Jonathan Turley

What Fox Analyst Turley Gets Wrong About Trump (Nearly Everything)

Following news of former President Donald Trump’s recent federal and Georgia indictments, Fox News utilized its top legal contributor Jonathan Turley to promote faulty arguments in Trump’s defense. Fox News invited the George Washington University law professor to comment about Trump indictments in 22 appearances between August 1 and August 25, more than any other legal contributor.

A federal grand jury indicted Trump over his attempt to overturn the 2020 election results

  • Trump’s first August indictment focused on his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. While Trump’s infamous claims of nonexistent voter fraud and appeals to illegally overturn the election were a central focus of the indictment, legal experts have pointed out that he is being charged for his alleged criminal actions, not for his speech.
  • On August 1, a federal grand jury indicted Trump on four charges. As CBS reported, these charges include “conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights.” [CBS, 8/2/23]
  • The indictment specifically stated Trump had a right to free speech, even if his claims were false. The second page of the indictment noted that Trump “had a right, like every American, to speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won.” [The Washington Post, 8/19/23]
  • While Trump’s spoken words and social media posts are used as evidence in the indictment, that evidence is used to prove the motive behind his actions. As noted by legal experts, “Trump is being prosecuted for his deeds, not his words.” While Trump had the right to claim the election was stolen, he did not have the right to attempt to throw out the lawful results through a criminal conspiracy. [Media Matters, 8/10/23]
  • Former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade told Salon: An indictment does not require “a recitation of all of the evidence.” She added, “All that is required is a brief, plain statement of the charge.” The Salon piece also quoted Hofstra University’s School of Law professor James Sample arguing it’s “reasonable” to anticipate the release of new evidence later into the trial. [Salon, 8/3/23]

Jonathan Turley pushed a false narrative that Trump is being charged for “free speech” and claims the indictment is a threat to the First Amendment.

  • Turley incorrectly claimed that DOJ special counsel Jack Smith was indicting Trump for misinformation. He stated that Trump is “being indicted for spreading lies. That's what the indictment says over and over again, and they insist that he knew they were lies.” [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 8/3/23]
  • Turley stated Trump is “being charged with lying” and argued the indictment raises “free speech concerns.” He stated, “There are legitimate free speech concerns raised by these charges. Essentially he's being charged with lying and the government is saying you can make false statements in an election, but not if you know that they're false. But they don't really establish that he knew that they were false, even if that theory is correct.” [Fox News, America Reports, 8/3/23]
  • Turley argued that Trump is protected from charges in the January 6 indictment because of the First Amendment. He claimed, “It does not appear that this was motivated by new evidence, and in order to get a conviction, he [Smith] will have to use material that, in my view, is clearly protected by the First Amendment.” [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 8/1/23]
  • Turley floated the idea that indicting Trump and penalizing him over his actions on January 6 would “criminalize false political speech.” He claimed, “It's unlikely he [Trump] will get a trial put in front of the Florida trial, but they very well could help him out in moving these issues to the appellate court and asking them is this the criminalization of disinformation? Are you about to criminalize false political speech? Because in the past, the Supreme Court has been extremely skeptical of laws that attempt to do that.” [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 8/3/23]
  • Turley pushed the notion that indicting Trump would be a “slippery slope” to criminalizing incorrect speech. He stated, “If you start to criminalize issues like that, you find yourself on a slippery slope where the Department of Justice can arrest politicians for not accepting what they deem the evident truth.“ [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 8/2/23]
  • Turley claimed that the indictment and upcoming trial of Trump is a “free speech killing case.” He said, “If free speech defines us as a nation, this is a free speech killing case, and we need to deal with those implications.” [Fox News, America Reports, 8/2/23]
  • On Fox host Brian Kilmeade’s radio show, Turley accused Smith of inventing new law to go after Trump and attacking the First Amendment. Turley stated, “Smith is trying to create new law here, and he doesn't cite any new evidence. That should disturb people. There's got to be some point where you say enough -- when you start to take a hatchet to the First Amendment in this quest to nail Trump.” [Fox Radio, Brian Kilmeade Show, 8/2/23]

Trump was also indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, for his attempt to overturn election results in the state — not his “free speech”

Similar to the federal grand jury indictment, the Georgia indictment laid out Trump’s many comments and speeches as part evidence of motive for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.

  • District Attorney Fani Willis charged Trump and 18 others up to 20 years in prison for racketeering, specifically violating the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. According to the indictment, Trump and more than a dozen allies, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows and lawyers Rudy Guiliani and John Eastman, “refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.” [Reuters, 8/15/23; Insider, 8/14/23]
  • Willis began her investigation two years ago after Trump’s January 2021 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was leaked. During the call, Trump suggested Raffensperger could help “find 11,780 votes” because “we won the state.” [The Associated Press, 7/31/23]
  • The investigation followed several main investigative threads. These include Trump’s call with Raffensperger, his attempt to get fake electors to certify his victory, his false claims of election fraud, his harassment of election workers, and Trump-associated Sidney Powell’s unauthorized access to Georgia’s election equipment. [The Associated Press, 7/31/23]
  • New York University law professor: “It’s not *the speech* that's criminal. It’s what the speech *does*: constitute an element of another crime.” New York University School of Law assistant professor Noah Rosenblum debunked the free speech argument, also writing, “Here, Trump is charged with conspiracy. But the lies he made about the election are part of showing his knowing fraud — an element of a crime.” [Twitter/X, 8/1/23]
  • Legal expert Marc Elias has asserted that to prove Trump guilty, prosecutors do not need motive. The government “does not need to prove motive” and jury’s will be instructed as such. [Popular Information, 8/3/23]
  • There is “no First Amendment right to use speech to subvert an election, any more than there is a First Amendment right to use speech to bribe, threaten, or intimidate.” In a piece for Slate, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law professor Richard L. Hasen also poked holes in the First Amendment defense, writing, “Trump did not just state the false claims; he allegedly used the false claims to engage in a conspiracy to steal the election.” [Slate, 8/1/23]
  • Turley argued the Georgia indictment could have a “chilling effect” on people wanting to challenge election results

    Turley questioned if Trump’s actions in Georgia were actually a crime before claiming the indictment may hurt the ability to challenge elections. Turley stated, “Is it a crime to raise them [unproven election claims]? Is it a crime, even if these allegations were untrue, to make them, to a state legislature or to a court or to the public at large. The concern is that you can create a chilling effect.” [Fox News, Hannity, 8/14/23]

