Trump touts Hannity’s show on ‘Deep State crime families’ led by Mueller, Comey and Clintons

On Wednesday night, like most other weeknights, it was to be expected that President Trump would be tuning into his favorite prime-time pundit. But as if his followers needed a reminder, the president tweeted about it.

“Big show tonight on @seanhannity!” Trump tweeted, promoting Sean Hannity’s 9 p.m. segment on Fox News. By early Thursday morning, Hannity was the No. 1 topic trending on Twitter, and scores of viewers watched as Hannity fired out his usual attacks on his favorite subjects: Hillary Clinton, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and former FBI director James B. Comey.

In a conspiratorial, long-winded monologue, Hannity charted connections he sees among all three of them. The pundit outlined what he described as “obvious Deep State crime families trying to take down the president,” consisting of the Clinton “family,” the Comey “family” and the Mueller “family.”

Hannity said he was inspired by Comey, who appeared in a video this week promoting an interview between Comey and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that will air Sunday. In the interview, Stephanopoulos suggests that Comey compared Trump to a “mob boss.”

“Mr. Comey, you’re really going to compare the sitting president of the United States to a mob boss so you can make money?” Hannity said of the former FBI director, who is currently promoting his soon-to-be-released book. “If he’s going to use a sweeping analogy, I’ve decided tonight we’re going to use the Comey standard … and make some comparisons of our own.”

He began with what he called “a family responsible for actual crimes … the head of the notorious political cabal, of course Bill and Hillary Clinton, the Clinton crime family.”

For the Clinton family, Hannity brought up allegations of sexual misconduct against President Bill Clinton and, of course, accused Hillary Clinton of committing crimes, obstructing justice and mishandling national secrets on a private server. Linked to the Clinton “crime family” were individuals such as Hillary Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, “sketchy” former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, former attorney general Loretta E. Lynch, and others, including Christopher Steele, the author of the “dossier” alleging ties between Trump and Russia.

Then there’s the “Mueller Crime Family,” Hannity said. The host drew connections between the special counsel and his “best friend” Comey, as well as notorious gangster and killer Whitey Bulger. Hannity accused Mueller of “looking the other way” at Bulger’s crimes while he was a federal prosecutor in Boston. Then, of course, Hannity mapped out the “Comey Crime Family,” linking the former FBI director to Lynch, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, Steele, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, and “fellow Comey Deep State sycophant” former CIA director John Brennan.

Though Hannity retweeted Trump’s tweet promoting his Wednesday night show, he insisted that the president “was not given ANY heads up on my monologue using the ‘Comey’ standard!!!”

Regardless of what Trump knew before the show, the president is known to watch Hannity’s show regularly and look to it for guidance.

As CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted, Wednesday night illustrated that “the line where Fox News ends and where Trump begins is getting blurrier by the day.”

Aides have said Trump regularly calls Hannity before or after the program to give feedback, The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey has reported. “Aides sometimes plot to have guests make points on Fox that they have been unable to get the president to agree to in person,” Dawsey wrote.

Hannity on Wednesday night once again called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt,” as does Trump, and brought on guests who attempted to discredit Justice Department officials and the special counsel.

[Washington Post]

Media

 

Trump to hire diGenova, who argued FBI framed president

President Trump is adding a lawyer to his legal team who has endorsed the idea that the Justice Department framed him, according to a report in The New York Times.

Trump plans to hire longtime Washington lawyer Joseph diGenova, the Times wrote, citing three people told of the decision. It said he is unlikely to take a lead role on the team, but that he would add an aggressive presence.

The president is increasingly signaling he intends to go in a different direction with his legal strategy, and this weekend began attacking by name special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump’s lawyers had previously advised him not to attack Mueller.

Adding diGenova suggests Trump wants to go more on the offensive, given diGenova’s past statements arguing investigations of Trump are meritless.

“There was a brazen plot to illegally exonerate Hillary Clinton and, if she didn’t win the election, to then frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime,” he said on Fox News in January.

“Make no mistake about it: A group of FBI and DOJ people were trying to frame Donald Trump of a falsely created crime,” said diGenova, who was previously a Republican-appointed United States attorney for the District of Columbia.

Over the weekend, Trump tweeted that the Mueller probe should “never have been started.”

“There was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary [Clinton] and the [Democratic National Committee], and improperly used in [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!” Trump tweeted.

On Monday, Trump again called the investigation a “witch hunt” and claimed it had “massive conflicts of interest.”

Trump’s lawyer John Dowd over the weekend also called on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to shut down Mueller’s Russia probe.

