Fox News Senior Legal Analyst on Trump: ‘The Remedy of Impeachment is Acutely Needed’

The impeachment of Donald Trump is finally being debated in the House of Representatives. The outcome is not expected to surprise anyone. Trump will be be impeached and will wear that mantle of disgrace for the rest of his life. Even if the Senate fails to remove him from office, the stain of impeachment is an indelible affirmation that Trump breached his constitutional duties and betrayed his country.

Donald Trump Walking the Plank

The partisan players in this battle are easily recognizable in most instances. Republicans and Fox News pundits are staunchly devoted to Trump regardless of what laws he has been shown to have broken. But every now and then someone steps out from behind the curtain of political prejudice to act as an advocate of truth and justice.

Now, as Trump’s impeachment looms, a lone voice from Fox News is standing up to the right-wing group-think that the network so rigidly enforces. Andrew Napolitano is Fox’s Senior Legal Adviser. And on Wednesday morning, as Congress was weighing Trump’s fate, Napolitano penned an op-ed with the headline: “Trump impeachment: Undisputed evidence that he abused his power.”

The article was published in the arch-conservative Washington times. For some reason, Fox News has been spiking Napolitano’s commentaries that support Trump’s impeachment. And this article had some blunt opinions on the matter. For instance…

“In Mr. Trump’s case, we have undisputed evidence that he abused his power by inviting a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 presidential election and then compounded this by directing subordinates to refrain from giving congressionally commanded evidence of his behavior.”

“It is undisputed that Mr. Trump withheld the delivery of the $391 million in military aid to Ukraine that Congress authorized and ordered and that Mr. Trump himself signed into law. He said he withheld that aid because he first wanted “a favor” from the president of Ukraine. The favor, requested by others on Mr. Trump’s behalf, was the announcement of a Ukrainian government criminal investigation of Mr. Trump’s potential political adversary, former Vice President Joe Biden.

“In the language of the streets, this is a shakedown; it sought to enhance Mr. Trump’s personal political needs and bears no relationship to American foreign policy.

Napolitano went on to describe the criminal violations Trump committed. They included the federal prohibition on soliciting campaign aid from a foreign government, and bribery. He also explained that these acts are crimes whether or not they are consummated by the exchange of money or services. It is the solicitation that triggers the offense.

And that’s not all. Napolitano also noted the criminal obstruction of justice by Trump for having “directed his subordinates to disregard congressional subpoenas, lawfully issued and validly served.” And he was troubled by Trump’s apparent belief that he is above the law. Napolitano made clear that this was dangerous, and that there is something that the Founders had in mind for just such a problem:

“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.”

Trump has been frantically trying to dodge accountability for his clearly impeachable activities. But his legal basis is virtually nonexistent, and he has refused to even defend himself before the committees of jurisdiction in Congress. Instead, he relies on bootlicking Fox News hacks like Gregg Jarrett and Alan Dershowitz (each of which he retweeted six times on Wednesday) for legal advice. Even worse, his idea of “legal scholars.” is Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.

Former federal judge Napolitano, on the other hand, says that “the remedy of impeachment is acutely needed.” But you can rest assured that Trump will dismiss that as fake news and malign Napolitano (who was a close friend of Trump’s for decades) as a Never-Trumper. That’s just how the mind of a paranoid narcissist works.

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

Trump’s Impeachment in the House is All that Matters – The Senate Cannot Acquit

The United States House of Representatives is set to impeach Donald Trump next week, making him only the third American president to suffer this indignity. However, many pundits and pro-Trump media bootlickers are misrepresenting the gravity of this affair. There is a contingent of excusers who seek to dismiss its significance if the Senate doesn’t vote to remove Trump from office.

Donald Trump, Impeach

Trump himself has been making noises that he is anxious to have the impeachment move from the House to the Senate where he believes he will be coddled by sycophantic Republican loyalists. That, however, is a thinly veiled facade of bravado that is betrayed by his frantic tweetstorming (hitting a record of 123 in one day). Clearly Trump is consumed with fear and anxiety at the thought of being branded for life with impeachment.

