Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink (21 page)

BOOK: Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink
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Republican senators did at least get to hear, for the first time, the president's legal team make its defense. And they crushed it. They included White House counsel Pat Cipollone; the president's personal attorney Jay Sekulow; former independent counsel Ken Starr; former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi; and Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz.

This group methodically and overwhelmingly destroyed the Democrats' two bogus articles of impeachment. They hammered home that the nebulous “abuse of power” article was nothing more than a
made-up theory—one that “supplants the Framers' standard of ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors.' ”
49
And they pointed out the terrifying precedent it set. Dershowitz on the Senate floor listed more than thirty American presidents (including George Washington and Abraham Lincoln) who'd also been accused of abuse of power. “None of them was impeached,” Dershowitz said on my show. “Which shows you how vague and open-ended and selective that criteria is. It can be weaponized and used against anybody or nobody, depending on the whim of Congress.”
50

They also explained that the second article of impeachment—“obstruction of Congress”—was a blatant attempt to destroy the critically important concept of “executive privilege.” That's a tool that allows the president to withhold sensitive information from Congress. The White House exercised the privilege during the impeachment drama, refusing to just roll over for every Democratic document demand—especially because most of those Democratic document subpoenas were fishing expeditions. As the president's legal team explained, it is “essential to protect the President's ability to secure candid and confidential advice and have frank discussions with his advisers.”
51
Equally important, it is up to the judiciary to define when it applies. The House impeachment article was an unconstitutional claim that it was up to the House to decide.

The case was thorough and compelling and convinced even wavering Republicans—like Alaska's Lisa Murkowski—that there was no need for further witnesses. On January 31, 2020, fifty-one GOP senators voted to kill that Democratic ploy. They lost only Maine's Susan Collins and Utah's Mitt Romney.

Five days later, the Senate acquitted the president of the United States. The vote on “abuse of power” was 52–48. The vote on “obstruction of Congress” was 53–47. Both fell dramatically short of the sixty-seven votes needed to convict. The only Republican defector was, once again, Romney—who voted for the “abuse of power” charge. Unfortunately, Romney can't get over the fact that he lost in 2012, and he cares too
much about parading around as a media hero. He forgets that the media who lauded him for his “brave” impeachment vote was the same media that spent 2012 calling him a racist, a misogynist, and a cruel capitalist.

All that really mattered in the end was that the president was vindicated. He'd won again. The three-year-long Democratic campaign to impeach was over. The American voters had emerged victorious.

MAKING DEMOCRATS PAY A PRICE—ELECTION 2020

We can't get back what Democrats lost the country during their long impeachment march and temper tantrum. President Trump wanted to talk about infrastructure. He wanted to do a deal on lower drug prices. He wanted a debate on border security, and how best to protect the country. He proposed trade deals that would help our manufacturers. Democrats had no interest in dealing with these pressing concerns or in concentrating on the new coronavirus that was spreading out of China. They were too obsessed with their vendetta against Trump and their rage against this White House.

The good news is that America still gets the opportunity in Election 2020 to judge them for this failure of leadership. Democrats always knew they wouldn't be able to convict and remove Trump from office. Pelosi understood the risk of impeachment, but she caved to her radical socialist base. Democrats then threw everything they had at slandering Trump in hopes of at least softening him up for an election defeat.

It didn't work. The longer impeachment went on, the better the Trump reelection campaign did. Trump and the Republican National Committee raised a staggering $125 million in the third quarter of 2019;
52
it raised a whopping $154 million in the fourth quarter.
53
Both numbers were a direct response to impeachment—Trump supporters rejecting the Democrats' appalling abuse of their House powers.

Democrats never moved the polling needle on impeachment, despite months of slander and lies. Quite the opposite. In the days following impeachment, Trump's approval rating moved to an all-time high in his presidency.
54

By contrast, the American people aren't feeling great about Democrats' rage-fueled approach to everything. At particular risk in this upcoming election are the thirty-one Democrats who in 2018 won districts that voted for Trump. They campaigned as moderates and as Democrats able to work with the president on a bipartisan basis. They instead spent months working to impeach him. Nearly all voted to proceed to a formal inquiry, and nearly all voted for both impeachment articles. Also up for judgment will be senators like Democrat Doug Jones, who voted to convict the president. Jones represents Alabama, a state that voted 62 percent for Trump.

Elections allow for that voter judgment, and they remain this country's greatest tool for accountability. Democrats can play their destructive political games. But the American people are the ultimate deciders. And come November 3, 2020, they will get to shock the world—again.