    • Turley insisted Trump did not commit a crime and that the indictment will criminalize election challenges. He stated, “It's excessive and I think it's also dangerous. It essentially criminalizes challenges to elections. … Democrats and Republicans challenge these elections routinely. … They aren't crimes. They are seeking judicial review.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 8/15/23]
    • Turley again claimed the indictment could criminalize election challenges in the country and compared Trump’s actions to previous election challenges by Democrats. He insisted, “This is creating a slippery slope for all elections across the country. It is the criminalization of election challenges. And I can name off the top of my head 10 Democratic politicians that could be accused of similar conduct -- challenging elections with very little evidence.” [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 8/15/23]
    • Turley argued Trump’s tweets and speeches were being treated as a separate criminal act in the indictment when in fact they exist to display motive behind his actions. He said, “You look at this indictment, and every call, every tweet, every speech seems to be a separate criminal act that composes this conspiracy.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/15/23]
    • Turley warned the Georgia indictment would potentially set a precedent based around criminalizing what is in someone’s mind. He claimed, “We can all debate what was in Donald Trump's mind but is that really the basis of a criminal case? Is that what you want for future cases?” [Fox News, Hannity, 8/14/23]

    But Trump’s call to Raffensperger was not an earnest attempt to legally challenge Georgia’s election results

    • Trump did not mention a recount at any point during the call. Furthermore, Georgia had already undergone two recounts prior to the call. As Mediate’s Michael Luciano states, “By the time Trump unsuccessfully leaned on Raffensperger, Georgia had already conducted two recounts. Moreover, telling an elections official to “find” votes in one’s favor as Trump did is not “making a case for a recount.” That is asking the official to make one the winner of an election.” [Mediate, 8/24/23]
    • The call demonstrated how Trump was not willing to accept there were no remaining paths to challenge the election results in Georgia. As Washington Post columnist Philip Bump writes, “A candidate simply hoping to ensure that all avenues were closed — even after months of scrutiny and multiple recounts — would receive information that those avenues had already been demonstrably closed with resignation and acceptance. That was not the way Trump received Raffensperger’s pushback.” [The Washington Post, 8/25/23]

    While initially critical of Trump’s call to Raffensperger, Turley has been defending it

    • On January 3, 2021, Turley called Trump’s request for Raffensperger to “find” him votes, an “opportunistic move to secure the 16 electoral votes.” He wrote, “Telling Raffensperger to ‘find’ the votes on the Saturday before the certification is breathtaking. … I am mystified by the request as I am the logic. Such an opportunistic move to secure the 16 electoral votes would not work to change the outcome.” [Twitter/X, 1/3/21]
    • Over two years after critiquing the call, Turley claimed Trump’s call to Raffensperger, which initially sparked Willis’ investigation, was “widely misrepresented.” He stated that the call “has been taken as an invitation for fraud. There is, of course, a more obvious explanation and that is the Georgia officials were saying that further state recounts might not be necessary. And it would be natural for Trump to say look, you only need to find 11,000 [votes] to turn the outcome of this election. So I don't need that many votes. Thus, a state recount is justified.” [Fox News, Hannity, 8/14/23]
    • Turley argued that when Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” votes he was actually asking for a recount. He stated, “It makes perfect sense when you are challenging an election to say I only need around 11,000 votes. So if you do a statewide review, that's not a lot in a state like Georgia. That's not criminal. That's making a case for a recount” [Fox News, Hannity, 8/23/23]

    Turley has been criticized for his legal commentary for years

    • The Nation’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal described Turley as “essentially the poster child for Trump apologists with legal credentials.” Mystal also wrote that Turley is “best known for going on TV and arguing that Trump cannot be held accountable for whatever crimes were most recently revealed” and that “his role is defending or sanitizing the wildly illegal or unprecedented behavior of Trumpworld.” [Balls and Strikes, 9/20/22]
    • Stanford Law professor Robert Weisberg described Turley as someone who “gleefully reports court decisions that go against Biden or other Democrats—and almost never or barely mentions any that the GOP loses.” In a piece titled “What Happened to Jonathan Turley, Really?” Weisberg wrote that with Turley, “we see Republican sycophancy rendered in a sober scholarly tone with pearl-clutching sanctimonious nostalgia for some pre-political era of American law.” also claimed Turley was “the anti-left Paul Revere.” [Slate, 11/18/22]
    • University of North Carolina Law professor Carissa Byrne said Turley is not only “hypocritical” but has also made a “serious breach of academic ethics and professionalism.” [Twitter/X, 1/18/21, 1/18/21]

    Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

    Right-Wing Media Figures Babble About ‘Demonic Possession' Of Democrats (VIDEO)

    Right-Wing Media Figures Babble About ‘Demonic Possession' Of Democrats (VIDEO)

    Right-wing media figures are ramping up apocalyptic political rhetoric that literally demonizes LGBTQ people, perceived political enemies, and progressive causes, with some absurdly suggesting that demons are using portals to enter Earth and wage “spiritual war” against humanity.

    Rhetoric about “demonic” influence and an existential, “spiritual” war has become a hallmark of right-wing punditry and Republican politics ahead of the 2024 elections, as Christian nationalism grows in popularity among Republican voters. Language that demonizes and dehumanizes political opponents has been a staple of right-wing commentary for years, but these recent accusations are not simple rhetorical flourishes; a number of media figures have begun to warn their audiences about occult rituals from the left and supposed portals to hell from which demons would enter the Earth. Last year, Trump ally and provocateur Roger Stone even claimed that a “Satanic portal” had opened over the White House after President Joe Biden took office.

    This sort of framing, which posits that political enemies are literal “demons” waging a “spiritual war,” stems largely from a right-wing Christian movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. For years, the NAR movement has reportedly sought “to take dominion over politics, business and culture in preparation for the end times and the return of Jesus.” Rolling Stone described the core NAR belief in spiritual war in a profile of one of the movement’s leading figures, commentator and self-proclaimed prophet Lance Wallnau:

    NAR followers like Wallnau believe that America is specially anointed by God to project Christianity across the globe. And the NAR movement’s followers view foes of their quest as satanic. This is not metaphorical. They hold that the physical world is enveloped by a supernatural dimension, featuring warring angels and demons, and are convinced that demons afflict their enemies on behalf of the devil. The movement holds that these spiritual battles are reflected in earthly politics. As the late NAR founder C. Peter Wagner explained in a striking NPR interview in 2011: “I believe there’s a lot of demonic control over Congress … that needs to be dispersed.”

    Fiery rhetoric of a spiritual war coupled with demonization of opponents has created an atmosphere in which violence appears permissible and justifiable to followers. For instance, the violence at the Capitol on January 6 was largely undergirded and inspired by boisterous cries of spiritual warfare from prominent figures on the religious right — including Wallnau — who have conditioned their audiences to consider political violence a legitimate tactic.

    Over the last two years, right-wing media figures have increasingly adopted the scorched-earth rhetoric of movements like the NAR, setting the stage for a potentially dangerous political atmosphere in 2024. Here are a number of examples:

    Right-wing media figures say demons are using 'portals' to enter Earth

    On several occasions, prominent right-wing media figures have claimed that demons are using “portals” to attack conservative causes or even fearmongered that Satan created a “woke mind virus.”

