporting cast member. Trump is the star. And what people should be paying attention to was noted in Judge Jackson’s remarks:

[Stone] was not prosecuted, as some have claimed, for standing up for the president. He was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”

Exactly! The real crimes here were committed by Trump. His lackeys merely helped him to carry out his nefarious schemes. If, as the Judge said, Stone was covering up for Trump, then there was, by definition, a criminal conspiracy that required Stone’s efforts to keep it secret.

Now that Stone has been convicted and sentenced, there needs to be a full investigation of what Stone was covering up on Trump’s behalf. And if Trump is found to have broken the law, he needs to be indicted and tried. Contrary to some Republican legal hacks, it is permissible to indict a sitting president. The only alleged obstacle is a memo from the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department that has no force of law.

Stone’s case isn’t the only one that implicates Trump in the commission of broader crimes. Michael Cohen is currently serving three years for his role in Trump’s hush money payoff to Stormy Daniels. In that affair Trump was identified in court documents as “Individual-1,” an unindicted co-conspirator.

The fact that Donald Trump is so often on the periphery of criminal activity, but only his minions are swept up in the legal snare, is something that needs to be examined and corrected. It’s clear that he has criminal intentions, but continues to get off scot free. And many of his cohorts will as well via presidential pardons. That would represent an even deeper level of corruption and abuse of power. And for someone who has already been impeached for those very things, it is imperative that Trump be held accountable and forced to pay his own price for his criminal behavior.

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

Aspiring Dictator Trump is Still Tweeting Orders to AG Barr to Prosecute Political Rivals

In the weeks since Donald Trump was let off the impeachment hook by the bootlicking Senate Republicans, Trump has demonstrated that he has learned an important lesson: He can commit any crime he likes and get away with it. He has tested this lesson by implementing an authoritarian style purge of perceived enemies in his administration and handing out pardons and other executive favors to elite criminals and corrupt colleagues.

Donald Trump, Toilet, Bathrobe

In addition to granting clemency to well-connected crooks, Trump has also put pressure on his Attorney Genuflect, Bill Barr, on matters involving his political associates. Most notably, Trump made it clear that he believes his longtime political guru, Roger Stone, was treated too harshly after having been convicted of multiple felonies. Shortly thereafter, Barr announced that he was contradicting the sentencing recommendations by the frontline prosecutors and seeking leniency for Stone.

The subsequent controversy resulted in Barr pretending to be troubled by Trump’s interference. He even opined that Trump should refrain from tweeting about legal matters before the Department of Justice. And there was talk that Barr could resign if further interference by Trump occurred. Of course, he didn’t mean it. That was an obviously staged performance to mitigate the criticism that was Barr was getting from within and without the DOJ.

The proof that Barr’s concerns were phony came on Wednesday morning when he failed to resign after Trump threw some more blatant interferences in his face. Trump posted a couple of tweets asserting wholly unsubstantiated criminal behavior by Democratic opponents. While Trump is fond of whining about his misunderstanding of “due process,” he has no problem charging others with crimes, despite a total absence of evidence. On this occasion he led off with wild accusations against former Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. Chris Murphy that he saw in a segment on Fox News:

Notice that Trump didn’t suggest that a violation might have occurred and should be investigated. He stated as fact that there was a breach of the law and that the perpetrators “Must be dealt with strongly!” He’s apparently designated himself the judge and jury. That’s a reckless state of affairs coming from a reckless president who has also “convicted” Hillary Clinton for some unspecified crimes and led his cult followers in chants to “Lock her up.”

If Trump had any idea what the Logan Act was, he wouldn’t make a fool of himself by raising it in this context. And if Trump thinks that Murphy’s meeting is why Iran isn’t negotiating with him, he is more mentally disturbed than previously thought. Trump is simply trying to blame his own bungling of affairs with Iran on this otherwise routine encounter. After all, it was Trump who unilaterally, and without reason, withdrew from a nuclear agreement that was made between Iran, the U.S., and six other nations. Following that, Trump imposed new sanctions on Iran, who by all accounts were abiding by the agreement. Maybe that had something to do with Iran’s unwillingness to negotiate with him.