[The Hill]

Trump Tweets Research From Designated ‘Hate’ Group

President Donald Trump was criticized on Tuesday for tweeting statistics compiled by an anti-immigration organization designated as a hate group by a leading civil rights watchdog.

In the midst of a series of posts about immigration, the proposed border wall and California’s legal status as a sanctuary state, at 8:24 a.m. Trump tweeted:

The second aspect of the above claim–regarding the alleged propensity of immigrants to access legal welfare benefits–linked to by Trump is controversial in the extreme.

Originally sourced to the Center for Immigration Studies (“CIS”), the claim is frequently shared by proponents of reduced immigration. In response to the popularity of the claim, the underlying research was debunked as misleading by the Center for Law and Social Policy (“CLASP”) in 2017.

But the problem with Trump’s use of statistics from CIS is not simply their reliability as a source, according to Vox journalist Carlos Maza noted in his tweet calling Trump out.

In 2017, CIS was officially designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Maza noted a few instances cited by the SPLC as to why CIS was tagged with their official designation.

Of note, in January 2017, CIS promoted an anti-Semitic article written by Kevin MacDonald which asked why “Jewish organizations” are promoting “the refugee invasion of Europe.”

Various additional instances of CIS’ racially and ethnically insensitive posture were catalogued as well. In one instance cited by Maza, the SPLC notes:

In June 2016, CIS distributed an article from John Friend, a contributing editor of the anti-Semitic The Barnes Review, claiming that “so-called refugees are committing rape and other horrific crimes against European women and men in increasing numbers.” Friend once described the Holocaust as a “manufactured narrative, chock full of a wide variety of ridiculous claims and impossible events, all to advance the Jewish agenda of world domination and subjugation.”

In response to the SPLC’s designation as a hate group, CIS defended itself. CIS’ Executive Director Mark Krikorian insists that CIS’ incidents of promoting white nationalists and anti-semites is accidental–that after they are published by CIS, some “writers…turned out to be cranks.”

Oppositely, Krikorian has repeatedly defended the work of Jason Richwine, a National Review contributor and blogger for CIS. Richwine once asserted that Latino immigrants are less intelligent than “native whites” and has previously contributed to Richard Spencer‘s online periodical Alternative Right.

[Law and Crime]

Reality

The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, wrote last April that “the border wall would have to deter the entry of about 1 million illegal immigrants over the next ten years to break even — an estimated 5 to 6.3 times as many as CIS estimated.

“Furthermore, this means that the border wall would have to permanently deter 59 percent of the predicted border crossers over the next ten years to break even. This does not include the cost of any additional enforcement measures such as hiring more border agents, border returns, or border deportations.”

Cato also estimated that the average undocumented immigrant uses closer to $43,444 more in public services than they pay in taxes, and that building and maintaining a wall would cost closer to $43.8 billion.

Kellyanne Conway found to have violated Hatch Act

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) informed the Trump administration Tuesday.

Appearing in her official capacity, Conway endorsed and advocated against political candidates, the watchdog said, referring its findings to President Trump “for appropriate disciplinary action.”

The violations occurred during two television appearances in 2017, one on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” and one on CNN’s “New Day.”

“While the Hatch Act allows federal employees to express their views about candidates and political issues as private citizens, it restricts employees from using their official government positions for partisan political purposes, including by trying to influence partisan elections,” OSC says in its report.

“Ms. Conway’s statements during the ‘Fox & Friends’ and ‘New Day’ interviews impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate.”

The report goes on to state that Conway received “significant training” on the Hatch Act and possible violations. OSC says it gave Conway, a former GOP pollster who served as Trump’s campaign manager, the opportunity to respond as part of its report, but she did not.

The White House rejected the report’s findings, saying “Conway did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate” in a statement provided to reporters.

“In fact, Kellyanne’s statements actually show her intention and desire to comply with the Hatch Act — as she twice declined to respond to the host’s specific invitation to encourage Alabamans to vote for the Republican,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gildley said.

Ahead of December’s special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the Senate, Conway made remarks critical of then-candidate Doug Jones in his race against former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.

During her initial Fox appearance, Conway blasted Jones as “weak on crime” and “weak on borders,” before declining to specifically endorse Moore when asked.

“Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don’t be fooled. He will be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime, weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners,” Conway said in November.

“So, vote Roy Moore?” host Brian Kilmeade interjected.

“I’m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through,” Conway responded.

In her CNN appearance in December, Conway went further, saying that Trump “doesn’t want a liberal Democrat representing Alabama” in the Senate.