The argument circulating the GOP drain is that a failure to oust Trump from office is tantamount to an acquittal. But that relies on the false analogy that the House impeachment vote is akin to an indictment, after which the Senate conducts a trial. But a more accurate analogy would be to cast the House as the de facto courtroom and impeachment there is a conviction. After all, the language of the Articles of Impeachment state flatly that “President Trump has abused the powers of the Presidency in a manner offensive to, and subversive of, the Constitution.” Note that it doesn’t say he is charged with abuse of power, but that he “has abused” his power. Consequently, a “yes” vote is a finding of guilt.

The Senate’s role is, therefore, not one of a trier of fact, but more that of a sentencing hearing. The House establishes the facts and will shortly rule that Trump is guilty. The Senate decides if he should be punished by removal from office, or pardoned and allowed to complete his term. But the conviction stands.

Trump knows this and it is eating him up. That’s why he is putting so much pressure on his Senate defenders. It’s why Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, told Sean Hannity of Fox News that “I’m going to take my cues from the president’s lawyers.” McConnell went on to say that…

“Everything I do during this I’m coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this […adding that he’ll be in…] total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president in the well of the Senate.”

What’s more, the GOP Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Lindsey Graham, told CNN that “I will do everything I can to make it die quickly […] I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”

So the chairman of the Committee of jurisdiction and the majority leader have both stated publicly that they have no intention to conduct a fair, impartial hearing. In fact, they are openly conspiring with the defendant (Trump) to allow him to escape any punishment for his crimes. Which means they are admitting in advance to violating the oath that they will be taking prior to commencement of the hearing, which states that…

“I solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of the United States, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.”

This tells you precisely what these Republicans think about the Constitution, the law, and even God. That they are willing to brazenly and shamelessly breach this oath is evidence that their word is meaningless. And in taking this position before they begin deliberating, they are effectively cancelling any validity that their role in this might otherwise have had. As a result, the outcome of the Senate hearing is irrelevant. Which leaves the House vote to impeach as the final word on what will become Trump’s tarnished legacy. And if yo think that isn’t driving Trump nuts, see his Twitter feed.

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

SRSLY? Trump Cites Fox News Shills as ‘Legal Scholars’ to Dismiss Impeachment Report

The impeachment of Donald Trump has now moved from the House Intelligence Committee to the House Judiciary Committee. And with that the legal arguments for the constitutional grounds for impeachment are coming to the forefront of the public discourse. A panel of law professors are the first witnesses to appear before this committee. But Trump has his own laughably obtuse ideas on the matter.

Donald Trump, Constitution

Trump held several press avails with foreign leaders during his trip to London for the NATO summit. In each of them he managed to deliver blatantly political screeds that exalted himself and maligned his critics. But on one occasion he offered his opinion of the report written at the conclusion of the House impeachment hearings. Not surprising, he was less than impressed. He had the following exchange with a reporter (video below):

REPORTER: Do you want to comment on the House Democrats impeachment report that came out last night and the hearing today?

TRUMP: Well, I saw it and it’s a joke. Everybody is saying it. I watched reviews. I watched Sean Hannity. I watched Laura Ingraham. I watched Tucker Carlson. I watched a lot of other legal scholars.

REALLY? So now Trump is passing off right-wing hacks on Fox News as the “legal scholars” he relies on to shape his views of impeachment. That’s even worse than his actual lawyers (i.e. Rudy Giuliani) and the other TV attorneys that he depends on for advice. And he’s admitting to watching an awful lot of TV while he’s at this international summit. He went on to site his longtime friend Alan Dershowitz and the Bill Clinton special prosecutor, Ken Starr, as additional sources of his legal opinions.

For some reason Trump failed to note that Fox News’ Senior Legal Analyst, Andrew Napolitano, concluded that the evidence of Trump’s impeachable behavior is overwhelming. He also left out the commentaries by Napolitano and staunch pro-Trump sycophant Andrew McCarthy, who both disputed the anti-impeachment arguments of committee witness Jonathan Turley. However, Trump did go on to repeat some of his recent lies relating to his popularity:

“I will tell you it’s a uniform statement pretty much right down the road. What they’re doing is a bad thing for the country. It’s of no merit. And the Republican Party has never been more unified, ever. They have never been as unified as they are right now.