    • Right-wing media gadfly Roger Stone — who observers have noted has increasingly adopted rhetoric around “spiritual war” — claimed on Eric Metaxas’ Salem radio show that “a demonic portal” had been visible above the White House since Biden’s inauguration. Stone suggested that through the “portal,” demons began to “populate the Biden administration,” arguing “you can’t tell whether they are men or women.”

    • Salem media host Charlie Kirksaid that “we’re in the midst of the most consequential spiritual war” in millennia because “there is no other way to explain the campaign of arson and destruction against our country other than diabolical, spiritually dark influences that are fighting for dominion over this nation.” He also argued that “witchcraft and the occult is a real thing, and there are portals to darkness and you have to be vigilant about this.” Kirk also alleged that Satan had created “the woke mind virus” to destroy America and called on religious leaders to “excommunicate … the demons of the woke.”
    • Conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Joneswarned that the European Council for Nuclear Research had used the Large Hadron Collider for “satanic rituals” which he claimed “definitely has opened up a gate” to hell and let demons into the Earth “like paratroopers.” Jones has also claimed that an “alien offworld force” with demons as its agents is “working against us around the clock because they know we are about to go from our embryonic level to birthing into the next level.” What’s more, in his trial for defamation of the families of the Sandy Hook massacre, Jones attacked the judge and plaintiffs’ lawyers as “committed to occult ideology of the new world order” and implied they were “demonically possessed.”
    • Daily Wire host Michael Knowlessaid of reports of interactions with aliens: “Aliens are just demons for liberals who don't want to admit metaphysical reality."

    Right-wing media figures have labeled LGBTQ people and abortion 'demonic'

    Conservative media figures have also revved up their attacks on trans people, LGBTQ Pride month, and abortion by claiming they are inspired by “demons in our society.”

    • Knowles — who demanded this year that so-called “transgenderism” be “eradicated from public life entirely” — claimed that trans people are “demonic” and that demons are “always trans.”
    • On her prime-time Fox News show, Laura Ingrahamreferred to gender-affirming care as “a demonic campaign to destroy the natural biological order.”
    • Daily Wire host Candace Owens called trans people “demons in our society” and smeared “any actor, actress, individual that supports this” as “demonic.” Owens has also argued that surrogacy is “deeply demonic.”

    • On Fox, now-former host Tucker Carlson used the Covenant School shooting in Tennessee to falsely claim that “the trans movement is targeting Christians, including with violence,” and denounced the trans community as part of “a deranged and demonic ideology.”
    • On YouTube, BlazeTV’s Liz Wheeler said that “if you took the three most disgusting, demonic ideologies that you could possibly think of and put them all in one flag you would get the trans flag.”
    • Doomsday prophet and repeat Trinity Broadcast Network guest Jonathan Cahn recently declared that Biden had put the United States under “demonic possession” at the hands of an ancient goddess of “sexual immorality” by lighting up the White House in the colors of the rainbow for LGBTQ Pride.
    • Two days after a shooter killed five people in a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club, Infowars host Owen Shroyer ran footage of drag queens and questioned whether “these people are even human,” ranting: “Demon possession is real. Satanic agendas are real. I don’t know how else to describe any of this.”
    • BlazeTV host Steve Deacepartnered with far-right Christian filmmakers Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon to produce a right-wing movie that argued humanity is engaged in a spiritual war against demonic forces such as abortion and LGBTQ equality. On his podcast, in an episode titled “Hot Take: Demonic or Democrats?” Deace said that people who advertise drag story hours are “literally inhabited by a demon” and are “a manifestation of a demonic presence.”
    • Salem Radio host Eric Metaxas and his guest John Zmirak proclaimed that Satan himself was behind the LGBTQ rights movement, with Zmirak decrying “blasphemous drag queen rituals, in your church, mocking Christ” and comparing the Pride flag to an inverted pentagram, claiming Satan “wants you to use the pronoun they.” Metaxas then warned his audience that if they did not boycott companies that celebrate Pride Month, they would be comparable to Germans who failed to stop the Holocaust, saying, “The death camps were the result of good people saying, ‘I don’t want to deal with this. Just let me live my life.’”
    • Christian nationalist pastorJack Hibbs, whose sermons air on Fox Business Network, declared that transgender people are “satanic,” saying that in “the last days there’s going to be doctrines of demons and deceiving spirits. Wonder what that’s going to be like? You’re in it.” Per Right Wing Watch, Hibbs has also claimed that "demonism” has caused public support for trans rights.
    • Christian nationalist influencer and repeat Fox guest Sean Feucht has described abortion and the movement for trans rights as demonic, ascribing public support to “demons” and “the demonic spirit.” Feucht is closely associated with prominent NAR movement leaders and “apostles.”
    • Right-wing radio host Jesse Kellysaid that “we have a society so full of demons that baby murder is now popular” and also referred to the LGBTQ community as “the LGTBQ demon mob.”
    • Lance Wallnau, a contributor for The Victory Channel’s Christian nationalist show FlashPoint, has repeatedly invoked demons while discussing LGBTQ people. In an April show, Wallnau said that transgender people represent “a fundamental deception” and that accepting them has made society “sympathetic with evil.” Wallnau said that demons target people to make them trans, saying, “I believe a demon comes along that enters into that confusion that affirms that they are the opposite gender.” Per Right Wing Watch, Wallnau also claimed that people become trans because "Satan has taken 'em over with crazy talk about them being in the wrong bodies.”

    Right-wing media personalities warn Democrats are 'demonic' and 'satanic'

    Far-right Christian media figures and prominent right-wing commentators have told their audiences that the left is engaged with “satanic worship” and “demonic forces,” rationalizing ideological opposition as a product of the “demon-possessed.”

