Those of you who are C-Span junkies are all too familiar with this. During the viewer Call-in program, the hosts take questions from viewers about the major news events of the day. Most of the questions are reasonably well thought out and rationally related to the topic.
And then there is the occasional tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist who somehow manages to lie his way past the call screeners to ask the panel some bizarro-world conspiracy theory question that leaves the panel speechless for a moment, before they politely try to dismiss the crazy caller as quickly as possible and move on to the next caller.
This is not a bug but a feature, however, for the three dolts on the divan at Fox & Friends, who do not screen the tinfoil hat conspiracy-theorist-in-chief in the White House. They take his call and let him spew conspiracy theories for as long as he wants, only occasionally giving him the hook when their air time is about to end.
On Friday, the New York Times reported, Charges of Ukrainian Meddling? A Russian Operation, U.S. Intelligence Says:
The Republican defense of Mr. Trump became central to the impeachment proceedings when Fiona Hill, a respected Russia scholar and former senior White House official, added a harsh critique during testimony on Thursday. She told some of Mr. Trump’s fiercest defenders in Congress that they were repeating “a fictional narrative.” She said that it likely came from a disinformation campaign by Russian security services, which also propagated it.
In a briefing that closely aligned with Dr. Hill’s testimony, American intelligence officials informed senators and their aides in recent weeks that Russia had engaged in a yearslong campaign to essentially frame Ukraine as responsible for Moscow’s own hacking of the 2016 election, according to three American officials. The briefing came as Republicans stepped up their defenses of Mr. Trump in the Ukraine affair.
The revelations demonstrate Russia’s persistence in trying to sow discord among its adversaries — and show that the Kremlin apparently succeeded, as unfounded claims about Ukrainian interference seeped into Republican talking points. American intelligence agencies believe Moscow is likely to redouble its efforts as the 2020 presidential campaign intensifies. The classified briefing for senators also focused on Russia’s evolving influence tactics, including its growing ability to better disguise operations.
[T]he campaign by Russian intelligence in recent years has been even more complex as Moscow tries not only to undermine the government in Kyiv but also to use a disinformation campaign there to influence the American political debate.
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This time, Russian intelligence operatives deployed a network of agents to blame Ukraine for its 2016 interference. Starting at least in 2017, the operatives peddled a mixture of now-debunked conspiracy theories along with established facts to leave an impression that the government in Kyiv, not Moscow, was responsible for the hackings of Democrats and its other interference efforts in 2016, senior intelligence officials said.
The Russian intelligence officers conveyed the information to prominent Russians and Ukrainians who then used a range of intermediaries, like oligarchs, businessmen and their associates, to pass the material to American political figures and even some journalists, who were likely unaware of its origin, the officials said.
That muddy brew worked its way into American information ecosystems, sloshing around until parts of it reached Mr. Trump, who has also spoken with Mr. Putin about allegations of Ukrainian interference. Mr. Trump also brought up the assertions of Ukrainian meddling in his July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into whether he abused his power by asking for a public commitment to investigations he stood to gain from personally.
Cue the conspiracy-theorist-in-chief calling in to his enablers at Fox & Friends on Friday. In rollicking 53-minute conversation, Trump embraces conspiracies, spreads falsehoods and insults opponents:
Speaking to his favorite morning television hosts Friday, President Trump offered a window into his state of mind as he faces his greatest political threat yet.
As his unfiltered thoughts streamed from his mind, through a telephone receiver and onto the airwaves of Fox News for 53 minutes, it became clear that the prospect of impeachment has changed nothing about Trump’s unorthodox approach to the presidency.
He continued to make lofty promises of soon-to-come bombshells, peddle falsehoods, spread long-debunked conspiracy theories, attack his perceived enemies and dabble in misogynistic tropes — all while playing the role of persecuted victim.
Trump’s phone conversation with the hosts of “Fox & Friends” also undercut Republicans’ strained efforts to defend him during the House impeachment inquiry.
He attacked witnesses — including those who had been requested by Republicans — saying he hardly knew them. He continued to smear his former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and said House Republicans hadn’t followed his example only because, they told him, “she’s a woman, we have to be nice.” And he briefly appeared to welcome the prospect of being impeached by the House, saying “I want a trial” in the Senate.
Trump also parroted the unfounded theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for hacking Democrats’ emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, a baseless claim most Republican lawmakers tried to sidestep during the hearings.
“They gave the server to CrowdStrike, or whatever it’s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian,” the president said, indicating that his concerns about “corruption” in Ukraine were linked to a politically convenient conspiracy theory. “That’s a big part of this whole thing. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?
”Trump’s former homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, has said he repeatedly informed the president that the allegation was false. On Thursday, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee took umbrage when Trump’s former Russia adviser, Fiona Hill, accused them of promoting a “fictional narrative” of Ukrainian election meddling promoted by the Kremlin.
Trump appeared unfazed by the fact that not even his staunchest defenders have embraced his claims about CrowdStrike, a company he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate during the July 25 phone call at the heart of the impeachment proceedings.
“Are you sure they did that? Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?” Fox’s Steve Doocy asked Trump.
“Well, that’s what the word is,” the president said, offering no evidence. “That’s what I asked, actually, in my phone call, if you know. I asked it very point blank because we’re looking for corruption.”
Republican lawmakers have tried to make the case that Trump withheld military aid and a White House visit from Ukraine while seeking investigations of Democrats in part because he had legitimate concerns about corruption in the country. House Democrats have dismissed that defense, saying Trump and his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani used the pretext of corruption to try to secure probes targeting former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as the unfounded claims about Ukraine’s role in the 2016 election.
Surprisingly, Trump did get a little C-Span style pushback from the three dolts on the divan:
The Fox News hosts also repeatedly challenged Trump to offer evidence when he made his most head-scratching claims. The president repeatedly demurred.
“What are you talking about?” Doocy asked when Trump predicted that his Justice Department was on the verge of exposing “perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country.”
Trump’s answer was vague.
“I think you’re going to see things that are going to be incredible,” he said, adding that he has not been personally involved in any of the Justice Department’s investigations into the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe.
“Who is your source that’s telling you this?” Fox’s Brian Kilmeade asked when Trump claimed that Obama administration officials had worked to undermine his presidency from its earliest days.
“I can’t tell you that,” Trump answered. “I can only say that we have a lot of information that a lot of bad things happened.”
Any rational person viewing this unhinged airing of grievances — Festivus isn’t until December 23 — a pity party wallowing in persecuted victimhood, would be struck by the fact that this man is intellectually, mentally and emotionally unfit to serve as president of the United States. He is a danger to himself and to society, and the world.
More importantly, the fact that Trump so readily plays the role of useful idiot repeating debunked conspiracy theories concocted by Vladimir Putin and his Russian intelligence agencies, makes him the greatest national security threat to the United States.
For all anyone knows, Trump gets this stuff directly from Vladimir Putin himself in private meetings he has held with Putin without American note takers (for which there reportedly is no record), and in his phone calls with Vladimir Putin, the readouts of which — if there are any — have probably been assigned to the same secure server as his call with Ukrainian President Zelensky to prevent disclosure. Trump is behaving like the “Kremlin Candidate” (see Manchurian candidate).
Republicans need to put loyalty to country over party. They cannot leave this national security threat inside the White House. Republicans, you are selling out your country. History will condemn you.