Karl Rove: No Labels could decide 'who loses' 2024 election

The Lincoln Project's Rick Wilson, a Never Trump conservative and former GOP strategist who is rooting for President Joe Biden in the 2024 election, has been slamming the No Labels movement as a recipe for disaster. A No Labels candidate, Wilson warns, could take enough votes away from Biden to put Donald Trump back in the White House in 2025.

Wilson isn't the only conservative who views No Labels as a possible spoiler. Veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove, during a Fox News appearance, argued that a third-party candidate could, in fact, have that effect in 2024.

Rove told a "Fox News Sunday" panel, "Third parties typically don't have any impact in winning an election, but they have an impact on deciding who loses the election. Think about it: We had a big personality in Ross Perot. He got 19 percent of the vote, nothing in the Electoral College."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Rove added, "The last two (third-party) candidates to get votes in the Electoral College were 1968 George Wallace and Strom Thurmond in 1948, both of them explicit racists running to oppose desegregation."

READ MORE:Former Trump megadonor joins No Labels leadership

Watch the full video below or at this link.

Kevin McCarthy could suffer the 'same fate' as Newt Gingrich — here's how

In a Friday, September 22 op-ed published by Truthout, University of California at Davis lecturer and columnist Sasha Abramsky argues that "it's hard to see, given current polling on the issue," how the GOP's attempt to impeach President Joe Biden "will meaningfully hurt him," and that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) political reputation could plummet the way ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich's did in the 1990s during ex-President Bill Clinton's presidency.

The columnist writes:

When [investigative counsel Kenneth] Starr's office discovered that Clinton had sexual relations with [ex-White House intern Monica] Lewinsky, and when Clinton subsequently dissembled in answering intimate questions about his sex life, Gingrich pounced, with the House voting to open an impeachment inquiry in the early fall of 1998. Two months later, after a 14-hour debate, the House voted in favor of articles of impeachment against the president.

By then, however, the public had grown restive, wanting Congress to focus on issues other than what the majority of voters came to see as fishing expeditions against the president. In the midterm elections, which were held one month into the impeachment inquiry, the Republicans underperformed: Although they clung onto their majority, the party lost enough seats to render Gingrich's job untenable. Soon afterward, he lost the speakership. In February 1999, after a short trial, the Senate voted not to convict Clinton on the two articles of impeachment the House had delivered to them. When he left office, two years later, Clinton's popularity rating was a stunning 66 percent, the highest of any outgoing president since Harry Truman.

Abramsky then notes, "A quarter century on, the GOP is engaged in a similar fishing expedition against President Biden, and "it's somewhat easier to see how McCarthy's speakership might end up suffering much the same fate as did Gingrich's in the late '90s."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

He adds, "Only 8 percent of voters have a very favorable opinion of McCarthy, and another 22 percent have a somewhat favorable view of him. The remaining 70 percent either dislike the man or, despite his being second in line to the presidency after Vice President Kamala Harris, don't know enough about him to have an opinion."

Abramsky emphasizes, "History contains a salutary lesson for McCarthy as to how this could all potentially go terribly wrong for him."

Abramsky's full op-ed is available at this link.

'Very scary': Ex-Watergate prosecutor explains how a fair trial for Trump could save democracy

Ex-Watergate prosecutor Jon Sale, during Friday's episode of MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber,insisted that a fair trial for ex-President Donald Trump in his Georgia case could save democracy.

Melber asked Sale, "What do you hear from defendant Trump here when he talks about loyalty, as well as people like Miss [Jenna] Ellis, who seems to be adjusting her views of him?"

Former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis is one of the 18 individuals indicted last month by a Fulton County Superior Court grand jury along with the ex-president on charges related to their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Sale replied, "Well, as an outsider, loyalty, to Donald Trump, sounds like a one-way street. But, I'd have to say something about the times we are living in, because when they told us how we got here, like when he mentioned Richard Nixon was barred from the presidency. And if he had more time, he would have explained it. He stepped down because of bipartisan atmosphere. It was the Republicans who called for him to step down because they couldn't support him. We live in totally different times right now. I mean, it's very scary. There was a University of Chicago study that showed that 12 million people would favor violence to support Donald Trump. And somebody who I always thought responsible is [ex-Arkansas] Governor [Mike] Huckabee, who just the other day, said that if the legal system brings down Donald Trump, that the next election will be decided by bullets rather than ballots. I think that's a very scary time that we are living in. And I may be naive."

He continued, "But I think that what's going to save the system and our democracy is Donald Trump, by the way, said he doesn't think there's much of democracy left. I think it's the Constitution. And I'm using that interchangeably with democracy which will save us. And I think what we have to do is make sure he gets a fair trial. And the trial that's going to go is the one in the District of Columbia. I think it's gonna be a challenge to get a fair trial there, but I think the judge will do everything possible to ensure that. I don't rule out a change of venue. I mean, just recently, former District Attorney of Baltimore was granted a change of venue. The Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVay, was granted a change of venue. So we have to see. The law is, we don't know if we can get a fair jury until we try. But a fair trial, I think, is what will show whether the Constitution works. And I used to be totally against televising trials. Unfortunately, this trial will not be televised because it's in Washington. But i wish it were because then people would see the overwhelming evidence."

Watch the video below or at this link.

