CNN Zucker: No Regrets… (THE MEDIA IS THE ENEMY)

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: President of CNN Jeff Zucker attends the grand opening of phase one of the Hudson Yards development on the West Side of Midtown Manhattan, March 15, 2019 in New York City. Four towers, including residential, commercial, and retail space, and a large public art …

By Joshua Caplan

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is pushing back against critics accusing the news network of being one of the chief propagators of a debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theory after special counsel Robert Mueller cleared the president’s 2016 campaign of alleged collusion with the Kremlin.

In an interview with the New York Times, Zucker said he was “entirely comfortable” with CNN’s Trump-Russia coverage and suggested it was entirely appropriate to give near around-the-clock-coverage due to the story’s magnitude. “We are not investigators. We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did,” the CNN chief wrote in an email. “A sitting president’s own Justice Department investigated his campaign for collusion with a hostile nation. That’s not enormous because the media says so. That’s enormous because it’s unprecedented.”

According to a four-page summary of Mueller’s findings written by the Justice Department, investigators found no evidence President Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated” with Russia to influence the election.

Zucker neglected to mention CNN’s steady stream of conspiracy-theory punditry and several stories which proved demonstrably false.

Last December, CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju reported that Wikileaks emailed Donald Trump Jr. access to information nearly two weeks prior to their public release. However, the network failed to verify the email’s date — September 14th, 2016 — by which time the emails had already been released. In June, CNN reported former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was being investigated for meeting with a Russian banker ahead of President Trump’s inauguration. Scaramucci denied the claim and CNN eventually apologized for its inaccurate report. CNN Executive editor Lex Haris, editor Eric Lichtblau, and journalist Thomas Frank resigned in shame over the story.

Further, CNN claimed in July that Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, was prepared to tell special counsel investigators that the president possesses advanced knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting between his son, Donald Trump Jr. and a Russia lawyer, and others. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, later told CNN had “mixed up” its facts and denied claims that Cohen had any such knowledge about the meeting.

Over the course of the Mueller probe, CNN gave a platform to Trump-Russia collusion pushers such as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Washington Post opinion writer Max Boot. For example, appearing February 19th on CNN’s State of the Union, Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, claimed that there is “compelling” evidence in “plain sight” of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

“You can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion, pretty compelling evidence. Now, there’s a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt,” Schiff told host Dana Bash.

In 2017, an undercover investigator for Project Veritas filmed CNN Supervising Producer John Bonifield saying that the Russia conspiracy theory was “mostly bullshit” and the network was promoting it so heavily — without real evidence — “because it’s ratings.”

Trump Derangement Syndrome is now fastest growing disorder in America – are you a sufferer?

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If anyone you know is suffering from symptoms below, offer emotional support now. 2020 may be too late. If in the presence of Alyssa Milano or CNN staff, don’t mention the word “collusion,” speak no Russian, don’t carry an orange.

The following scientific taxonomy simply identifies those afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). Congress is currently investing in progressive research into a cure known as impeachment, but no permanent remedies are expected to be available for 18 months, at least.

Grandiose delusions

TDS sufferers are not Democrat supporters in temporary political opposition, they are the Resistance.

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Compulsive revenge fantasies

Trump is not going to be beaten in an election. He is going to be impeached. He is going to be spending his last years in a jumpsuit as orange as his face. His heart will explode.

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Victim mentality

The sufferer may be a multi-millionaire celebrity with views endorsed by nearly all of the media establishment. But they are in anguish. Do not be afraid to tell a TDS sufferer that they are one – they will readily agree with you, and blame President Donald Trump for a wide range of symptoms.

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If not at a personal disadvantage, the sufferer may appropriate pain of other victim groups.

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Denial

Trump is #notmypresident and must not be “normalized.” Reality: Donald Trump has been the US president since January 2017, for over two years.

