Timothy Johnson

Author ››› Timothy Johnson
  • Days before Megyn Kelly interview airs, Alex Jones pushes more Sandy Hook conspiracy theories

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Just days before NBC is set to air an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Megyn Kelly’s new show, Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, Jones once again pushed several conspiracy theories about the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    Kelly and NBC’s decision to interview Jones has created a firestorm of controversy, with some family members of Sandy Hook victims calling for NBC to shelve the recorded interview given that Jones has pushed toxic conspiracy theories about the shooting that spurred some of his followers to harass the families. Page Six reported that following harsh criticism of the decision to give Jones a platform, Kelly invited Sandy Hook families to be interviewed for the episode as well.

    During the June 15 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Jones promoted several conspiracy theories that he and others have previously used to deny that the tragedy ever happened.

    Citing the U.S. government’s use of misinformation to justify wars in the Middle East, Jones said, “If they’ll do that, then am I supposed to question Sandy Hook when it happens and they’ve got the kids going in circles in and out of the building, and they don’t call the rescue helicopters, and then instead an hour later there’s port-a-potties and food being delivered and PR firms are there and Anderson Cooper says he’s on location but he’s clearly faking the location.”

    It should go without saying that Jones’ claims about the shooting that took 26 lives are false.

    On his show, Jones continued to lie about what he has said about the Sandy Hook tragedy in the past, saying he has “looked at every angle of” the shooting and claiming that he has said previously, “It could have been totally true, could have been totally fake.” (In recent months, Jones has repeatedly claimed he was merely playing “devil’s advocate” when commenting on the shooting.)

    As Media Matters documented, in the years following the tragedy, Jones definitively stated on several occasions that the shooting did not happen. In 2014, for example, Jones said, “It took me about a year with Sandy Hook to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake.”

    Jones has been lying about his past comments on Sandy Hook since his statements started drawing heightened scrutiny following his claim after the 2016 election that President Donald Trump would soon appear on his show. (Trump appeared on Jones show in 2015 and praised the conspiracy theorist’s “amazing” reputation.)

    Kelly’s interview is set to air June 18 at 7 p.m. EST.

    Jones’ June 15 comments on Sandy Hook:

    ALEX JONES (HOST): It is a fact that on the eve of the Gulf War in 1990 a PR firm was hired, and the daughter of the owner of the PR firm, who’d never been to Kuwait and who spoke fluent English and had been brought up in the U.S., went and testified to seeing Iraqi soldiers ripping babies out of incubators and bashing their brains out by the hundreds. This was used as the pretext to launch that war that was meant to legitimize the U.N. as a global government body and bring in a new world order as George Herbert Walker Bush said, or Bush 41. Now, if criminal elements of our government will do something like that to launch now three wars in the Middle East, back radical jihadists to take over Iraq, Syria, Libya, other areas, overthrow our allies in Egypt, kill millions of people, starve millions more, and have Madeline Albright, Clinton’s secretary of state, say a half-million kids is an OK price to pay -- in fact, let’s cue that up. If they’ll do that, then am I supposed to question Sandy Hook when it happens and they’ve got the kids going in circles in and out of the building, and they don’t call the rescue helicopters, and then instead an hour later there’s port-a-potties and food being delivered and PR firms are there and Anderson Cooper says he’s on location but he’s clearly faking the location. We looked at every angle of that. And so they’ve now misrepresented what we’ve said, that I said it could have been totally true, could have been totally fake. I didn’t progenerate. I didn’t create. I wasn't the fount of that. The things that I am the fountain of, I’ll tell you. 1776 worldwide. Rebooting America. Nationalism.

  • Here is exactly what Alex Jones has said about the Sandy Hook massacre

    Jones on Sandy Hook: “Staged,” “inside job,” “undoubtedly there’s a cover-up,” “giant hoax,” “the whole thing was fake,” “in my view, manufactured”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is calling for his upcoming interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly not to air because he says Kelly misrepresented his views on the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

    A short promotional video released by Kelly on June 11 showed Jones attempting to obfuscate and spin his past statements about Sandy Hook, with the prominent conspiracy theorist and ally of President Donald Trump calling Sandy Hook “complex,” claiming he has advocated both for and against concluding that the shooting actually happened, and claiming he “looked at all the angles.”

    Following the release of this promo, Jones wrote on Twitter, “I'm calling for @megynkelly to cancel the airing of our interview for misrepresenting my views on Sandy Hook.” Jones’ tweet included a link to a 40-minute video in which he complained about the interview. The interview is scheduled to air June 18.