“I’ve never seen anything like it where you have 197-0 where the Senate is very angry about it. I think the Senate I can say is angry. The Republican Party is angry. A recent poll came out 95% approval rating for me in the Republican Party which is a record. “

Nevermind that it is entirely irrelevant whether the Republican Party is unified. They are expected to be united in defense of their president. That doesn’t have any bearing on his guilt. And more to the point, Trump’s assertions as to the unity of the GOP being uniformly in favor of Trump is simply false. He has never been able to provide a source for 95% approval, but a recent poll put the number at 74%. And majorities of the American people are solidly in favor of impeaching Trump and removing him from office.

Trump is living in a fantasy world where he is beloved by all and everyone agrees with him on everything. The truth is that he is the most unpopular president in modern times who has never even hit 50% approval. And it’s downright pathetic that he has to resort to partisan hacks like Hannity to justify his delusions on the legality of impeachment. He might as well be citing Lionel Hutz.

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

Fox News Ratings Continue to Sink During Month of Trump’s Impeachment Hearings

One of the most nauseating things about Donald Trump is how deliberately he has decimated the standards of honesty for the U.S. presidency. And while there is nothing he won’t lie about, his falsehoods are frequently employed to boost his own fragile ego. This is a man who began his term by lying about the size of his inauguration audience. He lies about his popularity among Republicans. He routinely lies about the attendance at his cult rallies. And lately he has been obsessed with lies about the impeachment hearings hurting Democrats.

Fox News, Titanic

Contrary to Trump’s plaintive whining, polls show that it’s his own approval rating that has suffered throughout the impeachment hearings. A majority of Americans still favor his impeachment and removal from office. But that isn’t the only downside for Trump World. His state TV propaganda network, Fox News, is also being dragged down by the loathing he has cultivated for himself and his Republican Nationalist Party.

The numbers for the month of November tell a tale of woe for Trump’s media minions. Year to year, Fox News viewership for the total day in the all-important 25-54 year old demographic declined 11%. That compared to MSNBC’s rise of 5%. Fox’s daytime ratings in the demo declined 5% (MSNBC was up 19%). And Fox’s primetime schedule featuring Trump-fluffers Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity, dropped 12% (MSNBC was up 8%).

MSNBC’s strong performance was once again driven by Rachel Maddow. Her program handily beat Hannity with an average audience of 572,000 a night. Hannity, Fox’s top rated program, trailed with only 554,000. But she wasn’t alone. Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Brian Williams all notched highs for the year in their time periods. Williams ranked No. 1 in his timeslot among adults 25-54. On the dayside, Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace was the most-watched cable news show at 4:00pm for the third straight month.

This is the second straight month where MSNBC’s growth outpaced Fox News. And it’s the third straight month that Maddow has topped Hannity. During most of this time the news has been consumed by contentious issues like impeachment and the 2020 election. Fox News has juiced its programming with live, interrupted coverage of Trump’s rallies (19 so far this year). But even that Trumpioid-fix for addicted Trump cultists didn’t keep viewers from fleeing.

Democrats should learn from this that they need to keep up the pressure on Trump. It’s not only educating the public about his criminal activities, it’s having a positive impact on impeachment in the polls, and on ratings for programs that aren’t afraid to tell the truth about Trump. Democrats need to ignore Trump’s impotent wailing about “witch hunts” and lies about how adored he is. He isn’t. And the more we point that out, the lower he sinks into the abyss of his own lies.

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

Fox News Bosses Told Hannity and Other Trump-Fluffers Not to Identify Whistleblower

The right-wing media machine has been chomping at the bit to expose the identity of the intelligence community whistleblower. He/she has been at risk since filing a complaint with the Inspector General regarding Donald Trump’s “quid pro quo” phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. That complaint led to Trump being pressured to release a “summary memo” of the phone call, that he falsely asserts is a verbatim transcript.

Fox News, Sean Hannity, White House

Ever since the complaint was filed, Trump has been rattled and fearful due to the obvious legal jeopardy that it puts him in. He has repeatedly tweeted “READ THE TRANSCRIPT” in an effort to exonerate himself. Nevermind that even his edited memo incriminates him further. Trump’s desperate objections have wandered into deranged territory. And subsequent to the whistleblower’s complaint, additional witnesses and evidence has emerged that make his/her account moot.