Trump’s other tweet went after Mike Bloomberg, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, and someone who Trump despises and fears:

Once again, Trump is asserting a criminal act as fact without evidence or even a specific charge of what Bloomberg did that was allegedly illegal. The “sinister” payoffs that Trump is babbling about have not been shown to have occurred or, if they did, were in any way improper. They surely were nothing like paying $130,000 to a porn star, lying to cover it up, and seeing your personal attorney go to prison for acting on your behalf. And they were nothing like asking Russia to hack your opponent’s emails or extorting Ukraine’s president to get dirt on a political rival.

The fact is that Trump is continuing to tweet orders to his puppet Attorney General. Trump still wants to see his political foes persecuted by a corrupt Justice Department. And Barr has shown that is all too willing to obey whatever commands he is given by Dear Leader. Barr believes in a monarchical theory of government that gives the president nearly unlimited powers. And Trump’s narcissistic delusions of grandeur make him fully capable of assuming the role of a tyrant. So unless the American people rise up to preserve the republic that the Founders provided, it will surely be lost. Don’t let this moment pass you by, America.

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

REALLY? Trump Quotes Pro-Impeachment Fox News Judge to Defend Roger Stone

Last week Donald Trump fired off a flurry of tweets in defense of his longtime political guru, and now convicted felon, Roger Stone. Trump’s Attorney Genuflect Bill Barr heard and obeyed the commands to seek leniency for Stone. Although Barr also made an obviously staged attempt to reclaim some of the independence that the Department of Justice is supposed to maintain.

Donald Trump, Roger Stone

Barr whined that Trump’s tweets made his job harder. By which he meant that it’s harder to conspire to cover up crimes if Trump keeps confessing to them in public. And it’s harder to pretend to be impartial when Trump is exposing your sleazy collaboration. But Barr’s entreaties to get Trump to clam up were apparently a huge failure. On Tuesday morning Trump, once again, lashed out at the rule of law on behalf of Stone:

Trump’s pigheadedness shouldn’t surprise anyone. He is infamous for blazing his own path no matter how ignorant or destructive. What’s peculiar about these tweets is that they are quoting someone who Trump has viciously maligned in the past.

Judge Andrew Napolitano is the Senior Legal Analyst of Fox News. And in that position he has provided commentary regarding Trump’s legal tribulations with impeachment. In Napolitano’s opinion, the evidence of Trump’s guilt was “overwhelming.” He also stated that there is “undisputed evidence that he abused his power,” and he elaborated saying that

“Everyone who believes in the rule of law should be terrified of a president who thinks and behaves as if it does not apply to him. As the DOJ has stated repeatedly, impeachment is the proper constitutional remedy for that.”

Napolitano was unceremoniously benched by Fox News throughout the Senate impeachment hearings, likely due to his legal assessments that conflict with the rest of the Trump-fluffers on the State TV Network. But now Trump is embracing the views of Napolitano that were expressed during an appearance on Fox and Friends (video below).

In this case Napolitano argues in favor of Stone getting a new trial. However, a new trial would not be warranted simply because a juror had an opinion about elements of the case. Every juror is likely to have opinions if they are conscious human beings. Jurors are routinely asked if their opinions would prevent them from being impartial. If not, they can serve. A juror would have to allow their opinions to bias their deliberations in order to declare a mistrial. So far there is no evidence of that.

It remains to be seen what the judge will decide with regard to the verdicts in this case. It’s hard to believe that a new trial would produce a different result considering all the available evidence against Stone. Remember, all eleven of the other jurors agreed that Stone is guilty on all counts.

But if Trump is adamant that Napolitano’s advice be adhered to with regard to Stone, then let’s be consistent. Trump should immediately resign due to the ample evidence of his own guilt that Napolitano so painstakingly laid out. I would have no problem with accepting both of Napolitano’s assessments. So how about we grant Stone a new trial, and escort Trump out of the White House? That seems fair.

