Tag Archives: ABC News

There you go, Mr. POTUS, thinking of yourself

When an iconic figure in journalism passes on, it usually is expected that men and women in high places say something gracious and laudatory about the legacy of that iconic individual.

Legendary broadcast journalist Cokie Roberts died Tuesday of complications from breast cancer. She fought the disease hard and with maximum courage for many years. Her 75-year-old body gave out.

Barack Obama and George W. Bush offered high praise for her work. Obama referred to her blazing trails for fellow female journalists; Bush called her reporting “tough” but “fair.”

Donald Trump’s response? “She never treated me nicely,” he said, adding that she was a “professional” and he said he wanted to “wish her family well.”

So, there you go. The president thought of himself before offering a tepid platitude.

That’s always how it goes with this guy.

Mueller did not ‘clear’ POTUS of obstruction … honest, he didn’t!

Donald J. Trump’s delusion continues to take my breath away.

He said yet again in that remarkable interview with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos that special counsel Robert Mueller cleared him of colluding with Russians during the 2016 campaign and of obstructing justice.

Hold on! Mr. President, I heard Mueller’s comments. I have read his report. I’ve followed the news.

How can I say this more clearly: Mueller did not “clear” the president of any charges that he obstructed justice. Mueller said with crystal clarity that had he found no evidence of obstruction that he would have “said so.”

He didn’t. He did not absolve Trump of obstructing justice. He said he could not issue an indictment because of Department of Justice rules that say a “sitting president” cannot be indicted.

Is that an “exoneration”? No. It isn’t. It leaves the door wide open for Congress to do whatever it deems necessary to repair the damage done by Trump’s repeated efforts to obstruct the investigation into the Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

And yet …

Trump said repeatedly to Stephanopoulos that Mueller cleared him of collusion and obstruction.

This guy is making me want to scream at the top of my lungs!

But the news actually gets worse. Trump has a path toward winning the public relations battle with those of us who dispute his “exoneration” assertion. He has this enormous platform he can use to keep telling falsehoods that somehow become part of the narrative.

I continue believe the man is delusional in the extreme.

And he’s dangerous.

POTUS gives foes the ammo they now need to, um, impeach

Am I allowed to change my mind, to suggest that the evidence now has reached a form of critical mass that qualifies as an “impeachable offense”?

Of course I am!

I believe it has arrived in the form of an interview that Donald Trump granted ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in which the president said he would accept negative information on a political foe from a foreign government.

Bingo, bango! There you have it. The president then said the “FBI director is wrong” when he said just a month ago that anyone who gets that kind of “opposition research” should report it to the FBI. How does it feel, Christopher Wray, to take a shiv straight in the back?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been fervent in our belief that impeachment is not in the cards, at least not until there is compelling evidence of wrongdoing. Well, it might that the president has provided it that evidence with his reckless pie hole spouting off how he would do precisely what has been alleged that he did during the 2016 election: that he would use information on a foe provided by a hostile foreign power.

I had stood with the speaker in her resisting calls for impeachment.

Today, after digesting what I have heard from POTUS, I am having second thoughts.

This is a dangerous man serving as our head of state.

Trump would do what? He’d take info on foe from foreign power?

Donald Trump has spoken words I never thought I ever would hear come out of the mouth of a president of the United States of America.

He has told a U.S. TV news anchor that if a foreign power brought information to him or his campaign about a political opponent that he would “take it.” Yes, he would accept that information.

Oh, and he also might notify the FBI that someone had delivered him “opposition research” on a political opponent.

Trump sat in the Oval Office and took questions from George Stephanopoulos, who asked him what he would do if a foreign power sought to interfere with a U.S. election the way the Russians did in 2016. Trump didn’t call it “interference.” He compared it to what members of Congress get all the time from groups doing “oppo research” on political foes.

No. It isn’t the same.

This revelation came from the president of the United States. He already has been investigated at great length over whether his 2016 campaign accepted dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton. Trump to this very day apparently sees nothing wrong with a foreign power — in the case of Russia, a hostile foreign power — interfering in our electoral system.

FBI director Christopher Wray said any candidate should report such action immediately to the FBI, Stephanopoulos told Trump. “The FBI director is wrong,” Trump responded.

This is unbelievable! It’s incredible! It’s, um, unpatriotic!