    • Fox prime-time host Jesse Wattersclaimed that viewers should be afraid of “demonic teachers” interested in “turning their classroom into a drag show.”
    • Carlsonwarned on Glenn Beck’s show that there are “spiritual forces surrounding” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), calling him “a force of darkness.”
    • On a FlashPoint broadcast, contributor and pastor Hank Kunnemantold viewers that “we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness in high places — you know, demonic entities.” Earlier in the episode, Wallnausaid that tragedies in society such as mass shootings should be understood through a lens where “you don’t deal with current events, you deal with a demonic spin cycle.”
    • BlazeTV founder and longtime conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck proclaimed that the 2020 election was not contested against Democrats, but against “Satan himself,” which he claimed was prophesied to him in a dream. Beck has an extensive history of linking progressives to “the devil” and warning of “demonic” influence.
    • Disgraced Trump ally-turned-podcast-host Steve Bannonsuggested that Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) is “satanic” because he “exudes … pure evil” and “hangs with Satanic Groomers.”
    • During his Christian nationalistReAwaken America Tour, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has frequently asserted that there is a “spiritual war” in America. He has also called former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a “demon.”
    • Right-wing podcast host Benny Johnsonattacked the grand jury forewoman investigating Donald Trump’s 2020 election interference in Georgia, calling her “borderline demonic” and “demon-possessed.” He has also claimed that “you can see demonic forces at work" in Schiff's district, claiming that the congressman is “on the side of the demons.” Johnson has previously embraced the rhetoric of spiritual warfare, saying, “This rabbit hole goes down so far into the occult … This is a spiritual battle. This is a battle of possession, and there are stages of demonic possession, and we are in the oppression stage right now.”
    • Far-right pundit Stew Petersfearmongered about “SatanCon,” an event that is hosted by “a progressive church that doesn't worship the devil but instead uses the word to get attention,” claiming it was evidence of “full-blown satanic worship” in America. His guest, Sean Feucht, insisted that we are witnessing “the total unveiling of this demonic realm, this demonic spirit.” Feucht then warned that these alleged forces of Satan were “agitated and upset and trying everything they can do to intimidate Christians.”
    • On his BlazeTV podcast, Deacecalled the Democratic Party “a demonic construct, a satanically influenced entity, and a death cult.”

    Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

    Right-Wing Media Promoted Fake Elector Scheme Now Being Probed By Grand Jury

    Right-Wing Media Promoted Fake Elector Scheme Now Being Probed By Grand Jury

    Right-wing media figures popularized and defended the Trump team’s last-ditch effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election through a scheme to nullify the election results, which is now under investigation by a special counsel — and some of the fake electors have reportedly already testified to a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C.

    The scheme, cooked up by former Trump lawyers John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani, sought to create “alternate” slates of electors in favor of former President Donald Trump in seven swing states that voted for Joe Biden. At the time, several right-wing media figures supported the scheme to undermine the 2020 election, with some calling for key states to appoint their own alternate electors. Other right-wing media figures such as One America News host Christina Bobb and “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander were directly involved in engineering the fake elector scheme.

    Individuals associated with Trump’s plot to appoint fake electors to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election have begun testifying before a federal grand jury. Last week, CNN reported:

    Special counsel Jack Smith has compelled at least two Republican fake electors to testify to a federal grand jury in Washington in recent weeks by giving them limited immunity, part of a current push by federal prosecutors to swiftly nail down evidence in the sprawling criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

    The testimony, described to CNN by people familiar with the situation, comes after a year of relative dormancy around the fake electors portion of the investigation and as a parade of related witnesses are being told to appear before the grand jury with no chance for delay.

    That activity could signal that investigators are nearing at least some charging decisions in a part of the 2020 election probe, sources added.

    Now that the special counsel investigation is well underway and a related jury trial over the fake electors scheme in Wisconsin is set to begin, Fox News’ Mark Levin remains a vocally adamant defender of the scheme. On his radio show earlier this month, Levin claimed that “there’s no such thing as fake electors” and that the probe is “another novelty in the law that’s created by another Democrat prosecutor.”

    Levin's continued defense of Trump's fake elector scheme is just one example of a yearslong campaign by right-wing media outlets to sow distrust in our elections process — and their consistent refrain that investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election is political persecution has also primed conservative audiences to view the upcoming 2024 election with skepticism.

    Right-wing media supported the fake electors scheme and presented it as a legitimate “remedy” for Trump’s 2020 loss

    • Right after Election Day and two days before the 2020 election was called in Biden’s favor, Fox host Sean Hannity suggested on his radio show that “the remedy” to a Trump loss would be state electors going against the popular vote. Hannity said that to his “understanding,” electors are “not required to vote in accordance with whatever the state popular vote is, if they think there is fraud that is taking place they do have the power to stop that in these states.” [Premiere Radio, The Sean Hannity Show, 11/05/20]
    • Mark Levin appealed directly to state lawmakers, tweeting on November 5, 2020, “Reminder to the Republican state legislatures, you have the final say over the choosing of electors, not any board of elections, secretary of state, governor, or even court.” (He would later claim in a November 12, 2020, tweet, “Again and again, I have to explain that I never said electors should be chosen by the legislatures.”) [Twitter, 11/05/20]
    • Writing for The Blaze on November 5, 2020, Daniel Horowitz stated that “state legislatures can have their revenge and have the final say” in the 2020 election. Horowitz also echoed Levin’s support of the scheme, adding, “Mark Levin reminded his audience today that state legislatures are the ones who choose the electors who directly vote for president in each state.” [The Blaze, 11/05/20]
    • In a November 21, 2020, tweet, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton claimed that a Pennsylvania court decision against the Trump campaign was a “miscarriage of justice and nakedly political.” Fitton also claimed that “under the Constitution, it is ultimately up [to] the Pennsylvania legislature to protect election integrity and appoint a clean slate of electors.” [Twitter, 11/21/20]
    • Christina Bobb argued on the December 14, 2020 episode of her OAN show that by “having the GOP electors cast their votes in these states, it preserves the legal remedy should Donald Trump win, either in court or in a state legislature, in the future.” She also defended the use of alternate electors because of the supposed “possibility that this state could flip or turn because there’s enough election fraud in here that it’s still contested.” [OAN, 12/14/20]
    • On the same day, OAN reporter Pearson Sharp showed a misleading video of Trump’s fake electors being denied entry to the Michigan Capitol, which he said was evidence that “official state electors are being barred from performing their constitutional duties.” Sharp claimed that “that video is all you need to see to understand the lengths being taken to undermine the election.” [OAN, 12/14/20]
    • Former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs legitimized the efforts of the fake electors on the December 14, 2020, episode of Lou Dobbs Tonight. Dobbs uncritically reported that “Republican electors in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Georgia [are] meeting separately today to cast their own votes for President Trump — a procedural move that keeps all of President Trump's legal options open.”[Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 12/14/20]
    • Speaking with Bobb on December 15, 2020, former Arizona state Sen. Kelly Townsend claimed on OAN that the scheme was “absolutely legal and it’s not unprecedented.” Townsend would go on to defend the scheme further, claiming, “So it’s not treason. Some people are saying, ‘Oh, it’s treasonous, it’s seditious.’ It’s not any of that, it’s constitutional.” [OAN, 12/15/20]
    • On the July 31, 2022, edition of Fox News’ Life, Liberty, and Levin, host Mark Levin passionately defendedTrump's fake electors scheme, arguing that ,“you might think it's weird, you might think it's unethical, but it's not a crime.” [Fox News, Life, Liberty, and Levin, 7/31/22]

    Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

    With Democratic Support, House Passes Rule To Permit Debt Ceiling Increase

    With Democratic Support, House Passes Rule To Permit Debt Ceiling Increase

    With Democrats providing critical support, the bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling passed a mandatory procedural vote in the House late Wednesday afternoon. The rules vote, which passed by 241-187, means that the debt ceiling bill will be approved well before Monday’s looming deadline for a default on U.S. government debt.

