Oliver Willis

Author ››› Oliver Willis
  • Stone Backtracks On Claim That Trump Paid Willey, Raises New Questions

    Roger Stone Tells Alex Jones That He "Was Told" Trump Paid Willey, Does Not Say Who Told Him

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Stone

    Roger Stone is now backing away from his claim that Donald Trump gave Kathleen Willey money so she could attack the Clintons. While he said in February that Trump had donated to a fund to help Willey pay off her mortgage, Stone today claimed that “at one time I was told that Donald Trump made an online contribution to the fund” set up to help Willey, but “in retrospect he did not.”

    Stone also told Jones today that, “I, along with others did set up a GoFundMe account to raise money to try to pay off her mortgage.” Despite his apparent role in initially setting up the account, Stone did not explain who originally told him about the alleged donation or how he came to the conclusion that Trump had not donated.

    Yesterday, the Trump campaign released a web video highlighting Willey’s allegation that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted her in 1993. (Willey’s claim was later investigated by the Office of the Independent Counsel.)

    As Media Matters reported, during a February interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Stone assured Jones that Trump had contributed money to help pay off Willey’s mortgage “so she can hit the road and start speaking out on Hillary.” While soliciting donations to Willey’s mortgage fund from Jones’ audience, Stone claimed at the time, “We have raised a substantial amount of money. Trump is himself a contributor -- I’m not ready to disclose what he has given.”

    Asked by Fox News about Stone’s comments, the Trump campaign said there was “no truth” to the claim. Stone also responded by tweeting, “A bald face Lie- @realDonaldTrump has not paid @kathleenwilley mortgage.”

    Stone is a longtime associate of Trump who says that he speaks regularly with the candidate, including a phone call this morning to congratulate him on the Willey web video.

    He has for decades been involved in conservative politics, orchestrating political dirty tricks and spouting racist, sexist, violent rhetoric while publishing numerous conspiracy theories about the Clintons.

  • Trump Disavowed Racist Butler, But Works With Ally Who Said Clinton Should Be “Executed For Murder”

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Stone

    Donald Trump publicly disavowed his former butler after violent, racist comments from him emerged, but as recently as last week Trump spoke with Roger Stone, who said Hillary Clinton should be “executed” and called an African-American commentator a “stupid negro.”

    Mother Jones reported that Donald Trump’s former butler, Anthony Senecal, who also served as the in-house historian for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, had posted a series of racist Facebook posts filled with violent imagery directed at President Obama.

    Senecal said “our pus headed ‘president’” should “have been taken out by our military and shot as an enemy agent in his first term.” He also referred to Obama as a “prick” who “needs to be hung for treason.”

    After the story was published, the Secret Service indicated it would be investigating Senecal’s alleged threats.

    The Trump campaign told CNN that they “totally and completely disavow the horrible statements made by him regarding the President.”

    But Trump is still closely connected to dirty trickster Roger Stone even after Stone’s history of violent and racist rhetoric had been exposed.

    Stone worked for Trump’s presidential campaign until August of last year, and since then has promoted Trump’s candidacy and runs a super PAC supporting Trump. Stone said he speaks with Trump “on a semi-regular basis” to discuss politics and the campaign.

    On the May 6 edition of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio show, Stone said he had spoken with Trump earlier that day.

    Stone has used rhetoric very similar to the butler that Trump has now condemned.

    On his Twitter feed, Stone claimed that Hillary Clinton "must be brought to justice - arrested , tried , and executed for murder," and called Bernie Sanders a “Soviet agent” who “should be arrested for treason and shot.” Stone also said philanthropist George Soros should be “detained, charged, tried, convicted and executed” and called for Connecticut governor Dan Malloy to be hanged.

    Stone also fantasized about the deaths of several media figures. He told journalist Jill Abramson to “DIE BITCH,” wrote about CNN commentator Ana Navarro “killing herself,” and said of Fox commentator Ed Rollins: “If he isn’t dead he should be.”

    Stone used racist language online as well. He said that commentator Roland Martin is a “stupid negro” and a “fat negro,” called radio host Herman Cain “mandingo,” and described former Rep. Allen West as an “arrogant, know-it-all negro.” Stone also said Al Sharpton is a “professional negro” who likes fried chicken.

    He also referred to Roland Martin (who is African-American) and Ana Navarro (who is Latina) as “quota hires” because they are “so dumb and unqualified that one can reach no other conclusion.”

    After Media Matters publicized Stone’s comments, CNN said they had banned him from appearing on their network, as has MSNBC

    Alex Jones, who has emerged as a leading Trump supporter, called for columnist George Will to “blow what little is left of your brains out” in response to his opposition to Trump’s candidacy.

