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Trump Continues Attack on Federal Case Against Friend Roger Stone

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-trump-facebookJumbo Trump Continues Attack on Federal Case Against Friend Roger Stone United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Justice Department Jackson, Amy Berman Fox News Channel

WASHINGTON — President Trump threatened on Tuesday to sue “everyone” involved in the now-closed special counsel inquiry and continued his attacks on the federal case against his longtime friend and adviser Roger J. Stone Jr.

“If I wasn’t President, I’d be suing everyone all over the place. BUT MAYBE I STILL WILL. WITCH HUNT,” Mr. Trump wrote in a series of Twitter posts, after lumping a string of perceived and disproved miscarriages of justice dating back to the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump also quoted a Fox News legal analyst, Andrew Napolitano, who opined Tuesday morning on “Fox and Friends” that the judge overseeing the Stone case, Justice Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, should approve Mr. Stone’s recent request for a new trial.

The president’s tweets come just days after two extraordinary pleas related to the Justice Department’s case against Mr. Stone.

On Thursday, Attorney General William P. Barr complained publicly that the president’s tweets undermined his work at the department. And on Sunday, more than 1,100 former federal prosecutors called on Mr. Barr to step down from his post after he interfered to lower a sentencing recommendation from the Justice Department for Mr. Stone.

Four prosecutors working the Stone case, which stems from the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling, quit in protest of the Justice Department’s actions.

Later Tuesday morning, Judge Jackson is expected to hold a conference call with lawyers on the case, including the four prosecutors.

Mr. Stone was convicted last year of lying to Congress and witness tampering in an effort to prevent investigators from learning how officials from Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign sought to benefit from the release of documents stolen from Democrats.

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Trump Continues Attack on Federal Case Against Friend

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-trump-facebookJumbo Trump Continues Attack on Federal Case Against Friend United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Justice Department Jackson, Amy Berman Fox News Channel

WASHINGTON — President Trump threatened on Tuesday to sue “everyone” involved in the now-closed special counsel inquiry and continued his attacks on the federal case against his longtime friend and adviser Roger J. Stone Jr.

“If I wasn’t President, I’d be suing everyone all over the place. BUT MAYBE I STILL WILL. WITCH HUNT,” Mr. Trump wrote in a series of Twitter posts, after lumping a string of perceived and disproved miscarriages of justice dating back to the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump also quoted a Fox News legal analyst, Andrew Napolitano, who opined Tuesday morning on “Fox and Friends” that the judge overseeing the Stone case, Justice Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, should approve Mr. Stone’s recent request for a new trial.

The president’s tweets come just days after two extraordinary pleas related to the Justice Department’s case against Mr. Stone.

On Thursday, Attorney General William P. Barr complained publicly that the president’s tweets undermined his work at the department. And on Sunday, more than 1,100 former federal prosecutors called on Mr. Barr to step down from his post after he interfered to lower a sentencing recommendation from the Justice Department for Mr. Stone.

Four prosecutors working the Stone case, which stems from the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling, quit in protest of the Justice Department’s actions.

Later Tuesday morning, Judge Jackson is expected to hold a conference call with lawyers on the case, including the four prosecutors.

Mr. Stone was convicted last year of lying to Congress and witness tampering in an effort to prevent investigators from learning how officials from Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign sought to benefit from the release of documents stolen from Democrats.

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Trump Fights Back After John Kelly Defends Vindman

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165731562_38cd19bf-bc8d-4ed7-b692-cf363d6dce43-facebookJumbo Trump Fights Back After John Kelly Defends Vindman United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Justice Department Jackson, Amy Berman Fox News Channel Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — John F. Kelly, the former White House chief of staff, expressed support for one of the key impeachment witnesses who President Trump abruptly fired last week, drawing a swift response from the president, who tweeted Thursday morning that Mr. Kelly “misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut.”

