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Fox News Hires Sarah Sanders (She’ll Fit In Well)

After she repeatedly lied to reporters and the American public for nearly two years, Fox News announced on Thursday that Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be its newest official contributor.

“The former Trump administration advisor is expected to contribute commentary to Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox News Digital and the Fox Nation streaming service, the Fox Corporation unit announced Thursday,” Variety reported.

Sanders is set to make her first official appearance as a Fox News employee on “Fox & Friends,” Trump’s favorite show on the disinformation network.

Since Trump took office, there has been a revolving door of employment between the network and members of his administration. Former communications director Hope Hicks is now an executive at Fox’s parent company along with several others, while multiple members of Trump’s team came from Fox.

Sarah Sanders will join following a confession to special counsel Robert Mueller, who was at the time investigating the Trump campaign, that she blatantly lied to reporters and the public.

Sanders had claimed in a White House press briefing that Trump fired then-FBI director James Comey because FBI agents had “lost confidence” in him. But she admitted to investigators that she simply made up the cover story.

When she wasn’t lying to the public while she was a government employee, Sanders was hiding from the press. She effectively killed the daily White House press briefing, depriving the public of an opportunity to see the administration defend and support its actions under questioning from the independent press.

There has not been a White House press briefing since March 11.

Instead of facing reporters, Sanders often chose to appear on Fox News, where she could give the administration’s spin on multiple issues in an environment and where she was not seriously challenged by the network’s conservative hosts.

For over 23 years, Fox has operated as the leading outlet for pro-conservative, pro-Republican propaganda.

Sanders’ hiring from the Trump White House press operation gives more fuel to the contention that the network is not a journalistic enterprise but rather just a dishonest GOP mouthpiece.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

7 Trumpsters Who Don’t Come Off Well In Mueller Report

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report is full of bombshells about Trump pressuring subordinates to lie and engaging in a truly staggering amount of obstruction of justice. Besides that, though, the report made nearly everyone in Trump’s orbit look terrible.

Their bad behavior ranged from the banal to the genuinely corrupt, and it was omnipresent. Many Trump team members, of course, have already been indicted or found guilty of serious crimes thanks to Mueller’s investigations.

But the Mueller report also included damning new details about these seven people who haven’t been indicted:

Sean Spicer. Thanks to being deceived by then-national security adviser Michael Flynn, Spicer ended up lying during his very first press conference. He stood up and told the world that Flynn’s conversations with Sergey Kislyak weren’t about sanctions. Of course, they were totally about sanctions. Spicer also helped Trump shape the false narrative that Rosenstein had decided to fire Comey, and dutifully lying to the press about it.

Ivanka Trump. Ivanka helped cover up the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. She sort of had to, given her husband was one of the attendees. The report also confirms something Michael Cohen had told Congress: Ivanka was one of the people he kept in the loop about the Trump Tower Moscow plans. Covering up those plans was mission critical to Trump because he knew it might look bad that he kept pursuing the deal even when he was running for president.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Aside from the people who actually got indicted, Sanders might look the worst here. She blithely lied to the press and spun an absurd story about James Comey being fired because “countless FBI agents” were mad at him. When called out on it by investigators, she admitted her comments had no foundation at all. Expect Sanders to hide from the press for a while, as that is her usual behavior when scandal erupts.

Reince Priebus. The Mueller report brought to light the fact that Priebus was feverishly workingbehind the scenes to support Trump. He and Steve Bannon tag-teamed to try to convince K.T. McFarland to lie for Trump. They needed her to draft an email that said Trump didn’t direct Flynn to call the Russian ambassador about sanctions. Priebus and Bannon dangled an ambassadorship to Singapore in front of her, but McFarland didn’t budge. And on the night in January 2017 when Trump chose to dine alone with James Comey, it was Priebus who tried, in vain, to tell the president not to talk about Russia at dinner.