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Black-and-white thinking

There is still good in Darth Vader, but Donald Trump has no redeeming qualities. On the other hand, anyone who has ever opposed him – from Stormy Daniels to John McCain – is a hero.

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Impaired judgement

Is this a routine government policy I disagree with, or IS IT THE WORST THING EVER?

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Lack of emotional control

This.

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Bonus fact: Janna DeVylder did not live in the United States at the time of the 2016 election. Expats often suffer the wildest cases of TDS.

Threats

Mostly of leaving the country. Can be safely ignored.

Conspiratorial tendencies

Wikileaks, Internet Research Agency, Cambridge Analytica, tax returns, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels, Nastya Rybka, Oleg Deripaska, Paul Manafort’s ostrich jacket, Ivanka Trump spa in Moscow, the woman who owned the spa that Robert Kraft went to, who sold it six years ago, and was then photographed with Trump in 2019. Don’t you see how the puzzle fits?

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Loss of moral compass

Michael Cohen was a no-good liar for Trump, but against Trump he never lies. Insinuation, omission, unproven claims and outright fabrications, are ‘fake news’, unless they are about Trump, in which case they serve a purpose. Uncontrolled immigration is bad, but if Trump wants to stop it, let them all in. Peace talks with nuclear rogue states are good, but if Trump is leading them, they are worse than bomb tests.

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Apocalypticism

The patient believes that the economy will collapse, lynchings will return, World War III will start, the Pope’s robes will alight with blinding fire. In fact, all these things might already be happening (see: Impaired judgement).

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COHEN MET WITH SCHIFF STAFF FOR OVER 10 HOURS BEFORE HEARING – REPORT

Schiff team traveled to NY at least 4 times for Cohen meetings

By Gregg ReCatherine Herridge

President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen told House investigators this week that staff for Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., traveled to New York at least four times to meet with him for over 10 hours immediately before last month’s high-profile public testimony, according to two sources familiar with the matter — as Republicans question whether the meetings amounted to coaching a witness.

The sources said the sessions covered a slew of topics addressed during the public hearing before the oversight committee — including the National Enquirer’s “Catch and Kill” policy, American Media CEO David Pecker and the alleged undervaluing of President Trump’s assets.

COHEN DOCS UNDERCUT CLAIMS TRUMP LAWYERS MADE EDITS TO ALTER CRUCIAL TIMELINE 

But, Republicans have raised concerns with the sessions, with Ohio Rep. Mike Turner sending a letter to Cohen’s team on Wednesday demanding answers.

Turner specifically asked for confirmation of Cohen’s contacts, if any, “with Democratic Members or Democratic staff of SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence], COR [House Committee on Oversight and Reform], or HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] prior to his appearances before House and Senate committees last week” — as well as the lengths of such contacts, their locations and who exactly was involved.

“These questions are important for the public to understand whether or not they were watching witness testimony, a public hearing, or well-rehearsed theater,” he wrote.

During last month’s seven-hour public hearing before the House Oversight Committee, Cohen hesitantly acknowledged, under questioning from Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, that he had spoken with Schiff “about topics that were going to be raised at the upcoming hearing.”

But, he did not elaborate on the discussions, which Fox News is told extended significantly longer than the seven hours that the public hearing itself lasted.

One by one, during the dramatic hearing, Cohen fielded questions on precisely the same topics that the sources told Fox News he discussed with Schiff’s staff during the sit-downs in New York.

For example, in response to questioning from Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Cohen discussed the purported practice of paying for the rights to news stories harmful to Trump, only to bury them.

“I was involved in several of these catch-and-kill episodes,” Cohen told Maloney, “but these catch-and-kill scenarios existed between David Pecker and Mr. Trump long before I started working in 2007.”

Cohen went on to testify that Pecker, whose company publishes the National Enquirer, had paid $30,000 to a former Trump World Tower doorman who alleged he had information about a supposed love child fathered by Trump. The former Trump fixer asserted that Trump was concerned also about the “treasure trove of documents” Pecker had that could implicate him.

