Another day, another new book release revealing disturbing information about Trump’s criminally incompetent regime. Yesterday’s debut, Compromised, came from former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who worked in counter-espionage for decades. Strzok led the investigation into Trump’s Russia ties and was fired by Mueller after sending text messages critical of Trump. Strzok made the news and talk-show circuit last night and reinforced one of the central points of his book, that he believes Donald Trump is beholden to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Strzok feels confident that Putin and Russia have some sort of financial leverage over Trump, and goes into great detail about how often Trump has lied about having no financial ties to Russia, when in fact he did. Strzok was tasked with setting up an expert team within the Mueller probe to follow the money and look at Trump’s financial and corporate ties to Russia and its oligarchs, but he acknowledges that he doesn’t know what became of that team or its investigation. It’s not hard to imagine Bill Barr shutting it down.

Trump was hammered yesterday by reporters on revelations from the recent book Rage by Bob Woodward that Trump misled the public on the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, and Trump became extremely testy and frustrated, insisting that he was only trying to keep the public from panicking. But this desperate defense was bogus, as Seth Myers pointed out on his show last night. Trump had more options than “create a panic” or “lie about the facts,” and any student of history knows this. FDR gave Americans the cold, hard truth about Pearl Harbor and the threat we faced across both the Atlantic and Pacific, yet he also took actions to rally the nation and assure citizens that we would rise the occasion. Trump merely lied and hoped it would all blow over–and now more than 191,000 Americans are dead and counting.

We cannot escape the profound hypocrisy that the most inflammatory, vicious, divisive president in at least a hundred years now whines about not wanting to panic people. His ENTIRE election platform is based on stoking fear and demonizing out-groups. He’s like a Fearmonger-In-Chief using the most vile, insulting, dehumanizing language imaginable to describe those who don’t support him, as he did last night in a (maskless Super Spreader) rally in North Carolina. People outside Trump’s cult bubble need to know that he describes progressives and liberals as dangerous criminals and traitors who want to kill his supporters and destroy America. The screed of lies and smears that come out of his mouth at rallies is truly disgusting, deplorable and unAmerican, and we ignore his words at out peril.

During yesterday’s press coverage of Trump’s statements to Woodward, commentators kept asking whether the “Trump Knew” scandal would alter the election outcome, and they kept wondering how Trump seemed able to avoid the consequences of so many otherwise devastating scandals that have marred his tenure from day one. But I cannot believe they have to keep asking this question. The answer is obvious and simple, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog. Trump and the dirty Republicans who support him escape consequences because their voters are in thrall to a television network that has been pumping out hateful and divisive propaganda for two decades, bolstered by talk radio shock-jocks whose rhetoric is so filthy and dishonest and vile that it’s hard to stomach (Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh). I despise Trump because he is an immoral, incompetent, ignorant, vain, lying racist, but Trump is only a symptom. The true disease, the true cancer, is the Fox Network owned by Rupert Murdoch, who’s amassed vast wealth by sowing and selling fear. We can point fingers at Lee Atwater, Karl Rove and any number of other right-wing partisan dirtbags over the years, but the core of our national nightmare is Fox. We are divided because a large fraction of Americans don’t get news, they get propaganda and editorial disguised as news, and presented in a way that appeals to their most base fears, insecurities, anxieties and biases. In the weeks and months ahead, keep this in mind. Trump can only exist and persist because of Fox.

Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

Have a restful weekend and save your strength. It’s going to be a rough couple of months.

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