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Timothy Johnson

Author ››› Timothy Johnson
  • Indicted Trump confidant Roger Stone alleges the president is the victim of a “globalist” coup attempt

    Stone links his prosecution to an alleged coup attempt against Trump by a "globalist cabal"

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    During an appearance on conspiracy theory outlet Infowars, Roger Stone, a confidant of President Donald Trump, said that the president is the victim of a coup attempt. Stone also tried to delegitimize the Department of Justice (DOJ) and its special counsel office, the federal law enforcement division currently leading a criminal prosecution against Stone.

    During a February 18 appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Stone echoed recent comments made by Trump to allege that the president is the victim of a coup attempt orchestrated by “globalists” (a term historically tied to anti-Semitic sentiment) and the DOJ.

    Stone accused the FBI and DOJ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of “open sedition” and “treasonous activity” for a supposed plot to remove Trump from the presidency via the 25th Amendment, claiming the plot was undertaken as revenge for Trump breaking up “the globalist cabal.” (The 25th Amendment establishes a legal mechanism to remove the president from office if a majority of the cabinet secretaries plus the vice president determine he is unfit to serve.)

    Stone also implicated special counsel Robert Mueller’s office -- which is currently overseeing a probe that resulted in Stone’s indictment -- in the supposed coup attempt. Stone claimed that “there was a coup d’etat planned within the highest echelons of the FBI and the Obama Justice Department, and then they actually effectuated it under Donald Trump,” adding, “The Mueller investigation is the outgrowth of that same effort.”

    Stone was arrested on January 25 and charged with seven felonies as part of Mueller’s investigation. According to the charges, Stone lied to Congress about his dealings with WikiLeaks concerning emails hacked by Russia in the 2016 presidential election; obstructed an official proceeding; and intimidated a witness, radio host Randy Credico. Around the same time Stone was alleging on Infowars that there was a coup attempt against Trump, he posted an image to his Instagram account that showed Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing his criminal case, next to crosshairs. After getting blowback, Stone deleted the post and submitted a formal apology to the court. Stone, who is currently free on a signature bond, may have his conditions of release modified or revoked because of his post, depending on the outcome of a February 21 hearing.

    Throughout his February 18 Infowars appearance, Stone counseled Trump and flattered him in what seems like a possible attempt to angle for a pardon if he is convicted of the charges against him. Stone highlighted his efforts to counter arguments that Trump is incapacitated, saying, “If he’s so incapacitated, why do we have 4.8 million new jobs, for example?” He also backed Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the southern border, saying, “Trump is a leader” who is “keeping faith with the very people that voted for him.”

    Stone also advised Trump to take several actions relating to the DOJ, saying, “The president needs to immediately declassify all the information regarding the illicit use of FISA warrants to spy on his campaign, which is where this all began. The president needs to order his new attorney general to appoint a special counsel to examine not only the FISA warrants, but now to examine this illegal coup and to empanel a grand jury to grab those who were involved in it and bring them before that grand jury to begin the indictments for sedition. And lastly, the president needs to appoint a special counsel to examine the crimes of Uranium One.”

    He also painted himself as a victim of the same forces that he claims have entangled Trump, claiming, “I am a victim of the same witch hunt, the same effort that is being put forward to take down the president in an illicit coup is the same witch hunt which has indicted me, that is coming after Alex [Jones], that is running the campaign of censorship against Infowars. It’s all the same people. It’s the same globalist cabal.”

  • Alex Jones is souring on his indicted Infowars employee Roger Stone

    Jones: "Gateway Pundit can hire Roger"

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Conspiracy theorist and Infowars head Alex Jones is frustrated with Trump confidant Roger Stone because he thinks Stone gave a rival right-wing news outlet an “exclusive” about Stone’s criminal case.

    Stone, who is a co-host of the Infowars program War Room, was arrested on January 25 and charged with seven felonies as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The charges allege Stone lied to Congress about his dealings with WikiLeaks concerning emails hacked by Russia in the 2016 presidential election; obstructed an official proceeding; and intimidated a witness, radio host Randy Credico.  

    Following Stone’s arrest, his first media appearance was on Infowars, and he has since appeared regularly on Infowars programs, including the show, War Room, that he co-hosts, to publicly litigate his criminal proceeding and fight with his critics. Stone has expressed fear at the possibility that he will be subject to a gag order and recently described his Infowars platform as “vital” to his criminal defense strategy.

    Now Stone has another problem, as his boss, Jones, has become angered that Stone shared an “exclusive” with far-right website The Gateway Pundit.

    The dispute centers around a February 13 motion filed by Stone’s legal team requesting a hearing concerning Stone’s allegation that the special counsel’s office improperly released Stone’s indictment before it was unsealed. Gateway Pundit was the first media outlet to publish a story about that filing, posting a piece bylined by Stone associate Jacob Engels.

    Discussing the Gateway Pundit story and the motion (which Jones initially mischaracterized as a “lawsuit against Robert Mueller”), a clearly perturbed Jones said during the February 13 broadcast of his show, “I like Roger as a friend, but he doles out exclusives ... some to Fox News, some to Daily Caller, and he works here. I pay his salary. … So I guess Roger Stone’s going to go to the woodshed here pretty soon.”

    Jones went on to say -- possibly facetiously -- that Stone now works for Gateway Pundit. He said, “This is a global exclusive. In the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, filed today, Roger Stone’s motion requesting a show cause order. So it’s on Gateway Pundit. Well that’s good. Gateway Pundit can hire Roger. … In fact, Roger Stone now works for the Gateway Pundit, which is good.”

