Posts tagged with "Fox News"

Cohen’s lawyer: House has ‘an obligation’ to scrutinize Giuliani over ‘witness tampering’

January 25, 2019

The expected repercussions have begun, following a decision this week by President Donald Trump’s former “fixer” and personal attorney Michael Cohen to postpone his second round of Congressional testimony since 2017 because of “ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. [Rudolph] Giuliani.”

First, Cohen was subpoenaed on January 24 to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, his spokesperson and attorney Lanny Davis confirmed to CNN.

Second, Davis called on Thursday for a criminal investigation into President Donald Trump‘s person lawyer in the Russia probe, Rudy Giuliani, for alleged witness tampering, The Hill reported. 

Let me be very clear, the House of Representatives now has an obligation,” Davis said on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America in an interview with anchor George Stephanopoulos.

A resolution of censure when the president of the United States indisputably intimidates and obstructs justice to prevent a witness from testifying is an order. So is a federal criminal investigation of Rudy Giuliani for witness tampering.”

Davis said in a statement earlier this week that Cohen would postpone testimony before Congress because of “ongoing threats” his family has received from Trump and Giuliani. 

“Due to ongoing threats against his family from President Trump and Mr. [Rudy] Giuliani, as recently as this weekend, as well as Mr. Cohen’s continued cooperation with ongoing investigations, by advice of counsel, Mr. Cohen’s appearance will be postponed to a later date,” Davis said, referring to testimony Cohen was prepared to give to the House Oversight and Reform Committee on February 7. The testimony had been scheduled after Cohen admitted to Special Counsel Robert Mueller that he had lied in his previous appearance before Congress.

Cohen was sentenced late last year to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to charges related to bank and tax fraud and campaign finance violations. He also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the timing of negotiations surrounding a Trump Tower development in Moscow.

Cohen said Trump directed him to commit the campaign finance violations. 

The president, however, has repeatedly castigated Cohen, going so far as to call him a “rat on Twitter.” He said earlier this month that Cohen was cooperating with investigators in order to get a reduced sentence, advising Fox News that Cohen was “Lying to reduce his jail time! Watch father-in-law!”

Giuliani on January 20 told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump was “defending” himself by calling out Cohen’s father-in-law, adding that “he may have ties to something called organized crime.”

Davis condemned the two on Thursday, saying that “calling out a man’s father-in-law and wife in order to intimidate the witness is not fair game.”

Research contact: @JustinWise

Trump allowed no transcripts of Putin meetings

January 15, 2019

Talk about wiggle room. It would be hard to judge U.S. President Donald Trump on his initial meeting with  Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2017, because he did not allow any English-speaking note-takers in the room and no formal transcript remains of the discussion, The Wall Street Journal reported on January 13.

What’s more, the Journal said, senior administration officials were never briefed on the tête-a-tête, according to informed sources.

Indeed, when Trump and Putin first met in Germany, it was the Russians who asked to have a note-taker present, according to sources. Telling aides that he wanted to reduce the chance for leaks, the president, in an unconventional move, allowed only then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to be present at the session; and instead had him take notes with the intention of relaying the details to relevant officials afterward, they said.

The president went to “extraordinary lengths” to keep his discussions with Putin from leaking, according to one person familiar with the planning, including preventing any details of the meeting from circulating widely within the government.

“It was very unusual,” the source said.

Unlike most prior administrations, the. Trump White House doesn’t keep records of every meeting between the president and a foreign leader, a former national security official told the Journal—adding that Trump made that call in an effort to build relationships with foreign counterparts. “He does not use traditional diplomatic techniques,” the official said.

“There aren’t records of his meetings like you’d expect,” said one foreign official, adding that the administration also cut back on phone call transcripts since his conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia leaked out early in his presidency.

However, Trump said claims that he took extraordinary measures to keep his discussions with Putin secret were ridiculous.“I had a conversation like every president does,” the president said in an interview Saturday on Fox News. “You sit with the president of various countries. I do it with all countries. I’m not keeping anything under wraps, I couldn’t care less.”

In response, House Democrats said they would explore whether President Trump sought to limit documentation of the meetings, in what could be one of their first actions to probe the president since they took control of the House this month.

“Every time Trump meets with Putin, the country is told nothing,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-New York) said in a statement. “We will be holding hearings on the mysteries swirling around Trump’s bizarre relationship with Putin.”