Further, Cohen was asked by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., “To your knowledge, did the president ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company?”

Cohen replied: “Yes.”

COHEN SUES TRUMP ORGANIZATION FOR MILLIONS IN LEGAL FEES

“Who else knows that the president did this?” Ocasio-Cortez pressed.

“Allen Weisselberg, Ron Lieberman and Matthew Calamari,” Cohen said, referring to the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer and other key Trump associates. “You deflate the value of the asset and then you put in a request to the tax department for a deduction.”

Cohen also brought documents that he claimed proved Trump “inflated” his assets in order to obtain loans from Deutsche Bank.

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, testified last month before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, testified last month before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Asked about the revelations by email, a House Intelligence Committee spokesman defended the Schiff staff’s pre-hearing discussions with Cohen.

“We are running a professional investigation in search of the facts, and we welcome the opportunity to meet with potential witnesses in advance of any testimony to determine relevant topics to cover in order to make productive use of their time before the Committee,” spokesman Patrick Boland told Fox News.

“Despite this professed outrage by Republicans, it’s completely appropriate to conduct proffer sessions and allow witnesses to review their prior testimony before the Committee interviews them — such sessions are a routine part of every serious investigation around the country, including congressional investigations.”

Schiff was asked about the frequency of his contacts with Cohen on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” this weekend, and gave the number “seven” — but Schiff did not distinguish between the number of his own contacts with Cohen and the committee staff’s interactions with him.

Schiff asserted, “The extent of my contact was just inviting him to testify and also trying to allay his concerns about the president’s threats against him and his family … but our staff certainly sat down to interview him, and that’s what you do in any credible investigation.”

CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

A source close to Schiff claimed some details about the staff meetings were “not accurate” but did not point to specifics.

On Cohen, a source familiar with his closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee would not comment directly on the number and substance of the meetings between Cohen and the Schiff staff, but said more broadly that Schiff “pledged to release the full transcript of Mr. Cohen’s eight hour testimony, at which point Mr. Cohen will be vindicated and others will be implicated.”

 

Maxine Waters: “Impeachment the Only Answer”

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Dems swept up in impeachment frenzy

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Democrats are on a warpath to impeach President Trump, with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) leading the charge alongside Congressional colleagues Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff.

Waters has hardly modulated her impeachment rhetoric, even when other Democrats did so in the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections.

Now that House Democrats have launched a sweeping probe into the President’s affairs, Waters is doubling down on her wild claims regarding Trump’s alleged misdeeds.

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“Obstruction of justice reality show: Firing Comey, sending coded messages to Manafort & others that he has the power to pardon; lying abt Trump Tower meeting; threatening Cohen’s in-laws; attempting to destroy Mueller,” Waters tweeted. “What more do we need to know? Impeachment is the only answer.”

“For the faint of heart, who’ve been waiting for every “t” to be crossed and every “i” to be dotted, now is the time to demonstrate your patriotism. Support impeachment!”

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During recent comments following the testimony of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, Waters claimed to believe the Trump Foundation is actually a tax evasion front.

“There’s one thing that I think should not be missed that came out of the hearing, and that is how [Trump] directed payments into the foundation to keep from paying taxes,” Waters said. “I think there’s more than we know about at this time.”

“I think that’s an area that should be looked at because I think the foundation has been used by him to avoid paying taxes on money he’s earned.”

A new Quinnipiac poll found that only 35 percent of Americans favor impeaching the President, while an overwhelming 59 percent oppose the idea.

Hoo Boy: Are Democrats Planning to Move Forward With Impeachment, Regardless of What Mueller Finds?

By Guy Benson

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For months and months, we’ve been told the following — and not without good reason: (1)The House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation is hopelessly partisan and beset with intense infighting.

