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Today’s New Bits About False Statements

The Wall Street Journal reports that Jack Smith is about to ask a judge to reject Trump’s privilege claims.

A federal judge is set to hear arguments Thursday over special counsel Jack Smith’s push to extract more grand-jury testimony from a lawyer for Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the escalating investigation into the handling of classified documents at the former president’s South Florida estate.

In a closed-door court proceeding, Mr. Smith’s team is expected to urge Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the District Court for the District of Columbia to reject attorney-client privilege claims that Evan Corcoran, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, raised on behalf of the former president during a January grand-jury appearance. Following that appearance, prosecutors asked Judge Howell to invoke the so-called crime-fraud exception to bypass the privilege claims and compel Mr. Corcoran to provide more testimony, the people said.

That exception applies in instances where there is reason to believe that legal advice has been used in furtherance of a crime. The move to invoke it suggests that Mr. Smith’s team suspects Mr. Trump or his allies used Mr. Corcoran’s services in such a way.

Another baby step toward a Trump indictment. Also too, former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis has been censured by a Colorado Supreme Court judge for making false statements about the 2020 election.

Speaking of false statements, this has turned into Laughing at Tucker Carlson Week. And everywhere I see the question — Why didn’t Fox settle with Dominion? For example, yesterday Erik Wemple wrote, “Perhaps Fox News now wishes it had settled?

The several truckloads of exhibits filed by Dominion are not just being gleefully made public by most news media. Television news people not at Fox are also connecting specific emails and texts to what was being said on Fox the same day. There is absolutely no question that the Fox program hosts knew good and well that Sidney Powell et al. had no evidence for the stolen election claims. Some of them — Lou Dobbs, for example — may have desperately wanted to believe the claims, but he was told otherwise by multiple people at Fox.

So why didn’t Fox settle? David Kurtz at TPM may have the answer.

Fox News viewers don’t care whether the network was “in the wrong.” If anything, they celebrate and reward Fox News’ transgressive behavior. If Fox News takes the case to trial and loses, it and its viewers can easily dismiss it as another rigged, liberal, stabbed-in-the-back setup by their foes. They will all be victims together of Dominion’s jihad against them.

But that doesn’t work if Fox News settles. It’s not the admission of wrongdoing that’s the issue: It’s the capitulation. That is harder to spin up into a made-up narrative of victimization and fighting the good fight.

Along those lines, there is some grumbling on the Right that Tucker must’ve gotten reined in by “the regime.” Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit (don’t go there if you have high blood pressure or heart disease) complained that Tucker’s shows since the release of his propaganda video have been subdued. This was because of threats (?) issued by Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, Hoft said, plus “Now there are suggestions that Rupert Murdoch and the FOX News brass got to Tucker and changed his show plan.” So, in Hoft’s tiny mind, “Rupert Murdoch and the FOX News brass” are just part of the “regime.” And Tucker capitulated. It’s like Tucker Carlson works for Fox News, or something. Wow.

Today, Paul Waldman is thanking Kevin McCarthy and Tucker Carlson. Calling Carlson’s efforts amateurish, Waldman writes that, “Displaying snippets of video in which the Jan. 6 rioters were momentarily calm is the equivalent of a murder suspect saying, ‘Why aren’t we talking about all the people I didn’t kill?’”

Let’s summarize what the McCarthy-Carlson collaboration produced. First, it put Jan. 6 back on the top of the news agenda, reminding everyone of Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his 2020 defeat, the violent reaction of his radical supporters and the craven response of Republican politicians who fed deranged conspiracy theories to their base to save their own political skins.

More important, it created an opportunity to revisit the actual events of that day. Some people watched Carlson’s fantasy depiction of Jan. 6 as a peaceful protest where Trump supporters strolled into the Capitol and took selfies while “milling around.” But a much larger audience likely saw multiple news reports on TV, newspapers and the internet in which both journalists and Republican leaders reiterated the ugly truth about that day’s attack on democracy.

The episode has also further discredited Fox News as it reels from extraordinary revelations showing network executives and personalities privately acknowledging in emails and texts that claims of a stolen election were preposterous even as they amplified those claims on the air. It’s long been argued that Fox News is in no real sense a news organization but is instead a propaganda machine that advances the interests of the Republican Party. That’s never been more clear than it istoday.

At least, it’s keeping us amused until the indictments begin …


10 thoughts on “Today’s New Bits About False Statements

  1. Hmmm.  Propaganda Machine.  These two words belong together at times and do not create, necessarily an oxymoron.  I might have recently used them.  Good, Mr. Waldman.  

  2. I never understand people who seem to think settling a case is some kind of right. If I were Dominion, why would I settle, as opposed to putting Fox on trial, live, under oath?

    Fox has no "right" to settle. They have a right to admit they were wrong, but that doesn't mean Dominion has to accept that. They can confess liability, but they have no right to dictate damages, unless they agree to just pay all the money Dominion is demanding in its complaint.



    • Wasn't the whole point of Dominion’s latest filing was for the judge to settle the case without a trial? I thought they filed a “summary judgment” asking the judge to rule in their favor without a trial?

      • Uncledad – I think you and JSRTheta are spot on. Yes, Dominion asked for a decision in advance of a trial on the basis there was clear and compelling evidence that Fox is guilty – so guilty that a trial is not needed and the judge can make a decision and go to damages. 