The flurry of media reports on the lack of note-taking came on the heels of a report by The New York Times that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence investigation into. Trump after he fired former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

“I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written,” Trump said of The New York Times report in the Fox News interview.

Members of the Trump administration and Republicans dismissed the report. “The notion that President Trump is a threat to American national security is absolutely ludicrous,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Research contact: @vmsalama

Matt Whitaker’s appointment may be illegal, says Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano

November 9, 2018

Following his lightening-fast dismissal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the wake of the midterm elections, President Donald Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general may do his agenda and his reputation more harm than good: It may constitute obstruction of justice in the ongoing Russia investigation. And it also may be illegal, Andrew Napolitano, senior judicial analyst for Fox News, said on November 7, according to a report by the Huffington Post.

“Under the law, the person running the Department of Justice must have been approved by the United States Senate for some previous position. Even on an interim post,” Napolitano told Fox News’ Dana Perino, who hosts The Daily Briefing. 

Sessions was canned on Wednesday—in his resignation letter, he said he was leaving at the request of the president—and Napolitano said his interim replacement should have been Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

While Whitaker was confirmed by the Senate in 2004 when he was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, according to the HuffPost, Napolitano said that he was nevertheless ineligible to serve in his current post as the confirmation was not “for a leadership position in the Justice Department.”

“Who has been confirmed and who’s next in line? Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein,” Napolitano added.

Research contact: @davefbarden

In Florida, Republican candidate invokes racist jab against Democrat

August 30, 2018

President Donald Trump’s pick—and the winner of the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary—already is dividing voters with his racist comments. Ron DeSantis’s  general-election campaign got off to a controversial start on August 29, when he went on Fox News and warned voters not to “monkey this up” by electing his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, who would be the first African American to lead the state.

DeSantis, who has created a political persona out of the same mold as the POTUS, called Gillum “much too liberal for Florida” and an “articulate spokesman for those far-left views.”

“The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state,” he continued. “That’s not going to work, that’s not going to be good for Florida.”

The huge upset victory by Andrew Gillum—who has served as mayor of Tallahassee, Florida—in the Tuesday Democratic primary for governor has made him eligible to become the first black governor of the Sunshine State.

According to a report by The Hill, Gillum—armed with an endorsement from Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and campaigning on an unabashedly progressive agenda—unexpectedly defeated former one-term U.S. Representative Gwen Graham (D-Florida), the daughter of a popular former governor and senator.

The victory gives the progressive wing of the Democratic Party another jolt of momentum, coming two months after Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the cycle by knocking off the longtime incumbent, Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley in New York’s primary.

Gillum will now face off against DeSantis in a campaign that already has turned dirty and divisive. Gillum had not commented on De Santis’s statements at press time.

Research contact: @LA_Hagen

Karl Rove compares Trump to Stalin and advises him to ‘tone down’ anti-media rhetoric

August 8, 2018

Karl Rove, the Republican political consultant and policy advisor who is largely credited for the election of George W. Bush in 2000—and widely known for his proclivity for dirty tricks—advised President Donald Trump to cut out his “over the top” anti-media rhetoric during an appearance on Fox News on August 6, according to a same-day report by Mediaite.

Rove’s comments came after Trump took again to Twitter over the weekend, characterizing the news media as “the Enemy of the People,” and alleging, : “[They] purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!”

In short, Mediaite said, Rove told Trump to suck it up. “I think this is over the top,” he said, adding, “. Every president has problems with the media. I was in the White House for seven years, I didn’t like the coverage they gave George W. Bush, particularly the liberal New York Times.”

Rove said the president should criticize the media “on a case-by-case basis,” and “make a respectful disagreement.

“I think calling names is not helpful to our country from any side,” said Bush’s former chief of staff. ”

The former White House official then addressed Trump’s use of the phrase “enemy of the people” to describe the press.

“That just grates on me,” he said. “I grew up during the time of the Cold War. That is a phrase that was used by [Communist leader] Stalin against the enemies of the communist regime. I think the president would be well advised to tone down the rhetoric.”

Rove went on to note that Trump’s disapproval ratings are high, and that he can’t simply appeal to his “hard-core” supporters at rallies.

According to Gallup, Trump currently has a 38% approval rating and a 57% disapproval rating.

Research contact: @aidnmclaughlin

Trump cancels ceremony for Super Bowl champs

June 6, 2018

At the last minute, President Donald Trump cancelled an invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles to attend a June 5 ceremony at the White House that would have honored the team’s Super Bowl victory—and in the process, ramped up his war of words against the NFL players’ Black Lives Matter protest spewed, Mic reported yesterday.