Loyalty, for Trump, is a 'one-way street': Ex-Watergate

READ MORE: 'I didn't do anything wrong': Trump unsure of Mark Meadows' loyalty in GA case

'Smoke and mirrors': Ex-US attorney slams Trump lawyers’ 'honest mistake' in $250M fraud case

During Friday's episode of MSNBC's Deadline: White House, host Nicolle Wallace spoke to ex-U.S. Attorney Harry Litman about ex-President Donald Trump's lawyers' lies about the size Trump's Manhattan penthouse at the Trump Tower in New York Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million fraud case against him, "making up the existence of 20,000 square feet that inflated the value of his property by more than $200 million in that instance alone," according to The Daily Beast.

The Beast reports:

At Friday's hearing, state attorneys presented testimony from the Trump Organization's disgraced chief financial officer, convicted tax cheat Allen Weisselberg, who admitted that the penthouse size listed on official business documents was totally fake. The judge raised the possibility that this total fabrication was an 'honest mistake,' but then quoted Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who served on the Supreme Court in the early 1900s.

'Even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and being tripped over. There's a difference between lies and misstatements,' Engoron said.

During Wallace's interview with Litman, she said to the ex- U.S. attorney, "Harry, it feels like this is another example that fits the pattern of truth being on the line in the legal outcome."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

He replied, "Yeah, it does. And that's the overall effort, but of course it's through the looking glass perhaps around the edges. But it is crystal clear down the middle. And it's fanciful to say, when you sign something to a bank and say, 'this is how much it's worth,' then it turns out to be worth one-quarter of that, that somehow there's some subjective intent defense. And of course, you know, an apartment's either 10,000 or 30,000 square feet. This is, as you say, the really old stuff. This is what we heard about from Michael Cohen way back when before congress. And it was an m.o. of the Trump Organization."

Litman emphasized, "And by the way, one thing that really puts the lie to it is the valuations of some of the same properties would differ when they wanted to lowball, say for taxes. So, as you suggest, if this point of view of, 'Oh, it's just subjective,' actually held, there could be no fraud. Fraud means a lie. And that means when they wrote that down and signed it, they knew it wasn't worth that and worth anything like it. They can try to argue that they did, but you know, there are facts here. And there are valuations here. And it doesn't help if the bank looked at it in a second way. They lied. They lied down the middle. That's fraud. everything else is just smoke and mirrors."

Watch the video below or at this link.

'Smoke and mirrors': Analyst slams Trump over lying about

READ MORE: 'Political gambit': Why Trump’s bid to oust judge from $250M fraud case will likely be 'shot down'

The Daily Beast's full report is available at this link (subscription required).

Conservative explains why Republicans will continue to lose 'up and down the ballot'

On Tuesday, September 19, a special election for a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives found far-right MAGA Republican and conspiracy theorist Erin Connolly Autenreith running against Democratic nominee Lindsay Powell — and Powell won.

Democrats will have a narrow majority in the Pennsylvania House, while Republicans will have a six-seat majority in the Pennsylvania Senate.

In an article published by the National Review on September 20, conservative Noah Rothman argues that Autenreith never should have been nominated and emphasizes that Republicans will continue to lose winnable elections if they keep nominating "paranoid" fringe candidates.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

"From questioning the outcome of the 2020 election, to her presence at the January 6 'stop the steal' rally, to her praise of Donald Trump for being the only candidate with the 'courage' to discuss the epidemic of covert child-sex-trafficking in the United States," a frustrated Rothman writes, "Autenreith lent credence to every paranoid shibboleth that signifies membership in the MAGA tribe. She paid for her fealty to Donald Trump's movement with her candidacy, and her constituents will be the ones who suffer for it."

Rothman adds that the same night in a New Hampshire election, MAGA Republican candidate James Guzofski "went down to defeat handily" in a district that conservative GOP Gov. Chris Sununu won by 22 percent in 2022.

"Guzofski argued that the COVID-19 vaccines with which at least 270 million Americans were inoculated are a deadly menace — an odious feature of the 'Plandemic,'" Rothman observes. "He condemned Mike Pence, who 'betrayed the president and the Constitution' by failing to halt the electoral-certification process on January 6, 2021. He circulated an absurd petition calling for a 2020 election revote."

This type of "kookery," Rothman warns, is causing Republicans to loose races they could be winning.

READ MORE: Kari Lake praises Hungarian strongman as 'the greatest leader in Europe'

"Registered Republicans appear committed to testing the general electorate's tolerance for their preferred nonsense," the conservative writer laments. "General-election voters appear to be as eager as ever to demonstrate the folly of their judgment. Until this dynamic changes, Republicans will continue to lose races up and down the ballot."

READ MORE:Marjorie Taylor Greene ridiculed after her attacks on Biden seem more like compliments

Read Noah Rothman's full article for The National Review at this link.

'Deja vu': Analyst weighs whether NJ Dems will challenge Menendez or back him — again

NBC News national political correspondent Steve Kornacki explained Friday what United States Senator Bob Menendez's new indictment on bribery charges means for New Jersey Democratic lawmakers and voters.

During Friday's episode of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, Mitchell noted, "The White House is losing a very powerful foreign relations chairman," but added "there are others who can step in" such as U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), who's "leaving after this term."

"None with the experience of getting legislation through that Menendez has," Mitchell explained.

Kornacki replied, "There's just a lot of déjà vu here in terms of what happened the last time Menendez was indicted. And I think the key, politically, when you look back to that, first of all, he was indicted in 2015, there was a hung jury in 2017, in early 2018 they had the charges formally dismissed. He was also severely reprimanded by the Senate Ethics Committee as he sought re-election. Republicans believed in 2018 that this was a winnable race for them because Menendez's unpopularity in New Jersey was through the roof even after this trial. But New Jersey proved to be such a through blue state, a state where the voters really had a strong dictate for Donald Trump, and essentially the voters delivered a message, 'We don't like Bob Menendez, but we are more desirous of voting against Trump and the Republicans.'"