Nevertheless, Trump and his propagandist media continue to demand that the whistleblower’s identity be revealed and that he/she testify in person before Congress. That would violate the security measures that the whistleblower statutes were designed to protect. And it would subject the whistleblower to potential harm. Consequently, Fox News found it necessary to advise their on-air “personalities” to refrain from reporting the alleged name of the whistleblower that has been floating around in wingnut media circles. CNN acquired a copy of the Fox News memo and reported that…

“…on October 31, a Fox executive sent an email to staffers that said the network had not ‘independently confirmed [the] name or identification of the anonymous whistleblower.’ A copy of the email was obtained by CNN Business.

“The executive further advised production staffers to ‘NOT fulfill any video or graphic requests’ related to the whistleblower’s identity.”

Among the hosts on Fox that were given these instructions was Sean Hannity. CNN reported that Hannity claimed to have “confirmed independently” the identity of the whistleblower, but declined, so far, to name the person on air. “But you know what?” Hannity said, “I will play the game for a little bit.” Then he pretended to not be afraid of being sued by the whistleblower’s attorney.

CNN’s report also included a paragraph that should be required in every article about Fox News:

“Much of Fox effectively operates as a messaging arm of the White House. Its opinion hosts have defended the President at nearly every turn, and the network employs a stable of pro-Trump contributors who appear throughout the day to offer commentary. Fox’s news anchors and journalists also frequently cover the day’s news from angles beneficial to the Trump White House.”

Well said. But Fox’s admonition to it’s personnel is not likely to be sufficient protection for the whistleblower. Hannity and others on the network have defied their bosses before, with little or no consequences. And people like Sen. Rand Paul are also claiming to know the whistleblower’s identity and threatening to release it. The StormTrumpers are fully prepared to violate the whistleblower statute without concern for the his/her welfare, or for the principle of confidential reporting of wrongdoing in the government.

Their intention is to scare off any other potential whistleblowers who discover criminal or unethical behavior. Which is a pretty good indicator that there is more illegal activity that has yet to be revealed. Hopefully, the patriots in government will stand strong and do what’s right despite these threats. They are a lifeline to keeping government honest and holding wrongdoers accountable.

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

Thanks Trump! The Pumpkinhead President Scares Fox News Ratings Into an Abyss

The month of October has been a frightening experience for Donald Trump. His Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, admitted on national TV that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. His personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, had a nervous breakdown on Fox News. He was forced to reverse an idiotic plan to host the 2020 G7 summit at his Doral golf resort in Miami. And his one bit of good news – the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – produced a paltry two point bounce in a poll by his favorite, ultra-biased pollster, Rasmussen. Scary, huh?

Donald Trump, Fox News, Halloween

Trump was so terrified throughout the month that he fear-posted 104 panic-tweets attacking the fearsome chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. And as if the Offender-in-Chief doesn’t already have enough reasons to soil his trousers, the Trump-fluffing “news” network that he relies on to prop him up with worshipful propaganda, Fox News, fell on some hard times as well. The ratings for October reveal that impeachment has been good news for both America and Fox’s chief competitor, MSNBC.

The total day ratings for Fox News declined by a whopping 27 percent in the all-important 25-54 demographic, compared to October of 2018. In the same period MSNBC rose 12 percent. MSNBC also increased total prime time viewers 25 percent, and prime time demo viewers 16 percent.

This growth was driven by impressive gains by The Rachel Maddow Show, which was the #1 cable news program for the month among adults 25-54. Her show was up 13 percent, while Fox News’ Hannity declined 21 percent in that time slot. In total viewers Maddow was up 22 percent, compared to Fox’s 2 percent drop. She beat her direct competition, Sean Hannity, as well as Fox’s other prime time stars, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.