Mr. Kelly said in a speech Wednesday evening that Lt. Colonel Alexander S. Vindman, an expert on Ukraine for the National Security Council removed from his post last week, was right to raise questions about a telephone call with the president of Ukraine in which Mr. Trump pressed for investigations of his political rivals.

“He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Mr. Kelly said. “He went and told his boss of what he just heard. We teach them: ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then you’ll tell your boss.’”

Mr. Trump quickly responded to his former top adviser, writing on Twitter that Mr. Kelly was “way over his head” as chief of staff and suggesting that his public comments violated a “military and legal obligation” to remain silent. The president also renewed his criticism of Mr. Vindman.

The response to Mr. Kelly came just hours after the president lashed out on Twitter against a member of the jury that convicted his friend Roger J. Stone Jr., saying the jury was tainted by prejudice in the president’s latest attempt to undermine the case against his friend.

Mr. Trump raised the question of a biased juror in the trial a day after the judge overseeing the Stone proceedings, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court in Washington, ruled against a previously sealed motion from Mr. Stone that claimed a different juror was biased and therefore he deserved a new trial.

By late morning, Mr. Trump’s focus was on Mr. Kelly, after news reports about his remarks in a speech at Drew University in New Jersey, as well as Mr. Vindman.

During an appearance on Geraldo Rivera’s radio show, Mr. Trump described Mr. Vindman as “very insubordinate” and claimed that Mr. Vindman’s colleagues applauded his departure last Friday when he was escorted out of the White House.

“Vindman was the guy that, when we took him out of the building, the whole building applauded,” Mr. Trump said. “Many people applauded.”

“No I didn’t want him in,” Mr. Trump said of his decision to oust Mr. Vindman, who testified in the impeachment inquiry about his concerns when he listened to the call between Mr. Trump and his counterpart in Ukraine. “I watched his testimony. Don’t forget he was the one who thought my call was bad and he ran in and started saying terrible things about the call.”

Mr. Trump also suggested that he could stop the tradition of allowing numerous national security officials to listen to his phone calls with foreign leaders. “I may end the practice, Mr. Trump said. “I may end it entirely.”

The president’s involvement in the Stone case has also roiled his Justice Department, causing four prosecutors to abruptly quit it.

In raising the possibility of another biased juror, Mr. Trump was responding to a Fox News report on Wednesday that the forewoman of the Stone jury was an anti-Trump Democratic activist. His complaints about the handling of Mr. Stone’s case have raised concerns from Democrats and critics that he was improperly influencing Justice Department matters.

On Wednesday the president praised Attorney General William P. Barr, on Wednesday for an extraordinary decision to override a sentencing recommendation for Mr. Stone.

That highly unusual decision, when the Justice Department replaced the prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation, caused the prosecutors to leave the case and raised fears that the president was undermining the Justice Department’s independence.

The charges against Mr. Stone stem from the special counsel investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, an inquiry that Mr. Trump has dismissed as an illegitimate witch hunt led by senior law enforcement officials who did not want him to be elected.

Michael Crowley contributed reporting.

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Trump Claims Roger Stone’s Jury Was Tainted by Bias

Westlake Legal Group defaultPromoCrop Trump Claims Roger Stone’s Jury Was Tainted by Bias United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Justice Department Jackson, Amy Berman Fox News Channel Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — Citing a report from Fox News, President Trump said Thursday the jury that convicted his friend Roger J. Stone Jr. had a biased member — a claim by the defense team that had been dismissed by a federal judge a day earlier.

It was not immediately clear why Mr. Trump put the word “justice” in quotes, as he praised the leader of the Justice Department, Attorney General William P. Barr, on Wednesday for a decision to override a sentencing recommendation for Mr. Stone.

In a previously sealed filing, Mr. Stone argued that one of the jurors was biased against Mr. Trump and therefore he deserved a new trial. On Wednesday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled against that motion in the U.S. District Court in Washington. Mr. Stone’s sentencing is set for later this month.