  • Donald Trump Lunches With Disgraced Writer Ed Klein, Author Of Clinton-Bashing “Fan Fiction”

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Ed Klein

    Donald Trump had lunch with disgraced author Ed Klein, who has written several books and columns making lurid and absurd allegations about the Clintons, President Barack Obama and others. That work has been described as "fan fiction" and "smut," while even conservatives have expressed doubt about Klein's credibility.

    Washington Post national political correspondent Philip Rucker reported that Trump met with Klein along with Trump campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and Daniel Scavino at a delicatessen in Indianapolis. Rucker wrote that Klein is "perhaps best known for his series of bombshell books spreading rumors and innuendo, much of it discredited." The Post reporter added that Klein "said he is following Trump around for a couple of days to gather material for a new book."

    Klein has been a fixture in conservative media for years. His work is notable for being extremely salacious, sloppy, and provably inaccurate. Journalists have described his work as "smut," "junk journalism," "fan fiction," and "devoid" of "basic journalistic standards."

    Klein says he has known Trump for 35 years and has "met with him on numerous occasions, talked to him on the phone countless times, traveled with him, and written two lengthy magazine cover stories about him." He adds, "I believe I understand him better than most people outside his immediate family."

    Among the claims Klein has previously made is the allegation that Chelsea Clinton was conceived when Bill Clinton raped his wife. Publisher HarperCollins reportedly dropped one of his books because it "did not pass a vetting by in-house lawyers." A conservative publisher, Regnery, later published that book and its follow-up.

    Klein is also known for using completely distorted quotes in his books and columns, while others sound as if they were completely made up. One reporter wrote that Klein’s reporting features "dialogue that no human has likely said or will probably ever say until you read it aloud to friends and family."

    The details in Klein’s work have been so unbelievable that even conservatives have called it into question. Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade was skeptical of one of Klein’s too good to be true quotes in his book Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas, and Rush Limbaugh even said, "some of the quotes strike me as odd, in the sense that I don't know people who speak this way."

    Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan described Klein’s book The Truth About Hillary as "poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced and full of the kind of loaded language that is appropriate to a polemic but not an investigative work."

    Klein writes regular columns that appear in right-wing publications like Townhall.com and Newsmax. Those columns continue Klein’s well-worn tactics. In one column, Klein speculates about Clinton’s health, writing, "Bill’s worst fear, according to my sources, is that Hillary will stumble or fall at a critical moment in the campaign and reveal that she’s not up to handling the job of commander in chief."

    Trump has repeatedly promoted Klein’s books on his Twitter account. Earlier in the year, Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign used an unverifiable Bill Clinton quote sourced to Klein in campaign mailers and fundraising appeals.

  • Wayne Simmons, Right Wing Media’s Benghazi Expert, Pleads Guilty To Fraud

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Wayne Simmons

    Wayne Simmons, who presented himself as a national security expert and was a part of the conservative media push for a congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack, has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges.

    In an April 29 press release the Department of Justice noted that Simmons “falsely claimed he spent 27 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency” and had pleaded guilty “to major fraud against the government, wire fraud, and a firearms offense.”

    The release further noted, “Simmons admitted he defrauded the government in 2008 when he obtained work as a team leader in the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Systems program, and again in 2010 when he was deployed to Afghanistan as a senior intelligence advisor on the International Security Assistance Force’s Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team.”

    Dana J. Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said, “Simmons admitted he attempted to con his way into a position where he would have been called on to give real intelligence advice in a war zone. His fraud cost the government money, could have put American lives at risk, and was an insult to the real men and women of the intelligence community who provide tireless service to this country.”

    Simmons was a frequent guest on Fox News, appearing on the network dozens of times purporting to be a former CIA operative. In those appearances, Simmons regularly criticized Democrats on foreign policy and national security issues. In one instance, he said, “If the Democrats come into power in the United States and re-employ their vision of defense for this country, we will have 9-1-1s unabated.”

    Simmons was a member of Accuracy in Media’s (AIM) “Citizens' Commission” on Benghazi -- part of the conservative media’s ultimately successful push to get House Republicans to set up a panel to investigate the Benghazi attack. In that capacity, Simmons appeared on Fox and falsely claimed that the Obama administration had decided “to not rescue our former CIA operatives and our military” in Libya.

    When Simmons was first arrested for the fraud charges, AIM scrubbed references to his role from its website. Fox News acknowledged that he had appeared on the network as a “national security and terrorism expert,” but said he “was never employed by the channel and was never paid by Fox.”