    Despite repeated assurances from Speaker Kevin McCarthy that he had enough votes from his own Republican caucus to pass the bill, the debt-ceiling rule failed to clear a 218-vote majority until Democrats joined in approval at the close of balloting. Final passage is expected on Wednesday evening.

    Aides to McCarthy told reporters that they still expect to achieve a “majority of the majority” – known as the “Hastert rule” after the disgraced former Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert who instituted it – when the final vote occurs. But the vital rules vote could only pass with the support of Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who declared that Democrats would not let the Treasury default on its obligations, with potentially disastrous economic and geopolitical consequences.

    “House Democrats are going to make sure the country doesn’t default. Period. Full stop,” Jeffries told reporters after a party caucus meeting. Opponents of McCarthy, such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), have suggested that his failure to adhere to the Hastert rule could result in fresh pressure to oust him from the far-right House Freedom Caucus, whose leaders denounced the debt deal.

    Tara Reade, Discredited Biden Accuser, Apparently Defects To Moscow

    Tara Reade, Discredited Biden Accuser, Apparently Defects To Moscow

    Tara Reade, the woman who accused then-presidential candidate Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her, has apparently defected to Russia.

    Speaking in Moscow at a press conference hosted by the Russian government’s Sputnik news service, Reade claimed that she had felt her life endangered in the United States. She was accompanied at the event by Maria Butina, convicted of espionage in the United States in a scandal that embroiled leaders of the National Rifle Association.

    Reade proclaimed her intention to apply for Russian citizenship, with the assistance of Butina and Vladimir Putin.

    “I’m still kind of in a daze but I feel very good,” she said. “I feel very surrounded by protection and safety. And I just really appreciate Maria [Butina] and everyone who’s been giving me that at a time when it’s been very difficult to know whether I’m safe or not. I just didn’t want to walk home and walk into a cage or be killed, which is basically my two choices. I felt that while this election is gearing up and there’s so much at stake, I’m almost better off being here and just being safe.”

    Reade repeated her allegations of sexual abuse by Biden in 1993, when she worked in his Senate office, and further claimed she had been threatened recently after agreeing to testify at a Congressional hearing under the auspices of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

    “I only know that when I got off the plane in Moscow, I felt safe and I felt heard and I felt respected, and that has not happened in my own country.” She said that she had informed Gaetz of her trip to Moscow. According to her, Gaetz described her as a “whistleblower and added, “Tara, I’m worried about your safety in our country.”

    She added that “as a geopolitical analyst,” she is tired of the war in Ukraine and complained that “our economy is crashing.”

    EndorseThis: Randy Rainbow Rips Florida Man In 'Welcome To DeSantis'

    EndorseThis: Randy Rainbow Rips Florida Man In 'Welcome To DeSantis'

    Donald Trump evidently doesn't need those belittling nicknames and blunderbuss rants to bring down Ron DeSantis in early polls. The dull and repellent Florida governor can do that job on himself without any outside help.

    But Randy Rainbow can't resist kicking Ron when he's down -- and who can blame him? Fed up with DeSanctimonious, as so many of us are, the genius satirist "welcomes" the fascist wannabe to national politics with a tune lifted from the great musical Hairspray -- and the cutting Rainbow lyrics that are always guaranteed to make you chortle. (With a twinge of pain, to be sure.)

    Welcome to DeSantis! - A Randy Rainbow Song Parodyyoutu.be

    Jury Awards $5 Million To E. Jean Carroll, Finding Trump Liable For Sexual Abuse

    Jury Awards $5 Million To E. Jean Carroll, Finding Trump Liable For Sexual Abuse

    A federal jury in New York City found former President Donald Trump liable on Tuesday for sexual abuse of writer E. Jean Carroll at the Bergdorf Goodman department store in the 1990s -- and for defaming her in 2022 when he denied her accusation.

    The civil jury of six men and three women awarded Carroll $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

    The verdict in the civil trial, which did not require unanimity, came after less than three hours of deliberations in U.S. District Court in lower Manhattan. The jury did not find that Trump had raped Carroll, as she also alleged.

    In a post after the verdict was delivered, Trump wrote on his Truth Social media site: “I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. This verdict is a disgrace."

    Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan said “We are very happy,” as she and Carroll left the courthouse. Her client said nothing to reporters.

    Tucker Carlson Is Leaving Fox News, Effective Immediately

    Tucker Carlson Is Leaving Fox News, Effective Immediately

    Tucker Carlson will be leaving Fox News Channel, "effective immediately," according to an announcement from the network.

    “FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways," the Murdoch cable network said in a statement about its highest-rated evening host. "We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” it said, while noting that Carlson's final show aired last Friday.

    Fox offered no reason for the departure of the white nationalist host, but last week Fox settled a defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787 million. In the weeks before the settlement, texts from Carlson that came up in discovery caused severe embarrassment to the network.

    In a widely publicized exchange, Carlson told fellow hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, that he "hates Trump passionately” and mocked the former president’s voter fraud claims as “insane.”

    Judge Announces Settlement Of Dominion Lawsuit Against Fox News

    Judge Announces Settlement Of Dominion Lawsuit Against Fox News

    Only hours after jurors were seated on the first day of trial in Dominion Voting Systems' defamation lawsuit against Fox, the judge announced that the parties “have resolved their case” and dismissed the jury.

    The announcement by Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis ends a case that revealed how the nation's top cable network, its hosts, and executive spread Trump campaign lies about alleged fraud in the 2020 presidential election -- solely in order to preserve their right-wing audience.

    The judge's sudden announcement came as lawyers for both sides were to make opening statements in a trial expected to last as long as two months. Terms of the proposed settlement, which must be approved by the judge, were not announced.

    Top Suspect In Secret Documents Leak Is An Air National Guardsman

    Top Suspect In Secret Documents Leak Is An Air National Guardsman

    The ringleader of an online gaming group that leaked classified U.S. intelligence documents is Jack Teixeira, 21, a member of the intelligence wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard on Cape Cod, according to an extensive report published by The New York Times.

    Teixeira led a private online group of two dozen or so young men and teenage boys that they called Thug Shaker Central, they shared affinity for guns, racist and antisemitic online memes, video games, and a form of reactionary "orthodox" Catholicism.

    Three U.S. officials have indicated to the Times that federal investigators believe Teixeira has information about the origin of the leaks.

    Those investigators have spent the past several days seeking the person or persons who leaked the top secret documents online, but so far have not officially identified any suspects. The Times reported that the F.B.I. declined comment.