        This ploy by Dominion allowed them to leak a lot of internal messages from Fox memos and quotes from depositions (under oath,) I thought the facts are devastating. Suppose Fox also realizes the 1st Amendment doesn't protect them. IMO, Fox has been in negotiations ever since the discovery process exposed the fact they knew they were broadcasting BS before every show that they attacked Dominion.

        Which brings me to JSRTheta's astute observation. There's no requirement that binds Dominion to accept an offer unless ALL of Dominion's damages are covered – which is not simply monetary. I'm guessing that Dominion wants an admission of guilt and a clear declaration that there was no evidence of significant voter fraud. I'm guessing that Fox is willing to cough up big bucks but they're only willing to state, "Mistakes were made." or some weasel-worded non-confession. Or a completely sealed (secret) cash payment with a NDA. 

        Fox will lose the case. As Maha observed, Fox is trying not to lose the viewers who believe as an article of faith that Trump actually won the election. The Murdoch clan is in this for power, IMO. If they are discredited by an admission of guilt, the audience will move on. So Fox will get screwed very publicly for the privilege of later screaming, "Rape!"

        I suspect Fox has insurance for this. They won't go out of business until the viewers abandon them. The future rates for liability insurance will go up considerably, I'd guess. Tucker's charade this week won't help in court or with the new rates set by the insurance company. (After a billion-plus payout) The deliberate deception by Tucker this week may be introduced by Dominion as proof that nothing in the Fox universe has been reformed. They are committed to deception just as much this week as they were after Trump lost the election. 

        This is the first in a series of "unfortunate events." I doubt if any one will be the single cause of death. The big lie is gonna get a beating like a black male teen by cops in a big city with a KKK police force. 

        Trump's big lie is directly on trial with Dominion. The myth of Trump the genius businessman goes on trial in October (I think) in NY. Trump as the cheater goes on trial with the rape case. I do not think she's gonna settle – it's personal. I think NY will charge Trump for the Stormy Daniels payoff – Michael Cohen is chomping at the bit to testify. (Melania is not gonna be happy.) I wait every week for GA to charge Trump. Every week there's more information that DOJ is aggressively gathering the facts and witnesses for a J6 charge. Dammit, the MAL documents case is a slam dunk!

        The cumulative effect of so much losing will destroy the myth of Trump for all but the most dedicated Trumpist. The cult won't be enough to threaten Biden. (assuming Biden runs) Even the low-information voter is gonna get the message – Trump is toast. The GOP leadership is gonna look for a way to dump Trump – depending on timing, a lot of this will happen as primary elections may favor Trump. (And if the GOP conspires against Trump, he will destroy the GOP in return.) 

  3. Agree totally with JSRTheta. I’ve worked as a litigation paralegal. To settle a case both parties have to agree to the terms.  All the terms.  Fox can make a settlement offer — maybe they already have — but Dominion does not have to accept it.   I would bet that Dominion would not accept any settlement offer, no matter how much money was offered,  unless it also included all the Fox "News" bloviators who lied, going on the air and admitting, explicitly, that they had lied about Dominion. 


  4. Never mind high blood-pressure or heart disease, anyone with a 2nd brain cell should avoid Jim Hoft (accurately described as "The Dumbest Man On the Internet") and his website!

    Stupid that bone marrow-deep may cause instant senility!

    Back to Fox "news":

    After the suit is finished, and all is said and done, if Fox "news" still has money*, and is allowed to keep broadcasting, let's hope the court forces Fox to drop to the word "news."

    Call it:  "Fox Political Entertainment for Morons."

    Because Fox has news, like Jim Hoft has brain cells!


    *Money is something Fox should not count on, since I imagine there will be many, many civil law suits against the network for causing everything from family dysfunction, to viewers put in prison for Jan 6th activity, to the death of Ashli Babbitt. 

    If I was in Babbitt's family, I would due Fox to the point where I could hang Rupert's and Lachlan's pants in my closet, and members of Fox's board as my serbpvants!!!

  5. Watched a little msnbc (Nicole Wallace) today. She is usually pretty good, but today she just couldn't emphasize enough how Surprised and shocked she is at the level of bullshit and outright lies Fox was feeding to their viewers? I'm sure she has watched that network, everyone knows they have been lying to their audience since 1996 (day one). How else could they get GOP'ers (who's policies poll down with whale poop) elected for almost three decades? Most of the viewers know they are being lied to; they wouldn’t have it any other way. She used to be a communication person for GWB, surely she was in on the game at some point?

  6. Glad to see that Jenna Ellis have to publicly eat a shit sandwich. Yum yum eat 'em up!. A good shit sandwich is chicken soup for the soul. A little legal humility can go a long way

    I wonder if Trump gets more satisfaction from either the number of women he's bedded down or sexually assaulted, or from the lawyers he's managed to get disbarred or destroy their careers? Notches on his belt!


  7. @swami I too was thrilled about that ding to Ellis' record, although in Trump / loser world it's a badge of honor.

    There was always something about her that was revolting to the point of singling her out as a particular kind of evil.

  8. Normally, my comment disappears as will this one probably will; but, I am going to try to comment today.  I think there is sufficient info from this Dominion case that could be used to have Fox's FEC license taken away from them.  I know I would be willing to work on such a project despite my age and the physical body starting to show some deterioration these days.

    Of course, I could be on Maha's twit list; but, hope not. Hi, to everyone!

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