(2) The Senate panel’s parallel probe has been much more professionally handled, with sober bipartisan leadership, but its resources and powers are incomplete, so its ‘no collusion‘ findings cannot be considered conclusive. (3) What really matters are the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team.  Mueller is so important, in fact, that there has been constant hand-wringing about his investigation being canceled or disrupted by Trump.  But now that it’s reportedly almost Mueller Time, there appears to be a concerted effort in anti-Trump circles to redefine the battlefield.  No matter what Mueller’s verdict may be on Russian ‘collusion,’ we’re increasingly told, Trump is already guilty:CAP

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That first tweet is a CNN analyst preparing his audience for a potential letdown, preemptively pivoting to focusing on already-known facts if Mueller doesn’t drop new bombshells.  The second is the Senate Intelligence Committee’s ranking member (who is slowly backing away from his call for his state’s governor to resign) not exactly contradicting Chairman Burr, but basically arguing, “what we already know is bad enough.”  Perhaps most importantly, the new leader of the House committee that would instigate the impeachment process against the president went on television over the weekend and declared that he’s seen enough to conclude that its “very clear” the president has committed an impeachable crime:

Amid last week’s Michael Cohen hearings, a number of liberalsjournalists, and Republicans observed that the proceedings felt like the first step toward removing Trump from office.  Byron York argues that Democrats have now officially tipped their hand:

Think what you will about the reasons — calling an investigation a “witch hunt” is obstruction of justice? — but Nadler sounded less like a man weighing the evidence than a man who has has made up his mind.Given that, Nadler’s ABC interview led to a question: President Nixon was threatened with impeachment for obstruction of justice. President Clinton was impeached for obstruction of justice. Why is Nadler, who heads the committee in the House that originates articles of impeachment, not moving forward with impeaching President Trump right now? … Nadler’s talk with ABC was the clearest indication yet that Democrats have decided to impeach Trump and are now simply doing the legwork involved in making that happen. And that means the debate among House Democrats will be a tactical one — what is the best time and way to go forward — rather than a more fundamental discussion of whether the president should be impeached…

Other House Democrats are sending similar messages. “There is abundant evidence of collusion,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on CBS Sunday…So now the Democratic plan is coming into sharper relief. The impeachment decision has been made. Various committee chairs are moving forward in gathering and organizing the formal justification for removing the president. The timing decision is still up in the air, as is an overarching communications plan — selling impeachment to the American public, or more specifically those Americans who don’t already support impeachment…whatever the stated rationale, impeachment is on.

The goalposts are moving before our very eyes.  But Allahpundit seems to agree that the Axios-floated grand strategy from House Democrats is not to pull the trigger on the I-word over the next year-plus, but rather to execute a slow-bleed of politically-damaging pain over that time span. The idea would be to cripple and overwhelm Trump’s presidency all the way up to election day, then let the voters oust him from office. “The smart play is to do what they’re doing, launching an open-ended investigation that will dig up plenty of dirt on Trump and grind on to Election Day next year,” he writes. “Instead of passing articles of impeachment and seeing them die in the Senate, they’re probably going to produce a Democratic counterpart to the Mueller report, laying out everything they find in gory detail and publishing it next summer so that the Democratic nominee and the media have a treasure trove of oppo to use against Trump.” If I were a betting man, that would be my wager, too. I’ll leave you with Trump-skeptical conservative writer David French attacking the Steele Dossier (the credibility of which was further eroded by Cohen’s testimony):

Gowdy did, in fact, make this point, and Russia’s 2016 electoral interference undoubtedly deserved very serious scrutiny. But a shady and unverified Clinton/DNC oppo research scheme serving as a primary driver of key elements of the investigation is a very bad look — and it almost certainly fed a pernicious spiral of mutual mistrust between Trumpworld and the DOJ that has convinced people on each side that the other is dangerous and must be stopped.  The toxicity in American politics right now is palpable and worrisome.  By the way, not all Democrats agree that Nadler’s sprawling, open-ended investigation is a smart move:

UPDATE – Adam Schiff has apparently decided that Mueller’s verdict on collusion won’t be good enough. This is absurd:

Impeach-a-mania! Sen. Murphy: Trump ‘Already Crossed the Threshold of What Was Brought’ Against Nixon

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By Ian Hanchett

 

On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “All In,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) stated that President Trump’s actions have “crossed the threshold of what was brought for impeachment” against President Nixon and President Clinton.