    An annoyed Jones added, “People call us to find out what Roger’s up to and I just -- I can’t tell you; I don’t know. So Roger Stone now works for the Gateway Pundit, ladies and gentlemen -- seriously, as of about 10 seconds ago. I’m like, ‘Roger, get a job with the Gateway Pundit.’ Because -- here, let me check my other phone. I don’t want to go off half-cocked. Maybe he called this other phone and gave me the exclusive. Nope, doesn’t look like it.”

    Just the day before, Stone had emphasized how important his Infowars platform was to him. During the February 12 broadcast of War Room, Stone said that “one of the main reasons” he was indicted is that he works at Infowars. He went on to say, “I’ve told you about the vital role that Infowars plays in the strategy for my defense. If I can’t come here, if I can’t come on The Alex Jones Show, if I can’t come on the morning show with David Knight, if I can’t come on the War Room, then there’s no forum where I can really go to tell people the complete story about what’s going on.”

    Stone then said, “I guess the best thing to remind everybody is that please go to the Infowars store” to support the outlet’s operation. Then he transitioned into an extended pitch for a supplement called Brain Force that Infowars sells:
     

    ROGER STONE: One of the main reasons I think I’m targeted, Rob [Dew], is because I’m on Infowars. Because I work with you and Alex Jones and [War Room co-host] Owen Shroyer and [Infowars host] David Knight and so many others to bring people the stone cold truth, the unvarnished truth about what’s going on in the struggle against the globalists. And I’ve told you about the vital role that Infowars plays in the strategy for my defense. If I can’t come here, if I can’t come on The Alex Jones Show, if I can’t come on the morning show with David Knight, if I can’t come on the War Room, then there’s no forum where I can really go to tell people the complete story about what is going on. Everywhere else you appear you’re edited, you're censored, you're limited. But here at Infowars nobody tells us what we can and cannot say, nobody tells us what we can and cannot cover. We just go for where the facts lead us. So I guess the best thing to remind everybody is that please go to the Infowars store. It is vitally important that Infowars continue to thrive.  

    On February 13, after Jones complained about Stone giving away exclusives, Stone did not appear in his regular slot on War Room.

    Jones’ attack on Stone is the latest example of infighting at Infowars over Mueller’s investigation. Previously, Jones and Stone teamed up to feud with former Infowars D.C. bureau chief Jerome Corsi. Corsi, who is also entangled in Mueller’s probe of what happened with WikiLeaks, is referenced throughout Stone’s criminal indictment. Jones and Stone have sought to discredit Corsi’s public statements about the probe and in some cases even appear to have attempted to influence how Corsi testifies under oath to Mueller’s grand jury. For his part, Corsi, who is an obvious witness for Stone’s trial, has suggested Stone is guilty of witness tampering because of Stone’s interactions with him. Most recently, Corsi filed a lawsuit against Stone alleging Stone was attempting to induce him to have a heart attack or stroke by causing “emotional distress.”

  • During the shutdown, the NRA embraced white nationalism in support of Trump’s wall

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    More than half of the live news updates from the National Rifle Association’s media operation, NRATV, fearmongered about undocumented immigrants during the recent government shutdown, which was caused by President Donald Trump’s demand that Congress fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

    During the 35-day shutdown, which ended on January 25, NRATV broadcast 95 segments on its news program Stinchfield. The show, hosted by conservative radio host Grant Stinchfield, consists of 10- to 20-minute hourly updates on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. EST. According to a Media Matters review, 54 of the segments aired during the shutdown fearmongered about undocumented immigrants to agitate for Trump’s fantastical and racist border wall proposal. In three instances, NRATV invited Michael Cutler, a frequent contributor to a white nationalist publication, on to the outlet to advocate for Trump’s wall. Additionally, NRATV correspondent Chuck Holton pushed explicitly white nationalist talking points during one of his appearances.

    While it may seem odd that an outlet dedicated to gun-related issues would devote so much time to pushing for Trump’s wall, NRATV is actually best understood as a pro-Trump propaganda network with an explicit aim of promoting whatever his agenda happens to be that day. (In once instance, Stinchfield did connect immigration to the NRA’s goal of loosening concealed carry laws nationwide, saying we should do so because of “the issues we face with immigration and crime.”)

    In this report:

    NRATV host Grant Stinchfield demonized undocumented immigrants as violent criminals

    Stinchfield frequently used the slur “illegals”

    Stinchfield made up a statistic and repeatedly used the same inflammatory talking points on immigration

    NRATV hosted a contributor to a white nationalist publication three times

    NRATV featured homegrown white nationalism from NRATV correspondent Chuck Holton

    Other ways NRATV fearmongered about undocumented immigrants

    The truth about NRATV and public safety

    NRATV host Grant Stinchfield demonized undocumented immigrants as violent criminals

    NRATV’s scapegoating of undocumented immigrants for problems in the U.S. began on December 28 -- the first day that the network broadcast Stinchfield after the partial government shutdown began. Throughout his broadcasts that day, Stinchfield repeatedly raised the murder of California police officer Ronil Singh by an undocumented immigrant to create the false perception that undocumented immigrants often pose a public safety threat to those in the U.S. Falsely claiming that Trump’s wall proposal would “stop the large majority of those sneaking in today,” Stinchfield said, “We are tired and fed up of seeing innocent people slaughtered at the hands of illegal immigrants,” and added, “It is time now to stand firm with President Trump. Let’s build this wall.” During another update later that day, NRATV correspondent Chuck Holton connected without evidence the murder of a Swiss man in Acapulco, Mexico, to a migrant caravan poised to enter Mexico from Central America. (Speaking of the migrants in the caravan, Holton also added, “You can bet that these are not doctors and accountants coming along. These are unskilled laborers coming to a place that’s absolutely chock full already of unskilled laborers. So you can imagine how that’s going to go.”)