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

Trump’s Dementia Drives His Need to Curse John Kelly, Hug Hope Hicks, and More

It seems like this needs to be said nearly every day, but…Donald Trump is getting worse! The obvious mental decline that he is suffering continues to manifest itself in his daily duties. And that doesn’t mean tweeting, golfing, and watching Fox News. Trump is descending into a state of severe confusion and manic desperation.

Hope Hicks

On the heels of the Republican Senate’s reckless and partisan “absolution” of Trump’s many impeachable crimes, he has, as expected, become emboldened to breach every standard of law and ethics that a president ought to be bound by. In particular, he has embarked on a campaign of retribution and vengeance aimed at those he perceives to be enemies. And, as he recently said himself, I View Everybody as a Threat.” That distinct symptom of paranoia is clearly what has triggered his latest tweetstorm.

Thursday morning saw Trump lashing out in many directions at once. He tweeted a complaint about the conviction of his longtime accomplice in crime, Roger Stone, as “not looking good for the “Justice” Department.” To be clear, that’s the Justice Department that has been under his control for three years now. He also insulted Mike Bloomberg again for being short, like millions of other Americans who vote. He went after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with an apparently illegal demand that the state drop lawsuits against him in order to prevent retaliatory actions by the federal government. And in addition to those psychotic outbursts, Trump went after his former Chief of Staff, Gen. John Kelly:

Trump’s anger at Kelly was stirred by remarks the General made during a speech at Drew University in New Jersey. Kelly candidly revealed that he disagreed with Trump on several significant issues including Trump’s vilification of key impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Kelly stated that Vindman had done precisely the right thing when heard about Trump’s attempted extortion of Ukrainian President Zelensky.

In addition, Kelly expressed his differences with Trump on immigration, specifically renouncing Trump’s comments that immigrants were murderers and rapists. Kelly also distanced himself from Trump’s dalliances with his BFF Kim Jong Un of North Korea. Kelly tried to convince Trump, to no avail, that Kim was playing him and would never give up his nuclear weapons. Kelly was no angel and was complicit in many of Trump’s most heinous policies. But he was right to criticize Trump on these matters.

Trump’s attack on Kelly is another example of how he flips 180 degrees on people he once praised effusively. But whenever someone falls out of favor with Trump, he becomes a pariah who was never worth a damn in the first place. You have to wonder why Trump – who knows all the best people – hired so many future worthless pariahs.

Throughout Kelly’s tenure in the Trump administration, Trump held him in high regard. He promoted the Marine general from Homeland Security Secretary to Chief of Staff. And a year into that job job Trump thanked him for “doing a fantastic job.” When he left the White House Trump gushed that Kelly “has served our Country with distinction.” But now Trump is maligning him and breaching a private conversation he allegedly (but unlikely) had with Kelly’s wife.

As further evidence of Trump’s advancing mental infirmities, he just announced that his nurse/security blanket, Hope Hicks, is returning to the White House as counselor to the president and senior adviser reporting to Jared Kushner. She left two years ago to become a communications executive at the parent corporation of Fox News. Now that revolving door is spinning furiously again. Hicks has been part of Trump’s inner circle longer than any non-family member. And Trump has been said to lean on her for emotional support. In addition to that hand-holding and covering up his brain glitches, Hicks admitted that she would tell “white lies” in the performance of her official duties.

The fact that Hicks was suddenly called back to duty is a significant signal that Trump’s mental condition is deteriorating and he needs her to maintain some semblance of balance. And the tweets he’s been pounding out are further proof that he’s on a downward spiral. However, it’s unlikely that any of this is going to be effective in stabilizing Trump. He is already too far gone and his Republican enablers seem to have no interest in righting this sinking ship of state. Let’s just hope we can tread water until November.

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

Trump Orders Justice Dept to Persecute His Critics and Pamper His Accomplices

There really is no bottom. Now Wannabe Dictator Donald Trump is bringing fascism to America. He is directing his corrupt Justice Department to investigate and prosecute (persecute) his critics. Meanwhile, he lobbies for light sentences and dangles pardons for his bootlicking sycophantic criminal accomplices. This is not normal. And it demonstrates that Republicans who thought Trump might learn from his impeachment were frighteningly mistaken and/or deluded.