“The only endorsement that matters in this race is President Trump’s,” Conway said the week before the vote. “And he came out questioning the ideology and the vote of Doug Jones. He’ll be a reliable vote for tax hikes. He’ll be a reliable vote against border security. He’ll be a reliable vote against national security and keeping [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] ISIS in retreat. He’ll be the reliable vote against the Second Amendment and against life.”

At the time, former Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub called the comments a “slam dunk” violation of the Hatch Act.

“The willfulness of Conway’s violation and her openly expressed disdain for efforts to hold her accountable for complying with ethics requirements make clear that anything less than removal from the federal service or a lengthy unpaid suspension will not deter future misconduct on her part,” Shaub said.

Shaub filed two complaints with OSC over the interviews.

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah defended Conway last year after initial criticism.

“Ms. Conway did not advocate for or against the election of a candidate, and specifically declined to encourage Alabamans to vote a certain way,” Shah said in a statement.

“She was speaking about issues and her support for the president’s agenda. This election is for the people of Alabama to decide,” he added.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings (Md.) demanded the president issue “swift and serious” punishment for the violations.

“The President must take swift and serious disciplinary action against Ms. Conway. Anything else sets a terrible example,” Cummings said in a statement.

Hatch Act violations committed by White House staff are typically handled directly by the president. Consequences for violating the law range from an official reprimand to a civil penalty of up to $1,000. Other penalties include suspension, termination or even debarment from federal employment for up to five years.

[The Hill]

Update

The White House said on Tuesday that counselor Kellyanne Conway did not violate the Hatch Act after the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) told the Trump administration she was found in violation.

“Kellyanne Conway did not advocate for or against the election of any particular candidate. She simply expressed the president’s obvious position that he have people in the House and Senate, who support his agenda,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

Trump parrots Fox & Friends report on gun control meeting in rambling ‘respect the 2nd Amendment’ tweet

President Donald Trump reacted to Fox News reports about a bipartisan White House meeting he led with a tweet on gun safety measures.

The president surprised many Republicans during Wednesday’s meeting by calling for more extreme gun control measures than Democrats have proposed, and Trump apparently responded to “Fox & Friends” commentary on those ideas.

[RawStory]

Media

 

Trump Rails About Russia, Investigating Clinton’s ‘Criminality’ After Watching Old Fox News Segments

President Donald Trump’s TiVo was working overtime on Tuesday morning, as it seemed he was catching up on old episodes of Fox News — notably last night’s episode of Martha McCallum’s Fox News show.

The president first took to Twitter to quote Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano, who said on McCallum’s show Monday night that “someone at the Justice Department has a treasure trove of evidence of Mrs. Clinton’s criminality at her own hands, or through others, that ought to be investigated”:

“I fully agree with the president on that,” Napolitano added.

The former judge was reacting to Trump’s remarks in an interview with Jeanine Pirro from the weekend, in which he called on “you know who” — ostensibly Attorney General Jeff Sessions — to investigate Democrats for alleged misdeeds during the 2016 election.

[Mediaite]

Reality

This is a perfect example of the right-wing feedback loop:

  1. Donald Trump on Fox News says without evidence that Hillary Clinton committed crimes and the Department of Justice should investigate her.
  2. Judge Napolitano appearing on Martha McCallum’s Fox News show reacts to Trump’s claim and agrees with him.
  3. Trump quotes Napolitano as evidence of Clinton wrongdoing.

Trump Misquotes Fox News Anchor to Slam ‘Total Phony’ Schiff: He ‘Omitted and Distorted Key Facts’

In a botched attempt to use information from Fox News to attack the Democrat’s rebuttal to the infamous GOP memo, President Donald Trump removed numerous words from a quote by one of the network’s anchors to paint Rep. Adam Schiff as “a total phony.”

After spending his Saturday night on Twitter slamming the Democrat’s claims that the FBI and DOJ did not inappropriately target Trump and his allies, the president picked up a quote from Fox News — falsely claiming the network’s anchor said “Congressman Schiff omitted and distorted key facts.”

“‘Congressman Schiff omitted and distorted key facts’ @FoxNews So, what else is new. He is a total phony!” Tweeted Trump.

However, the actual quote from the Fox News report went as follows:

“Congressman Schiff, he argues the Republican memo omitted and distorted key facts — it was initially meant to be mislead the public. And this Democratic memo was supposed to be the rebuttal that was meant to show what was left out. Was the Democratic memo released now, will it be seen as a success? Did they get their point across?”

The irony of Trump misquoting a Fox News anchor to accuse Schiff of omitting and distorting facts was first noticed by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter.