    While we don’t know how the Sandy Hook exchange will play out in the full interview, what can be proved is that Jones is a liar who -- since developing a high profile during the 2016 election -- has attempted to sanitize his definitive past claims that the shooting was a “hoax.”

    In 2013, Jones called the shooting “staged” and said, “It’s got inside job written all over it.”

    In March 2014, Jones said, “I’ve looked at it and undoubtedly there’s a cover-up, there’s actors, they’re manipulating, they’ve been caught lying, and they were pre-planning before it and rolled out with it.”

    In December 2014, Jones said on his radio program, “The whole thing is a giant hoax.”

    Jones continued: “The general public doesn’t know the school was actually closed the year before. They don’t know they’ve sealed it all, demolished the building. They don’t know that they had the kids going in circles in and out of the building as a photo-op. Blue screen, green screens, they got caught using.”

    Making it clear he didn’t view the occurrence of the shooting as an open question, Jones explicitly said that the Obama administration was behind the shooting, noting, “It took me about a year with Sandy Hook to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake.”

    Jones made similar comments the following January, saying the shooting was “a synthetic, completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are that they clearly used actors.”

    In July 2015, Jones said cast doubt on whether children were actually killed during the shooting, before citing prominent Sandy Hook hoaxer Wolfgang Halbig.

    Jones began to spin his past Sandy Hook statements in earnest following the victory of Donald Trump as his past statements came under increased scrutiny because of his association with Trump and his claim that the new president would appear on his show in the near future.

    Despite his recent contradictory claims about the shooting, Jones continues to make statements that fuel Sandy Hook conspiracy theories.

    Here are some headlines that advance Sandy Hook conspiracy theories that are still active on Jones’ website, Infowars.com:

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]
     

    [Infowars.com, accessed 6/13/17]

  • Alex Jones melts down after being interviewed by Megyn Kelly

    Jones on Kelly: “Not feminine -- cold, robotic, dead. I felt zero attraction to Megyn Kelly”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Prominent conspiracy theorist and President Donald Trump ally Alex Jones is lashing out after being interviewed by Megyn Kelly for an episode of NBC’s Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. Following Tuesday’s interview taping, Jones is now suggesting Kelly is aligned with the “New World Order” globalist conspiracy theory, complaining that she is producing a “fake news” piece about him, and declaring that she is “not feminine” but is “cold, robotic, dead.

    Kelly visited Jones at his Austin, TX, studios Tuesday to conduct an interview with him for an upcoming episode of her show.

    At the top of the June 7 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Jones declared Kelly’s interview of him to be “fake news” and said of the show’s producer: “I felt like the lady that’s the lead producer -- nice southern belle lady, older lady -- is like somebody that leads you to the gas chamber, or to the hangman’s noose, or to the electric chair. They comfort you, give you your last meal.”

    Jones continued complaining about the interview later in the show, suggesting that Kelly is associated with the “New World Order” conspiracy theory and claiming that she “was kind of snickering about world government and forced population control.”

    He suggested that Kelly is a “sociopath” or “psychopath,” and also said Kelly is “not feminine” but instead is “cold, robotic, dead.” He added, “I felt zero attraction to Megyn Kelly.”

    Prior to conducting the interview, Kelly visited Jones’ studio to observe him as he broadcast the June 6 edition of his program. Jones paused his conversation with a guest to speak with Kelly about her show and their upcoming interview. During an exchange about whether Kelly will interview Trump, Jones asked her whether she would sit in Trump’s lap, to which Kelly responded, “Move on.” Jones also said, “I got to say, she’s prettier in person.” Kelly responded, “I never know whether that’s a compliment or not in my line of work.”

    Over the past few weeks, Jones has repeatedly made lewd comments about Kelly. During his May 15 broadcast, Jones said Kelly “thinks I’m a Texas hillbilly and that a hot woman telling me how much she wants to interview me and how she’s obsessed with me will get me to talk to her. And even though I know it was B.S., it still works, so I’m going to be doing the interview.”

    He then repeatedly asked his guest co-host whether he should “put her over my knee” during the interview, later adding that he was talking about how he’d “put her over my knee politically,” and said, “Can we put [the late model] Betty Page on screen please, putting a girl over her knee?” He that he was “trolling” because “I can’t help it. I can say anything I want and it’s all over the news the next day.”

