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‘Handmaid of American Fascism’: Ronna McDaniel’s New NBC News Gig Sparks Fury

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Exactly two weeks after her Trump-engineered exit as chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel has been hired by NBC News and MSNBC as a political commentator, fomenting fury among journalists, press watchers, and ordinary Americans.

Declaring that the network has a “crucial mission,” which it “performs like no other,” NBC News senior vice president of politics Carrie Budoff Brown announced McDaniel’s hiring to employees in a memo Friday, which ws published by The Hollywood Reporter.

“It couldn’t be a more important moment to have a voice like Ronna’s on the team,” Brown wrote. “As chair of the Republican National Committee, she spent nearly eight years at the highest levels of American politics before stepping down earlier this year. As we gear up for the longest general election season in recent memory, she will support our leading coverage by providing an insider’s perspective on national politics and on the future of the Republican Party — which she led through some of the most turbulent and challenging moments in political history. And as a longtime Michigan resident, she’ll be an important voice from one of this year’s key battlegrounds.”

Critics shared a different version of McDaniels’ résumé – and NBC News’ responsibilities.

“NBC is and must be, first and foremost, in the credibility business. She will compromise that every time she appears on air. She cannot be trusted,” wrote David Rothkopf, a journalist, author, and foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator. Rothkopf is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also called it “a terrible decision” and McDaniel “a proven serial liar.”

READ MORE: Meet the Republicans Who Voted Against Condemning Putin’s Illegal Abduction of Children

Media Matters ran this headline: “NBC News hires Ronna McDaniel, who played a key role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, according to NBC News.”

The sub-head: “Even participating in an attempted coup can’t disrupt the politics-to-pundit pipeline.”

“Prosecutors argued that, as NBC News characterized it, McDaniel has ‘unique knowledge’ about ‘the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election,'” writes Media Matters’ John Knefel. “NBC News executives can perhaps be forgiven for these repeated oversights, though. After all, the network laid off dozens of its news staffers in January, so maybe there aren’t enough researchers around to dig into the network’s own coverage of its newest contributor.”

Others also pointed to McDaniel’s credibility and alleged actions to undermine democracy and overturn the 2020 election.

“McDaniel lied about the 2020 election result, was involved in a pressure campaign to get Michigan officials not to certify the vote, and has accused MSNBC of ‘spreading lies’ and employing ‘primetime propagandists,'” declared former MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan, now editor-in-chief of Zeteo News.

Political strategist Rachel Bitecofer, talking about McDaniel’s work during the 2020 election, wrote: “Ronna McDaniel was balls deep in the coup plot. She flew to swing states to encourage Republican state legislators and Republican election officials to submit fraudulent electors to steal the election from Joe Biden. If I was an @NBCNews employee I’d be pissed.”

READ MORE: Greene Moves to Oust Johnson as Gaetz Says Democrat Jeffries Could Be Elected Speaker

The Daily Beast’s senior media reporter Justin Baragona dug up a social media post by McDaniel that disparages the network she will now be working for.

Attorney and MediasTouch.com editor-in-chief Ron Filipkowski posted video of McDaniel “saying she hopes the US defaults on its debt because that will help Republicans.”

Former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob served NBC News this dire warning: “A MAGA dictatorship would crush legitimate news organizations and embrace propaganda outfits. By hiring fascist liar Ronna McDaniel, NBC has shown which one it wants to be.”

“Carrie Budoff Brown is a traitor to democracy,” continued Jacob, who writes the Stop the Presses newsletter. He added: “This is what media complicity with fascism looks like. NBC is paying a co-conspirator in the Jan. 6 insurrection to keep deceiving the American people.”

Current MSNBC columnist Marisa Kabas wrote Brown a letter in which she says, “As we approach the 2024 election, it has never been more important for viewers and readers to have trust in their news outlets. Rehabilitating the reputation of an enabler of a government coup will completely undermine that trust.”

“As RNC Chairwoman,” Kabas continued, “McDaniel was quite literally on a phone call with former President Trump when he pressured two local Michigan officials not to sign the certification of the 2020 presidential election. McDaniel told the officials, ‘If you can go home tonight and do not sign it… We will get you attorneys.’ She also called for an erroneous investigation into another Michigan county’s voting procedures which was so riddled with false claims, the Michigan Department of State issued a statement saying her claims had ‘no merit.'”