    That trend would continue: During the 20 days NRATV broadcast during the shutdown, only one -- January 25 -- did not feature a segment fearmongering about undocumented immigrants. The implication that undocumented immigrants pose a grave public safety threat is meant to scare NRATV’s viewers, but it is not based on reality. Research has proved that undocumented immigrants commit crimes -- including murder -- at lower rates than people born in the U.S. do. There is no evidence that the wall would improve public safety (although Stinchfield stated that it “will instantly make us all safer” during a January 2 broadcast).

    Stinchfield frequently used the slur “illegals”

    Throughout shutdown broadcasts, Stinchfield repeatedly slurred and dehumanized undocumented immigrants with the term “illegals.” Some examples:

    • Stinchfield on January 4: “We’ve talked over and over again about people driving drunk, getting killed by illegals. … I argue that drunk driving among anybody -- but especially illegals who shouldn’t have been here -- put more people at risk than the gangbangers even do.”
    • Stinchfield on January 9: “With so many illegals in America today, and sadly so many of them that have turned to crime, no one is immune to the toll illegal aliens who turn to crime can take on all of us.”
    • Stinchfield on January 18: Singer Cardi B needs to talk to “people who lost loved ones to violent illegals who never should have been here in the first place.”

    Stinchfield made up a statistic and repeatedly used the same inflammatory talking points on immigration

    Stinchfield made up an outrageous statistic to push for the wall; during the January 8 and January 9 broadcasts, he claimed without evidence that undocumented immigrants have killed “tens of thousands” of people in the U.S. in recent years.

    Making matters worse, Stinchfield’s claims about immigration were often not off the cuff -- instead they were scripted and packaged, with the same talking points appearing during multiple Stinchfield updates. Some examples:

    • Stinchfield used similar language to repeatedly suggest that Trump deliver the 2019 State of the Union address at the border while surrounded by family members of people killed by undocumented immigrants. (That idea was pitched to him by Daily Caller White House correspondent Amber Athey, who was recently forced to apologize after racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-gay tweets she sent surfaced.)
    • Stinchfield repeatedly said that the impacts of undocumented immigrants “end in your hometown” with violence.
    • Stinchfield repeatedly claimed that the U.S. has “a problem with violent illegal aliens.”
    • Stinchfield repeatedly said that the U.S. is “under siege” by violent undocumented immigrants.

    NRATV hosted a contributor to a white nationalist publication three times

    NRATV hosted Michael Cutler during broadcasts on December 28, January 3, and January 21, identifying him in on-screen graphics as a “former INS agent.” Cutler, who is also a former fellow at the nativist Center for Immigration Studies, is a frequent contributor to white nationalist journal The Social Contract. The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that the publication “routinely publishes race-baiting articles penned by white nationalists” and that it was founded “by John Tanton, the racist founder and principal ideologue of the modern nativist movement.” According to SPLC, The Social Contract Press “puts an academic veneer of legitimacy over what are essentially racist arguments about the inferiority of today's immigrants.”

    A search of the journal’s website returns 21 articles authored by Cutler, including six articles published since 2017. Echoing Stinchfield, Cutler emphasized undocumented immigrant criminality during his appearances on the show. During his January 21 appearance, Cutler claimed that Democrats are betraying “national security and public safety,” and Stinchfield closed the segment by saying that Cutler “has a long history of defending our nation’s borders.”

    NRATV featured homegrown white nationalism from NRATV correspondent Chuck Holton

    Chuck Holton, an NRATV correspondent with a history of making racist remarks and promoting white nationalism, pushed a conspiratorial white nationalist talking point during a January 4 appearance. Holton alleged that Democrats are “trying to import a new populace that will vote for them by offering them all these free benefits” via the southern border from “Third World” countries such as India, Cameroon, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, and those “all over Africa.” Describing immigration as “trying to import a new populace” from “the Third World” is a common tactic advanced by white nationalist publications including VDare and American Renaissance.

    While speaking about immigration on NRATV before the shutdown, Holton repeatedly pushed the conspiracy theory that philanthropist George Soros was behind a migrant caravan -- a remarkably similar conspiracy theory to the one that motivated a gunman who carried out a mass shooting in a Pittsburgh, PA, synagogue in October. He has also said that the migrant caravan is “an invasion under the guise of migration.”

    Other ways NRATV fearmongered about undocumented immigrants

    On NRATV, Stinchfield mostly depicted undocumented immigrants as criminals poised to commit everyday violence like robbery or murder, but there were some exceptions. In one instance, he fearmongered about the prospect of undocumented immigrants getting national voting rights.

    In several other cases, Stinchfield and Holton took cues from the Trump administration to raise the prospect of undocumented immigrant terrorists. For example, citing a terrorist attack in Africa and incidents in the U.S., Holton said during the January 16 broadcast of Stinchfield, “This is yet another reason why we need that wall on the southern border.” While providing no examples of terrorists crossing the southern border, Stinchfield said during a January 18 update, “Look at what happens when terrorists make their way into this country. If you want to secure the border, you do it, you build a wall.” According to the libertarian Cato Institute, no U.S. terror attack has ever been carried out by someone who crossed the border illegally.

    The truth about NRATV and public safety

    The sickening irony of NRATV’s obsession with the supposed criminality of undocumented immigrants is that if the outlet was truly concerned about public safety and murder, it would devote its time to reporting that high gun availability and lax firearm laws are the driving factors behind the U.S.’s shockingly high homicide rate, with the vast majority of murders committed by people born in the U.S. But it doesn’t. The NRA, of course, opposes any meaningful action on gun laws to stem that epidemic of violence.