Donald Trump

Trump’s Attorney Genuflect, Bill Barr, announced that he will be revising the sentencing recommendations for convicted felon Roger Stone. The prosecutors who tried the case recommended seven to nine years based on established legal guidelines. But Barr’s intervention is based on nothing more than Trump’s angry tweets. And if that’s not bad enough, Barr is assuming control of virtually everything that comes into the Justice Department that involves Trump. And Trump is obviously pleased…

The spectacle of seeing a president congratulate his toady AG for letting a convicted criminal off the hook should send shivers up the spines of the American people. Stone was found guilty of five counts of lying to Congress, and one count each of witness intimidation and obstruction. But his friend in the White House is pulling strings so that he doesn’t have to pay the price for his crimes. As a result of Barr’s interference, all four of the federal prosecutors who tried the case have quit.

What’s more, Trump’s tweet also makes a dangerously reckless and baseless accusation that former special counsel Robert Mueller “lied to Congress.” Trump doesn’t bother to cite any alleged falsehood, probably because he just made it up to slander Mueller. In a subsequent tweet Trump asserted, also without any foundation, that the career DOJ lawyers who tried Stone are “Rogue prosecutors.”

Trump has frequently weighed in on the criminal prosecutions of his associates. Just the fact that he has so many associates who have been prosecuted and found guilty is horrifying. But his reaction has been to lobby for lighter sentences or to issue pardons himself. Some of this confederacy of felons include his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, his deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and more.

On the other side of that legal coin, Trump has accused many of his political adversaries of crimes without any evidence whatsoever. In addition to Robert Mueller, Trump charged that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff “is a corrupt politician and a criminal;” that “Nancy [Pelosi] is every bit as guilty;” that “Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI;” and that “The Biden family was PAID OFF.” None of these allegations have an iota of evidence for support. They are purely driven by the animosity and vengeance of a wrathful president.

It has been widely known for years (decades?) that Trump is a vile and vindictive person who relishes punishing his perceived enemies. And he perceives enemies virtually everywhere, as he himself recently confessed. But the fact that he has an administration full of glassy-eyed cult followers who will obediently serve his will makes him all the more dangerous. And the Department of Justice is at the top of that list.

What this means is that there is nothing left to separate America from the totalitarian regimes and their tyrants that Trump so admires. This was articulated well by Sen. Chuck Schumer Wednesday on the floor of the Senate. It cannot be overstated how unusual it is for a speech like this to take place. but his words should be taken seriously if this country is to restore justice and preserve democracy:

“The President is claiming that rigging the rules is perfectly legitimate. He claims an absolute right to order the Justice Department to do anything he wants. And the President has as his Attorney General an enabler. And that’s a kind word. Does anyone think it’s out of the question that Pres. Trump might order the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden or anybody else without any evidence that supports such an arbitrary violation of individual rights?

“Oh, I know. Some far-right conspiratorial writer, who has no credibility and who just makes things up, writes it, Fox News puts it on, Sean Hannity or someone talks about it, and then the president says ‘Investigate.’ That is third world behavior – not American behavior.”

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

UH-OH: Michael Cohen Paints ‘Grave Picture’ for Trump, Says Fox News Sr. Judicial Analyst

The testimony in the House Oversight Committee by Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen on Wednesday provided both fireworks and yawns. Much of what was discussed was already known, but was given more weight by the dramatic nature of a congressional hearing. The fireworks were mainly due to Republican efforts to malign Cohen while obediently defending the President and deflecting from any potentially bad news.

Fox News Judge Napolitano

However, there were some revelatory moments that could expose Trump to some legal jeopardy if they are confirmed by other evidence or testimony. The risks for Trump were so apparent that even the senior judicial analyst on Fox News noticed. Andrew Napolitano was interviewed by Neil Cavuto after Cohen’s hearing (video below). His observations were decidedly unlike those that might be expected on Trump’s favorite propaganda network. He began by addressing the coordinated strategy of the committee’s Republicans to portray Cohen as an incorrigible liar. “If he’s that kind of a monster, Mr. President,” Napolitano asked, “why did you keep him around for ten years?”?