These gains were also present in other MSNBC programs. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell was up 20 percent (Fox News dropped 22 percent). The 11th Hour with Brian Williams finished #1 in the 11 p.m. hour, up 25 percent (Fox News declined 31 percent). The Beat with Ari Melber delivered the network’s most-watched month ever in the 6 p.m. time period, up 34 percent (Fox News down 12 percent). Deadline: White House with Nicolle Wallace was #1 in total viewers, up 13 percent (Fox News dropped 27 percent). All In with Chris Hayes was up 24 percent (Fox News was down 19 percent). Even the weekend had great news with total day gains of 10 percent (Fox News dips of 32 percent).

There could be several explanations for this powerful performance by MSNBC and the simultaneous collapse of Fox News. Trump’s impeachment might have stirred more interest by progressive news consumers to tune in more. At the same time, it might have discouraged conservatives from watching the news at all. But there’s another possible factor that drove Fox’s viewers away: Donald Trump. He spent a fair amount of time bashing his own own best media outlet and even telling his followers to turn off Fox.

For instance, after a Fox poll showed him losing to Biden, Trump tweeted that “I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll. Whoever their Pollster is, they suck.” And then there was the time he tweeted that “@FoxNews doesn’t deliver for US anymore. It is so different than it used to be.” And not mincing words, Trump told his Deplorables that “We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!”

It’s hard to determine whether Trump’s Fox bashing had any real impact on their ratings. But it isn’t hard to see that he is a fickle and vengeful narcissist who demands 100 percent adoration at all times, lest you be cast into the corn fields, aka TrumpScorn. However, it is more likely that television audiences were simply more interested in getting honest presentations of the news by real journalists instead of slobbering, glassy-eyed sycophants. And since a majority of Americans favor Trump being impeached and removed from office (even in that Fox News poll), even the opinion side of MSNBC would figure to be more popular.

If Trump has anything going for him at this time, it’s the “bloody highway crash” appeal that might cause viewers to tune to Fox in order to see exactly how his mental breakdown will unfold in real time. Sure, it’s morbid and gruesome, but hell, it’s Halloween. Everybody may just be in a weird mood.

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

Shepard Smith Suddenly Signs Off at Fox News the Day After Bill Barr met with Rupert Murdoch

The most jarring news in the media world today is that Shepard Smith of Fox News announced on the air that he was anchoring his last broadcast at the network. No one had anticipated his departure and there had been no speculation about it. His colleagues were dumbstruck and issued their own emotional reactions.

Fox News, Shepard Smith, Donald Trump

Smith was out of place at Fox News. He was frequently reporting the actual facts of a story even while his primetime colleagues (Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson) were deliberately lying and even maligning his work and his honor. Carlson engaged in an on-air feud with Smith just last month after his guest, Trump flunky Joe diGenova, called Smith a fool for daring to report honestly. However, despite the open hostility, Smith bravely endured in a losing war to inform Fox’s viewers. One of his recent valiant efforts involved setting the record straight on the Russia probe and the Mueller report. And on another occasion Smith brutally, yet subtly, roasted Fox News while accepting a First Amendment Award.

It cannot be ignored that Smith announced his departure (video below) the day after Donald Trump’s shill Attorney General, William Barr, had a private meeting with the overlord of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch. That confab was originally suspicious because it occurred the day after Fox News released a poll showing that a majority of voters favored Trump’s impeachment and removal from office. Trump, who has long despised Smith, naturally expressed his disappointment with Fox tweeting falsely that “I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll. Whoever their Pollster is, they suck. […] @FoxNews doesn’t deliver for US anymore.” And then Barr traveled to Murdoch’s lair to kiss his ring.

However, this new development makes it all even more suspicious. There is no way of knowing at this time if that meeting had anything to do with Smith leaving Fox News. His on-air farewell was nothing but grateful and gracious. But it is extraordinarily rare for a figure so closely tied with a broadcaster (Smith was at Fox from day one) to leave without any notice. Normally one would announce they are going off to pursue other opportunities, and that their last day would be a week or a month away. But Smith is already gone. And in his goodbye he noted that there is an agreement with Fox that he will not work as a journalist anywhere else for some unspecified period of time.

There is already speculation that Smith was forced out. And of course, there is already speculation that that speculation is false. But get real. If Smith wasn’t forced out overtly by his bosses who were through tolerating his independence, then he was forced out covertly by the way he was treated. In the matter of his feud with Carlson, it was Smith who management reprimanded.