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

He continued, "So Menendez won by 11 points in 2018, and with every major Democrat standing behind him. I think that, politically, is the key question. You have Menendez's statement out this morning here. It looks like he is intending to plow forward and say, 'I've beaten this once before. I'm going to beat it again.' It looks like if he runs, this will be playing out during the campaign. What does the Democratic Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy do? Does he issue a statement standing behind Bob Menendez? Last time, on the first day of the trial, sitting right behind Bob Menendez in federal court was his fellow [U.S. Senator] Cory Booker (D-NJ). Cory Booker made a major show of standing with Menendez through the trial. Does Cory Booker come out today and say, 'I'm standing with Menendez again?'"

Kornacki emphasized, "Very interesting that the last time Menendez ran, all the major Democratic leaders stood behind him. A no-name Democrat with no money and no name recognition got her name on the primary ballot, and she got nearly 40 percent of the vote against Menendez in 2018. It seemed that Democratic primary voters then were sending a signal that they wanted to pick somebody besides Menendez. Forty percent for somebody they had never even heard of. He ended up winning obviously, and winning in the fall, but there are a lot of ambitious Democrats may look back at that 2018 primary and say, 'This is now happening again, this is my chance.' You think of Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ 11th District) — you think of Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ 5th District), do they look at this here today and see a potential opportunity and challenge Menendez even if he goes forward and runs?"

Watch the video below or at this link.

READ MORE: Mafia tied to criminal investigation into US senator: report

How Rupert Murdoch 'ended up destroying American conservatism': columnist

Conservative Daily Beast opinion columnist Matt Lewis has often been highly critical of what he considers "liberal media bias," but in his September 21 column, the Never Trumper takes aim at a different target: Fox News and 92-year-old Rupert Murdoch, who is retiring as News Corp's chairman.

Murdoch and Fox News, Lewis argues, did a great deal to elevate the "anger that has come to define the GOP" — and "ended up destroying American conservatism" in the process.

"As I recently noted, only about 10 percent of Republicans held a 'very negative' view of Democrats in the mid-1990s," Lewis explains. "Today, that number has risen to 62 percent. Fox News went on the air in 1996."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

The columnist recalls that he "initially" welcomed "the network's arrival."

"Fox News had some good early ambitions," Lewis writes. "But fairly early on in its existence, the network pivoted far away from straight news and intelligent conservative commentary, and leaned heavily toward the loudmouths. And after that, it went from promoting the bloviators to platforming the outright liars."

Lewis continues, "That was the moment the network completely jumped the shark and pivoted from presenting alternative viewpoints to presenting an alternate reality. This is Rupert Murdoch's most meaningful political legacy: dutifully carrying water for Trump's MAGA movement that banished real conservatism…. Instead of elevating conservatism, Murdoch helped undermine conservatism as a serious philosophy, skewing instead toward tabloid conspiracy theories like birtherism and 'rigged' election allegations."

READ MORE:Experts blame Rupert Murdoch for 'moral decay' of America — and issue warning on future

Matt Lewis' full Daily Beast opinion column is available at this link (subscription required).

Why a former Trump assistant could be a 'blockbuster witness' in Mar-a-Lago documents case: ex-US attorney

Molly Michael, a former assistant to Donald Trump, is among the witnesses in special counsel Jack Smith's Mar-a-Lago documents case. Smith alleges that Trump endangered the United States' national security by storing classified government documents at Mar-a-Lago — documents that, Smith says, should have remained in Washington, D.C. when Trump left the White House.

In an article published by the Los Angeles Times on September 21, Harry Litman (who hosts the "Talking Feds" podcast) lays out some reasons why Michael could be a "blockbuster witness" in Smith's case.

"News reports this week led with the startling new detail that Trump sent Michael notes and to-do lists carelessly scrawled on the back of classified documents," Litman explains. "It's a memorable snippet that drives home Trump's indifference to classification and national security. For a prosecutor, however, that was among the least of the revelations from Michael, known as 'Trump Employee 2' in the first federal indictment of the former president."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Michael, according to Litman, has a "singular ability to tell the story of Trump's conspiracy to obstruct justice in unimpeachable terms."

"Michael apparently didn't rush to tell authorities everything she knew, but did draw a clear line at trying to deceive them," Litman notes. "She found and turned over the classified documents with Trump's notations. And she appears never to have hesitated to abide by her legal duty to tell the truth. She also has detailed knowledge of the conspiracy to hide documents from the FBI."

Litman continues, "She dealt personally with Trump and (co-defendant Walt) Nauta. She brought some of the boxes of documents to Trump's residence for his review. And most damningly, when Trump learned that FBI agents wanted to talk to Michael, he told her, 'You don't know anything about the boxes.'" Given the plain evidence that Michael knew plenty about the boxes, and that Trump knew she knew, a reasonable juror could only interpret such an instruction as a patent effort to obstruct justice."

READ MORE:Former Trump officials are shattering a key Mar-a-Lago documents defense

Read Harry Litman's full Los Angeles Times article at this link.

Experts blame Rupert Murdoch for 'moral decay' of America — and issue warning on future

Rupert Murdoch‘s announcement he is stepping down as chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp. circulated rapidly Thursday morning, with critics celebrating the exit of the billionaire media mogul some are blaming for the “intellectual and moral decay of our society.”