[Mediaite]

Trump Claims His SOTU Had The Highest Ratings In History. It Didn’t.

In a tweet, President Trump claimed the largest audience ever tuned in for his State of the Union address. That’s not true.

“Thank you for all of the nice compliments and reviews on the State of the Union speech,” Trump tweeted just after 7 a.m. ET Thursday. “45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history. @FoxNews beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in. Delivered from the heart!”

Though the specific numbers he cites in his tweet are correct, Trump’s audience on Tuesday night wasn’t close to being the highest in history for a State of the Union.

Quick note: The speech a president gives just after taking office looks like a State of the Union but is actually a joint address to Congress. But just for the purposes of this article, we will call those big speeches early in the first year of a presidency SOTUs, too, as a shorthand.

Let’s look at the numbers. Nielson counts the number of people who watch the speeches on broadcast networks, cable and PBS, either live or on the same day.

Nielson reported yesterday that an estimated 45.6 million people tuned in to Trump’s address on Tuesday night. Compared with other SOTUs since 1993, that total puts Trump’s speech in ninth place.

The SOTU with the largest audience was Bill Clinton’s 1993 speech, which drew a whopping 66.9 million viewers.

And if you look at the combined household rating, rather than combined number of viewers, Trump’s 26.9 rating nets him 16th place, tied with G.W. Bush’s 2006 address. (Clinton’s 1993 speech also wins on the rating front, with a 44.3.)

But despite the president’s obsession with ratings, it’s worth remembering that methods for counting television viewers are imperfect. The New York Times notes that the figures don’t include streaming.

Obama’s first official State of the Union, a year into his presidency, drew 48 million viewers and a 29.8 rating — higher on both metrics than Trump’s speech on Tuesday.

It’s not clear where Trump got the notion that his SOTU numbers were the highest. But CNN’s Brian Stelter notes that a segment on “Fox and Friends,” which Trump reportedly watches, Thursday morning mentioned the 45.6 million total, and that Fox had a record number of viewers.

Following the president’s morning tweet, Fox News Research tweeted Nielson’s viewership numbers for SOTUs back to 1993, along with a photo of Trump.

[NPR]

Trump touts bogus ‘Fox & Friends’ report claiming he’s just as popular as Obama was

President Donald Trump on Friday insisted that he’s just as popular now as former President Barack Obama was at this point in 2009 — despite the fact that multiple polls say otherwise.

The President based his boast on a “Fox & Friends” report that only cited one poll to back up its claim — a poll that was released on Thursday by the right-leaning Rasmussen Reports.

“While the Fake News loves to talk about my so-called low approval rating, @foxandfriends just showed that my rating on Dec. 28, 2017, was approximately the same as President Obama on Dec. 28, 2009, which was 47%,” Trump wrote. “And this despite massive negative Trump coverage & Russia hoax!”

In reality, Rasmussen is the only major pollster to have Trump’s approval rating as high as 46 percent.

An analysis of polling averages by FiveThirtyEight shows that Trump currently has an average approval rating of just 37.7 percent, which makes him by far the least popular presisdent at the end of his first year by far. For comparison, Obama had an average approval rating of 49.6 percent at this point in his president, George W. Bush had an approval rating of 82.9 percent, Bill Clinton had an approval rating of 56.2 percent, and Ronald Reagan had an approval rating of 49.2 percent.

Similarly, a comparison of Trump’s average approval rating with Obama’s average approval rating on Real Clear Politics shows that Obama’s approval rating at this point in 2009 was 49.8 percent, whereas Trump’s average approval rating now is 39.3 percent.

Trump touts bogus ‘Fox & Friends’ report claiming he’s just as popular as Obama was

Sarah Sanders: Russia Investigation a ‘Hoax,’ But We Have ‘No Intention’ to Fire Mueller

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took some new shots at the Russia special counsel today, even as she insisted the Trump Administration doesn’t plan on firing Robert Mueller.

In an interview for America’s Newsroom, Sanders was asked by Bill Hemmer about recent questions surrounding Mueller’s probe. Sanders proceeded to dismiss the investigation as a “hoax” which shows that Democrats have no agenda beyond attacking and trying to undermine the president.

“For the 1,000th time, We have no intentions of firing Bob Mueller,” Sanders said. “We are continuing to work closely and cooperate with him. We look forward to seeing this hoax wrap up very soon.”

Hemmer followed up by asking about what Senator Rand Paul suggested earlier today about former Obama officials colluding to stop Trump from being president. Sanders responded with more jabs at Democrats and the “liberal media,” and responded that Ryan’s claims could be worth looking into.

[Mediaite]

Media

1 2 3 8