Mr. Stone was convicted last year of seven felonies for obstructing a congressional inquiry, lying to investigators and trying to block testimony from a witness. He faces time in prison, though how long he should serve has been the source of a dispute between the prosecutors on the case and leaders in the department.

Calling out juror bias is Mr. Trump’s latest criticism of the case against Mr. Stone.

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Trump Claims Roger Stone’s Jury Was Tainted by Bias

Westlake Legal Group defaultPromoCrop Trump Claims Roger Stone’s Jury Was Tainted by Bias United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Justice Department Jackson, Amy Berman Fox News Channel Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — Citing a report from Fox News, President Trump said Thursday the jury that convicted his friend Roger J. Stone Jr. had a biased member — a claim by the defense team that had been dismissed by a federal judge a day earlier.

It was not immediately clear why Mr. Trump put the word “justice” in quotes, as he praised the leader of the Justice Department, Attorney General William P. Barr, on Wednesday for a decision to override a sentencing recommendation for Mr. Stone.

In a previously sealed filing, Mr. Stone argued that one of the jurors was biased against Mr. Trump and therefore he deserved a new trial. On Wednesday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled against that motion in the U.S. District Court in Washington. Mr. Stone’s sentencing is set for later this month.

Mr. Stone was convicted last year of seven felonies for obstructing a congressional inquiry, lying to investigators and trying to block testimony from a witness. He faces time in prison, though how long he should serve has been the source of a dispute between the prosecutors on the case and leaders in the department.

Calling out juror bias is Mr. Trump’s latest criticism of the case against Mr. Stone.

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Trump Defends Closing Borders to Travelers to Fight Coronavirus

Westlake Legal Group 02dc-trump2-facebookJumbo Trump Defends Closing Borders to Travelers to Fight Coronavirus United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment Hannity, Sean Fox News Channel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump defended a decision that would bar foreign nationals who had recently visited China from entering the United States as his administration continued to assess the growing threat of a coronavirus outbreak.

Sitting with the Fox News personality Sean Hannity, Mr. Trump used a roughly nine-minute interview taped on Saturday evening at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida, and broadcast on Sunday as an opportunity to condense his usual rally-speak into Super Bowl pregame chatter. The topics included the virus, his impeachment and quick-paced insults of his potential 2020 rivals.

“We pretty much shut it down coming in from China,” Mr. Trump said of the coronavirus. “But we can’t have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus. We’re going to see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.”

He said his administration was offering the Chinese “tremendous help” to contain the spread of the virus. On Sunday afternoon, the administration put into effect a rule that would also essentially quarantine American travelers who had visited China within the past two weeks, diverting them to seven airports “to implement enhanced screening procedures,” according to guidelines issued Sunday by the Department of Homeland Security.

There have been seven confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, but no deaths.

Earlier in the day, Robert C. O’Brien, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, appeared on television to advise Americans that there was “no reason to panic” about the spread of the virus. Indeed, during his Fox sit-down, both Mr. Trump and his interviewer seemed more interested in allowing the president to focus on his grievances over impeachment and his re-election effort rather than elaborate on a global public health crisis.

“It’s been very unfair from the day I won,” Mr. Trump said. “Mostly it was unfair to my family.”

He derided the impeachment effort as “a hoax” and said he had not thought to delay his annual State of the Union address before the culmination this week of his Senate trial — an expected acquittal that Mr. Hannity framed as a “fait accompli.”

Mr. Trump then spent a large part of the interview insulting a slate of potential Democratic rivals. He and Mr. Hannity played a lightning round where Mr. Hannity invited the president to say whatever came to mind about Democratic presidential candidates, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.

Mr. Trump falsely called Mr. Sanders a “communist” and claimed that he had been married in Russia.

“I think of communism when I think of Bernie,” Mr. Trump said. “Didn’t he get married in Moscow?”