No doubt Smith’s departure will bring great joy to Trump. And he will surely tweet something nasty about it before long. But Fox News has lost one of its only connections to ethical journalism. And it could not have come at a worse time. Trump is suffering a hysterical meltdown as Congress gets closer to his inevitable impeachment, but which he insanely has taken to calling a “coup.”. Just last night he delivered what may be the most disgusting performance of his short residency in Washington.

What’s left at Fox News will be an increasingly sycophantic cadre of true believers who literally describe their Dear Leader in terms generally reserved for kings or gods. As Trump’s megalomaniania, paranoia, and malignant narcissism become more severe, his martinets at Fox News will become more unbearably worshipful. So as we heartily wish good luck to Shep, we nervously wish it also for ourselves.

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

Rachel Maddow Rides Impeachment to Ratings Victory Over Trump-Fluffer Sean Hannity

In the week since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Donald Trump is the subject of an official House impeachment inquiry, there have been some extraordinary developments. Trump himself blew a gasket and began flinging rhetorical feces at Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and what he called Democrat Savages,” and even his faithful defenders at Fox News. Trump descended head first into paranoid rants accusing his perceived enemies of treason and assorted other imaginary atrocities.

Rachel Maddow

What’s more, the public has been rapidly accepting that Trump is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors warranting his removal from office. Recent polls show a net 20 point swing in favor of impeachment. The Ukraine affair has the advantage of being quickly understood without the complexities of Trump’s unsavory connections to Russian and the 400 page Mueller Report that reveals criminality and obstruction of justice – if people would read it.

As the impeachment story heats up it is also having an impact on television news viewing. The past week saw MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow spike significantly as she focuses on Trump’s tribulations. Among the all-important advertising demographic of 25-54 year olds, Maddow handily beat her Fox News competition, Sean Hannity. Maddow averaged 586,000 viewers a day for the week, compared to only 550,000 for Hannity. This is good timing for Maddow whose new book – Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth – comes out today.

As the ratings and the polls consistently reflect the trouble Trump has caused for himself, he is becoming ever more desperate for the sort of flattery that fuels his tender ego. He typically finds it in the cultish sycophancy of Fox News and the utterly disreputable polling by Rasmussen. But lately he has been feuding with Fox and Rasmussen just reported a five point drop in his approval in the past week. Consequently he resorted to posting the results of an online poll at Breitbart “News.”

You might think it’s pathetic that Trump would rely on such a blatantly biased and unreliable survey of the crackpots who patronize Breitbart. But what’s even worse is that a poll taken in his own Twitter feed, with more than twice the number of respondents, has support for impeachment exceeding 90 percent.

It’s apparent that the movement to impeach Trump is only going to pick up steam as it goes forward. And along the way more people will be exposed to the facts offered by Rachel Maddow, while Hannity’s viewers slink off to the comforting seclusion of the underside of the rocks they call home. But this is no time to get complacent. Trump’s exploding derangement is going to spray psycho-shrapnel everywhere. And his most devoted disciples will even threaten civil war. In fact, both he and they and Fox News already have. So stay alert and engaged Resistors. This is just the beginning.

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

Lacking Any Coherent Impeachment Defense, Trump Deploys An All Fox News Blitzkrieg

On Wednesday morning Donald Trump released the transcript White House provided, non-verbatim memo of his July phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was somewhat anticlimactic considering that he had already admitted that he pressured Ukraine to smear Biden, and even declared Biden “corrupt” and subject to the electric chair. Still, he has been saying for days that the call was “perfect,” that he had done nothing wrong, and promised that it would exonerate him. What the hell was he thinking!

Donald Trump, Phone, Pacifier

Keeping in mind that several days prior to this phone call, Trump had frozen nearly $400 million dollars in military aid to Ukraine, who were engaged in a conflict with Russian troops on their eastern border. With that as context for Trump’s remarks, here are some relevant and incriminating parts of the memo (full document below):

“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. […] I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance.”

“Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it. […] I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.”