Murdoch created Fox News, which he launched in October of 1996. His massive empire also includes the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal, along with dozens of other media outlets in the U.S. and around the world.

“I have decided to transition to the role of Chairman Emeritus at Fox and News,” his letter, addressed to “Dear Colleagues,” reads. One of his sons, Lachlan Murdoch, “will become sole Chairman of both companies.”

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

“My father firmly believed in freedom,” Murdoch adds, “and Lachlan is absolutely committed to the cause. Self-serving bureaucracies are seeking to silence those who would question their provenance and purpose. Elites have open contempt for those who are not members of their rarefied class. Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth,” he claimed.

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake was among the many who pointed to Murdoch’s “elites” remark.

“Murdoch in his letter: ‘Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth,'” Blake writes, before pointing to court documents from the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit Fox News settled for $787 million. “Murdoch in the Dominion documents: Showing exceeding concern about angering the most powerful man in the world [Donald Trump] by telling the truth.”

Author, editor and professor of international relations, Nicholas Grossman, also focused on Murdoch’s “elites” remark.

READ MORE: 'Hot mess': Report reveals Rupert Murdoch’s state of 'denial' about Dominion voting settlement

“Rupert Murdoch’s parents had the titles of Sir and Dame. He’s a multi-billionaire, and very influential, owning prominent news outlets in the US, UK, and Australia. The notion that Murdoch, of all people, is not elite, and not in cahoots with media, is ridiculous, absurd, insane.”

Although Murdoch’s move is not effective until the shareholders’ meeting in November, his announcement comes just one day after a Vanity Fair interview with author Michael Wolff: “Murdoch Chronicler Michael Wolff Foresees the Fall of Fox News: ‘It Will Cease to Exist in Its Present Form.'”

“Now, with The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty, Wolff has directed his poison pen back to a topic that helped make his name,” Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo writes.

Wolff’s focus is on what happens to Fox News after the 92-year old Rupert Murdoch dies, and how his more liberal son James might impact the media empire.

READ MORE: Joint Chiefs of Staff chair warns Trump will 'start throwing people in jail' in 2025 — himself included

“I think it will cease to exist in its present form,” after Murdoch’s death said Wolff. “I think it will go into a radical transition in which, either James Murdoch will take over and change it into something else, or they will sell it. Fox has existed in its present state just for one reason: It’s controlled by Rupert Murdoch, who is the one man who can stand up, or has been able to stand up, to the political and social opprobrium at a fierce, fierce level, and to do this for the sake of making enormous amounts of money. But when he departs, that changes very clearly and very quickly.”

Wolff added he thinks the “logical” decision will be to sell off Fox News.

“I think it’s more logical, at any rate, to sell the whole damn thing. And I think the position that cable television news is not going to get more valuable, it’s only going to get less valuable, is persuasive.”

Wolff Thursday morning re-posted this photo:

READ MORE: 'Trump was the gateway drug': How conservatives became a 'decisive' part of the Democratic coalition

Political and journalism experts, like foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf, on Thursday cheered the Murdoch news and denounced his reign.

“On this happy day on which Rupert Murdoch has announced his retirement, let us reflect on the fact that no single individual has done more damage to Western democracy or more for the intellectual and moral decay of our society during the past half century than Rupert. Good riddance,” wrote Rothkopf.

“I believe one could accurately argue that Rupert Murdoch did more to corrode American democracy and fuel division than any other individual in modern history,” wrote veteran intelligence officer, activist, and social media personality Travis Akers. “His departure from Fox News leaves a wake of public distrust, violence, and a nation in a cold civil war.”

Author and former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob adds, “Millions of Americans are more ignorant and less loyal to our democracy because they got their’news’ from Rupert Murdoch.”

READ MORE: 'A sign of weakness': WSJ editorial board slams Trump for declining second GOP debate

MSNBC’s Medhi Hassan wrote: “As Rupert Murdoch announces his ‘retirement’, a reminder that some of the worst things we have had to experience in recent years – the Iraq war, the rise of Trump, the Big Election Lie – are all thanks to him and to Fox.”

Media Matters for America President Angelo Carusone served up this warning:

“Lachlan Murdoch is worse than Rupert Murdoch, so you’ll basically just get a more malevolent version of Fox that will also be even more chaotic since Lachlan is both a less competent leader and Fox is facing an especially turbulent period that Lachlan has no idea how to navigate.”

With an eye to the future, veteran journalist Kara Swisher offered this on Lachlan Murdoch: “Prediction: It will be a short reign of the crown prince — after the old man goes, the other siblings will have the con and it will all be sold off (Elon? Right leaning PE firm or media org?).”

READ MORE: House Republicans pile on 'dead dog' Kevin McCarthy as shutdown draws closer

Media Matters’ Madeline Peltz also glimpsed into what the future might look like under Lachlan’s leadership.

“Lachlan Murdoch is now the sole chairman of his family’s media empire. He is a dangerous ideologue who unwaveringly backed Tucker Carlson’s white supremacy on the network,” Peltz said, referring to the now-former top Fox News host. She added: “Murdoch was the number one champion of Tucker Carlson, even as he cost Fox News millions in ad revenue and spread dangerous extremism that inspired acts of right-wing terrorism around the world.”

See the social media posts above or at this link.

'Hot mess': Report reveals Rupert Murdoch’s state of 'denial' about Dominion voting settlement

New York Magazine on Wednesday published a sprawling account of the lead-up to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s ouster from the network, detailing Rupert Murdoch’s state of “denial” surrounding the $787.5 million dollar settlement his company was forced to pay to Dominion Voting Systems.