CHAPTER SEVEN
Enemy of the People: The Hate-Trump Media Mob

I'm not trying to be cute when I call the liberal press the “Fake News Media.” They collude with the leftist Democratic Party and spread lies, distortions, and propaganda. They don't even try to hide it anymore. Even media watcher Howard Kurtz argues the media's hatred for Trump is unprecedented. Their attacks are “more personal” and “visceral” than against any other president. “None of us have ever seen anything like this, just the sheer intensity of it,” said Kurtz. “If you only consumed a lot of the mainstream media, particularly places like MSNBC, you would think that the Trump presidency is an absolute disaster, that he's ruining the entire world….”
1

The liberal media uniformly claim Trump is deliberately dividing the nation. “Trump's theory of politics is that it's okay to offend five voters if seven voters approve,” wrote
Washington Post
columnist Robert J. Samuelson. “Dividing the country is the name of the game. The object is to create a coalition of the resentful. Polarization is not only the consequence. It also is the underlying purpose and philosophy.” In Samuelson's view the media are Trump's “scapegoats for assorted disappointments.”
2

That message surely resonated with Samuelson's fellow Trump-hating journalists. But it conveniently ignores how the media mob has dropped all semblance of objectivity and now serves as a loyal mouthpiece for the so-called Resistance. They have gone to the most extreme
lengths imaginable to undermine Trump since he was a candidate.
They
are the polarizing figures.
They
are the ones dividing the country.

They are the ones who, more than three years into Trump's presidency, still refuse to accept the legitimacy of his election—after responding with sputtering outrage when then-candidate Trump said he'd wait to see the election results before committing to accepting them. CNN's take—and this was in a news report, not an opinion piece—was typical. Trump's comments, said CNN, “marked a stunning moment that has never been seen in the weeks before a modern presidential election. The stance threatens to cast doubt on one of the fundamental principles of American politics—the peaceful, undisputed transfer of power from one president to a successor who is recognized as legitimate after winning an election.”
3
Of course, when Hillary Clinton spent the next three years claiming the election had been stolen from her by diabolical Trump officials colluding with Russia—a hoax
her own campaign
helped create by funding the phony Steele dossier—the media dropped its dire warnings about the sanctity of election results and parroted Clinton's accusations.

The media's motivation here is obvious. True, they don't like Trump's personality, his brashness, and his ridiculing of his opponents. But let's face it, if Trump were a left-wing president criticizing conservatives, they'd have no problem with those qualities. No, they hate Trump because he campaigned on a conservative agenda that they find abhorrent, and now he's implementing it. Even
Baltimore Sun
columnist David Zurawik, no conservative himself, acknowledged the liberal media's anti-Trump bias. “With some folks it seems as if there is only one allowable position when it comes to Donald Trump: He's the most dangerous president ever, and nothing good can come of his tenure,” writes Zurawik. “Trump is being treated unfairly in some parts of the media, and unless we deal with it honestly and openly, we are the ones who will wind up losing credibility even as we point our fingers at Trump for his lies.”
4

Early on in Trump's term, Zurawik commented that Trump's
conflict with the press wasn't nearly as unjustifiable as Obama's was. The Trump administration “has not yet come close to doing what President Obama's administration did in making the act of reporting itself criminal behavior,” said Zurawik—referring to the Obama administration prying into the phone and computer records of reporter James Rosen, then with Fox News, and calling Rosen “an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” and a flight risk in court documents. Zurawik also recounted how the Obama administration excluded Fox News from interviews with government officials, denounced the network as a “wing of the Republican Party,” and announced that the White House would stop treating us as a “news network.”
5
Yet the media worships Obama like the Messiah and portrays Trump as a dictator. Go figure.

The media pathologically hate Trump, but they're dependent on him. Their sensational Trump coverage sells newspapers, resuscitating some that were on life support, and boosts ratings for cable and broadcast news. This success comes at a price, though, because their bias has turned nearly all of conservative America against them. A 2016 Gallup poll found Republican trust in the media is at an all-time low of 14 percent,
6
mainly because they portray Trump in particular and conservatives generally as stupid bigots.
7

I'm not anti-media. I work in the media. From the time of our founding Americans have recognized the media's crucial role in holding our leaders accountable—as another important check against tyranny. But we shouldn't assume the media's watchdog function guarantees their integrity, fairness, or objectivity. Collectively, they wield enormous power—not just in keeping presidents, congressmen, and governors honest, but in influencing elections and policy, so much so that the press is often referred to as the fourth estate or fourth branch of government.
8
The media's influence is vast enough that they can even bring down a president, as the
Washington Post
did with President Nixon—a model countless reporters hope to emulate today.

The Hoover Institution's Bruce Thornton observes that the media has been partisan almost from the inception of the nation, but earlier
in our history, the variety of outlets with competing partisan views prevented a major imbalance in the news. That balance was lost, says Thornton, during the sixties, when journalism became a “profession” credentialed by university degrees. “Before then… journalism was a working-class trade.” Most of the newsroom veterans didn't have college degrees, and their biases “tended to reflect those of class as much as political ideology.” But journalism school graduates reflected “the leftist perspective of those institutions…. Now the old progressive view that the press should not just report fact, but mold public opinion to achieve certain political ends, served an ideology fundamentally adverse to the free-market, liberal-democratic foundations of the American Republic.”
9

We saw this play out in the media's adoring coverage of the Obama administration. For instance, after Obama halted America's “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which had permitted Cuban refugees who reached our shores to enter the country, the next morning the three major broadcast networks spent a scant sixty-eight
seconds
covering the story. But when Trump issued an executive order temporarily banning immigration from several Middle Eastern and African countries, they spent sixty-four
minutes
on the news. As NewsBusters noted, “The coverage of Trump's executive order has been overwhelmingly negative, with NBC's
Today
even suggesting a link between Trump's immigration ban and a mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec, despite a complete lack of evidence.”
10

There you go—when Obama blocks refugees, it's a nonstory. When Trump does it, it's a form of mass murder.