  • Rush Limbaugh Attacks Trump Claim That GOP Delegate Selection Process Is “Rigged”

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Limbaugh

    Rush Limbaugh ridiculed complaints that the Republican National Convention delegate selection process is rigged, a claim that has been repeatedly made by Donald Trump.

    In the last few weeks, Trump and his allies have made what the New York Times has characterized as “an aggressive effort to undermine the Republican nominating process by framing it as rigged and corrupt,” as rival candidate Ted Cruz has “outmaneuvered him in delegate contests in states like Colorado, North Dakota and Iowa.” The result of Cruz’s moves could result in Trump being short of the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the Republican presidential nomination.

    Trump complained, “Our Republican system is absolutely rigged. It’s a phony deal.” His campaign recently hired Roger Stone associate Paul Manafort to oversee efforts to keep delegates in line ahead of the convention. The Times said the hire was “a sign that Mr. Trump is intensifying his focus on delegate wrangling as his opponents mount a tenacious effort to deny him the 1,237 delegates he would need to secure the Republican nomination.”

    On the April 25 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh attacked claims that the process is being rigged or that the delegate fight is beyond traditional campaign activity.

    Limbaugh told his audience, “nobody is being cheated,” pointing out that “I'm really trying to get you to not think that this particular system is being rigged or you're being cheated. You're not, this is how politics is.”

    Limbaugh noted that the strategy being used by the Cruz campaign “has always been the way it happens,” adding, “There is nothing happening this year that has not happened before in terms of delegate selection, allocation or what have you.”

    He concluded, “I think you've got a lot of people in the media spreading all this, just to incite people, just to get them all fired up and charged up and just spread this narrative that there's cheating going on when either they don't understand it, or they want the fireworks, they want charged up and angry callers calling in raising hell for the sake of it, ratings or what have you.”

    Despite Limbaugh blaming “the media” for “spreading all this,” it has been Trump himself who has promoted and repeatedly made this claim about the delegate process.

    Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight notes that Trump’s complaints that the system is rigged have largely been echoed in the media, and have helped to increase support for him in polling of Republican primary voters.

  • New York Observer Reporter Quits Over Paper’s Cozy Relationship With Trump

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Kushner, Trump

    A political reporter for the New York Observer has quit, citing the paper’s close relationship with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

    Ross Barkan, the paper’s national political reporter, made his announcement on his Twitter account, writing, “Personal news: I'm announcing today that my last day at the New York Observer will be April 27th.”

    Barkan told Politico that the Observer’s recent endorsement of Trump – along with The National Enquirerthe only papers to do so – was a factor in his decision: “It was a decision I’ve been wrestling with for more than a day and more than a week. I didn’t expect [the endorsement] was coming. It blindsided me.”

    Jared Kushner, the owner of the paper, is married to Ivanka Trump (Trump’s eldest daughter).

    Barkan also criticized Observer editor in chief Ken Kurson for helping Kushner write Trump’s March 21 AIPAC speech. Barkan said, “The AIPAC situation was very troubling. Anyone knows that an editor in chief should not be reviewing the speech of a presidential candidate. I don’t care if it’s Trump or Bernie Sanders.”

    He told Politico that the “AIPAC situation did not please” the rest of the Observer’s politics desk, including political editor Jill Jorgensen and reporter Will Bredderman.

    When it was first reported that the Observer had a hand in writing Trump’s speech, the Huffington Post noted that it “raises questions of conflict of interest given that he also oversees election coverage.” Kurson told Huffington Post: “It’s a complicated world and I don’t intend to let the eleven people who have appointed themselves the journalist police tell me, at age 47, how to behave or to whom I’m allowed to speak.”

    In 2014, ice cream shop manager and political science major Bill Gifford told the New York Times that Kurson had approached him to write “a smear piece” about New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is suing Trump over his controversial Trump University business.

    Gifford declined to write the piece, but the Observer later published a piece the Times described as “a searing, 7,000-word indictment of Mr. Schneiderman, portraying him as vindictive and politically opportunistic” that “also included a robust defense of Donald J. Trump.”

  • You Can See Mark Fuhrman On The People Vs O.J. Simpson... Or On Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Fuhrman

    Last night, many people were surprised when I noted on Twitter that former Los Angeles police Detective Mark Fuhrman -- currently back in the news due to FX's dramatic miniseries The People Vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story -- w­orks for Fox News. But it's true. Despite committing perjury and being caught on tape spewing racial epithets, Furhman got a gig on Fox News, which frequently hosts him to discuss racially charged news stories.