There might be anything illegal about accepting such information from a foreign power. However, isn’t there any sense of whether it is right?

Where is the president’s sense of ethics? No need to answer that. I know where it is. It doesn’t exist anywhere inside the man who occupies the Oval Office.

I guess we might be able to presume that if the Russians are going to repeat their 2016 dirty work in the 2020 election that the president would be just fine with it.

Astonishing!

‘When I can, I tell the truth’

Wow! I’m just now catching my breath.

The quote in the headline comes from the liar in chief, the president of the United States, Donald John Trump Sr.

He said it to ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who scored an interview with the president after a campaign rally this week.

Karl asked the president about the veracity of his statements. He said, “Well, I try. I do try. I always want to tell the truth.” Man, that is astonishing in the extreme.

When someone says they “try” to do something, I have found it is code for admitting they fail to do something. “I am trying to lose weight.” “I am trying to quit smoking.” My favorite is when you invite someone to an event and they respond, “I’ll try,” which always means “I can’t make it.”

I understand full well that presidents on occasion have to shade the truth for, say, national security purposes. They cannot reveal all that they know for obvious reasons. Trump’s lying is vastly different from that type of fibbing.

Donald Trump’s “trying” to tell the truth doesn’t account for the gratuitous nature of his lies. He said he tells the truth “when I can.” Baloney! That doesn’t explain the countless whoppers he has told: witnessing “thousands of Muslims” cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; the United States is “the only country” that grants birthright citizenship; he has “proof” that Barack Obama was born abroad and was unqualified to run for president.

Hey, I’ve only peeled the top layer off the thousands of lies Donald Trump has told.

More lies than we can count

The Washington Post Fact Checker has detected more than 5,000 lies in the 600 or so days since Trump became president. It adds that the pace is quickening.

Just as George Washington reportedly said “I cannot tell a lie,” Donald Trump cannot tell the truth.

That is no lie.

Melania: most ‘bullied person in the world’? Hardly

Nice going, Mme. First Lady. You have a perfectly noble and legitimate cause upon which to base your first ladyhood and then  you trample all over it with a weird assertion about how you are among the “most bullied” people on Earth.

I could not believe my eyes and ears when I heard about this from Melania Trump.

She told ABC News the following, according to CNN: “I could say I’m the most bullied person on the world,” Trump told ABC News in an interview during her first solo trip to Africa last week … . You’re really the most bullied person in the world?” asked ABC News’ Tom Llamas during the exchange. “One of them, if you really see what people saying about me,” Trump said.

She isn’t among the most bullied people on Earth.

I feel confident in making that counter claim. Mrs. Trump  married a man who would become president no doubt knowing full well what she was getting in the bargain. Indeed, Donald J. Trump has dished out all sorts of bullying insults on his way to the presidency and, of course, since he became the Bully-er in Chief.

The message that Mrs. Trump wants to send forth is designed to call attention to how social media have become a bullying instrument used against children. That is a noble cause and I applaud that effort.

However, for her then to internalize and personalize it in this manner by suggesting that she is among the world’s top victims of this (mis)behavior detracts from the seriousness of a totally serious cause.

I am amazed she would say such a thing.

Where is defense of POTUS’s character, integrity?

I won’t take credit for this inquiry, but I’ll share it here just because it’s worth sharing.

Matthew Dowd, a veteran Republican political operative, posed an provocative question this morning on ABC News’s “This Week,” when he asked why Donald J. Trump’s supporters are not defending the president’s integrity or his character.

The president’s defense is centering on vilifying those who are opposing him. Donald Trump’s political base, comprising his most ardent supporters, isn’t rushing to defend him on the basis of his moral standing, his integrity.

The Stormy Daniels story is swirling. The Russia probe continues to gain steam. The Trump team keeps changing its story. The White House press operation cannot speak clearly and candidly about any of this because the president keeps changing the narrative.

Dowd’s question also seems to presuppose the terrible notion that if no one is defending the president’s character that we’ve become numb to the idea that our president is a scoundrel.

Think of that for a moment. The Rev. Franklin Graham, a leader in the evangelical Christian movement — and a Trump supporter — seemingly throws up his hands and tells us voters “knew what they were getting” when they elected Trump president.

We are ready to settle for this? Really?