    Trump Charged With 34 Counts As Greene And Santos Flee Counter-Protests

    Trump Charged With 34 Counts As Greene And Santos Flee Counter-Protests

    Charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, former President Donald Trump entered a not-guilty plea Tuesday at his arraignment in Manhattan. He is accused of concealing $130,000 in hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels to silence her in the weeks before the 2016 presidential election.

    Trump's surrender and arrest on Tuesday marked the first occasion in American history when a former president has been criminally indicted. He spent Monday night at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue before appearing at the downtown state courthouse to be arrested, fingerprinted, and arraigned before the same judge who heard the state's successful fraud prosecution of the Trump Organization. Looking grim as he entered the courthouse and later sat in Judge Juan Merchan's courtroom, the former president didn't speak to reporters. He plans to return to his home in Palm Beach, Florida, to deliver what his aides billed as a "major address" tonight.

    Among the small gathering of his supporters outside the courthouse were Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and George Santos, who both swiftly fled the scene in the face of loud and angry counter-protesters. Greene later tweeted her view that they should be "locked up."

    George Soros

    Hyping Bragg's Tenuous Link To Soros, Fox Ignored Trump's Violent Threats

    Fox News has completely ignored recent Truth Social posts by former President Donald Trump that included a racist attack and suggestions of violence.

    In a series of posts on his Truth Social platform, Trump referred to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg — Manhattan’s first Black DA — as a “Soros backed animal,” a “degenerate psychopath,” and warned of “death and destruction” should he be indicted. Bragg is investigating the former president’s alleged involvement in a hush money scheme to silence porn actor Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 election.

    Fox News has not covered Trump’s posts. The network has, however, spent time attacking Bragg this week over the potential indictment, including by attempting to tie him to philanthropist George Soros:

    • Fox host Rachel Campos-Duffy called Bragg a “George Soros-funded DA” who “has to pay his master back.”
    • Fox host Mark Levin called Bragg a “radical left-wing legal bomb thrower who’s inserted into this position by George Soros.”
    • Former Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller called the probe evidence that “we are living in a post-Constitution, post-truth era where progressive, Soros-backed prosecutors will decide for themselves who is free and who is not.”
    • Fox host Greg Gutfeld claimed Alvin Bragg “has more blood on his hands than the Wuhan market” and warned that “no one is safe if he can do this.”

    In reality, both Trump and Fox have greatly exaggerated the supposed connection between Soros and Bragg, who was one beneficiary among several campaigns supported by the Color of Change PAC, which also endorsed him. Soros had donated to Color of Change since before Bragg’s candidacy, and a spokesperson for Soros said the two men have never communicated. A Color of Change spokesperson clarified that the endorsement process is “independent of funders.” Soros has made no direct contributions to Bragg, though his wife and son donated a combined $20,000 to his 2021 campaign.This isn’t the first time that Fox has ignored or downplayed damaging statements and actions by Trump, and it comes as the network is seemingly lifting its “soft ban” on the 2024 GOP front-runner.


    • Media Matters searched transcripts in the Snapstream video databases for all original programming on Fox News Channel for the term “Trump” within close proximity to any of the terms “Soros,” “Bragg,” “Daniels,” “truth,” “social,” or “post,” or the terms “death” and “destruction” within two words of one another or the term “Manhattan” within five words of either of the terms “district attorney” or “DA” from March 23, 2023, when Trump published his Truth Social post labeling Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg a “Soros backed animal,” through 3 P.M. ET March 24, 2023.
    • We timed segments, which we defined as instances when Trump’s Truth Social posts were the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of the posts. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed the posts with one another.
    • We also timed mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker in a segment on another topic mentions the posts without another speaker engaging with the comment, and teasers, which we defined as instances when the anchor or host promotes a segment about the posts scheduled to air later in the broadcast.

    Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

    Fox 'Anti-Woke' Campaign Leads Network To Attacks Its Own Major Shareholders

    Fox 'Anti-Woke' Campaign Leads Network To Attacks Its Own Major Shareholders

    Fox News' largest shareholders are not safe from its hosts’ “anti-woke” crusade that villainizes supposed “progressive” ideals and lambasts corporations that they dislike. In the midst of multiple lawsuits that could reveal Fox put shareholder investments at risk, the network is attacking those major shareholder companies for being “woke.”

    Some of the network’s largest shareholders have found themselves stuck in the crossfire of Fox’s anti-”wokeagenda. Primarily for their implementation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street — three of the network’s largest shareholders — have all been attacked and characterized as “woke” by Fox hosts and guests. (Proponents of ESG have noted that sustainable investing isn’t political. It’s just “smart business.”)

    Here are just a few examples of Fox hosts and guests lambasting some of the company’s largest shareholders because of supposed “woke” policies:

      • Fox prime-time host Laura Ingraham and Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade both celebrated BlackRock losing millions of dollars because it embraced ESG. Ingraham said it was “fantastic” that Missouri pulled pension funds from BlackRock (the state did so because of the company’s “woke political agenda”). Kilmeade was “so glad” Florida pulled money from the “woke corporation” BlackRock, “instead of just thinking about it and threatening.”
      • Ingraham has attacked BlackRock CEO Larry Fink multiple times for defending his company’s integration of ESG principles.
        • After criticizing BlackRock for having “an enormous amount of leverage to force other companies to go woke,” Ingraham mocked Fink for defending ESG: “How benevolent. What a humanitarian.”
        • Airing a clip of Fink describing BlackRock’s commitment to ESG, Ingraham then scoffed and said, “What a bunch of crap.” Later in the segment, Ingraham seemingly equated ESG to “leftist attacks,” and displayed a chyron that read, “Even Soap Isn’t Safe From Wokeness,” which also likened these efforts to “wokeness.”
        • Ingraham called Fink “a blowhard” after airing a clip of him advocating for ESG principles to be incorporated into investment strategy. Her guest, West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore, later boasted that “West Virginia was the first state to divest from BlackRock” because of its commitment to ESG, or as he described it, “woke capitalism.”
      • Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy specifically highlighted Vanguard and BlackRock during a segment dedicated to evaluating “high-risk” companies based on how “woke” they are. Campos-Duffy hosted the president of the organization who ranked these companies, Paul Fitzpatrick, and asked, “What can we do” to push back against these “woke” corporations.
      • Fox & Friendshosted GOP presidential candidate and anti-“woke” crusader Vivek Ramaswamy to educate viewers on how to know if they are “investing in wokeness.” Strike Asset Management’s Anson Frericks also joined the segment, and the panel criticized BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street for pushing “progressive values” onto firms they own.
      • Fox & Friends guest and CEO of Brave Books Trent Talbot blamed BlackRock and Vanguard for Scholastic “going woke.” Talbot claimed that Fox’s shareholders turned what was an “iconic and trusted brand” to a “woke” company that publishes “books like ‘Bye Bye Binary’ and ‘Anti-racist Baby.’”
      • FoxBusiness.com published a piece that attacked BlackRock’s “radical agenda” and “woke crusade” — or rather, BlackRock’s commitment to ESG.
      • FoxNews.com ran multiple opinion pieces that characterized BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street as “woke,” primarily because they embrace ESG principles.
      • FoxNews.com also published multiple articles stressing BlackRock’s “wokeness,” with one also mentioning two other Fox shareholders: State Street and Vanguard. These pieces were dedicated to either ranking “woke” companies or simply bashing these Fox shareholders for being “woke.”

      Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.


      Murdochs May Scapegoat Top Executives But Texts Show Guilt In Fox Scandal

      Two recently released filings from Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against Fox News reveal that Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and CEO Lachlan Murdoch were both actively involved in the network’s coverage during the 2020 presidential cycle and held sway in Fox’s guests and staff decisions — revelations that shine a more intense spotlight on the father-son duo as their network faces lawsuits for knowingly pushing lies about election fraud.

      The filings, released to the public in February, are part of a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit Dominion filed against Fox in March 2021 after the network spent months pushing the lie that there were irregularities in its voting machines, which rigged the 2020 election in favor of now-President Joe Biden. Dominion’s lawyers started deposing Fox News figures around August 2022, and these filings contain the biggest disclosure of evidence in the case so far, including texts, emails, and statements. They show Fox employees and executives knew there was no evidence of election fraud and Fox personalities and guests were lying about Dominion; that Rupert Murdoch provided then-President Donald Trump’s adviser Jared Kushner with “confidential information” about the Biden campaign’s political ads and strategies; and that Fox executives and prime-time hosts attacked Fox reporters who tried to fact-check the 2020 election lies.

      These revelations can put Fox in even more legal jeopardy than it is already in, and there’s speculation that Rupert Murdoch may scapegoat Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, who oversees both Fox News and Fox Business, though Fox later “put out word that she was not in danger.” As CNN’s Oliver Darcy pointed out, multiple scandals in the Murdoch media empire over the past decade have ended with Rupert deciding “to sever ties with top personnel,” and the Dominion revelations could bring a similar outcome. From Darcy’s article:

      There is no shortage of evidence to support the notion Scott is on the chopping block. Most notably, during his deposition, Murdoch sought to distance himself from decision making at Fox News. Instead, he pointed to Scott: “I appointed Ms. Scott to the job … and I delegate everything to her,” he said. In doing so, Murdoch made the case that Scott is in charge of the network — and if there was wrongdoing, it rests on her shoulders. Of course, astute media observers know that Murdoch is the person actually calling the shots. But it’s not hard to see how the company could advance this narrative.

      As Darcy suggests and the filings clearly show, the responsibility of Fox’s coverage pushing baseless allegations of election fraud should ultimately lie with the Murdochs, as they were both actively involved in how Fox was covering the 2020 election. Both Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch were in regular contact with Scott (with Lachlan conversing with her daily), had strategic discussions about the direction of Fox’s coverage, and gave her feedback about what was airing on the networks and guidance on the tone and focus of the reporting — especially that in favor of the Republican Party and Trump. They also influenced which guests would appear on the air and weighed in on personnel decisions at the network. In fact, during his deposition, Lachlan Murdoch couldn’t remember a single time when the network did not follow his suggestions. The filings also reveal there were multiple instances where the Murdochs could have intervened to set the record straight on the election, but chose not to:

      The Murdochs’ involvement in strategy decisions on Fox’s coverage, including its focus and tone

      • Around November 8, 2020, when Fox was facing mounting criticism from mainstream media over its election coverage, Scott had a “long talk” with the Murdochs about “mounting viewer backlash to Fox, how to win back viewers (including by not booking Democratic guests), and ‘the direction that Fox should take.’” In his deposition, “Rupert conceded that in that conversation, they also spoke about ‘the future of Fox going forward.’”
      • Rupert Murdoch also confirmed in his deposition that in the same conversation with Scott and Lachlan, “they discussed how Fox should react to the fact that Trump was not conceding” and made the decision “to allow these ‘wild claims’ on air.”
      • Lachlan Murdoch admitted that between November 2020 and January 2021, he weighed in on the “specific direction on both the tone and narrative of Fox’s news coverage.”
      • Lachlan Murdoch also admitted in his testimony that “he can and did share his views on what guests should or should not” appear on Fox. According to the second filing, Fox’s on-air talent and executives “affirmatively reached out to Lachlan to take his temperature on whether or not to have a particular guest on their program. … [He] even provided suggestions of specific questions to ask a particular guest.”
      • On November 14, 2020, Lachlan Murdoch texted Scott while watching the network’s coverage of a rally in support of Trump, giving her notes on how that coverage should be. “Lachlan even communicated with Scott about what was being said in the ‘ticker’ at the bottom of the FNN screen,” writing, “Just FYI to discuss tomorrow, the ticker at bottom of screen is all wrong. Way too wordy and long. And anti trump whenever possible.”
      • After then-Fox anchor Shepard Smith debunked the “Trump administration’s ‘lies’ on air,” Rupert Murdoch emailed Scott and Fox News Media President Jay Wallace saying it was “over the top” and writing, “Need to chat to him.”

      Coverage directives to support Trump and the GOP, especially during the election cycle

      • The second filing shows Rupert Murdoch had conversations with Scott “about the ‘importance of giving exposure to Republicans in close Senate races.’”
      • In October 2020, then-Fox Business host Lou Dobbs attacked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who was running for reelection, saying that he didn’t know “why anyone in the great state of South Carolina would ever vote for Lindsey Graham” and that Graham had “betrayed President Trump at almost every turn.” Rupert Murdoch wrote to Scott suggesting the network have some positive coverage for Graham: “You probably know about the Lou Dobbs outburst against Lindsey Graham. Could Sean [Hannity] say something supportive? … We cannot lose the Senate if at all possible.” Scott followed-up to note that she “addressed the Dobbs outburst.”
      • In mid-November 2020, Rupert Murdoch emailed Scott, “We should concentrate on Georgia, helping any way we can. … Everything at stake here.” At the time, the closely contested Senate race in Georgia had gone into runoff.
      • When the Trump administration presented a new tax bill, according to the filing, “Rupert told Scott ‘we must tell our viewers again and again what they will get.’”
      • During the 2020 campaign, “when New York Post editor Col Allan told Rupert that Biden’s only hope for election was ‘to stay in his basement and not face serious questions,’ Rupert responded, ‘Just made sure Fox banging on about these issues. If the audience talks the theme will spread.’”
      • In November 2020, Lachlan Murdoch was watching Fox cover a rally in support of Trump and told Scott that “news guys have to be careful how they cover” it, adding, “So far some of the side comments are slightly anti, and they shouldn’t be. The narrative should be this is a huge celebration of the president.” Scott replied, “Yes thanks.”
      • Lachlan Murdoch also criticized then-Fox reporter Leland Vittert who was covering the rally for coming across as “[s]mug and obnoxious.” Scott said “she was ‘calling now’ to direct Vittert’s producer to fix the issue.” The filing shows that Fox executive David Clark got that feedback and texted Vittert to tell him to cut it out. Vittert stopped appearing on the network in January 2021 and in April that year Fox announced it had “parted ways” with him.
      • Around the same time, Lachlan Murdoch also told Scott that Fox “should do a ton of pro-Trump legacy specials on Fox Nation.”
      • Rupert Murdoch directed Scott and Wallace to get network figures to attack coal mogul Don Blankenship during a GOP primary after Trump asked for help. From the second filing: “He told Scott and Wallace when Donald Trump appealed for help defeating Don Blankenship in the West Virginia Senate race, ‘Anything during day helpful but Sean [Hannity] and Laura [Ingraham] dumping on him hard might save the day.’”