Donald Trump Jr. It’s unfathomable that Trump Jr. isn’t indicted right now. The report makes clear that he lied about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. With his father’s help, he issued a statement that the meeting was “primarily” about the adoption of Russian children. That’s an outright lie. The subject of that meeting was to obtain derogatory information about Hillary Clinton and for the Russians to complain about sanctions. There’s a highly credible case to be made that Don Jr. should be indicted for campaign finance violations, given that either soliciting or accepting a thing of value — in this case, opposition research — from a foreign person or entity is a crime.

William Barr. Barr isn’t in the report, but the report still makes him look bad. It didn’t have to be that way. Barr could have offered a neutral explanation of the contents, but instead he tried to spin the report before it was released in order to protect Trump. Barr did so twice: first in a four-page letter that purported to summarize the report but did no such thing, and second in Thursday’s press conference, where he lied and lied and lied. It was a disgraceful performance, but it was for an audience of one: Donald Trump.

Donald Trump. He escaped being indicted only because Mueller is a rule-follower who wouldn’t indict a sitting president. But the entire report is breathtakingly bad for him. He thought, when the investigation started, that it would be the end of his presidency — and it should have been. Instead, he survived — but he’s in trouble. Mueller’s report is a roadmap for impeachment and more. Mueller kindly dropped a footnote that is full of dense legalese masking some serious menace:

A possible remedy through impeachment for abuses of power would not substitute for potential criminal liability after a President leaves office. Impeachment would remove a President from office, but would not address the underlying culpability of the conduct or serve the usual purposes of the criminal law. Indeed, the Impeachment Judgment Clause recognizes that criminal law plays an independent role in addressing an official’s conduct, distinct from the political remedy of impeachment.

What Mueller is saying is that impeachment is separate from criminal charges, and if Trump survives impeachment, or impeachment proceedings are never started, he could still face those charges. Mueller is even going a step farther: Even if Trump were impeached and removed from office, those criminal charges would remain as a separate matter.

This is a far cry from total exoneration. It’s an unsubtle reminder to Trump that the presidency can only protect him so long. Eventually, he’ll have to face the consequences for his actions.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 

Chaos: Trump Tweets Reversal Of North Korea Sanctions

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

At many different points in his presidency, Donald Trump has appeared to have no idea what was actually happening in the administration he is supposed to run. And on Friday, Trump made that fact vividly clear yet again with a stunning — even for him — post on Twitter.

After the Treasury Department announced it would be levying new sanctions on shipping companies for working with North Korea, the president abruptly reversed that decision:

(In fact, the announcement was made on Thursday, not Friday.)

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, trying to explain this decision, said simply, “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”

Though he’s in charge of the executive branch, this is a completely unorthodox and reckless approach to sanctions policy. If Trump had a strong opinion in the Treasury Department’s coming sanctions decision, he could have intervened earlier and avoided sending such conflicting messages. Instead, he made clear that he had no idea what was going on right under his nose in the Treasury Department through the formal sanctions process, making himself look inept and weak.

Perhaps more importantly, however, he sends the message to the rest of the world that nothing the executive branch does has any authority unless he has personally weighed in — a move which undermines the government’s ability to accomplish, well, almost anything, as well as the undercutting the rule of law.

“What?” said national security lawyer Bradley Moss in response to the tweet. “Treasury goes through their sanctions process and then at the drop of a hat you reverse it?”

CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins noted that the turnabout was “Big.”

“The sanctions were on Chinese shipping companies that the Trump administration said helped North Korea evade international sanctions,” she said. “Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the ‘full implementation’ of those UN sanctions is ‘crucial’ to the success of North Korea denuclearizing.”

“The United States and our like-minded partners remain committed to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and believe that the full implementation of North Korea-related UN Security Council resolutions is crucial to a successful outcome,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a press release. “Treasury will continue to enforce our sanctions, and we are making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk.”

John Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, had said Thursday that the sanctions were “important” and that “the maritime industry must do more to stop North Korea’s illicit shipping practices.”

Danziger: If A Head Is Cut Off…

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.