Dash Dobrofsky, who writes The Gen Z Perspective, posted: “MSNBC just hired Ronna McDaniel — an election-denying, racist, pro-fascist, homophobic pathological liar — as their latest political contributor/commentator. In other words, they will pay her to lie for Trump during an election year. MSNBC is not a legitimate news organization.”

READ MORE: ‘Work Until You Drop Dead’: House GOP Plan Takes Ax to Social Security, Healthcare, Civil Rights

From McDaniel’s home state, Craig Mauger of The Detroit News writes: “Here’s our reporting from December about her involvement in a call to pressure the Wayne County canvassers not to sign the 2020 election certification,” as he points to this story that reads in part:

“On a Nov. 17, 2020, phone call, which also involved Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Trump told Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, the two GOP Wayne County canvassers, they’d look ‘terrible’ if they signed the documents after they first voted in opposition and then later in the same meeting voted to approve certification of the county’s election results, according to the recordings.”

Puck News founding partner and Washington correspondent Julia Ioffe summed it up:

“Real journalists are losing their jobs, but the handmaids of American fascism are getting plum spots in legacy American media organizations. Shame on you, @NBCNews.”

 

Image via Shutterstock

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‘Your Client Is a Criminal Defendant’: Judge Denies Trump Request to Skip Trial for SCOTUS

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Barely hours after New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan gave Donald Trump the same set of rules requiring him to appear in court as all other criminal defendants, the ex-president’s attorney requested his client be allowed to skip trial next Thursday to attend the U.S. Supreme Court arguments on his immunity claim.

“If you do not show up there will be an arrest,” Judge Merchan had told Trump Monday at the start of his criminal trial, according to MSNBC’s Jesse Rodriguez. Trump is facing 34 felony charges for falsification of business records related to his alleged attempts to cover up hush money payments in an effort to protect his 2016 presidential campaign.

Judge Merchan had read from the same rules that apply to all defendants, but right at the end of day one of trial Trump attorney Todd Blanche made his request.

MSNBC’s Lisa Rubin reports, “after the potential jurors are gone, the fireworks start after Blanche asks Merchan to allow Trump to attend the SCOTUS argument on presidential immunity next Thursday, 4/25.”

READ MORE: ‘What Will Happen in the Situation Room?’: Trump Appearing to Sleep in Court Fuels Concerns

“The Manhattan DA’s office opposes the request, saying they have accommodated Trump enough,” MSNBC’s Katie Phang adds, citing Rubin’s reporting.

Judge Merchan “acknowledges a Supreme Court argument is a ‘big deal,’ but says that the jury’s time is a big deal too. Blanche says they don’t think they should be here at all, suggesting that the trial never should have been scheduled during campaign season.”

“That comment appeared to trigger Merchan, who asked, voice dripping with incredulity, ‘You don’t think you should be here at all?'” Rubin writes.

“He then softly asks Blanche to move along from that objection, on which he has already ruled. Merchan then got stern, ruling that Trump is not required to be at SCOTUS but is required, by law, to attend his criminal trial here.”

“Your client is a criminal defendant in New York. He is required to be here. He is not required to be in the Supreme Court. I will see him here next week,” Judge Merchan told Blanche, CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane reported.

That was not the only request Trump’s attorneys made to have their client excused from the criminal proceedings.

Lawfare managing editor Tyler McBrien reports, “Blanche says that the campaign has taken pains to schedule events on Wednesdays and asks Merchan if Trump be excused from any hearings that take place on Wednesdays, when the jury is in recess. Merchan says he will take this into consideration.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

Blanche also asked Judge Merchan to allow Trump to skip trial to attend his son Barron’s high school graduation. While the judge has yet to rule, Trump told reporters at the end of day one of trial, “it looks like the judge will not let me go to the graduation.”

The judge told Trump, “I cannot rule on those dates at this time.”

But Trump told reporters, “It looks like the judge isn’t going to allow me to escape this scam, it’s a scam trial.”

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‘What Will Happen in the Situation Room?’: Trump Appearing to Sleep in Court Fuels Concerns

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Donald Trump’s apparent sleeping in court on day one of his criminal trial for alleged business fraud related to a cover-up of “hush money” election interference has critics concerned.