    Jones again made lewd comments about Kelly during his May 31 broadcast, saying, “Megyn Kelly’s coming next week. I want Kathy Griffin, me, and Megyn Kelly to oil wrestle next week on air.” Seconds later he said, “I’m just challenging Megyn Kelly and Kathy Griffin to a boxing match -- I’ll take both of them on,” explaining that he was trying to allude to comedian Andy Kaufman, who wrestled women.

    No air date has been announced for Jones’ interview. This week, Kelly’s show will air an interview with sportscaster Erin Andrews.

    More transcript of Jones’ complaints about Kelly:

    ALEX JONES (HOST): When we do the right thing, we join our ancestors in the great quest. In God’s great plan. The “New World Order” will fail. It will fall. All of these arrogant sellouts that serve the globalist program will be punished in this life. They all lie to themselves and think they’re part of the power elite. I told Megyn Kelly last night while she was kind of snickering about world government and forced population control. I said pediatric cancers are up over 10,000 percent. Fifty years ago, a doctor would fly across the country to see a child with cancer. Now you go to the mall, to your left, to your right, the kids have got their shaved heads, they’ve got their brain surgery marks all over them. I mean, I was in one restaurant and there was four kids you could tell had brain surgery stumbling around with their motor functions hacked in half from whatever hellish testing they’d gone through -- poor little babies.

    And I said, “Surely, surely by the time you’re an old woman, most of your family will be dead from cancer.” And I said, “Your children are going to die of cancer.” And the people around were like, “Whoa.” Her crew, she had a big -- they were like “Whoa, can we spin that? Like he’s hoping they die of cancer?” And I said, “I’m not hoping they die of cancer.” But I said, “Surely, know that if it’s 10,000-plus percent now -- and that’s an old number -- it’s going to be 20-, 30,000, 40,000 percent just the next few decades, it’s estimated. And it’s going to kill your children, Megyn. You’re going to outlive your children, Megyn. And I’ve got children on this planet too as well and I want to reverse this, so you think about working for those psychopaths.”

    Go ahead and show some pictures of her. You think about working for the “New World Order” long and hard. And everybody at Media Matters and all the rest of you, you think about that. Because you can have that painted-on Joker smile all you want. And those lawyer sociopath eyes. But at the end of the day, I’ve spoken the truth, and I’ve warned you, and I’ve laid out the facts. Because I have basic humanity. And I know that’s not the trendy mainline culture that’s pushed -- and I’m not even singling Megyn Kelly out and saying she’s the end-all, be-all of evil.

    But not feminine -- cold, robotic, dead. I felt zero attraction to Megyn Kelly. That’s not an insult to Megyn Kelly. I talked to a lot of other folks that know her, they said, “No, it’s the same.” Because you’re dealing with -- sociopath? A psychopath? I don’t know.

    But I wanted to see it for myself. The girl next door sitting there with the toad creature [Alex Jones]. And again, she can come off like the sweetest, nicest person. She told me point blank in a long phone conversation that she wasn’t going to get into the things and wasn’t going to focus on the things that I knew she was coming for. And then for 90 minutes -- that was the last interview of three yesterday -- she did everything she said she wouldn’t in spades. And I knew that from before she ever came. But I wanted to see it for myself. And so that we could all see it for ourselves as well and experience what it is to serve the force that is strangling this country.

  • Alex Jones on supposed upcoming interview with "hot woman" Megyn Kelly: "Should I put her over my knee?"

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON & ERIC HANANOKI

    Alex Jones’ website Infowars is promoting a video that says he will participate in an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly this week. Kelly, formerly of Fox News, is now the host of NBC’s Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly. The show premiered June 4.

    Jones, the host of The Alex Jones Show, has been discussing his purported interactions with Kelly and her producers for several weeks on his daily program, often while making lewd comments about Kelly, including saying he should “oil wrestle” with her. Jones has also claimed that Kelly assured him he would “like” the interview and that it wouldn’t be a “hit piece,” but Jones thinks she was misleading him just to secure the on-camera talk.

    Politico media reporter Hadas Gold reported that NBC declined to comment on whether the interview will take place. Jones said on the June 5 broadcast of his show that Kelly will interview him Tuesday evening.

    Jones’ sexist comments aside, if the interview does happen, it will give Kelly an opportunity to attempt to hold Jones accountable for the many toxic conspiracy theories he has pushed -- and the violent language and anti-LGBT slurs he often uses when attacking his opponents.

    Will Kelly hold Jones accountable for his past claims?