Murphy said, “[T]here are so many different ways that you can check the president. The free press checks the president, the judiciary checks him, and Congress checks him. But you are also right that the ultimate check is impeachment. And what we know is that the president’s behavior has already crossed the threshold of what was brought for impeachment before the House in the Nixon administration and the Clinton administration. In fact, he crossed those thresholds in the first weeks or months of office. And so, that is another means, if these other means fail, to control this president.”

In America, talk turns to something unspoken for 150 years: Civil war…

By  Greg Jaffe and Jenna Johnson

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At a moment when the country has never seemed angrier, two political commentators from opposite sides of the divide concurred last week on one point, nearly unthinkable until recently: The country is on the verge of “civil war.”

First came former U.S. attorney Joseph diGenova, a Fox News regular and ally of President Trump. “We are in a civil war,” he said. “The suggestion that there’s ever going to be civil discourse in this country for the foreseeable future is over. . . . It’s going to be total war.”

The next day, Nicolle Wallace, a former Republican operative turned MSNBC commentator and Trump critic, played a clip of diGenova’s commentary on her show and agreed with him – although she placed the blame squarely on the president.

Trump, she said, “greenlit a war in this country around race. And if you think about the most dangerous thing he’s done, that might be it.”

With the report by special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly nearly complete, impeachment talk in the air and the 2020 presidential election ramping up, fears that once existed only in fiction or the fevered dreams of conspiracy theorists have become a regular part of the political debate. These days, there’s talk of violence, mayhem and, increasingly, civil war.

A tumultuous couple of weeks in American politics seem to have raised the rhetorical flourishes to a new level and also brought a troubling question to the surface: At what point does all the alarmist talk of civil war actually increase the prospect of violence, riots or domestic terrorism?

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Speaking to conservative pundit Laura Ingraham, diGenova summed up his best advice to friends: “I vote, and I buy guns. And that’s what you should do.”

He was a bit more measured a few days later in an interview with The Washington Post, saying that the United States is in a “civil war of discourse . . . a civil war of conduct,” triggered mostly by liberals and the media’s coverage of the Trump presidency. The former U.S. attorney said he owns guns mostly to make a statement, and not because he fears political insurrection at the hands of his fellow Americans.

The rampant talk of civil war may be hyperbolic, but it does have origins in a real crumbling confidence in the country’s democratic institutions and its paralyzed federal government. With Congress largely deadlocked, governance on the most controversial issues has been left to the Supreme Court or has come through executive or emergency actions, such as Trump’s border wall effort.

Then there’s the persistent worry about the 202o elections. “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power,” Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer and personal lawyer, told a congressional committee Wednesday.

On that score, Cohen’s not the only one who is concerned. As far back as 2016, Trump declined to say whether he would concede if he lost to Hillary Clinton, prompting former president Barack Obama to warn that Trump was undermining American democracy. “That is dangerous,” Obama said.

The moment was top of mind for Joshua Geltzer, a former senior Obama administration Justice Department official, when he wrote a recent editorial for CNN urging the country to prepare for the possibility that Trump might not “leave the Oval Office peacefully” if he loses in 2020.

“If he even hints at contesting the election result in 2020 . . . he’d be doing so not as an outsider but as a leader with the vast resources of the U.S. government potentially at his disposal,” Geltzer, now a professor at Georgetown Law School, wrote in his piece in late February.

Geltzer urged both major parties to require their electoral college voters to pledge to respect the outcome of the election, and suggested that it might be necessary to ask the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to reaffirm their loyalty to the Constitution over Trump.