  • Far-right media smear Democratic women wearing suffragette white at State of the Union by comparing them to the KKK

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    After dozens of Democratic congresswomen wore “suffragette white” to the 2019 State of the Union address, some far-right media figures smeared them by comparing them to the Ku Klux Klan.

    Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) wrote on Twitter that she and some of her colleagues were wearing white outfits to “honor all those who came before us & send a message of solidarity that we're not going back on our hard-earned rights!”

    Far-right media seized on the pro-women’s rights action by depicting the congresswomen as members of the KKK.

    Far-right troll Jack Posobiec wrote, “I haven’t seen so many Demcorats (sic) dressed in white since Republicans freed their slaves”:

    During an Infowars broadcast covering the State of the Union speech, a doctored image depicted Klan hoods on the congresswomen while host Alex Jones said, “You wait until those women are running the country for foreign banks and the Chicoms and up against the Russians and everybody else. I mean, my God. Look at them. I mean, this is pathetic.”

    Other Infowars personalities made similar claims on Twitter.

    Ann Coulter promoted a tweet from right-wing New York radio host Mark Simone that depicted the women as wearing Klan hoods:

    Turning Point USA’s Richard Armande Mills wrote, “All they’re missing are hoods and grand-wizard [Virginia Gov. Ralph] Northam to lead the way.”

    Pro-Trump YouTuber Joey Salads also likened the congresswomen to the KKK:

  • Roger Stone tries to explain his witness tampering charge: I advised Randy Credico to plead the Fifth so his liberal friends wouldn’t get mad at him for helping Trump

    Indictment against Stone says he told Credico to “prepare to die” and threatened to take his therapy dog

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Trump confidant Roger Stone has a laughably innocuous explanation for the actions that led him to be charged with corruptly influencing comedian and radio host Randy Credico’s interactions with the House intelligence committee.

    Prior to his arrest on January 25, Stone was under investigation over whether he had inside information about emails hacked by Russia and then released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election. Specifically, investigators on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team looked at whether Stone used Credico and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi (whom Stone is now feuding with) as intermediaries between himself and WikiLeaks.

    Following his arrest, Stone was charged with seven crimes: five counts of making false statements to Congress about his interactions with WikiLeaks, one count of obstructing an official proceeding, and one count of witness tampering for attempting to corruptly persuade Credico, who is referred to throughout the indictment as “Person 2," to provide certain testimony before the House intelligence committee.

    Stone attempted to explain away the witness tampering charge during an appearance on Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet. Stone, who also co-hosts Infowars program War Room, discussed the charge during the show’s January 28 broadcast.

    In Stone’s telling, the repeated attempts documented in the indictment that show him urging Credico to assert his rights against self-incrimination or to lie under oath were merely suggestions to prevent Credico’s liberal friends from getting mad at him for supporting President Donald Trump:

    ROGER STONE: There is a tremendous rush to judgment by attorneys who have never read my entire testimony and therefore can’t see the context of anything. To the extent, for example, Stone told Credico, a witness, to plead the fifth. Yes, when he said, “My left-wing friends, my progressive friends are going to go crazy when [they] find out that I helped you. They’re going to think we helped elect Trump. I don’t know what to do.” To which I said, “Well, you have the option of pleading the fifth.” I didn’t tell him to do it; I said it was possible.

    Stone’s innocent retelling of his interactions with Credico is at odds with the indictment, and it belies reason that Stone was merely helping Credico avoid having his friends become upset with him. What seems more likely is that Stone was worried Credico would implicate him in a crime.

    The indictment includes several instances of Stone urging Credico to assert his right against self-incrimination. According to the indictment, Stone told Credico, “Stonewall it. Plead the fifth. Anything to save the plan,” apparently referencing a statement made by President Richard Nixon while attempting to hinder the Watergate investigation. Stone also repeatedly told Credico to be like Frank Pentangeli, a character in The Godfather: Part II. In the film, Pentangeli, a mobster in the Corleone crime family, lies to a congressional committee about protagonist Michael Corleone's role as the head of that organization, covering up Corleone's own perjury before that committee. (An imprisoned Pentangeli later commits suicide after being assured the Corleones will take care of his family.)

    The indictment shows that Stone later became angry with Credico for repeatedly balking at his advice and exhorting Stone to testify truthfully. Stone called Credico a “rat” and a “stoolie,” threatened to take away his therapy dog, and told him, “Let’s get it on. Prepare to die [expletive].” (In May, Stone explained his “prepare to die” comment to Mother Jones by saying, “He told me he had terminal prostate cancer.”)

    Stone and an Infowars crew traveled to Washington, D.C., for his January 29 arraignment at which Stone pleaded not guilty. The conspiracy theory outlet is using Facebook’s live-streaming feature as its primary counter-messaging measure in Stone’s legal troubles. While Facebook banned several pages associated with Alex Jones last year for repeatedly violating community guidelines, the page for the show Stone co-hosts, War Room, remains active.

  • Fox Business Network has spent months legitimizing toxic conspiracy theorist and Mueller target Jerome Corsi

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Fox Business Network has given disreputable conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi a prime-time platform to make bizarre and uncorroborated attacks against special counsel Robert Mueller as Mueller’s team investigates whether Corsi had inside information about the release of emails hacked by Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

    Starting in November 2018, when Corsi's legal troubles worsened, Fox Business has hosted Corsi ten times for softball interviews, giving his wild claims a veneer of legitimacy by allowing him to make them on a mainstream conservative network. (Prior to November, the last Corsi appearance on the channel listed in Nexis was in 2011; during that interview he was ridiculed over his book Where's the Birth Certificate?) Corsi and Fox Business hosts have also used his recent appearances to promote a new book he wrote.