      Personnel and guest decisions

      • Rupert Murdoch was involved in firing Dobbs, as he said in his deposition, “I suggested, or urged, and we were in recognition that we had a problem, that he would be fired” because Dobbs “was an extremist.”
      • Rupert Murdoch was also involved in the firing of Bill Sammon, Fox’s senior vice president who had editorial oversight of the network’s Decision Desk when it became the first outlet to call Arizona for Biden. The filings suggest that Rupert pushed Sammon’s firing to send a message to the Trump campaign that Fox was still aligned with it: “Thus, despite the call’s accuracy, Rupert suggested, ‘Maybe best to let Bill go right away,’ which would ‘be a big message with Trump people.’ … Sammon was indeed ‘told the inevitable’ that day (November 20, 2020).”
      • In October 2020, Rupert Murdoch suggested the network bring on Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, “and two days later Hanson appeared on Fox News.”
      • Next month, Rupert Murdoch mentioned to Scott that the network should hire Michael Flynn, a QAnon influencer and Trump’s first national security adviser, as a contributor. The filing shows that Flynn appeared as a contributor on Fox host Maria Bartiromo’s show just “a week later.”
      • In December that year, Rupert Murdoch told Scott that “people are trying to steal” the New York Post’s Miranda Devine, saying, “It would be great if you signed her as a contributor.” Scott replied, “ok will work on this.” By the next month, Devine was listed as a Fox News contributor on the channel’s site.
      • Rupert Murdoch also pulled sway on which guests Fox shouldn’t host, including former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and former Fox host Megyn Kelly.
      • Rupert Murdoch apparently also sent emails to Scott about the ratings of Fox’s show The Five, suggesting writers and hosts.

      Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

      Rupert Murdoch

      FEC Complaint Seeks Sanctions On Murdoch Over 2020 Campaign Misconduct

      A progressive media watchdog group and a Democratic political action committee have filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission, citing allegations that Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch shared political ads and debating strategy from President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign with Jared Kushner, former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser.

      The complaint filed by progressive nonprofit Media Matters argues that Murdoch broke the law by sharing the advertising with the rival campaign. On Friday NBC News reported that End Citizens United PAC filed a similar complaint with the federal election agency.

      Murdoch's illicit distribution of the ads became public because of a lawsuit against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems, a firm that is suing Murdoch and his company for defamation over its broadcasting of false claims of election fraud by Trump and his lawyers in the months after the 2020 election.

      The Media Matters complaint charges Murdoch with making “an illegal corporate in-kind contribution” to Trump that is not protected by federal election laws' press exemption -- and that the Trump campaign accepted the unlawful contribution.

      “This ‘distribution’ is diametrically opposed to Fox Corporation’s regular press activity broadcasting news programming through television and radio outlets and online publications,” according to the complaint. “Murdoch’s secret conveyance of the Biden advertisement is even less like press activity than a cablecasting company sending campaign flyers in its bills — and neither can be protected by the press exemption.”

      The Media Matters complaint also alleges that Murdoch gave the Biden ads to Trump “through a private, and secret, direct communication.” That method, along with the fact that the ads weren’t yet available to the public, underlined the wrongful character of Murdoch's conduct.

      “Fox Corporation, through Murdoch, appears to have engaged in the exact type of campaign activity to which the Commission has repeatedly affirmed the press exemption does not apply. Therefore, Fox Corporation cannot try to exploit the press exemption to avoid the consequences of making an illegal corporate in-kind contribution,” the complaint added.

      “Respondent’s actions are not only an egregious violation of the Act and the Commission’s regulations, but also a nefarious attempt by people in power to operate a press entity as a political organization, in blatant disregard of the rules that govern our elections and democracy,” it said.

      Media Matters has asked the FEC to fine Murdoch the “maximum amount permitted by law" and to take "appropriate remedial action.”

      Georgia Grand Jury Recommends Charges For Witnesses Suspected Of Perjury

      Georgia Grand Jury Recommends Charges For Witnesses Suspected Of Perjury

      A Georgia court released five pages of a report by a Fulton County special grand jury investigating efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election defeat in the Peach State. But the panel’s recommendations on potential election tampering and conspiracy charges in that investigation remain secret.

      The excerpt made public on Thursday disclosed that most of the grand jurors believe some witnesses may have lied under oath while testifying before the panel, and recommended that District Attorney Fani Willis file perjury charges against them.

      The unsealed excerpt didn't identify any specific witnesses.

      “A majority of the grand jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it,” said the report excerpt. “The grand jury recommends that the district attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling.”

      U.S. Military Shoots Down Chinese Surveillance Balloon Off Carolina Coast

      U.S. Military Shoots Down Chinese Surveillance Balloon Off Carolina Coast

      The US Air Force shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon on Saturday afternoon, dramatically ending a brief diplomatic confrontation between the two superpowers.

      Department of Defense officials confirmed that the balloon was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean, off the Carolina coast.

      The Federal Aviation Administration halted flights across parts of North Carolina and South Carolina and closed other airspace on Saturday afternoon “to support the Department of Defense in a national security effort,” said an agency representative.

      Earlier, President Joe Biden had broken his silence about the balloon for the first time, telling a group of reporters, “We’re going to take care of it.”

      The balloon, cruising above 60,000 feet, was initially spotted over Billings, Montana, last Wednesday. Defense officials said the Pentagon considered shooting down the aerial vehicle earlier this week but vetoed the action after briefing Biden on potential dangers from explosion debris.

      Since then U.S. officials have informed Chinese officials several times that the U.S. military might shoot down the spy balloon. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a Chinese diplomat in Washington on Wednesday evening that the United States had the right to take any actions to protect its interests, reported the New York Times, and he said the same thing on a phone call on Friday with Wang Yi, the top Chinese foreign policy official, a senior administration official added.