“These are dire thoughts,” Geltzer wrote, “but we live in uncertain and worrying times.”

His speculation drew immediate reaction from the right. Former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin tweeted a link to an article that called Geltzer’s warnings “rampant crazy.” News Punch, a far-right site that traffics in conspiracy theories, blared: “Obama Official Urges Civil War Against Trump Administration.”

Said Geltzer: “I don’t think I was being paranoid, but, boy, did I inspire paranoia on the other side.”

The concerns about a civil war, though, extend beyond the pundit class to a sizable segment of the population. An October 2017 poll from the company that makes the game Cards Against Humanity found that 31 percent of Americans believed a civil war was “likely” in the next decade.

More than 40 percent of Democrats described such a conflict as “likely,” compared with about 25 percent of Republicans. The company partnered with Survey Sampling International to conduct the nationally representative poll.

Some historians have sounded a similar alarm. “How, when, and why has the United States now arrived at the brink of a veritable civil war?” Victor Davis Hanson, a historian with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, asked last summer in an essay in National Review. Hanson prophesied that the United States “was nearing a point comparable to 1860,” about a year before the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

Around the same time Hanson was writing, Robert Reich, a former secretary of labor who is now a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, imagined his own new American civil war, in which demands for Trump’s impeachment lead to calls from Fox News commentators for “every honest patriot to take to the streets.”

“The way Mr. Trump and his defenders are behaving, it’s not absurd to imagine serious social unrest,” Reich wrote in the Baltimore Sun. “That’s how low he’s taken us.”

Reich got some unlikely support last week from Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist. “I think that 2019 is going to be the most vitriolic year in American politics since the Civil War, and I include Vietnam in that,” Bannon said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

All the doom, gloom and divisiveness have caught the attention of experts who evaluate the strength of governments around the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, a measure widely cited by political scientists, demoted the United States from “full democracy” to “flawed democracy” in January 2017, citing a big drop in Americans’ trust for their political institutions.

Similarly, Freedom House, which monitors freedom and democracy around the world, warned in 2018 that the past year has “brought further, faster erosion of American’s own democratic standards than at any other time in memory.”

Those warnings about the state of America’s democratic institutions concern political scientists who study civil wars, which usually take root in countries with high levels of corruption, low trust in institutions and poor governance.

Barbara Walter, a professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego, said her first instinct was to dismiss any talk of civil war in the United States. “But the U.S. is starting to show that it is moving in that direction,” she said. “Countries with bad governance are the ones that experience these wars.”

James Fearon, who researches political violence at Stanford University, called the pundits’ warnings “basically absurd.” But he noted that political polarization and the possibility of a potentially serious constitutional crisis in the near future does “marginally increase the still very low odds” of a stalemate that might require “some kind of action by the military leadership.”

“I can’t believe I’m saying this,” he added, “but I guess it’s not entirely out of the question.”

Less clear in the near term is what kind of effect the inflammatory civil war rhetoric has on a democracy that’s already on edge. There’s some evidence that such heated words could cause people to become more moderate. A 2014 study found that when hard-line Israeli Jews were shown extreme videos promoting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as essential to Israeli pride, a strong army or national unity, they took a more dovish position.

“Extreme rhetoric can lead some people to pull back from the brink,” said Boaz Hameiri, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author on the study. But that only happens when people already believe a “more moderate version of the extreme views” and find the more extreme message shocking, he said.

In such cases, people recognize the absurdity of their position, worry it reflects badly on them and reconsider it, he said.

If the extreme messages become a normal part of the political debate, the moderating effect goes away, the study found.

Violence is most likely to occur, Hameiri added, when political leaders use “dehumanizing language” to describe their opponents.

Most experts worried that the talk of conflict here, armed or otherwise, was serving to raise the prospects of unrest and diminish trust in America’s already beleaguered institutions.