That’s a good question. He might also have pointed out that if lying was such an unforgivable sin, then how can the GOP continue to excuse Trump, whose documented record of lying has exceeded more than 8,000 falsehoods since he took office. But it was Napolitano’s legal analysis that really put Trump’s troubled future into perspective. He offered a brief synopsis of the legal peril that the President may soon find himself in. The upshot, according to Napolitano, is that in Cohen’s testimony “there’s at least four potential felonies” that Trump faces. Napolitano said that:

[Cohen] paints a potentially grave picture for the president. If the conversation he says he overheard with Roger Stone is true, then the President lied under oath. Because the President swore to the accuracy of his answers to the written question from [special counsel] Bob Mueller, one of which was ‘Did you speak to Roger Stone about Julian Assange?’ Answer: ‘No’

“If what Michael Cohen says is true about the President meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower in June of 2016, then he lied under oath, because he told Bob Mueller he didn’t know about it.

“The payments by Donald Trump, signed while he was president, to Michael Cohen, showing a debt to Michael Cohen. The President swore in his financial statements filed with the Department of the Treasury, he didn’t have any debts with Michael Cohen. And two months after he swore to the accuracy of that he starts writing checks of $35,000 a month to Michael Cohen. That extends the conspiracy to defraud the Federal Election Commission of accurate campaign information into the President’s presidency.”?

If this were an analysis by a Democrat or a liberal pundit it wouldn’t be especially notable. But for the senior judicial analyst at Fox News to be pointing out these legal problems for Trump is rare and, from Trump’s perspective, worrisome. Not that Trump isn’t already worried. His incessant tweeting about “Witch Hunts” and his childish insults aimed at his critics is the obvious behavior of someone consumed by fear. In remarks Trump made about Cohen’s testimony from Hanoi, he reinforced that image of a cornered rat:

“He lied a lot, but it was very interesting, because he didn’t lie about one thing: He said no collusion with the Russian hoax.”?

Actually, Cohen never said that there was no collusion. He only said that he had no direct evidence of it, but that he had his suspicions. So Trump is still desperately trying to distort reality to fit his twisted version of it wherein he can be free of the frightening consequences of his unlawful acts. And if his precariousness legal status is so apparent to a Fox News analyst, then he truly does have something worry about.

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

Stuperbowl Interview: Dotard Trump Talking About ‘Intelligence’ is Downright Frightening

It’s Superbowl Sunday and the annual tradition of having the president give an interview to the network broadcasting the game is one of the few that Trump isn’t scrapping. Never mind that he recently told his press secretary “not to bother” with holding daily press briefings anymore. Trump agreed to sit down with Margaret Brennan of CBS News for a few minutes of lying and casting insults.

Donald Trump, Padded Cell

Among the atrocious outbursts in this interview were Trump’s remarks about what he had learned from negotiating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. His unresponsive reply was that she “doesn’t mind human trafficking,” and that “people [are] dying all over the country because of” her. Apparently he learned nothing as he stuck to his routinely hostile behavior of slandering his perceived enemies. But his childish acting out is evidence that he learned what he feels like to get beat to a pulp by a smarter, more experienced political opponent.

Trump also made some ludicrous assertions like claiming that the report by special counsel Robert Mueller exonerated him (Mueller has not published any report). And he admitted that stories about Secretary of State Pompeo talking to Mitch McConnell about running the Senate were true just seconds after calling them “fake news.” Then he characterized the fact that much of his cabinet consists of people serving in an “acting” capacity as a good thing because it gives him more flexibility. It also gives the nation a bunch of hacks who have never been vetted or confirmed by the Senate as the law requires. And he said that his indicted pal Roger Stone never worked for his campaign except for the time that he did.