Murdoch on Thursday announced he was stepping down as chairman of Fox and News Corp.

Dominion Voting Systems successfully sued Fox News for defamation after the network accused the company of rigging voting machines to steal votes from former President Donald Trump during the 2020 presidential election. In April 2023, Fox News agreed to pay Dominion $787.5 million and acknowledged, in a statement, “the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false."

POLL:Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

The suit, Wolff notes “was far and away the largest defamation award ever made, outside of Alex Jones.”

Writing for New York Mag, Wolff reports that after a Delaware Superior Court judge in June 2022 "ruled that the suit could also extend to Fox News’ parent company, Fox Corp,” a visitor to the billionaire’s Montana Ranch found Murdoch “absolutely unwilling to consider any view in which Fox could be at fault.

Wolff writes:

Murdoch, the visitor discovered, was stuck in a place far from the real world. The Dominion suit had somehow become an attack on him and on his long career. He seemed angrily trapped in the company’s desperate and preposterous logic: that it was just airing the newsworthy opinions of important political figures.

“Why don’t you just settle?” asked the visitor. This provoked a Murdoch rant, lots of it hard to follow but leaving the visitor with the sense that Murdoch had found himself alone, up against all those who wanted him to settle, and that he, if no one else, was going to stand up for free speech. And at any rate, it wasn’t Fox’s fault. It was Donald Trump’s fault. He wasn’t going to pay for what Donald Trump did. Sue Donald Trump. The visitor came away wondering how this famously cold and analytic business mind had become such a hot mess.

According to Wolff, while Rupert Murdoch remained static in his denial leading up to the settlement, CEO Lachlan Murdorch — who was named chairman and CEO of Fox News in 2019 — “began telling people that Fox was going to focus on Dominion and get it resolved.”

READ MORE:Republicans in disarray as government shutdown fight looms: report

“But Rupert Murdoch wasn’t having it — he seemed to double down on a desire to punish Trump rather than resolve Dominion. Dominion wasn’t the problem — Trump was,” Wolff writes.

As Wolff reports, Murdoch’s refusal to settle with Dominion bucked the two main rules “of libel law for a media company” — 1) “never to go before a jury,” and 2) “avoid discovery.”

“On Monday, April 17, the day the jury was supposed to be seated and opening statements begun — before a day’s delay was declared — Murdoch told Carlson Dominion was holding to a demand of a billion dollars in damages,” Wolff reports. “For Murdoch, this was a nonstarter: He would not endure the humiliation and defeat of paying a ten-figure settlement in the case. It would be not only a record-shattering sum but also tremendous fodder for his enemies (like the Times) when it came to writing headlines.”

But the company did settle, announcing the following day that it was “pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems.”

READ MORE: 'A sign of weakness': WSJ editorial board slams Trump for declining second GOP debate

“We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably, instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial, allows the country to move forward from these issues,” Fox News said in a statement.

Read Wolff’s full account at New York Magazine.

Rupert Murdoch stepping down as News Corp chair

From the Dominion Voting Systems defamation lawsuit settlement to Tucker Carlson's departure, 2023 has been a tumultuous year for Fox News. And on Thursday, September 21 came another Fox News-related bombshell: Rupert Murdoch, according to the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal, is stepping down as chairman of News Corp.

The 92-year-old Murdoch announced that his oldest son, Lachlan Murdoch, will become News Corp's sole chair.

In his official announcement, Rupert Murdoch said, "Our companies are in robust health, as am I. Our opportunities far exceed our commercial challenges. We have every reason to be optimistic about the coming years."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Rupert Murdoch announced that he will hold the title "chairman emeritus" at News Corp.

"In my new role," he announced, "I can guarantee you that I will be involved every day in the contest of ideas."

READ MORE:Fox's Rupert Murdoch pushing a new candidate to beat Trump

'A sign of weakness': WSJ editorial board slams Trump for declining second GOP debate

The Wall Street Journal editorial board on Thursday published list of questions Donald Trump will “eventually” have to answer after the former president scheduled a speech before Detroit union auto workers in lieu of participating in the second Republican primary debate.

Trump advisors on Monday told the New York Times Trump is once again “skipping” the GOP debate “to instead hold his own counterprogramming.” Trump also skipped the first primary debate last month in Milwaukee.

For the Wall Street Journal editorial board, the former president and current Republican frontrunner, “is acting as if he has already won.”

“After skipping the first GOP debate, he is also planning to blow off the second one, scheduled for next week at the Reagan Presidential Library in California,” the board notes. “Instead Mr. Trump will give a speech to union workers in Detroit.”

“Is he worried he’d look his age at 77 next to younger candidates?” the Wall Street Journal editorial board wonders. “To state the obvious, Mr. Trump is running to be President and leader of the free world. Voters deserve to hear him defend his record and his platform.”

On abortion, the editorial board writes, Trump “refuses to explain where in pregnancy he’d draw the line, saying vaguely that ‘we’ll come up with a number.’”

Mr. Trump owes a serious answer,” the board insists. The same goes for his record on Covid, trade and tariffs.

“John Bolton wrote in his book that Mr. Trump signaled privately he wouldn’t defend Taiwan if China invaded,” the editorial continues. “Is that what he thinks now?”

“And did Mr. Trump really try to delete the security tapes at Mar-a-Lago to hide his classified files, as the strongest indictment against him alleges,” the WSJ demands.