    Fuhrman, who was a witness for the prosecution during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, became toxic with the discovery of hours of audio tape of him using racial epithets. As New York Times television writer Danielle Henderson described them, "The Fuhrman tapes are deplorable, laden with racial epithets, confessions of coercion, and blatant bragging about how he's worked the system in order to victimize minorities."

    Fox News describes Fuhrman as "a forensic and crime scene expert for FOX News Channel" in his official biography, and while the network notes that he "served as a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective for 20 years" and "was a witness in the O.J. Simpson trial," it omits any mention of the controversy over his racist comments that featured so heavily in the case.

    As laid out by the Philadelphia Inquirer during the trial, after Fuhrman testified as a witness for the prosecution about the evidence he had uncovered at the murder scene and at O.J. Simpson's home, defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey asked Fuhrman, "Do you use the word nigger in describing people?" Fuhrman responded "No, sir."

    Bailey followed up and asked him, "And you say on your oath that you have not addressed any black person as a nigger or spoken about black people as niggers in the past 10 years, Detective Fuhrman?" Fuhrman replied, "That's what I'm saying, sir."

    Concluding the line of questioning, Bailey asked Fuhrman, "So that anyone who comes to this court and quotes you as using that word in dealing with African-Americans would be a liar, would they not?" To which Fuhrman replied, "Yes, they would."

    In 1985, Fuhrman gave a recorded interview to aspiring screenwriter Laura McKinney, who was working on a screenplay about female police officers. During that interview, Fuhrman used the word "nigger" to refer to African-Americans 40 times. 

    As a result, during the Simpson trial, Fuhrman was widely condemned and even the prosecutor referred to him as a "bad cop"during closing arguments.

    In October of 1996, after Simpson had been acquitted of the double homicide, Fuhrman was charged with perjury, and he entered a plea of no contest, admitting that he had lied under oath about using the racial epithet. He was given probation and a fine, but no jail time. At the time, LAPD Chief Willie L. Williams said of Fuhrman: "The wounds that were opened up by his comments will take years for this department to overcome."

    After writing a series of true-crime books, Fuhrman resurfaced as part of the Fox News team. During Fuhrman's time on the network, Fox has used him as an expert voice on several racially charged incidents involving police:

    • Fuhrman told Fox News about the "people" he "dealt with" for 20 years who would "kill somebody and go have some chicken at KFC."
    • Fuhrman was invited on Fox to discuss the killing of black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
    • Fuhrman appeared on Fox to discuss the videotaped beating of a black man by white LAPD officers.
    • Fuhrman appeared on Fox's Kelly File to discuss protests in Ferguson, MO.
    • On Fox, discussing the arrest of a Muslim teen over a homemade clock, Fuhrman said, "I don't feel sorry for Ahmed ... He was passive aggressive."
    • On Fox, Fuhrman defended the actions of a school police officer who dragged and threw a black student across the floor.

    In addition to criminal justice issues, Fuhrman has also appeared on Fox to discuss the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Medicare.

    On February 3, Megyn Kelly discussed The People Vs. O.J. Simpson on her show, The Kelly File. Kelly noted that Fuhrman was a "frequent guest on this show," but instead of hosting Fuhrman, she spoke with Simpson defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz. Discussing Fuhrman, Dershowitz said, "He's a smart guy, and I think he's rehabilitated himself. Look, he had a terrible past and did some terrible things and said some terrible things. He helped us win the case."

  • Fox's Dobbs Cites "Great Reporting" From Misogynist To Attack Michelle Fields

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Fox Business host Lou Dobbs attacked conservative reporter Michelle Fields -- who has accused Donald Trump's campaign manager of physically assaulting her -- by citing the work of a misogynist who has excused rape.

    On the official Twitter account of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs linked to a post from the website Danger & Play, describing it as "Great Reporting." Conservative columnist Ann Coulter also promoted the post, writing, "It's beginning to look like Michelle Fields assaulted Trump."

    The story at Danger & Play, written by Mike Cernovich -- the owner of the site -- is an attack on former Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields entitled, "How Michelle Fields Hoaxed Herself Into Mainstream Stardom."

    Fields has accused Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of pulling her to the ground at a Trump campaign event and leaving bruises on her arm.

    Cernovich's site publishes numerous articles, essays, and audio recordings that attack feminists, "SJWs," (social justice warriors) and dispute the validity of date rape claims. Some headlines from Danger & Play include "Matriarchy has Created a False Rape Culture" and "Feminists Don't Care About Rape."

    He also claims that anyone who "believe[s] in college rape culture" is "a gullible fool who believes feminists."