    In one conversation about the supposed Kelly interview, Jones’ Infowars cohort Roger Stone advised Jones to do the interview because it could afford him an opportunity to “break through to the mainstream.” Given Kelly's prominent new role on NBC News, there are countless issues she can press Jones on to make sure the audience doesn’t come away with the impression he is anything other than a toxic conspiracy theorist.

    Jones has claimed that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, was a “giant hoax,” saying that “the whole thing was fake.” He has claimed that that the shooting was “completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured,” adding, “I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors.” He has also mocked the grief of the victims’ families and smeared the parents as actors who “do the hyperventilating to cry to go on TV.”

    The families of the Sandy Hook tragedy have criticized Jones for his horrific remarks and spoken about “the hateful fictions that he spews.”

    For years, Jones has claimed that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” by the federal government and that Osama bin Laden was “a CIA asset” and “a CIA hireling doing his job” for the government.

    Jones has also pushed conspiracy theories about other tragedies. He alleged the Oklahoma City bombing was a “staged event” by “criminals in Washington” to get sympathy to pass President Clinton’s policy agenda. He claimed mass shootings in Aurora, CO; Columbine, CO; Tucson, AZ; San Bernardino, CA; and Orlando, FL, were “false flag” events. And Jones said the Boston Marathon bombing was “staged” and the bombers were “recruited by globalist intelligence agencies and set up horribly.”

    Jones has also repeatedly bragged about his communications with President Donald Trump both before and after his election. And Trump has repeatedly pushed ideas and rhetoric that have been tied back to Jones. 

    He has also launched sexist and anti-LGBTQ attacks, and used violent rhetoric against his perceived adversaries. Jones said in late March that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) “looks like the archetypal cocksucker” and a “fairy” and then said to him about any claims that Jones is colluding with the Russians: “You get in my face with that I’ll beat your goddamn ass, you son of a bitch. You piece of shit. ... Fill your hand.” He later claimed that his threat was just an “art performance.”

    Jones previewed his interview with Kelly by making lewd comments about her

    On his show, Jones has repeatedly discussed the possibility of participating in an interview with Kelly.

    He first raised the possibility during his May 15 broadcast. Jones said that Kelly called him and promised him he would “like” the outcome of the interview, but he also expressed skepticism that the interview was a setup:

    ALEX JONES: She’s a really smart lady, a good-looking lady. And she’s sitting there going, "You’re number one on my list. Alex, I’m kind of obsessed with you." Oh I’m sorry -- this is off record. "Alex, I’ve got to have this interview, Alex." And, "We’re going to do this interview, Alex, and it’s going to happen, and it’s going to be good, and you’re going to like it, and I pledge to you it’s going to be real, and I’m going to let you talk and this isn’t a hit piece, Alex.” And I’m going to stop right there because the rest is off record. But I was just like even though I knew I was being sold by the greatest used car salesman on earth, I thought P.T. Barnum had been reincarnated right in front of me. I wanted just the experience of her coming to Austin.

    Moments later in the broadcast, Jones made sexual comments about Kelly. He first said, Kelly “thinks I’m a Texas hillbilly and that a hot woman telling me how much she wants to interview me and how she’s obsessed with me will get me to talk to her. And even though I know it was BS, it still worked, so I’m going to be doing the interview.”

    He then repeatedly asked Stone whether he should “put her over my knee,” later adding he was talking about “putting her over my knee politically,” and said, “Can we put [the late model] Betty Page on screen please, putting a girl over her knee?” He said that those comments were “trolling” because “I can’t help it. I can say anything I want and it’s all over the news the next day.”

    Jones again made lewd comments about Kelly during his May 31 broadcast, saying, “Megyn Kelly’s coming next week. I want Kathy Griffin, me, and Megyn Kelly to oil wrestle next week on air.” Seconds later he said, “I’m just challenging Megyn Kelly and Kathy Griffin to a boxing match -- I’ll take both of them on,” explaining that he was trying to allude to comedian Andy Kaufman, who wrestled women.

  • Alex Jones hosts Maxine Waters challenger and uses vile commentary to boost his campaign

    While hosting Omar Navarro, Jones says of Waters, “I think she’s hot. I’m into necrophilia”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones hosted GOP congressional candidate Omar Navarro on his show and used the segment to make vile comments about the incumbent he’s challenging, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), including saying, “I think she’s hot. I’m into necrophilia.”