There were a great many more examples of Trump’s deranged take on a variety of subjects. But perhaps the most disconcerting were those related to national security and his relationship with his own Intelligence team. When asked if reads the reports they prepare for him, Trump said that he did. But his responses revealed that that wasn’t true. Brennan asked him what he found wrong with those reports, and Trump gave this disjointed word salad of a reply: “I think- let me just say it wasn’t so much a report. It was the questions and answers as the report was submitted and they were asked questions and answers.”

HUH? They were asked questions AND answers in this report that wasn’t a report? He went on to provide provably false information about the presence of ISIS in Syria, saying they were ninety-nine percent gone. When Brennan pointed out that Republicans in Congress had just voted to repudiate his positions on abruptly withdrawing from Syria, Trump’s answer reached back to the GOP primary in 2016, where he bragged about beating the Republicans who ran against him. That, of course, had nothing to do with the question.

Shortly thereafter Brennan asked Trump if he is “going to trust the intelligence that you receive?” He gave a qualified “yes,” adding that “if they said in fact that Iran is a wonderful kindergarten, I disagree with them 100 percent.” No one ever said anything remotely like that. And in a direct rebuke of his Intelligence team, Trump said that:

“I have intel people, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree. President Bush had intel people that said Saddam Hussein in Iraq had nuclear weapons – had all sorts of weapons of mass destruction. Guess what? Those intel people didn’t know what the hell they were doing.”

Bush’s intel people told Bush exactly what he told them to say. They didn’t get it wrong. They lied at Bush’s direction. However, Trump is correct that he doesn’t have to agree with this Intel staff. But you have to wonder what the basis is for his disagreement. If he isn’t getting advice from them, from whom is he getting it? All we know is what he said next: “When my intelligence people tell me how wonderful Iran is – if you don’t mind, I’m going to just go by my own counsel.” So far as anyone can tell, Trump’s counsel is either Vladimir Putin or Fox News – or both.

Finally, Trump also dismissed the advice of his Intel team when they told him that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is unlikely to give up his nuclear capabilities. Trump disagreed on the basis of their personal relationship:

“I like him. I get along with him great. We have a fantastic chemistry. We have had tremendous correspondence that some people have seen and can’t even believe it. They think it’s historic. And we’ll see what happens.”

Seriously? Kim is a brutal dictator who murders his foes – even family members – and oppresses his people. But Trump gleefully brags about having “fantastic chemistry” with this tyrant? And this opinion comes long after their summit wherein Kim totally played Trump and has failed to deliver on anything they discussed at the time. In fact, Kim has actually expanded his nuclear facilities and arsenal.

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

The one thing that Kim has that Trump truly envies is the blind adulation of his people. And on that Trump openly expressed his desire for the same sort of cult worship from the American people. He isn’t going to get that. At the moment he is the most unpopular president of all time. And judging from recent events like his government shutdown and the arrest and indictment of his closest associates, that isn’t going to show much improvement any time soon.

Trump Freaks Out Over Cliff Sims: Nothing Screams ‘GUILTY’ Like Threatening a ‘Low Level Gofer’

The walls are closing in around Donald Trump. And they aren’t the walls that he is obsessed with building on the southern border. More of the criminal associates that comprise Trump’s inner circle are being swept up by the long arm of justice every day. And with each new arrest and indictment the evidence of Trump’s culpability becomes more apparent.

Donald Trump, Cliff Sims

The latest accomplice to Trump’s treason to face the music is Roger Stone. He has been a close friend and associate of Trump’s for decades. Now he has been charged with lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice. Trump’s defenders celebrate the fact that the word “collusion” isn’t spelled out in the indictment. But what do they think Stone was lying about? What do think he was threatening other witnesses about? What unlawful activity do they think he was endeavoring to obstruct?

As a result of this devastating blow to Trump World, the President is behaving typically frightened by another event that puts him at great risk. And consistent with his pattern of behavior, he is lashing out in desperation and hoping it takes some of the heat off. But his actions expose his abject fear.