Frightening.

Who are we to believe: Trump or Comey?

I am unable to watch in real time the interview that former FBI Director James Comey gave to ABC News; we have spotty TV reception in our RV park at the moment, so I’ll have to catch up with it in the next day or two.

However, I am able to read much of the interview on the link attached here.. 

I am struck by something about the interview that Comey gave to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. It is that he is recounting one-on-one encounters with Donald John Trump, the president of the United States.

I also am left to wonder: Whose recollections of those meetings should I believe? The former FBI director known to be a meticulous note-taker of such meetings, or the president who has demonstrated time and again to be a serial liar?

Let me think. I believe I’ll go with Comey’s assertion of what transpired in those meetings.

It’s impossible to prove much of Comey has alleged occurred during those meetings, whether the president intended to torpedo Comey’s work as FBI director.

I’m just struck by how Trump responded in advance of the televised interview, the name-calling and petulant tone of his tweets.

Comey said he believes Trump is “morally unfit” for the office of president. He doesn’t believe the president is suffering from dementia or is otherwise mentally unfit. It’s the man’s moral compass that gives Comey such cause. He mentions how Trump treats women like “meat.”

That is the kind of assessment that Comey has concluded after meeting privately with Trump.

It also is going to make the nation ask itself: Who is the more trustworthy man in this exchange?

I’ve made my call.

Trump is ‘talking past the sale’

A former boss of mine had a saying — perhaps he still says it — that overzealous advocates had a habit of “talking past the sale.”

He meant it to suggest that someone who had a point to make could have stopped trying to make it long ago.

Thus, the president of the United States is “talking past the sale” as it regards a network news broadcast journalist’s erroneous report regarding Michael Flynn’s admission that he lied to the FBI about his contact with Russian government operatives.

ABC News suspended investigative reporter Brian Ross for four weeks without pay after he reported erroneously that Trump instructed Flynn to talk to the Russians while he was running for president; in fact, Trump’s instruction occurred after he was elected, which puts the issue in an entirely different context.

ABC News acted. Ross is off the air for a month — or perhaps longer. The network policed itself. Trump, though, is not letting it go. Oh, no. Now the president is urging “investors” to sue the network for reporting “fake news.”

C’mon, Mr. President! Let … it … go, will ya?

The network has taken ownership of its mistake. However, Ross has given Trump plenty of ammo to keep up his “fake news” barrage against all the media outlets that cover the news — except, of course, Fox News, which caters to the president’s insatiable appetite for “positive news.”

Trump is delivering yet another example of how he doesn’t understand curious relationship between the media and the government. Yes, reporters make mistakes. Some of them are grievous errors, which I consider Ross’s blunder to be.

The president of the United States, though, need not spend a moment more of his time on this matter. He’s got plenty of serious issues on his heaping plate to consume his attention.

Network does well to police itself

I am quite certain Donald John “Fake News Maven” Trump is going to crow like a rooster over this bit of news.

Let’s try to put this into a bit of perspective.

ABC News has suspended veteran correspondent Brian Ross for four weeks without pay for reporting erroneously on the Michael Flynn guilty plea in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump transition team.

It might be that Ross will be canned soon. You see, this isn’t the first time Ross has stepped in it on the air. In 2012, he reported that a suspect in the Aurora, Colo., massacre was a member of the Colorado TEA Party; he wasn’t.

ABC takes care of problem

But here’s my point: ABC is doing its due diligence in policing its personnel. It’s what responsible media companies do, despite the howls we’re going to hear from those on the far right about “fake news.”

Ross went on the air to report falsely that “candidate” Donald Trump had instructed Flynn to make contact with Russian government officials. Actually, that instruction came after Trump had been elected president; thus it came from the president-elect, which is a significant difference from it coming from a mere presidential candidate.

ABC said its reporter had failed to check his sources adequately and that he “fell far short” of the standards the network has set for its reporting staff.

I accept that mea culpa as sufficient evidence that the network has taken ownership of its mistake.

As for Ross, who carries the title of “chief investigative reporter” for ABC News, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised — or disappointed — if he is shown the door at the network.

This kind of mistake — and the sanction that has followed it — are going to tar Ross’s work for as long as he continues to pursue what many of us still consider to be an honorable craft.