    Navarro, a traffic commissioner for Torrance, CA, is a declared candidate for the 2018 race for California’s 43rd congressional district, which is currently represented by Waters. Navarro was also the GOP challenger to Waters in the 2016 congressional elections.  

    Jones leveled numerous insults against Waters during Navarro’s appearance including calling her a “gangster,” “one of the most deadly swamp creatures ever seen,” “a flailing octopus creature,” and a “literal mummy they drug out of some type of frozen animation.” He claimed Waters’ “wig identifies as a millennial,” and said, “I think she’s hot. I’m into necrophilia.” (Seconds after Jones’ “necrophilia” comment, Navarro invited Jones and his co-host Owen Shroyer to visit him in California.)

    While Navarro was on the program, Jones also attacked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), saying, “She’s injecting growth hormone with a turkey baster. She’s got like a body of an 18-year-old. You can tell she’s got this shriveled brain.” Jones also used anti-LGBT slurs when talking about comedian Kathy Griffin, who caused controversy by releasing a distasteful image depicting her holding President Donald Trump’s severed head. Jones said, “Kathy Griffin. I’m not against trannies, but literally this woman looks like a tranny. ... Pretty hot tranny actually.”

    During the appearance, Jones also pantomimed having a seizure before asking Navarro about Hillary Clinton. (During the campaign, Jones and his outlet Infowars pushed conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health.)

    Beyond his attacks on Waters and others, Jones used the appearance to hype Navarro’s candidacy, saying, “Tell folks about your websites, your Twitter, your Facebook, how we support you. A real winner,” asking Navarro to tell listeners how to “help you win 100 percent,” and calling him “a patriot” and “the type of guy we need to put in Congress.” Navarro pitched his candidacy, read out the web addresses of his social media accounts, asked people to volunteer and give money, and told listeners, “If people really want to take a jab at Maxine Waters and everything she’s saying against President Trump, donate to my campaign.”

    Jones frequently attacks Waters, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump. Last month, Jones called Waters an “idiot,” a “dumb witch,” and said, “she’s the enemy of America -- not Putin.”

    Jones has pushed many noxious conspiracy theories, including about tragedies such as the 9/11 attacks, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Boston Marathon bombing, and Oklahoma City bombing. A staunch supporter of Trump’s candidacy, Jones has said that he has communicated with the president and offered him advice. Recently, Jones caused outrage after criticizing the “liberal trendies” who were victims of the Manchester, England, suicide bombing, saying the victims are “the same people -- god love them -- on average who are promoting open borders, bringing Islamists in.”

  • Kushner's proposal for secret communications with Russia alarms former intelligence officials; right-wing media shrug

    Former acting CIA director on Kushner’s “bizarre” conduct: “It’s a proposed secret channel through the government that is probably the most active government in the world in carrying out espionage against the United States”

    ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    While former national security and intelligence officials expressed alarm over reports that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner proposed using Russian diplomatic facilities to set up a secret communications channel with the Kremlin during the presidential transition period, conservative media figures attempted to downplay the major news story by drawing inaccurate comparisons to back-channel situations from previous administrations.

  • Alex Jones’ website Infowars broadcasts from the White House press briefing room

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON & ERIC HANANOKI

    Conspiracy website Infowars’ Washington bureau chief, Jerome Corsi, conducted a live broadcast from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the White House, telling viewers that Infowars had obtained a temporary pass and was working to obtain permanent White House press credentials.

    Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones operates Infowars, a disreputable outlet that has pushed conspiracy theories about tragedies such as the 9/11 attacks, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Boston Marathon bombing, and Oklahoma City bombing. The site also posts false information in support of Trump, and it promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory. Jones has said that he communicates with President Donald Trump and offers him advice.

    The outlet hired Corsi in January. Corsi has made a living pushing false conspiracy theories, including the claim that former President Barack Obama has a fake birth certificate, which he was instrumental in spreading.

    During the livestream, Corsi discussed an embargoed budget document and then used an iPad to give viewers a tour of the nearly empty briefing room.

    Corsi said that Infowars does not yet have permanent press credentials but that he wanted to emphasize that the site had obtained a temporary pass and was able to physically broadcast from the White House.

    While giving the tour, Corsi added, “We’re here. I think that makes clear we’re going to get press credentials and we’ll do what we need to do to get here on a regular basis to get permanent press credentials.” He signed off by saying, “Let’s kind of end this now by just saying we’re here, we’re going to get more established as we go along, and I’m very, very pleased to have made this step today.”