“The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

So Trump starts out by asking for “a favor.” That’s precisely how Godfather Don Corleone began his conversations with shakedown victims when he made them “an offer you can’t refuse.” Zelensky knew that the aid his country needs was at risk. This is as close to a quid pro quo as is ever encountered in organized crime. And having that followed up by a request to meet with Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and his Attorney General, William Barr – which is a new and troubling revelation – only makes Trump’s clearly unlawful intentions more clear.

The fact that Trump bothered to malign special counsel Robert Mueller is another indication that he is tying this call to his own political tribulations. And directly warning Zelensky that “it’s very important that you do … whatever you can do,” is hardly a subtle nudge. Trump then brings up the Ukrainian prosecutor who he calls “very good” despite being held in disrepute by the U.S. government, the European Union, the World Bank, and other international institutions.

Trump then got to the real point when he brought up Joe Biden and made the objectively false statement that he “stopped the prosecution” of Biden’s son. In fact, the corrupt prosecutor wasn’t even actively pursuing the case. And every investigation into the matter found zero evidence of any wrongdoing by Biden. Nevertheless, Trump pressed this issue repeatedly in the phone call and kept pressing for a meeting with Giuliani and Barr.

If this is Trump’s idea of an exculpatory document, you have to wonder what he considers incriminating. Trump is seen here explicitly abusing his power by recruiting a foreign leader to interfere with an American election. And he is using funds allocated by Congress to extort the illegal results he wants. There is no defense for this criminal behavior. Trump couldn’t even provide one, so he claimed on Wednesday that it should all be ignored because the stock market went up. Really? For the record, the market today is stagnant at best. It’s exactly where it was in January of 2018, a year and a half ago. Trump is also arguing his innocence based on his leading poll numbers. Except that he’s losing to every top Democrat. In fact, a Fox News poll saying just that was released a week before Trump called Zelensky. Coincidence?

Then Trump turned to his goto protectors at Fox News to vainly try to spin this in his favor. He posted (so far) twelve (12!) tweets of Trump-fluffing sycophants that contained no factual refutation of the damning contents of the White House summary phone call. They included:

  • Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway writing that the whistleblower’s attorney worked for Hillary Clinton and “Schuck” Schumer. That was for short internships nearly twenty years ago.
  • Fox host Mark Levin asserting that the is media trying to protect Biden.
  • Sean Hannity interviewing Attorney Joe DiGenova, whose reputation was so bad that he couldn’t be added to Trump’s staff.
  • Tucker Carlson interviewing Jenna Ellis, a member of the Trump 2020 Advisory Board.
  • Sean Hannity interviewing GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, a sellout who once called Trump an idiot and a liar, but who now kowtows to him in the most embarrassing fashion.
  • Lou Dobbs interviewing Harmeet Dhillon from the Republican National Lawyers Association.
  • Sean Hannity (again), this time with Kevin McCarthy, House Republican Leader.
  • Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro, another Fox News host and shameless Trump-fluffer.
  • Yet another Hannity reference saying that the whistleblower has a political bias.
  • Fox and Friends asserting that “Democrats have been talking about Impeaching Donald Trump since before he was inaugurated. @SteveDoocy @foxandfriends”
  • Fox host Bret Baier saying that “You don’t see a direct quid pro quo in this.”
  • Fox’s White House correspondent, John Roberts, saying that there was no quid pro quo in the memo.

Someone who has a good argument for innocence wouldn’t have to resort to a cadre of notoriously biased pundits and Fox News propagandists for legal help. But this is Trump’s whole modus operandi. Remember, his preparation for the presidency was hosting a reality TV game show for fourteen years. His entire reference to his job is tied to television and celebrity. So rather than accumulate knowledgeable defenses from intelligent, reputable people, he leans on dishonest TV personalities talking to partisan hacks. You know, people just like himself.

UPDATE: The whistleblower complaint has been declassified and released. It’s available here with a few redactions.

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

Trump Summons Fox News White House Correspondent to Oval Woodshed for a Spanking

There is little in the current news cycle that is less important than Donald Trump’s absurd and pointless lies about Alabama being in the path of Hurricane Dorian. For the record, Alabama was ruled out as being at risk two days before Trump issued his warning to residents of that state. But despite the facts that were confirmed by the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Center, Trump has elevated this nonsense to ridiculously atmospheric heights.