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The latest warnings of civil war from diGenova drew an exasperated response from VoteVets, a liberal veterans advocacy group whose members have fought in actual civil wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Amazing we have to say this but: 1. We are NOT in civil war. 2. Do NOT buy guns (or any weapons) to use against your fellow Americans,” Jon Soltz, the group’s chairman, tweeted in response to diGenova. “Trust us, we have seen war.”

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Urges Rashida Tlaib to Walk Back Apology, Declare Mark Meadows Racist

Alisyn Camerota CNN (Michael Loccisano / Getty)

By Joel B. Pollak

CNN’s New Day co-anchor Alisyn Camerota attempted Thursday morning to encourage Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MN) to undo her apology to Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) the day before, when she suggested he was a racist.

Meadows had brought Lynne Patton, a senior Trump campaign aide and now an administration official, to submit a statement into the record at the House Oversight Committee defending President Donald Trump from claims by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, that Trump is a racist. Patton happens to be black and has defended Trump before.

Tlaib — who has faced accusations of antisemitism after making insensitive remarks about Israel — shocked the hearing by calling Patton a “prop” and suggesting it had been racist for Meadows to bring her to the hearing. She cited her own feelings as a “woman of color.” (Tlaib is a Palestinian-American.) Meadows, visibly hurt, noted he has relatives who are “people of color.” Tlaib apologized to Meadows (though not to Patton herself).

The left then tried to target Meadows, circulating a video from 2012 in which he told a Tea Party gathering that they would “send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is.” CNN’s Anderson Cooper picked up the video and aired it Wednesday night, noting that Meadows had later regretted his remark and asserted his belief that Obama is an American citizen, but suggesting that Meadows might indeed be a racist for reasons other than Tlaib’s attack.

On Thursday morning, Camerota hosted Tlaib on New Day. Unlike Cooper, Camerota actually mentioned Patton, playing a clip from a radio show Thursday morning in which Patton had objected to being called a “prop.” Cameron described Patton as “the woman who was held up by Mark Meadows without speaking.” Tlaib did not apologize to Patton but asserted that she meant “no disrespect to her at all” to Patton, a remark Camerota did not challenge.

Camerota went on to argue to Tlaib that Meadows was, indeed, a racist, and asked her if she regretted her apology.

First, she asserted to Tlaib that “[t]here were people at home that felt that that was tone deaf and insensitive of congressman mark meadows,” i.e. bringing Patton to the meeting. “You certainly were not alone in that feeling and so why did you apologize to him?” Camerota cited no evidence of how “people at home” felt. When Tlaib offered an evasive answer, Camerota pressed her: “So do you regret apologizing to Congressman Meadows?”

Tlaib said that she “apologized if I made him feel like a racist,” saying that she saw the exchange as a “teachable moment” and did not want to label Meadows as a racist. She added that she was offended by Patton being brought to the hearing and “saying nothing,” evidently ignoring the fact that Patton had a statement entered into the record.

That did not satisfy Camerota, who then brought up the 2012 video: “I’m interested in whether or not you can separate a racist statement or a racist act from the person. And case in point, in 2012, you know, Congressman Mark Meadows engaged in the Birtherism talk where he doubted that President Obama was born here. let me just remind our viewers of what he said back then.” She played the clip, then asked: “Does seeing that change how you feel about him?”

Tlaib declined to take the bait, ignoring the 2012 video: “Congressman Meadows understood where i was coming from, he knew what my intention was at the end, and that’s why he decided to take …  his objections back.”

And still Camerota pressed Tlaib: “But just to be clear, you still today feel that he is not racist?”

Tlaib responded: “Look, I feel like the act was. and that’s up to the American people to decide whether or not he is.”

It was not enough for CNN, Cooper, or Camerota that Tlaib and Meadows had reconciled amongst themselves, with the mediation of committee chair Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Using a 2012 video that had no relevance to the exchange Wednesday, CNN tried to attack Meadows and to insert racial division where it had been partly healed.

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