    Earlier today, Corsi wrote on Twitter, “Jerome Corsi, Washington Bureau Chief, http://Infowars.com. We have WH PRESS CREDENTIALS. I'm in WH May 22, 2017”:

    An accompanying Infowars article said that the outlet delivered “an epic blow to the mainstream media’s control of the narrative” by gaining access to White House press briefings and that “Alex Jones may even attend some White House press briefings in person.”

    Earlier this month, Jones announced that Infowars had been granted a weekly press pass to the White House and was working “very hard” to get permanent credentials. In January, Jones claimed that his site had been offered a White House press credential. The White House press office denied the claim. Jones later claimed he meant that Infowars “can get them if we want them, guaranteed.”

    Infowars’ access means yet another dishonest, far-right entity is in the press room.

    Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) wrote on Twitter that Corsi’s presence in the White House made him want to “throw up” given Infowars’ ongoing role in promoting conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook shooting:

  • Law School Dean: Trump's Comey Actions “Are Evidence Of Obstruction Of Justice”

    Legal Experts See A Potentially Impeachable Offense In Trump's Comey Conduct

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP & TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Congress could consider actions taken by President Donald Trump regarding former FBI Director James Comey to constitute obstruction of justice warranting impeachment, legal experts tell Media Matters.

    Trump has been embroiled in controversy over his firing of Comey, who was leading an FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.

    On May 16, The New York Times published a bombshell report stating that “President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.”

    The memo purports that Trump said to Comey, “I hope you can let this go.”

    Last week, Trump himself admitted to NBC’s Lester Holt that when he was deciding whether to fire Comey, he was thinking about “this Russia thing,” which he declared a “made-up story.”

    Trump’s conservative media allies -- especially those on Fox News -- have been defending and excusing the president’s actions, arguing that Trump did nothing wrong and ridiculing journalists for supposedly overreacting.

    While right-wing media are trying to convince people that what Trump did is no big deal, experts disagree.

    Legal scholars who spoke to Media Matters explained that impeachment of a president is a political matter. While a federal statute exists defining obstruction of justice, it would be up to Congress to decide whether Trump’s alleged obstruction of the Russia investigation warrants impeachment as a “high crime or misdemeanor,” of which there is “no settled definition.” (Both Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were charged by Congress with obstruction of justice during impeachment proceedings.)

    Legal experts told Media Matters that Trump’s conduct could be seen by Congress as obstruction of justice, and Congress could impeach Trump on those grounds.

    Erwin Chemerinsky, the newly named dean of Berkeley Law, told Media Matters via email that Trump’s actions “are evidence of obstruction of justice” and that the current situation is “very comparable to what caused Nixon to resign.”

    “Obstruction of justice occurs when one ‘obstructs, influences or impedes any official proceeding.’ I think that this warrants a thorough investigation. Certainly a felony is a basis for impeachment. Whether the majority of the House will vote articles of impeachment is a different question,” Chemerinsky added.

    Victoria Nourse, a Georgetown University Law Center (GULC) professor and former Obama nominee to the Seventh Circuit, said via email that both actions taken by Trump vis-a-vis Comey could be seen by Congress as obstruction of justice and that those actions could serve as grounds for impeachment.

    Regarding Trump’s reported request for Comey to “let it go” concerning the investigation of Flynn, Nourse said, “Of course, in a criminal case, you would have to show POTUS had the ‘intent’ to obstruct, but his own words are making that easier every day.”

    “The opposition will deny it, but it’s hard to understand what he meant by ‘letting’ the investigation ‘go’ ... if he did not mean to end it. Perhaps the Comey memo will reveal more.”

    John Dean, Nixon’s White House counsel, explained that recent comments by Trump could be seen as obstruction of justice because Trump “explained his state of mind with Lester Holt when he fired [Comey], that this was a phony investigation.”

    Asked whether this conduct could be impeachable, Dean responded, “It is, historically. You can make the case that Nixon was impeached for impeding the FBI inquiry into Watergate.” He added, “It is kind of a direct parallel, having the CIA go to the FBI and tell them to shut down is just a little more indirect than Trump saying can you not investigate Flynn, which is the import of that message when he and Comey are speaking.”

    David Pozen, a professor of law at Columbia Law School, told Media Matters that if the “serious charges” against Trump “are correct, they look like plausible violations of the president’s Constitutional oath and therefore impeachable offenses.” He added, “But it depends on the facts and, realistically, it depends on the politics.”