Mr. Sanders married in Burlington, Vt., before traveling to the Soviet Union soon after, and the trip has been used as fodder by his critics as evidence that he has communist leanings.

At one point, Mr. Trump falsely claimed that Mr. Bloomberg had requested a “box” to stand on should he attend a Democratic debate, a comment that drew sharp rebukes from both Mr. Bloomberg and his spokeswoman, Julie Wood, who called the president a “pathological liar who lies about everything: his fake hair, his obesity and his spray-on tan.”

Mr. Trump also called Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who oversaw the impeachment effort into his presidency, a “very confused, very nervous woman,” adding that Ms. Pelosi would not last in office: “I think the radical left is going to take over.”

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Trump Defends Closing Borders to Travelers to Fight Coronavirus

Westlake Legal Group 02dc-trump2-facebookJumbo Trump Defends Closing Borders to Travelers to Fight Coronavirus United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment Hannity, Sean Fox News Channel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump defended a decision that would bar foreign nationals who had recently visited China from entering the United States as his administration continued to assess the growing threat of a coronavirus outbreak.

Sitting with the Fox News personality Sean Hannity, Mr. Trump used a roughly nine-minute interview taped on Saturday evening at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida, and broadcast on Sunday as an opportunity to condense his usual rally-speak into Super Bowl pregame chatter. The topics included the virus, his impeachment and quick-paced insults of his potential 2020 rivals.

“We pretty much shut it down coming in from China,” Mr. Trump said of the coronavirus. “But we can’t have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus. We’re going to see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.”

He said his administration was offering the Chinese “tremendous help” to contain the spread of the virus. On Sunday afternoon, the administration put into effect a rule that would also essentially quarantine American travelers who had visited China within the past two weeks, diverting them to seven airports “to implement enhanced screening procedures,” according to guidelines issued Sunday by the Department of Homeland Security.

There have been seven confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, but no deaths.

Earlier in the day, Robert C. O’Brien, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, appeared on television to advise Americans that there was “no reason to panic” about the spread of the virus. Indeed, during his Fox sit-down, both Mr. Trump and his interviewer seemed more interested in allowing the president to focus on his grievances over impeachment and his re-election effort rather than elaborate on a global public health crisis.

“It’s been very unfair from the day I won,” Mr. Trump said. “Mostly it was unfair to my family.”

He derided the impeachment effort as “a hoax” and said he had not thought to delay his annual State of the Union address before the culmination this week of his Senate trial — an expected acquittal that Mr. Hannity framed as a “fait accompli.”

Mr. Trump then spent a large part of the interview insulting a slate of potential Democratic rivals. He and Mr. Hannity played a lightning round where Mr. Hannity invited the president to say whatever came to mind about Democratic presidential candidates, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.

Mr. Trump falsely called Mr. Sanders a “communist” and claimed that he had been married in Russia.

“I think of communism when I think of Bernie,” Mr. Trump said. “Didn’t he get married in Moscow?”

Mr. Sanders married in Burlington, Vt., before traveling to the Soviet Union soon after, and the trip has been used as fodder by his critics as evidence that he has communist leanings.

At one point, Mr. Trump falsely claimed that Mr. Bloomberg had requested a “box” to stand on should he attend a Democratic debate, a comment that drew sharp rebukes from both Mr. Bloomberg and his spokeswoman, Julie Wood, who called the president a “pathological liar who lies about everything: his fake hair, his obesity and his spray-on tan.”

Mr. Trump also called Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who oversaw the impeachment effort into his presidency, a “very confused, very nervous woman,” adding that Ms. Pelosi would not last in office: “I think the radical left is going to take over.”

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Megyn Kelly Talks About Roger Ailes and ‘Bombshell’ in YouTube Video

Westlake Legal Group 09KELLY-05-facebookJumbo Megyn Kelly Talks About Roger Ailes and ‘Bombshell’ in YouTube Video Television sexual harassment News and News Media Kelly, Megyn Huddy, Juliet Fox News Channel Bombshell (Movie) Ailes, Roger E #MeToo Movement

Megyn Kelly has kept her distance from “Bombshell,” a Hollywood awards contender that presents her as a key figure in exposing sexual harassment at Fox News. Until now.