Of Trump’s current refusal to face off with his opponents, the board argues “that’s a sign of weakness, not strength.”

“He’ll have to answer those questions eventually,” the board adds.

Read the full op-ed at the Wall Street Journal.

'Republicans don’t care about balancing the budget': Morning Joe lifts the veil on GOP grandstanding

The frustration of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) is evident as he continues to negotiate with members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus in the hope of avoiding a federal government shutdown. But Freedom Caucus members are being stubborn, and a shutdown appears likely.

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough lambasted those far-right Republicans during the September 21 broadcast of "Morning Joe." The former GOP congressman and Never Trump conservative accused far-right House Republicans of empty grandstanding that they hope will fire up their fundraising.

Scarborough told "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski, "This is not about balancing the budget. Republicans don't care about balancing the budget, and they haven't for the last 20 years.....But now, it's about making money so they can raise hell..... It's all gesture."

POLL:Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

The Never Trumper stressed that voters will blame Republicans — not Democrats — if a shutdown occurs and predicted that House Republicans in swing districts will be the ones who suffer politically.

Scarborough argued, "(Moderate Republicans) are the ones who are going to lose in 2024......This is what happens, Democrats will say, when you put Republicans in charge."

READ MORE:Republicans in disarray as government shutdown fight looms: report

Watch the video below or at this link.


'An absolute joke': Joe Scarborough urges Kevin McCarthy to stand up to Freedom Caucus 'clowns'

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) has been trying to avoid a federal government shutdown without alienating members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, some of whom have been threatening to oust him as House speaker.

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough urged McCarthy stand up to the Freedom Caucus "clowns" during a Wednesday morning, September 20 rant.

The Never Trump conservative and former GOP congressman told guest George Conway and "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski, "It's an absolute joke. Kevin McCarthy doesn't need these clowns."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Scarborough slammed the Freedom Caucus agitators as insincere, arguing that they're willing to shut down the federal government in order to fire up their fundraising.

"This is all about gesturing for money," Scarborough fumed.

Scarborough noted that the same Freedom Caucus Republicans who had no problem with the federal deficit when Donald Trump was president have magically rediscovered fiscal conservatism now that a Democrat, Joe Biden, is president.

"They can't be conservative only when a Democrat is in the White House," Scarborough said. "But a Democrat is in the White House, so suddenly, they've remembered that they like balanced budgets."

READ MORE:'Clown show': House Republican slams McCarthy and GOP 'lunatics' as clock ticks toward shutdown

Watch the video below or at this link.

09 20 2023 06 06

A far-right Republican is considering leaving Congress for CNN: report

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), a member of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, has reportedly been considering leaving Congress for CNN.

Buck, who is reportedly facing a "serious" primary threat over his reluctance to impeach president Joe Biden, has recently made headlines for breaking with his party on issues involving Biden. He also wrote an op-ed explaining why his GOP colleagues are wrong on impeachment evidence.

According to the New York Post, Buck has been talking behind the scenes about going to CNN.

"Buck said privately last month that he was interested in a job at CNN, a source told The Post, after he weighed other options over the past year — including joining a DC-based law firm or seeking Biden’s nomination to the Federal Trade Commission," the outlet reported Tuesday. "Buck, 64, confirmed to The Post he’s exploring his options and said it would be 'great' to join CNN."

“I am interested in talking to folks at CNN and other news organizations — on the, I don’t want to call them left, but sort of center-left — and having an opportunity to do that full-time or do that as a contributor would be great also,” Buck said in a phone interview, according to the article.

He also reportedly hasn't ruled out working for some right-wing networks.

"The congressman called back later in the day to say that he had also expressed interest in a position at right-leaning Fox News or Newsmax," The Post reported. “I didn’t want to give you the impression that I’ve only talked to folks at CNN, on the left. I’ve also talked to others about this,” Buck said.

Read the piece here.

'It’s the obstruction, stupid': Ex-prosecutors show why Trump’s docs defense falls flat

Former prosecutors Kristy Greenberg and Catherine Christian outlined for MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Thursday why Donald Trump aide Molly Michael is such a devastating witness against the former president in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

Specifically, they argued, Michael — who allegedly received a "to-do" list from Trump written on the back of a classified document and was told by the former president to play dumb about the boxes in his country club — lays out a clear fact pattern of obstruction of justice.

"I mean, [former prosecutor] Harry Litman said this, and I think it was interesting," said Hayes. "He said, 'It's not just that Molly Michael confirms obstructionist statements to [Trump attorney Evan] Corcoran and fields her own hush statement from him. It's also that she's an unblemished witness, totally credible, not vulnerable or impeachable on criminal charges. For Trump, she's the witness from hell."

"No ax to grind, nothing to gain by being subjected to cross-examination, which she will be by his attorneys," agreed Christian. "And the — it's the obstruction, stupid. As Trump, not you, as Trump goes around waving the red herring of the Presidential Records Act, it's that he had, he concealed, he attempted to destroy evidence after he received a grand jury subpoena."

"This is an important point," said Hayes. "The argument that they're declassified anyway, that he can do what he wants, is nonsense. But you're right. This has been the central focus of the defense here, and you can't do this. You can't just, like, tell the FBI that you don't know anything about the boxes. That's just classic obvious obstruction of justice. And if people who were a part of the conspiracy to obstruct justice tell the jurors on the witness stand — like, you're in a tough spot."