    Stressing that “impeachment is not a matter decided by judges, it is a political matter decided by representatives,” constitutional law professor Louis Michael Seidman at GULC told Media Matters, “It seems entirely possible that [Trump] made the advance to Comey and fired him because he wanted to stop the investigation because he was afraid of what it would turn up.”

    “If that were true, then it would be obstruction of justice,” he concluded.

  • After Trump Gave Russia Classified Intel, Roger Stone Offers Multiple Assurances Of The President's Mental State

    Stone Says He Has Spoken To Trump Recently And The President Is “Perfectly Sane,” “Sharp As A Tack,” And “A Genius”

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Following The Washington Post’s bombshell report that President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials, longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone offered several reassurances of Trump’s mental state, saying the president is “perfectly sane” and that “he’s not crazy; he’s a genius.”

    According to a May 15 report from the Post, “President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.” The Post’s reporting that Trump shared classified information has been confirmed by The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and Reuters.

    Following these reports, Stone appeared in three videos for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars outlet during the evening of May 15, where in each instance he said he had spoken with Trump “recently” before offering assurances about Trump’s mental state. Stone cast the Post story as part of a "major media thrust" to "destabilize" the president and portray him as mentally unfit for office.

    Stone has had a relationship with Trump for at least three decades and worked as a paid consultant to his campaign in 2015. He recently began marketing “opportunities” for advertisers based on his access to the president.

    In the first video, which was posted to Alex Jones’ YouTube channel, Stone said, “I've spoken to the president in recent days. He is perfectly sane, he is upbeat, he is combative, he has no intention of folding for the globalists, and that I can assure you.”

    ROGER STONE: To get back to the main point, this is a major media thrust, an attack on the president to further destabilize him. It is not coincidental that there is a video up today accusing the president of having Alzheimer’s and making the case that he is non compos mentis [not of sound mind]. This is the next big wave that they intend to put out there. Well, I've spoken to the president in recent days. He is perfectly sane, he is upbeat, he is combative, he has no intention to folding for the globalists, and that I can assure you.

    Stone and Jones then posted a “clean” second video where both men went through talking points nearly identical to those found in the first video. In this video, Stone said, “I've spoken to the president in recent days. He is the same as he was 40 years ago. He is resilient, he is optimistic, he is upbeat, and he is not going to be undone by the Washington quislings and the establishment stooges around him.” He also accused national security adviser H.R. McMaster of being the source for the Post’s story:

    ROGER STONE: It's not incidental that we have a video up now on the Internet claiming that the president is suffering from Alzheimer’s. I predict to you this will be the next wave of fake news -- that the president is ill on the basis of a disease. I've spoken to the president in recent days. He is the same as he was 40 years ago. He is resilient, he is optimistic, he is upbeat, and he is not going to be undone by the Washington quislings and the establishment stooges around him. If you look at it on the basis of motive and you look at everyone who was in the meeting, all fingers point to [H.R.] McMaster -- he’s the only one with the plausible motive. It's not in Reince Priebus' interest. It's not in Rex Tillerson's interest. It's certainly not in the Russians’ interests. The leak came from McMaster.

    In a third video, also shot that evening, Stone said, “I've talked to the president fairly recently -- he is sharp as a tack. There is no evidence of any deterioration in his thought process.” Expressing concern that Trump could be removed from office via the 25th Amendment, Stone added, “Look at his record on the economy, look at his appointment to the Supreme Court, look at the way he has the Chinese doing our dirty work in North Korea, and you will see he’s not crazy; he’s a genius”:

    ROGER STONE:  Disclaimer right up front. They're going to say that this is a conspiracy theory, but it's the Stone cold truth. They are going to claim that Donald Trump has Alzheimer’s and that it is progressive and that is progressing and that is the source of his "insanity." I've talked to the president fairly recently -- he is sharp as a tack. There is no evidence of any deterioration in his thought process. This is completely bogus. But under the 25th Amendment, if a majority of the cabinet plus the vice president agree that the president is incapacitated, well then he is removed. And if he seeks to fight the charges, it goes to the U.S. House of Representatives, where erosion among Republicans could destroy the Trump presidency. This is bogus. They could not beat him at the ballot box, so now they seek to remove him by claiming that he's insane. Look at his record on the economy, look at his appointment to the Supreme Court, look at the way he has the Chinese doing our dirty work in North Korea, and you will see he’s not crazy; he’s a genius.