    On his Twitter accounts, @PlayDangerously and @Cernovich, Cernovich has published several tweets dismissing the possibility of date rape and expressing crass, misogynist thoughts:

    • "The hotter the sex, the more closely it resembles rape." [10/15/11]
    • "The only rape culture is Muslim rape culture." [3/9/15]
    • "A whore will let her friend ruin your life with a false rape case. So why should I care when women are raped?" [1/30/12]
    • "Have you guys ever tried 'raping' a girl without using force? Try it. It's basically impossible. Date rape does not exist." [8/11/12]
    • "How to tell if someone is a true player? There's a 100% chance he's had a pregnancy scare, and a 25% chance he's had a false rape scare." [10/19/11]
    • "Fat/ugly women seek out dominant men to abuse them. Then they seek sympathy from others." [7/2/14]

    Cernovich has written several articles professing admiration for Donald Trump, and says that he has written a book entitled The Rise of Trump that "is coming soon." His previous book, Danger & Play: Essays on Embracing Masculinity, touts itself as a book that "will show you how to become a more dominant man, develop a dominate mindset, lose fat, gain muscle, succeed in business, and meet women."

    The allegation has caused a split at Fox News. On-air personalities like Greg Gutfeld and Meghan McCain have publicly supported Fields, while Eric Bolling reportedly had his producer call the reporter to tell her she would no longer be invited on his show Cashin' In "because she is no longer 'impartial' to Trump." The show's senior producer denied the report and claimed he decided "to take it week by week."

    Fields has previously appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight as a panelist for what Dobbs describes as "the A-Team," though not in the last few years, based on a Nexis search.

    In 2013, Dobbs said statistics showing that more women had become the economic breadwinners of their families were "concerning and troubling" and said the report indicated "society dissolv[ing] around us." A year later, Dobbs said he didn't see "anything controversial" about telling women not to drink in order to avoid sexual assault.

  • Fox News Cancels Republican Debate After Trump Announces He's Skipping It

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Fox News has canceled the Republican presidential debate it planned to host this coming Monday in Salt Lake City after Donald Trump said he would not be attending, which led to Gov. John Kasich also declining to attend. From Bloomberg News:

    Trump's decision to skip the debate, and a subsequent announcement by Ohio Governor John Kasich that he would join Trump's boycott, led Fox News to cancel the debate set for Monday in Salt Lake City. Trump claimed to have been caught off guard by the event. "We've had enough debates," he said on the network Wednesday. "Nobody told me about it and I won't be there." He said skipping the debate would allow him to speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference running fromSunday to Tuesday in Washington.

    In a statement, Fox News executive vice president Michael Clemente confirmed the cancelation, explaining that "obviously, there needs to be more than one participant" to hold a debate.

    New York Magazine writer Gabriel Sherman noted, "Unprecedented how Fox lost control of debate story. Trump says on their air he's not debating. Then it leaks they canceled."

    While Fox has given Trump more interview airtime than any other Republican candidate, Trump has had a contentious relationship with the network over the course of the campaign.

    Trump has clashed with debate co-moderator Megyn Kelly, temporarily boycotted the network, skipped a debate due to Kelly's involvement, and has repeatedly criticized Fox News' coverage. He went on a Twitter tirade during Tuesday's primaries in which he called Kelly "crazy" and "unwatchable."

  • Fox's Erickson Reportedly Part Of Effort To Draft Third Party Anti-Trump Candidate

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Erickson

    Fox News contributor and right-wing radio host Erick Erickson is reportedly part of a campaign to prevent Donald Trump from winning the Republican Party's presidential nomination, and if that fails, to draft a third-party candidate to run against him.

    Politico reports that Erickson is slated to attend a "closed-door meeting" this week in Washington, D.C. to work on the plan:

    The organizers of the meeting include Bill Wichterman, who was President George W. Bush's liaison to the conservative movement, Bob Fischer, a South Dakota businessman and longtime conservative convener, and Erick Erickson, the outspoken Trump opponent and conservative activist who founded RedState.com.

    "Please join other conservative leaders to strategize how to defeat Donald Trump for the Republican nomination," the three wrote in an invitation obtained by POLITICO that recently went out to conservative leaders, "and if he is the Republican nominee for president, to offer a true conservative candidate in the general election."

    Conservative media have been in a state of open civil war for months over Trump's potential candidacy. While some in the conservative media have come out directly opposed to the candidate, often under the banner of "Never Trump," others have been defending him and his actions while lashing out at the "establishment" within the Republican Party.

    Erickson has previously spoken out against Trump. He disinvited him from his RedState Gathering conference after Trump made sexist remarks about Fox host Megyn Kelly, and he called for a Cruz-Rubio unity ticket to block Trump's path to the nomination.