Donald Trump

There is a case to be made that Trump’s lying is significant because it might have unnecessarily rattled Alabamians or even shifted resources to areas where they weren’t needed. But more troubling is that it puts Trump’s severe mental instability on display. He could have just said that a mistake was made and this story would have slipped quietly away. Instead he turned his egotistical aversion to ever being challenged up to twelve – that’s twelve pile-on tweets insisting that he was correct, contrary to reality.

The latest of these demented tweets came on Friday morning when he accused the media of being fixated on the story he has been obsessively ranting about. “They went Crazy,” he tweeted, “hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t).” Well, yes he did, and all the evidence affirms it. He went on to whine about not getting an apology that he doesn’t deserve, including for “the Witch Hunt, or SpyGate!” Nevermind that the Mueller probe (aka “witch hunt” in Trump’s cartoon brain) produced abundant evidence of Trump’s illegal activities, and “SpyGate” was a figment of his imagination.

However, the most deplorable action on Trump’s part during this vacuous waste of time occurred on Thursday when, as reported by CNN, Trump ordered the Fox News White House correspondent, John Roberts, to appear before him in his chambers. Trump was very unhappy with the reporting by Roberts and Fox News anchor Shepard Smith. This was not the first time that Trump has lashed out at Fox for not being being sufficiently adoring. Just last week he even ordered his cult followers to “start looking for new news outlet.” But this may be the first time that he has reprimanded a Fox reporter in the oval Office.

In an email by Roberts that was provided to CNN, he said that Trump “insisted that it is unfair to say Alabama was never threatened by the storm.” Roberts wrote that Trump was “looking for acknowledgment that he was not wrong” when he falsely claimed on Sunday that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian. By that time it was already known that Dorian had turned sharply to the north and east. But that didn’t stop Trump from lobbying Roberts with outdated information and charts. Even in those old projections there was only a 5-10 percent chance of a slight brushing of a sliver of Alabama, while Trump had said that there was 95 percent probability of landfall in Alabama.

CNN also reported that Trump “voiced his displeasure about Fox News anchor Shepard Smith’s skeptical reporting about the Alabama map,” and asked Roberts “to hit back at Shepard Smith.” This would be regarded as wholly inappropriate for any president to say to any journalist, but this is Trump and Fox News, so all pretensions to credibility are irrelevant. What Trump was fuming about was Smith’s commentary (video below) on the Alabama non-controversy wherein he said that…

Some things in Trumplandia are inexplicable. This week’s edition, the President’s ongoing claim that Alabama was at risk from hurricane Dorian. It wasn’t. Maybe he got some bad info, somebody maybe he made a mistake. Maybe he was confused. We don’t know. But he was wrong. Everybody makes mistakes. Instead the next day, the president blamed the media for his own inaccurate warning and started to rewrite history on the matter. […]

Why would the president of the United States do this? He decries fake news that isn’t and disseminates fake news that is. Think China pays the tariffs. The wall is going up. Historic inauguration crowd. Russia probe is a witch hunt. You need an ID to buy cereal. Noise from windmills causes cancer. It’s endless.

Indeed, it does seem to be endless as Trump prolongs this spectacle into the weekend. And along with trying to bully his friends at Fox News, Trump ordered his Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor, Rear Admiral Peter J. Brown, to issue a flagrantly false work of propaganda that backed up Trump’s ever-expanding web of lies. And not surprisingly, Trump’s BFF, Sean Hannity, took to the air to criticize the “psychotic jackasses in the media mob” who he said were misreporting that Trump lied, even though they merely reported the actual events as they occurred.

The only reason this preposterous story persists is that Trump can’t keep his narcissistic mouth shut for thirty seconds. His deranged insistence that he be perceived as right in all matters at all times forces him to defend even the most trivial blather that oozes from his pie hole on an all too frequent basis. And this time he even tried to browbeat a friendly Foxie into complicity with his dishonest drivel. The fact that it didn’t work may be a sign of trouble ahead for Trump. We can only hope.

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