  • Terrorists Have Praised The Gun Show Loophole, And A Furious NRA Now Has A Conspiracy Theory Why

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    The National Rifle Association's news outlet is pushing a conspiracy theory that alleges ISIS is attempting to “freak liberals out” so that they pass more restrictive gun laws, allowing the terror group to “disarm its enemy, then wage war.”

    The basis of this claim is a distortion of recent news reports about an ISIS magazine piece. The magazine, Rumiyah, urged its followers to buy firearms from private sellers at gun shows and online who, in many states, are not required to perform background checks on their customers.

    The Washington Post reported earlier this month that “in the most recent issue of Rumiyah, its glossy multilingual propaganda magazine, the Islamic State encouraged recruits in the United States to take advantage of laws that allow people to buy firearms without having to present identification or submit to background checks. Recruits should seek out gun shows and online sales in particular, said the write-up in the magazine, which was released Thursday.”

    The Post quoted the terror group’s magazine as saying, “In most U.S. states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales -- by way of private dealers -- with no background checks, and without requiring either an ID or a gun license”:

    “The acquisition of firearms can be very simple depending on one’s geographical location,” the piece read. “In most U.S. states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales — by way of private dealers — with no background checks, and without requiring either an ID or a gun license.”

    “With approximately 5,000 gun shows taking place annually within the United States,” it added, “the acquisition of firearms becomes a very easy matter.”

    A caption under a photo of what appeared to be a gun show read: “Gun conventions represent an easier means of arming oneself for an attack.”

    The exhortation by this ISIS magazine echoes similar calls in recent years from Al Qaeda.

    According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 32 states have no legislation going beyond federal background check requirements, meaning that individuals otherwise prohibited by law from buying guns can make purchases through private sellers at gun shows and in other locations without a background check. This state of affairs is commonly called the “gun show loophole” or “private sales loophole.”

    In 2013, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the NRA used falsehoods to orchestrate the defeat of modest federal background check legislation that would have required background checks for all sales at gun shows and over the internet.

    NRATV program Stinchfield, which offers lives news updates at the top of the hour on weekdays, twisted reporting on the ISIS magazine article into a nonsensical conspiracy theory.

    During a May 12 broadcast, host Grant Stinchfield falsely claimed that “in a recent piece in ISIS’ online magazine, they go all out for gun control” and that “ISIS all but calls for liberals to shut down the so-called gun show loophole.” But the magazine did the opposite. Instead of calling for more gun laws, it called for current gun laws to be exploited.

    In Stinchfield’s evidence-free theory, the magazine’s supposed call for restrictive gun laws would then be used to “scare the left into issuing a call for more gun control,” allowing ISIS to “disarm its enemy, then wage war.”

    There is another obvious reason Stinchfield’s theory doesn’t make any sense: Closing the “gun show loophole” wouldn’t disarm legal gun owners. “Gun show loophole” legislation instead merely requires that potential gun owners be checked against the background check system to ensure that they are not felons, convicted domestic abusers, or other prohibited persons. Current Supreme Court precedent says the Second Amendment guarantees the right of law-abiding Americans to keep a gun in the home for the purpose of self-defense.

    The NRA is very sensitive to calls by terror groups to exploit loopholes in gun laws that the NRA fights to keep open. In 2013, an NRA News program smeared BuzzFeed as “approvingly citing Al Qaeda” merely because the site reported on the existence of an Al Qaeda video that called for supporters to exploit loopholes in U.S. gun laws.

    From the May 12 broadcast of Stinchfield:

    GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): The New York Daily News is a left-wing rag, a tabloid that now takes its cues from not just liberals, but from ISIS. Yes, ISIS is pushing for more gun control in America, yet the Daily News, The New York Times, and The Washington Post are all blinded to see that as they’re being used as terror pawns.

    Of course ISIS wants gun control. Disarm its enemy, then wage war. In a recent piece in ISIS’ online magazine, they go all out for gun control. ISIS all but calls for liberals to shut down the so-called gun show loophole. How do they do it? By urging ISIS supporters to buy guns at gun shows. ISIS knows the call to do that would freak liberals out. So those liberals would push for more gun control.

    Now you and I know there is no such thing as a gun show loophole. It’s a scare tactic created by the anti-gunners to limit your rights to keep and bear arms. ISIS issues this calling not just to arm jihadists, but to scare the left into issuing a call for more gun control, and that’s exactly what these liberal papers are now doing. They fell for the terror trap. It’s bias by omission and it’s deception at its worst.