    Corsi is a conspiracy theorist best known for serving as the driving force behind the racist “birther” conspiracy theory that targeted former President Barack Obama. He has also pushed other conspiracy theories, including the “Pizzagate” claim and those about the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich (even though he knew his claims about Rich were untrue). After working at conspiracy theory outlet WND for years, Corsi became the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Alex Jones’ Infowars in January 2017. Infowars is best known for pushing the conspiracy theories that the 9/11 terror attacks were an “inside job” and that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. According to Infowars, Corsi was fired for poor performance in June 2018.

    In September 2018, news broke that Corsi had been subpoenaed to testify before Mueller’s grand jury. According to documents he later released himself, Corsi is under investigation over whether he had prior knowledge that WikiLeaks had hacked emails before they were released during the 2016 presidential election. In November, Corsi revealed that Mueller’s team had offered him a deal to plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his WikiLeaks contacts. Corsi said he would reject the plea agreement, and he has since increasingly litigated his case through conservative media.

    Roger Stone, an associate of Corsi’s, was indicted by the special counsel’s office on January 25 on five counts of making false statements and single counts of obstructing an official proceeding and witness tampering. Corsi, who is referred to as “Person 1” in the indictment, is referenced throughout the charging document, which describes his and Stone’s efforts to work with WikiLeaks.

    Since November, Fox Business has been promoting Corsi’s outlandish public efforts to fight back against Mueller. In December, Corsi filed an ethics complaint against Mueller, and later that month, he filed a lawsuit accusing Mueller and several government agencies of violating his civil rights. On January 21, Corsi added The Washington Post to his lawsuit. Corsi is seeking more than $1 billion in damages. As his suit stands currently, Corsi is alleging that Mueller, the Post, the Department of Justice, the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency are all conspiring together to bankrupt him in order to force him to submit false testimony in the Mueller probe.

    Corsi has appeared during prime time on Fox Business ten times since November 2018, according to a search of Nexis. Nine of the appearances have occurred on Trish Regan Primetime, a major platform that has hosted Vice President Mike Pence. The other appearance was on Lou Dobbs Tonight.

    Corsi has used the appearances, all of which were friendly interviews, as a personal soap box, discussing his claims that he wasn’t involved in the WikiLeaks matter, his ethics complaint and lawsuit against Mueller and subsequent addition of The Washington Post to his lawsuit, the allegation that he was involved in a fraudulent cancer fundraising scheme, his unsubstantiated claim that he is being targeted by the Mueller probe because he believes in Jesus Christ, his unsubstantiated allegation that he is under Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance, his complaints about Mueller’s team subpoenaing his stepson, his ongoing dispute with his former employer Infowars, and to again proclaim his innocence following Stone's arrest.

    Regan often teases Corsi’s appearances as “exclusives” and Corsi has, in turn, thanked her for giving him such a big platform, saying during the December 14 edition of Trish Regan Primetime, “Your show has been of great assistance. I can't thank you enough.”

    During his appearances, Regan has taken Corsi’s unsubstantiated claims at face value and has effusively praised him, including wishing him luck in his legal travails; calling Corsi “a brave man” who is experiencing “everyone’s worst nightmare”; claiming he was targeted by Mueller because he “dared to fight back”; telling him, “You keep fighting. Dr. Corsi, keep fighting” and claiming, “Dr. Jerome Corsi is fighting back harder than ever”; and saying Corsi has “been through a lot” and has “a really amazing story of what has happened to [him] in all of this.”

    Fox Business has also served as a venue for Corsi to hawk his latest book, with Corsi and hosts encouraging viewers to buy it. During his appearance on Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs closed the segment by saying, “And again, his e-book is coming out next week. The book's title is Silent No More: How I Became a Political Prisoner of Mueller's Witch Hunt. Now, it's coming out next week as any book on Amazon. You can go to Amazon and preorder it now. We encourage you do so. We recommend it to you highly. It is quite a story.”

    Regan promoted Corsi’s book in eight out of nine of his appearances on her show. An exchange during the December 26 broadcast of Trish Regan Primetime encapsulates how Corsi is using the platform. Prompted by Regan’s suggestion that Corsi is under scrutiny because he “dared to fight back” on his Mueller lawsuit, Corsi went on a rambling diatribe about the suit and his claim that he is under FISA surveillance. Regan then prompted him to promote his book, and he was happy to oblige while assisted by an on-screen graphic:

    Fox Business -- and its sister network Fox News Channel -- previously attempted to legitimize Corsi by hosting him to push his birther conspiracy theory and related book.

  • After Roger Stone was released from custody, his first stop was The Alex Jones Show

    Stone: “There is no circumstance under which I would plead guilty to these charges. There’s no circumstance in which I would bear false witness against the president.”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    President Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone’s first media appearance following his departure from a courtroom -- where he was charged with several crimes related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation -- was on Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet, which employs Stone as a show host.

    During his appearance, Stone denied committing crimes, repeatedly promoted his legal defense fund, and promised that he would never testify against Trump.

    Stone was arrested the morning of January 25 and charged with five counts of making false statements, one count of obstructing a proceeding, and one count of witness tampering. He had been under investigation by the special counsel’s office over whether he had inside information about emails hacked by Russia and then released by WikiLeaks in the 2016 election cycle.

    Stone, who co-hosts the Infowars program War Room, gave a lengthy phone interview to Jones, which he started by saying, “I can say I’ve had greater, better moments -- better mornings, shall we say.” He went on to describe the early morning raid of his home and denied committing any crimes.