Trump disinvited the team after just a handful of players said they were planning to attend. He then said the revoked invitation was due to the team’s refusal to follow his demand to “proudly stand for the national anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”

“The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!” Trump tweeted Monday night.

However, Mic reported, no players on the Eagles kneeled in protest of police violence during the 2017-2018 season, something players on the team pointed out.

Even Conservatives were outraged, the news outlet noted. “The attempt to make the Eagles event cancellation about the national anthem is just a complete act of deceitful propaganda and conservatives should have zero to do with it,” Jonah Goldberg, a writer for the conservative outlet National Review, tweeted. “If that was the issue, why schedule the event in the first place? Also: None of them kneeled. Shameful.”

Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who was part of the Eagles winning squad, tweeted back at the president over his statement. “So many lies smh Here are some facts 1. Not many people were going to go 2. No one refused to go simply because Trump “insists” folks stand for the anthem 3. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military”

In fact, Mic reported, Smith outlined in February — after the team won the championship — why he didn’t plan to attend a future celebration at the White House. “For me, it’s not just about politics,” Smith said at the time. “If I told you that I was invited to a party by an individual I believe is sexist or has no respect for women or I told you that this individual has said offensive things toward minority groups…this individual also called my peers and friends SOBs, you would understand why I wouldn’t want to go to that party. Why is it any different when the person has the title of president of the United States?”

Long and tight end Zach Ertz used social media to challenge Fox News for its use Tuesday morning of footage of Eagles players praying before games during a segment about protests during the national anthem.“This can’t be serious,” Ertz wrote on Twitter. “Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this….”

Fox later apologized for the misleading footage, the Mic story said.

However, the White House Office of the Press Secretary said that the fans “deserve better” in a formal statement from the president. The administration invited the fans to attend, anyway, noting that they would “… be part of a different type of ceremony—one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.”

Meanwhile, the NFL has introduced a new policy for its players this season that enables them to protest—or “take a knee”—by staying in the clubhouse instead of appearing on the field during the national anthem.  Any player who kneels on the field risks incurring fines for his team.

The policy has the backing of 53% of U.S. adults, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll, while 32 % said they opposed the move, and 15 percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion. The poll surveyed 2,201 U.S. adults from May 23-29 and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

In the May poll, 83% of Republicans and 47% of Independents said they opposed NFL players kneeling during the national anthem before the start of football games. Last September, 77% percent of Republicans and 43% of Independents said they opposed the kneeling.

Among Democrats, opposition to the protests stayed about the same compared to September: 25% in May and 22% in the earlier poll.

Research contact:  jyuan@politico.com

Trump to meet with Japanese leader before Singapore summit

May 30, 2018

President Trump agreed on May 28 to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of a potential summit with North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un, according to a report in The Washington Post—providing a chance for the two close allies to coordinate their strategy amid concerns in Tokyo over the prospective peace talks.

Trump and Abe spoke by phone on Memorial Day, even as a U.S. delegation already was on-site in North Korea, negotiating with counterparts in a bid to keep alive the June 12 summit in Singapore, which Trump announced on May 23 that he was cancelling—although he did give the North Korean leader the opportunity to call or write in order to reinstate the meeting.

After a more conciliatory statement from Pyongyang, the president has said that the summit could be back on.

That’s good news to most Americans, according to Fox, which said that a poll conducted by the news network late in March found that voters—both Democrats and Republicans— favor the meeting by a wide 63% to 30% margin. 

In addition, Fox News found, U.S. voters expect Trump to come out of the meeting with the better deal (42% Trump, 26% Kim, and 19% neither).

Even so, most voters don’t think North Korea will ever be convinced to give up its nuclear weapons (76%), and they continue to give Trump negative ratings for his handling of North Korea overall (41% percent approve, 49% disapprove).

A meeting between Trump and Abe could come on the sidelines of the Group of 7 (G7) economic summit in Quebec, scheduled to be held from June 8 to June 9; but it is also possible that Abe will swing by Washington en route to that conference, a Japanese official said.

Research contact: @foxnewspoll

With a favorability rating lower than Trump’s, could Jared be ‘disposable’?

May 7, 2018

Daddy’s little girl may not have to face the big problems associated with the ongoing Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In fact, Ivanka Trump, who has held an unpaid position in the White House since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, is now being protected—possibly at the peril of her own husband, Jared Kushner—by her father and his new legal counsel, Rudy Giuliani.