Cliff Sims was Trump’s White House Communications Director for Message Strategy. That’s a post within the White House Press Office where Sims worked closely with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, and Bill Shine. He held the position for about a year and a half, which is a lifetime in the Trump Administration. Sims just published a book about his experience (Team of Vipers) that is not sufficiently adoring of Trump. Consequently, on Tuesday morning Trump posted a tweet attacking and threatening Sims, who Trump now pretends he hardly knew:

This raises a couple of obvious questions. First, precisely how many gofers and “coffee boys” work for Trump? It seems like everyone who has written a tell-all book has turned out to be a nobody who Trump never met, despite all the photos of them together. And second, how does Trump know the book is boring since he surely hasn’t read it. He hasn’t even read the three dozen books he endorsed in his Book Club for Dummies.

More importantly, Trump’s tweet contains an overt threat. His reference to a “non-disclosure agreement” can only be interpreted as Trump’s intention of filing a lawsuit against Sims for speaking out. And that isn’t an idle threat. There is already a notice posted by Michael Glassner, the Chief Operating Officer of Donald J. Trump for President, announcing that “The Trump campaign is preparing to file suit against Cliff Sims for violating our NDA.”

There are some obvious flaws to that legal strategy. First of all, how can they sue for a violation of a non-disclosure agreement if the the President himself is asserting that the book consists of “made up stories and fiction”? There is no violation if no truthful information is revealed. So either what’s in the book is actually true, or the lawsuit is null and void.

What’s more, non-disclosure agreements are not permitted for White House staff. That’s because they do not work for the President. They work for the United States government. So the government would have to be the plaintiff in the lawsuit. But the First Amendment prohibits the government from “abridging the freedom of speech.” The government can’t sue someone for exercising their constitutional rights.

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

So Trump is acting out in precisely the manner you might expect from anyone who is flagrantly guilty of serious crimes. He is trying to deflect blame to other less powerful subordinates. He is hoping that the public and the press can be distracted by his frantic gesturing toward some other shiny object. And he is pretending that he has no relationship with those who are implicating him, despite the fact that that relationship is public knowledge and well documented. It’s a sad and pathetic display of desperation that only makes Trump look more guilty. However, Sims should send Trump a “Thank You” note for helping to sell a few thousand more of his books.

Willfully Blind: Fox News Wonders ‘Where is the Russia Collusion?’ in Roger Stone Indictment

The walls continue to close in around Donald Trump and his criminal enterprise. And these aren’t the border walls over which he orchestrated history’s longest government shutdown. On Friday morning one of Trump’s longest known and closest associates, Roger Stone was arrested on seven counts that include lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice. Charges that Trump would be wise to study up on.

Donald Trump, Roger Stone

The arrest and indictment of Stone was not unexpected. In fact, Stone himself had predicted it in May of last year. Most observant followers of the Mueller investigation have known for some time that Stone was a target of the probe and that he likely ran afoul of the law. Even Trump acknowledged Stone’s complicity and praised him for clamming up about the case in a tweet that could have been written by an old-school mob boss:

Meanwhile, Fox News immediately went to work fulfilling their mission to shield Trump from any and all criticism. In a series of reports they downplayed any significance of Stone’s indictment, presenting it with exactly the same framing as Trump did in his knee-jerk tweet:

For the record, no one “alerted CNN to be there.” They noticed some unusual activity at the Grand Jury and surmised that an indictment might be imminent, so they sent a crew to Stone’s home in Florida. And you have to wonder which drug dealers Trump was referring to who were treated better than Stone who was released a couple of hours after his arrest. As for the “Greatest Witch Hunt,” it surely is the most successful with dozens of indictments and guilty pleas, some by top officials in Trump’s campaign.

Steve Doocy, co-host of Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox and Friends, was dumbstruck by the charges against Stone. But more importantly, he couldn’t understand how anyone would see any hint of collusion in the charges against Stone:

“When you look at the seven counts from the Grand Jury – obstruction of an official investigation, false statements to Congress, and perhaps witness tampering – once again, where is the Russia collusion?”

Where is the collusion? It’s everywhere. It’s in each and every one of the charges Doocy just itemized. The obstruction of justice is specifically related to Stone’s efforts to cover his involvement in conspiring with the Russia-affiliated WikiLeaks to acquire and publish emails stolen from Hillary Clinton and her team. The false statements to Congress were specifically related to his denials of such involvement. And the witness tampering was also connected to his attempts to intimidate his co-conspirators into keeping quiet about these crimes committed on behalf of Trump.