THE MEDIA'S LOVE AFFAIR WITH OBAMA

To fully understand media bias, it's useful to reflect on media coverage of the Obama administration. The media literally deified Obama, often depicting him adorned with a halo. Magazine covers idolized
him as “God of All Things,” and “The Second Coming.”
11
Newsweek
editor Evan Thomas marveled, “In a way Obama is standing above the country, above the world. He's a sort of God. He's going to bring all different sides together.”
12
Barbara Walters said “we” thought Obama was “the next Messiah.”
13
SF Gate
columnist Mark Morford was even more over-the-top: “Barack Obama isn't really one of us. Not in the normal way, anyway…. It's not merely his youthful vigor, or handsomeness, or even inspiring rhetoric. It is not fresh ideas or cool charisma or the fact that a black president will be historic and revolutionary in about a thousand different ways. It is something more. Even Bill Clinton, with all his effortless, winking charm, didn't have what Obama has, which is a sort of powerful luminosity, a unique high-vibration integrity… that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment.”
14
Chris Matthews famously took his fawning in a more obscene direction. “I have to tell you,” he gushed, “…the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.”
15

Of course, the entire idea that Obama was some transcendent uniter was a fantasy manufactured by the press itself. As I pointed out at the time, Obama was partisan, divisive, and radical, he vilified his opponents, and he went into snits when things didn't go his way. He had thin skin and repeatedly singled me out by name as his administration tried to sideline Fox News, the one network that didn't believe he walked on water. But he was the media's long-awaited liberal savior, so they protected him at every turn.

The media were even complicit in the Obama administration's scapegoating of an obscure producer of an internet video, who was blamed for the 2012 attack on our embassy in Benghazi. The media dutifully echoed the administration's false claim that the attack began as a protest against an anti-Islamic video, whose producer
was promptly arrested in America, when in fact it was a preplanned assault by al Qaeda–linked terrorists.
16
The Obama administration, however, had been bragging about its victories over al Qaeda, so it was inconvenient for al Qaeda to sack our embassy and murder four Americans, including an ambassador. “This unsavory relationship between the media and the Democrats has long existed, but the political career of Barack Obama marks a quantum leap beyond the media's traditional liberal preferences and biases—which in the past had at least a patina of objectivity and neutrality—to blatant advocacy, double standards, and explicit partisan hatred,” Thornton commented at the time.
17

The media was so subservient to Obama that his “foreign policy guru” and speechwriter, Ben Rhodes, bragged that he had led them by the nose to do the administration's bidding. During negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal, as with other important events, Rhodes coordinated policy, politics, and messaging for the administration.
New York Times Magazine
's David Samuels admitted, “The way in which most Americans have heard the story… was largely manufactured for the purpose of selling the deal.”
18
They sold it as Obama seizing the opportunity to make a deal with newly empowered Iranian moderates to dismantle the mullahs' nuclear weapons program. But in fact Obama had been “eager to do a deal with Iran as far back as 2012, and even since the beginning of his presidency,” as part of his wider foreign policy vision.
19

To push their false narrative, the administration set up a “war room” inside the White House quarterbacked by Rhodes, which operated as “the nerve center for the selling of the Iran deal to Congress.”
20
They mounted a sophisticated operation to spread their message online. “By applying 21st-century data and networking tools to the white-glove world of foreign affairs, the White House was able to track what United States senators and the people who worked for them, and influenced them, were seeing online—and make sure that no potential negative comment passed without a tweet,” wrote Samuels.

As this plan played out, “legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. ‘We created an echo chamber,' ” said Rhodes. “ ‘They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.' ”
21
Rhodes admitted he was scared by the prospect of such an elaborate spin campaign being run by some other administration, but that didn't seem to bother him. “I mean, I'd prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote,” said Rhodes. “But that's impossible.”
22

The main thing I want you to take away from this is not that Obama and his inner circle were deceitful and manipulative, though they absolutely were. What is most striking is the casual treatment of this saga by the
New York Times
—its reaction, through Samuels's story, of adulation rather than disgust at being deceived and manipulated by Obama. The media were so enamored of Obama's progressive staffers that they appeared grateful for the honor of being duped by them. There was no outrage from the mainstream media and no demands for Rhodes's head.

Obama's lackeys sold Obamacare in a similarly dishonest way. Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Jonathan Gruber, Obamacare's principal architect, openly bragged about deceiving the American people by writing the Obamacare law “in a tortured way” to ensure favorable scoring from the Congressional Budget Office. Gruber essentially admitted the public would have rejected Obamacare had it been properly understood. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” said Gruber. “And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”
23
Again, there was no indignation from the mainstream media, whose entire reason for being is supposed to be preventing this kind of fraud from being perpetrated on the American people.

BOOK: Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink
13.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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