On Fox News on May 2, Giuliani sent “a warning” to Mueller that he should not go after Ivanka, because if he does, “the whole country will turn on him.”

On the other hand,  Jared Kushner—Ivanka’s husband, as well as a senior White House aide—was characterized by the president’s lawyer as “disposable.”

“Jared is a fine man, you know that,” Giuliani said. “Men are disposable. But a fine woman like Ivanka? Come on.”

Would the American people agree? Based on an Economist/YouGov poll that was picked up by Newsweek and posted on last week, in January 2017 when Ivanka Trump entered the White House, 42% of Americans had a favorable opinion of her, and 33% had an unfavorable one. While the percentage of those who view her in a favorable light has remained unchanged since that time, the number of those with an unfavorable impression of the president’s eldest daughter has increased to 43%.

A similar scenario has played out with Jared. Considerably less well-known than his wife in 2017, Kushner  then had a favorability rating of 25%, compared with 29% who looked at him in a negative light. Since then, not only has the percentage of those viewing him favorably seen a modest drop (at 22%), but his unfavorability percentage now stands at 42%.

According to respondents, only 22% believe that Kushner can continue carrying out his high-level duties without the top security clearance that gave him access to classified information and was withdrawn in February; while 40 percent think he can’t.

Meanwhile, President Trump is walking back some of Giuliani’s other statements to the Fox Channel this week. There’s no word yet whether he POTUS intends to correct the comments made about his family members.

Research contact: @JessicaGKwong

Senate Judiciary Committee moves to protect Mueller

April 27, 2018

Just one day after Fox News released findings of a poll that showed that 67% of Americans believe it is at least “somewhat important” that Robert Mueller’s investigation should continue—but that 71% fear that President Donald Trump soon will fire the Special Counsel—the Senate Judiciary Committee has taken steps to ensure that the investigation will be completed.

The New York Times reported on April 26 that the committee had “fired a political warning shot at the White House”—advancing on a bipartisan vote long-stalled legislation to allow special counsels such as Mueller to appeal their firing to a panel of judges and possibly be reinstated.

According to the Times, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote. However, with four Republicans, including the committee’s chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), joining Democrats in favor of the measure, the committee sent a firm directive to the POTUS that the investigation must continue.

Even senators who voted against the legislation warned Trump against ousting Mueller. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said that “firing Mueller would cause a firestorm and bring the administration’s agenda to a halt. It could even result in impeachment.”

Will Trump back off? In an interview with Fox & Friends on April 26, the President said, “I’ve taken the position—and I don’t have to take this position and maybe I’ll change—that I will not be involved with the Justice Department. I will wait until this is over…. I may change my mind at some point.”

Research contact: nicholas.fandos@nytimes.com

Among social media users, Facebook rules

March 14, 2018

Facebook remains America’s most popular social media platform, with roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) self-identifying as users and about 75% of them catching up with their “friends” at least once a day, based on findings of a poll by The Pew Research Center released on March 1.

With the exception of those 65 and older, most Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook, the poll of 2,002 Americans over the age of 18 concluded.

Only YouTube gets more traffic, with 73% of respondents noting that they visit the site regularly. The video-sharing site—which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform—is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

In line with that trend, some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat—whether or not Kylie Jenner loves it anymore—and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users.

Of course, that’s not counting President Donald Trump, whom Fox News says has given Twitter “a big boost.” He even fires his high-level employees via the platform—which he used on March 13 to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and install CIA Director Mike Pompeo in his place.

Several other platforms are popular among special interest groups, including:

  • Pinterest, which remains substantially more popular among women (41% of whom say they use the site) than men (16%).
  • LinkedIn, which continues to be especially popular among college graduates and those in high-income households. Some 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, compared with just 9% of those with a high school diploma or less.
  • WhatsApp, a messaging service that is particularly popular in Latin America, and this following extends to Latinos in the United States—with 49% of Hispanics reporting that they are WhatsApp users, compared with 14% of whites and 21% of blacks.

Finally, the share of social media users who say these platforms would be hard to give up has increased by 12 percentage points compared with a survey conducted in early 2014. But by the same token, a majority of users (59%) say it would not be hard to stop using these sites—including 29% who say it would not be hard at all to give up social media.

Research contact: tcaiazza@pewresearch.org