    Claiming that the special counsel’s office tried to “destroy [him] financially” to force him to plead guilty to “completely bogus” charges, Stone asked viewers to contribute to his legal defense fund. For his part, Alex Jones claimed the charges are part of an effort to “mak[e] journalism illegal.”

    Stone went on to say, “There is no circumstance under which I would plead guilty to these charges,” and added, “There’s no circumstance in which I would bear false witness against the president.” Trump previously encouraged Stone not to testify against him, leading to accusations of witness tampering.

    When Jones asked if he had a statement for Trump, Stone said, “Once again, there is no evidence of Russian collusion, WikiLeaks collaboration, and I’m not charged with doing anything inappropriate or illegal to assist in his election, even though I think I’m being persecuted for being a 40-year friend and supporter of his.”

    During a later segment, Stone again promoted his legal defense fund, claiming he will have $2 million in legal fees. There were technical difficulties on Stone’s phone line that interrupted the interview, and Jones speculated that someone might be breaking into his phone or cutting his line to silence him.

  • A Muslim community conservatives demonized for years was the target of a right-wing terror plot -- again

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Three men and one adolescent boy have been arrested for plotting a terrorist attack against Islamberg, a community in Hancock, NY, near the Catskills that was founded by African-American Muslims in the 1970s.

    This is the third time in recent years that a violent plot against the community has been uncovered. Fox News and other conservative media outlets have demonized Islamberg and its residents for years, often with the unfounded allegation that the town is a terrorist training camp. Local and federal law enforcement have repeatedly said there is no basis for claims about the town that have circulated in conservative media.

    On January 19, three men and a juvenile from East Rochester and Greece, NY, were arrested after local law enforcement uncovered a plot to attack nearby Islamberg. Authorities recovered three homemade bombs and 23 firearms during the investigation. Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan told reporters, “If they had carried out this plot, and we have every indication that was what they were going to do, people would have died.” Muslims of America (MOA), a group located in Islamberg, released a statement thanking law enforcement for foiling the plot, writing, “It is beyond tragic that our nation continues to fester with Islamophobia, hate and religious intolerance.”

    Islamberg was previously targeted for violence in 2015. Robert Doggart, a Tennessee man who plotted to “round up a militia and burn down a mosque, school and cafeteria in the upstate New York community of Islamberg” while shooting anyone who attempted to stop them, pleaded guilty to several federal charges in 2017. When the story broke in 2015, Fox News didn’t even cover it despite serving as a platform for false attacks on the town for years. Also in 2015, far-right activist Jon Ritzheimer was arrested after he “posted a video online showing himself with a gun and saying he was traveling to the town for a possible confrontation.”

    The Outline’s Gaby Del Valle published an extensive investigation into an anti-Muslim protest outside of Islamberg and the previous planned attacks on the community, noting that much of the vitriol toward the town has been driven by conservative media, particularly Fox Business host Lou Dobbs and, in recent years, members of the extremist Proud Boys group.

    In particular, Islamberg has been smeared with the claim that it serves as a guerilla training camp for terrorists. The source for this claim is Ryan Mauro of the anti-Muslim organization Clarion Project. During media appearances, Mauro often shows a video he claims depicts the women of Islamberg engaging in guerilla warfare training. The source of the video has never been corroborated. (If the individuals in the video were white, conservatives would have likely said it merely showed people exercising their Second Amendment rights.) Muhammad Matthew Gardner, the public relations director for MOA, told Del Valle, “I don’t know anything about those videos. When [Mauro’s] quoting his source, that information is garbage. Whatever they’re saying is not happening with us. It’s not.”

    Fox News has mentioned the most recent plot against Islamberg just once, during a brief January 23 headline segment on America’s Newsroom.

  • Mueller target Jerome Corsi was allegedly being paid $15,000 a month by Alex Jones’ Infowars until last week

    Corsi claims special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating payments he received from Infowars

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist who has become entangled in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, was earning $15,000 a month from Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet until last week, according to a legal complaint filed by Corsi.

    In recent weeks, Corsi has been in a protracted battle with Infowars, which employed him as the outlet’s Washington, D.C., bureau chief between January 2017 and June 2018. Beginning in September 2018, after Corsi was subpoenaed to testify before Mueller’s grand jury, Infowars took several actions that appeared to be attempts to influence Corsi’s testimony in a way favorable to Infowars host and Trump confidante Roger Stone. (Stone, like Corsi, is under investigation over whether he had foreknowledge of emails hacked by Russia and then released by WikiLeaks in the 2016 election cycle.) Then in November, as Corsi’s legal troubles worsened, Infowars turned on him, with Stone and Infowars head Alex Jones using the outlet to viciously attack Corsi as a traitor.

    To read more about the dispute between Corsi and Infowars, how Infowars suggested Corsi testify before Mueller’s grand jury, Infowars’ subsequent attacks, and how Stone and Corsi garnered Mueller’s attention in the first place, click here.

    The latest flare-up in the Infowars-Corsi dispute occurred on January 18, when Infowars.com published an article stating, “The Washington Post is set to publish a false story claiming that Jerome Corsi was hired by Infowars at the behest of Roger Stone as part of a ‘hush money’ operation and that this is a line of inquiry for the Mueller investigation into Russian collusion.” The Infowars article claimed that the outlet fired Corsi in June 2018 for poor performance and gave him six months of severance pay.

    Corsi subsequently also claimed that the money he was receiving from Infowars wasn’t a hush payment, though he alleged that he was fired just last week. Corsi’s claims came via a legal filing in which he added The Washington Post as an additional defendant in a lawsuit he filed in December against Mueller and various federal agencies; he is claiming Mueller is violating his Fourth Amendment rights and attempting to force him to lie about Trump. (Corsi is being represented in the lawsuit by crackpot attorney Larry Klayman.)