"Not only that, if you thought you were entitled to have these and you declassified them, then say that," said Greenberg. "But what you can't do is get a subpoena, and then say we've given you everything, we've given it to the National Archives, and now to you, FBI. And then know that you're holding some back. That, you can't do. That's obstruction."

Watch the video below or at the link here.

MSNBC panel on Trump's obstruction in

'Toilet paper with Trump’s face': New book overflows with 'bizarre' DeSantis, Carlson, Murdoch tales

A "juicy tell-all" book filled with "at-times absurd anecdotes" about the Fox News family and its relationship to Republicans like Florida governor and 2024 GOP hopeful Ron DeSantis is set to hit shelves later this month, according to an exclusive report from The Daily Beast.

Per The Beast, author Michael Wolff offers a "behind-the-curtains look into Fox's handling of the Dominion defamation lawsuit over its 2020 election lies, its post-election clashes with former President Donald Trump, its shocking firing of Carlson, and the Murdoch family’s Succession-like turmoil."

According to the report, Wolff "writes that prior to being fired from his top-rated primetime perch, Carlson considered a run for president in order to escape his Fox News contract. The author also details a bizarre incident that allegedly occurred when Carlson shared a meal with DeSantis."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Calling DeSantis "impersonal," Wolff notes the governor pushed Carlson's "dog under the table," writing, "Had he kicked the dog? Susie Carlsons judgment was clear: she did not ever want to be anywhere near anybody like that ever again. Her husband agreed. DeSantis, in Carlson's view, was a 'fascist.' The pot calling the kettle even blacker. Forget Ron DeSantis."

Regarding Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch, who longs to find another GOP presidential candidate to support other than Trump or DeSantis, Wolff writes that when the billionaire "was brought reports of [Fox host Sean] Hannity's on- and off-air defense of Fox's postelection coverage, he perhaps seemed to justify his anchor: 'He's retarded, like most Americans.'"

Furthermore, the news outlet reports:

Another recurring subject of salacious gossip in the book is Murdoch's attitude towards homosexuality. In one of the book's many anecdotes, the billionaire mogul's now-ex-wife Jerry Hall berated him over the way he discussed someone's sexuality. 'Rupert, why are you such a homophobe?' Hall allegedly shouted at Murdoch during a meal with her friends on a patio in St. Barts, according to the book. 'You're such a homophobe,' she reportedly added, before telling her pals: 'He's such an old man.' (Hall did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

The Beast also notes:

Wolff paints Rupert's son Lachlan, Fox Corp's current chief executive, as a virtue-signaling elitist who didn’t want his celebrity friends to think of him as a Trump supporter or a right-winger. At one point, Wolff alleges, this included showing off his Resistance-style anti-Trump toiletries.

'In the run-up to the 2016 election, the bathrooms at the Mandeville house featured toilet paper with Trump's face, reported visitors with relief and satisfaction,' Wolff writes. 'He told people that his wife and children cried when Trump was elected.'

Per the report, The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynastywill be available for purchaseSeptember 26.

READ MORE: Rupert Murdoch unimpressed with 'loser' Ron DeSantis’ campaign: Rolling Stone

The Daily Beast's full report is available at this link (subscription required).

'Can’t imagine he’s willing': Analyst explains what Guiliani would have to do to get a public defender

During Tuesday's episode of MSNBC's The ReidOut with Joy Reid, legal analyst Barbara McQuade explained why former President Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani might need a public defender, and the steps he would have to take in order to get one.

Recently indicted by an Atlanta grand jury alongside Trump on charges related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election and already dealing with "financial difficulties," the ex-New York mayor was sued this week by his lawyer for $1.3 million in "unpaid legal fees," according to The New York Times.

"If his lawyer is suing him, is there a world in which no one will represent him and he could end up with a public defender? And how would the lawsuit play into his needing to be in court for his own case?" Reid asked McQuade, who's also a former United States attorney.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

"He does have to show, to get a public defender, he would have to reveal all of his finances," McQuade replied. "He would have to show that he is at the level of indigency that he cannot afford to pay a lawyer to represent him in the case. It's a little bit of a sliding scale. You don't have to be below the indigency level depending on the complexity of the case, and what a reasonable legal fee would be for this case, but he could have to fill out a financial affidavit. I can't imagine he's willing to do that. There's poor, and there's, 'I don't want to spend money on my lawyers.' And so, I think that he would have to show he's in the former category before he would ever get a public defender appointed for him. And yes, in a criminal case, you do have to be present, so he has to show up, and if he can make out the case, he would get a public defender. But I think he's been aspiring to the gold plated defense, wanting to spend as if he has limitless funds and that appears to no longer be the case."

Watch the video below or at this link.

Could Rudy Guiliani 'end up with a public defender?'

READ MORE: Trump's refusal to pay Rudy Giuliani worse than we thought: report

The New York Times' full report is available at this link (subscription required).

'Trump told me to do this': Analyst predicts ex-president’s aides’ conflict 'only going to increase'

Former acting solicitor general and law professor Neal Katyal joined MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber Tuesday to discuss whether "political activity" falls under the list of official duties for government employees.

Ex-Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division Jeffrey Clark, who were both indicted by a Fulton County Superior Court grand jury last month alongside ex-President Donald Trump on charges related to their efforts to overturn the 2020 election, both argue that they were acting within their official duties as government officials.