While initial reactions to the news largely mocked him as “Sleepy Don,” or “Drowsy Don,” political and legal experts are wondering if the 77-year old ex-president would be able to stay awake during times of crisis, when an alert president would be critical to the nation’s security.

The New York Times‘ Maggie Haberman, the longtime “Trump whisperer,” reported the ex-president “seemed alternately irritated and exhausted Monday morning,” “appeared to nod off a few times, his mouth going slack and his head drooping onto his chest.” She added the ex-president’s attorney “passed him notes for several minutes before Mr. Trump appeared to jolt awake and notice them.”

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Haberman followed up her Times article with a CNN appearance detailing more of what she saw. The Guardian‘s Victoria Bekiempis, MSNBC’s Katie Phang, and others also reported Trump was seen nodding off.

Critics raised concerns that question Trump’s ability to perform the duties of President.

“If Trump is too old and weak to stay awake at his own criminal trial, what do you think will happen in the Situation Room?” asked former senior advisor to President Barack Obama Dan Pfeiffer.

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch invoked Hillary Clinton’s famous “3 AM phone call” ad from the 2008 campaign, and wrote:

“2008: Which candidate can handle the 3 a.m. phone call?

2024: Which candidate can handle the 3 p.m. phone call?”

Several also noted that Clinton, the former U.S. Secretary of State, testified for 11 hours on live television before a congressional committee and did not fall asleep. Some also noted that President Joe Biden sat for a five-hour deposition with Special Consul Robert Hur and did not fall asleep.

READ MORE: ‘Not a Good Start’: Judge Slams Trump’s ‘Offensive’ Recusal Claims as a ‘Loose End’

Calling it “simply incredible,” professor of law, MSNBC/NBC News legal contributor and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance asked, “If he can’t keep his eyes open when his own liberty is at stake, why would Americans have confidence he’s capable of focus when our country’s interests require sound presidential leadership?”

MSNBC contributor Brian Tyler Cohen commented, “To be clear, ‘Sleepy Joe’ is awake and criss-crossing the country, while Trump is literally asleep at his own criminal trial.”

Former journalist Jennifer Schultz observed, “Moment of truth for all the legacy media outlets who hyped the Biden age stories. Now we have actual evidence of the other candidate falling asleep at a critical time.”

 

Image via Shutterstock

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Fox Personality’s Tweet Called ‘Jury Tampering’ by US Congressman

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A Fox personality and Fox News contributor’s social media post on Monday is raising eyebrows, as one U.S. Congressman calls it “jury tampering” and a legal expert suggests it could be “conspiring to commit jury tampering.”

Clay Travis is an attorney and the founder of the conservative “sports and American culture” website Outkick, which was purchased by Fox Corporation in 2021.

His Fox News bio calls him “the founder of the fastest-growing national multimedia platform,” and, “One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry,” who “provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics.”

READ MORE: ‘Not a Good Start’: Judge Slams Trump’s ‘Offensive’ Recusal Claims as a ‘Loose End’

On Monday, Travis’ account on X, formerly Twitter, displayed a post that reads: “If you’re a Trump supporter in New York City who is a part of the jury pool, do everything you can to get seated on the jury and then refuse to convict as a matter of principle, dooming the case via hung jury. It’s the most patriotic thing you could possibly do.”

“Jury tampering. That’s what they do. *It’s a felony,” wrote U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) in response.

National security attorney Bradley Moss weighed in, writing, “Clay is arguably conspiring to commit jury tampering here by encouraging someone to deliberately engage in jury nullification. Not a wise move by Clay.”

Former federal and state prosecutor Ron Filipkowski, now the editor-in-chief of MediasTouch, wrote simply, “This is MAGA.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

Sirius XM host Dean Obeidallah, also an attorney, commented, “Hoping Manhattan DA is aware of this attempted jury tampering by Fox News regular Clay Travis.” He also wrote: “This is the exact type of juror tampering I knew Trumpers would engage in. Next Clay will tell Trumpers to bribe jurors or witnesses. MAGA is a cancer!”

Travis, responding to Congressman Swalwell, denied the allegation:

“This isn’t jury tampering you imbecile. I would nullify if I were seated on this jury as a matter of principle. I think all Americans with a comprehension of basic justice should do the same.”

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