    In Corsi’s January 21 amended complaint, he says a Washington Post reporter called “to question him about information that Defendant WaPo had obtained from unspecified sources in the Office of the Special Counsel that Defendant Mueller was investigating monthly payments, which were characterized falsely and maliciously published as hush payments to Dr. Corsi so he would not provide ‘incriminating evidence,’ about Alex Jones, InfoWars and Roger Stone before Defendant Mueller and the grand jury.”

    Corsi’s complaint alleges that rather than being hush money, the payments were legitimate, but that after the Post began investigating them, “the very next day Plaintiff Corsi learned from [Alex Jones’ father and Infowars employee] Dr. David Jones that he was being terminated and would no longer be receiving $15,000 per month.” Corsi’s claim that he was terminated only last week is at odds with Infowars’ claim he was fired in June 2018 and was then paid a severance:

    The complaint goes on to allege that the defendants -- The Washington Post, Mueller, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the NSA, and the CIA -- are attempting to bankrupt Corsi in order to force him into giving false testimony to Mueller’s team:
     

    In November, Corsi shared a plea agreement from Mueller’s office that would have had Corsi plead guilty to lying to the FBI while being questioned about the WikiLeaks matter. Corsi said he rejected the agreement. On January 15, it was reported that several Corsi associates, including his stepson, had also been subpoenaed by Mueller’s team.

    Corsi, Stone, and Alex Jones are all inveterate liars and conspiracy theorists, so it is difficult to evaluate the veracity of their claims in the ongoing dispute, but the fact that Corsi is alleging in federal court that Mueller is investigating Infowars payments is an eye-popping development.

  • In an apparent bid to protect Roger Stone, Infowars has been waging a war on former employee Jerome Corsi

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet is waging a public relations campaign against its own former Washington, D.C., bureau chief Jerome Corsi, who appears to be increasingly entangled in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

    After reports surfaced on September 5 that Corsi had been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury convened by Mueller, Infowars used its website and social media account to signal how Corsi should testify. The since-suspended Infowars Twitter account tweeted on September 5, “Want to know what former InfoWars DC bureau Cheif (sic) Jerry Corsi will tell Mueller’s grand jury?” The tweet linked a 2017 Infowars article authored by Corsi that attempted to defend Donald Trump confidant and Infowars host Roger Stone -- who is also embroiled in the Mueller investigation -- against accusations that Stone was involved in the release of emails that Russian intelligence officers stole from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. The implicit suggestion of the tweet was that Corsi, a former Infowars employee, should give testimony absolving Stone, a current Infowars employee, of any wrongdoing.

    The Infowars tweet presaging Corsi’s testimony echoed a tactic employed by President Donald Trump during Mueller’s investigation. On December 3, Trump tweeted: “‘I will never testify against Trump.’ This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’”

    Trump’s public coercion of Stone raised questions about whether the tweet constituted criminal witness tampering.

    Later, as Corsi’s legal woes increased -- beginning in November when Corsi said he expected to be indicted -- Infowars turned on him and labeled him a traitor, with Stone driving the majority of attacks.

    In evaluating the conflict between Infowars and Corsi, it’s hard to know whose claims about the hacked emails to believe -- if any -- because the major players are all inveterate liars. But it's clear that after trying to play nice with Corsi, Infowars has taken out its knives.

    How Corsi and Stone got tangled in Mueller's investigation

    Corsi and Stone are both reportedly under investigation by Mueller’s team for the same reason. On October 7, 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen from Podesta just hours after news broke of a 2005 recording in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. According to U.S. intelligence agencies, the emails were hacked by individuals working on behalf of the Kremlin. Part of Mueller’s investigation is to determine if Trump associates colluded with Russia, and Corsi and Stone’s contacts with WikiLeaks in 2016 have brought them both under scrutiny. Stone, who testified about WikiLeaks before a closed session of the House Intelligence Committee in September 2017, has denied having knowledge of the hacked emails before they were released, but he has also offered an ever-changing story in public remarks about what happened in 2016. Corsi is under investigation because Mueller reportedly has emails suggesting that he served as an intermediary between Stone and Wikileaks.

    Background: Jerome Corsi and Infowars

    Corsi, a conspiracy theorist best known for driving the “birther” smear about President Barack Obama that Trump later championed, joined Infowars as the outlet’s Washington, D.C., bureau chief on January 30, 2017. Corsi had spent years working at conspiracy website WND, and he was friendly with Infowars prior to joining the outlet. (For example, a July 2015 Infowars article references an appearance Corsi made on The Alex Jones Show in support of then-candidate Trump.)

    Corsi’s role with Infowars helped the fringe outlet gain additional access within the Trump administration. In May 2017, Infowars announced that Corsi had been granted temporary credentials to attend press briefings at the White House, and controversy quickly erupted because of the outlet’s history of pushing conspiracy theories about the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting and numerous other tragedies. Sure enough, on May 22, 2017, Corsi broadcast live from an empty James S. Brady Press Briefing Room and discussed his hopes of obtaining a permanent pass. Infowars founder Alex Jones, clearly pleased with the imbroglio, told his listeners that the press pass wasn’t that important because “most of the meetings don’t happen at briefings, they happen at dinners, like he was at one with the vice president a few nights ago,” adding, “Oop, maybe I’m not supposed to say that.”