When Melber asked Katyal whether their argument stands, he replied, "There's no world in which overthrowing an election, Ari, is part of your job duties. Look, I worked at the Justice Department twice. Everyone at the Justice Department knows there's a strict prohibition against employees engaging in political activity as part of their job. So, leave aside that engage in coup — just the claim that Meadows made today is, 'Well, there's no way to have a line between politics and the regular work of a government official,' and that is just totally wrong. There is no Donald Trump exception to the Hatch Act, which is the act that forbids political activity by people in the Justice Department, and with respect to Meadows — I think the most important thing — this is why he lost his removal motion. The judge in a 49-page opinion said the Constitution cuts out the executive branch from one thing — which is presidential elections — for the most important of reasons."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Katyal continued, "Otherwise you'd use your powers as an incumbent to install yourself and keep yourself in power. That's why the founders did it. That's, of course, exactly what Donald Trump tried to do with Meadows and Clark and the like. And to me, the most significant point of all these court actions over the last 48 hours is you're seeing, Ari, the conflict between Trump and his aides like Meadows and Clark. But Clark is saying in his filing, 'Trump told me to do this,' and he's blaming Trump, and these kinds of conflicts are only going to increase over time."

In an op-ed published by Just Security last month, legal experts Walter Shaub, Norm L. Eisen and Joshua Kolb wrote, "The very purpose of the Hatch Act was to place political acts of the kind charged here beyond the reach of the office of chief of staff to the president. A person who holds the position of White House chief of staff may never use their official authority as a government employee to influence an election…. Put simply, Meadows cannot meet his burden of demonstrating a connection between the conduct and his duties because his duty was specifically to avoid committing the conduct. He cannot show he was 'carrying out' his 'executive duties' because his duty was to carry out a law prohibiting that conduct."

Watch the video below or at this link.

'There's no world in which overthrowing an election, Ari, is part of your job duties': legal

READ MORE: Top Georgia Republican in danger of losing her seat — here's why

'Clown show': House Republican slams McCarthy and GOP 'lunatics' as clock ticks toward shutdown

In the latest sign Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Republican conference is rupturing, U.S. Rep. Mike Lawler, a freshman Republican from New York, slammed his fellow House Republicans as “lunatics” and a “clown show,” and their actions hurling toward a shutdown of the federal government “stupidity.”

Congressman Lawler was responding to news Speaker McCarthy was forced to cancel a procedural vote on critical legislation to help keep the federal government open after the midnight, September 30 deadline, because different factions among House Republicans are making wide-ranging demands, most of which will not pass the Senate. A vote had been scheduled for Tuesday to allow debate on the Defense Dept. appropriations bill. Some House Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), want to remove any funding for Ukraine from the bill.

Politico described the situation as: “Hardliners block defense spending bill as GOP civil war worsens,” calling the “failed vote … a major blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy.”

READ MORE: ‘Declaring the Office of Speaker to Be Vacant’: Reporter Finds Possible Gaetz Resolution in House Restroom

“This is not conservative Republicanism,” Rep. Lawler told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “This is stupidity.”

“The idea that we’re going to shut the government down when we don’t control the Senate, we don’t control the White House,” he added. “These people can’t define a win. They don’t know how to take ‘yes’ for an answer.”

“It’s a clown show,” Lawler charged. “You keep running lunatics, you’re going to be in this position.”

The White House quickly weighed in on Congressman Lawler’s remarks.

“Don’t take it from us …” said White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt, appearing to suggest Republicans, not Democrats, are the ones calling Republicans lunatics.

Watch below or at this link.

'Conspicuously absent' GOP’s claim of backing labor unions is 'almost comical': column

In a Tuesday, September 19 op-ed published by The New Yorker, longtime staff writer and columnist John Cassidy argues ex-President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers' claim of supporting the United Auto Workers (UAW) is laughable.

"What about Trump and Pence and the rest of the Republican U.A.W. stalwarts?" Cassidy writes. "So far, they have been conspicuously absent."

He notes that this week, UAW President Shawn Fain said, "Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Cassidy emphasizes, "Most Republicans have consistently opposed legislative efforts to reverse that trend, including two bills that would have made it easier for unions to organize: the Employee Free Choice Act, which a Democratic-controlled House passed in 2007, and the Protecting the Right to Organize (pro) Act, which the House passed in 2019 and again in 2021."

Just days ago, the columnist notes the MAGA hopeful told NBC News, "The autoworkers are being sold down the river by their leadership, and their leadership should endorse Trump."

However, comparing the ex-president's labor record with President Joe Biden's, he writes, "After taking power in 2017," Trump "restored the Republican majority on the five-person National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the agency that was established during the New Deal to support workers' rights to organize and bargain collectively," which led to the agency's quick reversal of "several pro-labor rulings that it had issued during the [ex-President Barack] Obama Administration, including one that made it easier for workers at fast-food franchises to organize."

Cassidy notes that under Biden's leadership, "the agency has abrogated many of its Trump-era rulings, including the ones related to voting procedures and independent contractors. Last month, the N.L.R.B. ruled that if a company engages in intimidatory behavior during a unionization election, such as firing union organizers, the agency will order the company to recognize the union and bargain collectively."

READ MORE: 'Even Henry Ford understood' that underpaid workers 'don’t have money' to buy things: ex-labor secretary

Cassidy writes:

Politics is politics, but the sight of senior Republicans posing as the true friends of the union workers is so outlandish as to be almost comical. From Trump on down, the G.O.P. has spent decades siding with employers and seeking to frustrate union efforts to organize workplaces and raise wages. Even as it has sought to rebrand itself as a workers' party, the G.O.P.'s actions have made a mockery of this claim.

John Cassidy's full op-ed is available at this link.

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