The position of Fox News is remarkably tunnel-blind, even for them. Some pundits have even said that these indictments are good news for Stone and Trump. Because it’s always such good news to have one of your closest confidants arrested for multiple felonies. The narrative at Fox is that because the word “collusion” wasn’t spelled out in the text of the indictments, that there wasn’t any. But that is a fool’s interpretation considering that each of the indictments explicitly address the criminal conspiracy in Trump World.

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

No doubt Fox’s cult-bound audience will buy into their narrative, as will Trump. But that is a small minority of the population at large, and the more new revelations about the Russia probe come out, the more the American people are turning against him. He is currently sitting at record lows of approval (37%), and even his favorite pollster, the thoroughly biased Rasmussen, has him at 54% disapproval (46% strongly disapprove). So Fox’s viewers are, once again, living in a manufactured world that bears no resemblance to reality. They are going to be shocked when all the facts are finally revealed. Unless Fox claims that they are “alternative facts” and that it’s all “fake news.” Which you can bet on.

Donald Trump is Openly Engaging in Flagrant Witness Tampering, Like All Innocent People Do

There is a phrase in legal practice that is commonly described as “consciousness of guilt.” It refers to behavior by a defendant’s actions that proves he knew he was guilty. And Donald Trump is providing material for a whole textbook on the subject as he tries to malign special counsel Robert Mueller while vindicating the sleazeballs who remain loyal to him.

Donald Trump Robert Mueller

In addition to his actions demonstrating consciousness of guilt, they are also a public display of the fear and desperation he is experiencing as the walls close in around him. But by acting out in this way he is ultimately harming his own legal position and even committing more crimes. This was noted succinctly by George Conway (husband of Trump’s White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway) who tweeted:

The federal codes referenced in that tweet address two violations of the law. First, any “endeavor to influence, intimidate, or impede” any officer of the court (Mueller) “in the discharge of his duty.” And second, “knowingly using intimidation” to “influence, delay, or prevent the testimony” of a witness. And these are the tweets in Trump’s Monday morning tweetstorm that Conway was reacting to:

Michael Cohen, of course, is a witness in the Mueller probe. Trump should not be passing judgment on him or recommending punishment. As for the charges being “unrelated to Trump,” is he referring to Cohen’s testimony that cites Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator? Or is he referring to Cohen’s testimony about Trump Tower Moscow? Those seem pretty related to Trump. Nevertheless, Trump is also accusing Cohen of lying to Mueller, a charge for which he has zero evidence. And if that weren’t bad enough, Trump is implicating Cohen’s family in these alleged crimes. And then Trump goes on:

It’s cute the way he puts “President Trump” is sarcasm quotes. But more to the point, Trump is hailing his pal, and notorious dirty trickster, Roger Stone, for having the “guts” to continue lying on Trump’s behalf. However, before getting in too deep, he may want to recall the Cohen once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump. Funny how reality, evidence, and the prospect of prison changes one’s mind. And finally Trump fired this one off:

What Trump might mean is that Mueller is “a much different man” than Trump thinks, or is able to comprehend. Trump’s disparaging remarks clearly fit the above criteria for criminal acts. He can’t support any allegation against Mueller for lying or encouraging others to do so. This tweet is simply a vindictive personal attack on an officer of the court. What’s more, it’s disrespectful of a lifelong Republican who has spent his whole career in public service, and is a decorated veteran. So much for Trump’s phony admiration for our vets.

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

One thing that Trump may have gotten right is his concern about a “band of Angry Democrats” There are at least 65,000 000 of them. And add to those the disgusted independents and woke Republicans. They are responsible for the walloping that Trump suffered in the midterm election last month. And they aren’t going to cover up for Trump the way the lily-livered Republicans did. With the House of Representatives flipping to majority Democratic control, some real oversight is about to begin. And the truth that Trump pretends to want will finally come out, whether he likes it or not.