    In March 2018, when Corsi still worked at Infowars, he threw a major on-air tantrum about Mueller. Corsi was upset about reports that the FBI had recently detained and questioned Ted Malloch at the direction of Mueller’s team. Malloch, an informal Trump campaign adviser and frequent Infowars guest, was reportedly questioned about Stone and about WikiLeaks’ release of the hacked Podesta emails. (When Malloch was detained, Infowars called him an “Infowars Correspondent” in an article.)   

    Corsi repeatedly tweeted about the detention on March 28 and 29, writing that he was going to “POUND” Mueller, claiming, “MUELLER in PANIC MODE grabs Ted Malloc (sic),” and writing that he was joining an “EMERGENCY BROADCAST” on Infowars to talk about the detention. In an appearance on the March 29 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Corsi challenged Mueller to a fistfight, saying, “I'm fed up with this. I want to say to Mueller, let's go out in the backyard of the Justice Department. You got to have some -- let's duke it out. I mean, you want to behave like a thug? … Well this is what you deserve.”

    Perhaps it was Corsi who was in “PANIC MODE.” In November, it was revealed that Mueller is in possession of emails that suggest Corsi and Stone knew that WikiLeaks had Podesta’s stolen emails before they were released. Stone emailed Corsi in 2016 telling him to “get to” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and Corsi forwarded the message to Malloch before later reporting back to Stone to share what he said Assange’s future plans were.

    A January 17 Infowars article claimed that Corsi was dismissed by the outlet in June 2018 “because of his failure to adequately establish a Washington bureau, his failure to maintain White House press credentials, and his generally poor work performance.” The article further claimed that “The Washington Post is set to publish a false story claiming that Jerome Corsi was hired by Infowars at the behest of Roger Stone as part of a ‘hush money’ operation and that this is a line of inquiry for the Mueller investigation into Russian collusion.”

    Did Infowars attempt to influence Corsi’s testimony before Mueller’s grand jury?

    Infowars’ response to the September 5 report that Corsi had been compelled to testify could easily be interpreted as an attempt to influence Corsi’s dealings with Mueller’s team. The since-suspended Infowars Twitter account tweeted on September 5:

    The tweet linked to an Infowars.com article authored by Corsi and published in March 2017, which denied that Stone had anything to do with WikiLeaks’ release of hacked emails.

    Then on September 12, Infowars published a video with the headline “What Will Jerome Corsi Tell Mueller’s Grand Jury?” that teased Stone’s appearance with “Alex Jones live via Skype to discuss former Infowars Bureau Chief Dr. Jerome Corsi’s upcoming testimony before Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury.” In the video, both Jones and Stone claimed that they had not spoken to Corsi since Mueller subpoenaed him. Stone went on to say that if Corsi testified “truthfully,” it would be “entirely exculpatory” for him “because you see it was Dr. Corsi who educated me to the fact that Tony Podesta along with his brother John were deeply involved in Ukraine.” Stone’s reference to Podesta and Ukraine is an attempt to argue that his infamous August 2016 tweet that “it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel” was not a reference to having foreknowledge of the hacked emails, but instead referred to a different matter. As with the September 5 Infowars tweet, the article and video appear to pressure Corsi to testify in a certain way about Stone.

    Infowars turns on Corsi

    As Corsi’s legal troubles worsened over the following months -- on November 26, Corsi said he would reject a plea deal from Mueller, and in January, it was reported that several Corsi associates, including his stepson, had also been subpoenaed -- Infowars turned on its former Washington, D.C., bureau chief. A search of Infowars.com shows headlines about Corsi began to take on a more negative tone in November (i.e., “Explosive! Roger Stone Responds To Corsi’s Flip-Flop Concerning Working With Assange”).

    In January, Infowars has turned up the heat even more. On January 2, it published an article with the headline “Roger Stone Believes Jerome Corsi Works for Mueller,” and on January 17, it posted an article titled “Roger Stone Explains His Beef With Jerome Corsi and Larry Klayman.” The outlet also promoted a video where “Roger Stone calls out Jerome Corsi for lying about fabricating a cover story together to hide foreknowledge of Wikileaks publishing of the Podesta emails.”

    Here’s a list of all the Infowars headlines and subheads mentioning Corsi since September:

    September 2018

    [9/5/18]

    [9/12/18]

    November 2018

    [11/26/18]

    [11/27/18]

    [11/27/18]

    [11/27/18]

    [11/28/18]

    [11/28/18]

    [11/29/18]

    [11/30/18]

    January 2019

    [1/2/19]

    [1/17/19]

    Infowars broadcasts have followed a similar pattern; the January 2 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show was advertised with the tagline: “Joining today’s broadcast is Roger Stone breaking down what he calls the ‘treachery’ of Dr. Jerome Corsi.”

    Jones set up Stone’s appearance by making a number of very personal attacks on his former employee Corsi. He began by claiming that “I don’t go after Corsi with any pleasure” before saying that he fired Corsi after encountering him at a Washington, D.C., restaurant “drunk off his ass.” Jones also said that Corsi started “talking massive crap about me, Roger, everybody” at the restaurant, that Corsi is a “lunatic,” that he is “like fruit, his expiration date has hit,” and that he has no respect for Corsi.

    For his part, Stone said that Corsi “was perfectly willing to bear false witness against me on multiple points that are complete fabrications.” Jones ended the segment with a rant, screaming, “I will not sit there and watch some piece of crap Russian agent like Mueller accuse [Stone] and me of being goddamn -- I said I wouldn’t do it, lord, I apologize -- accuse me of something I haven’t done. I’m sick of it.”

    Update (1/22/19): Corsi sued The Washington Post on January 21 and alleged in a civil complaint that he had remained on the Infowars payroll until January 18, earning $15,000 a month. He claims that the payments were terminated after a Washington Post reporter made inquiries about them at Infowars.