On Thursday, the former Fox News anchor posted an online video, nearly 30 minutes long, that shows her watching the film in the company of other women who said they were sexually harassed while working at the network under its chairman, Roger Ailes, who died in 2017, less than a year after he was forced out.

The video includes a detailed discussion between Ms. Kelly and her former colleagues in which they share painful details of what it was like to work at the network. One of the women, Juliet Huddy, said that during a workplace meeting, Mr. Ailes said, “Turn around, let me see your ass.”

In a written introduction to the video on her Instagram page, Ms. Kelly, who had previously described being harassed by Mr. Ailes in her 2016 memoir “Settle for More,” said she had no connection to “Bombshell.” “I did not produce, consult on, or have anything to do with the film,” she wrote. “Neither I nor the women I watched it with sold the rights to our stories (or in my case, my book), so it was somewhat jarring to see a version of our experiences told by strangers.”

She added, “I watched the movie with some of my friends who, like me, were sexually harassed while at Fox News.”

The film, written by the journalist Charles Randolph and directed by Jay Roach, portrays Ms. Kelly as a fighter whose decision to challenge Mr. Ailes roughly coincides with her pressing Donald J. Trump at the start of a 2015 presidential debate over his insulting comments about women.

Ms. Kelly is played with almost eerie verisimilitude by the Oscar winner Charlize Theron, and “Bombshell” returns to public consciousness the often prosecutorial television anchor whose career was thriving before her ill-fated run at NBC, which ended last year.

The video posted by Ms. Kelly shows her watching “Bombshell” at a private screening with three former Fox News journalists — Ms. Huddy, Rudi Bakhtiar and Julie Zann — as well as Ms. Kelly’s husband, the author Douglas Brunt, who is played in the film by Mark Duplass.

The video, marked with an “MK” logo in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, intersperses key scenes from the film with the women’s reactions in the screening room and their comments afterward.

During the sit-down discussion, Ms. Huddy, who left Fox News with a settlement after she said she had been sexually harassed by the former Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, said that her mother once overheard Mr. O’Reilly “pleasuring himself” via speakerphone. (Mr. O’Reilly has said there is no merit to the allegations made against him.)

The talk moved on to Mr. Ailes and his habit of asking the women who worked at Fox News to twirl for him in his private office.

“I do think we need to talk about the spin, the infamous spin, inside of Ailes’s office,” Ms. Kelly asked the women. “Did you have to do it?”

“I was asked to twirl, and I did it,” Ms. Zann answered.

“So I was asked to do the spin,” Ms. Kelly said, “and, God help me, I did it.” After noting that she had been an honors student who was offered a partnership at the law firm Jones Day, she added, “If you don’t get how demeaning that is, I can’t help you.”

Ms. Zann said that the “Bombshell” scenes that depicted the interactions between Mr. Ailes and the Fox News employee played by Margot Robbie — a composite character whose experience at the network was based on that of various women — were “very close to what happened.” Ms. Zann spoke through tears, and she went on to describe a key difference between her and the film character: “I lost my job because I did say no,” Ms. Zann said, adding, “He wanted me to ask him to give him oral sex, and I was not going to go there.”

Ms. Bakhtiar, played in the film by Nazanin Boniadi, said the film got her experience right. In the movie, she is shown rebuffing the advances of a Fox News anchor, Brian Wilson, who has denied Ms. Bakhtiar’s account of events. In the discussion led by Ms. Kelly, Ms. Bakhtiar said she ended up off the air one day after making a complaint.

“Everyone would tell you don’t complain about sexual harassment because you’ll lose your job,” Ms. Bakhtiar said. “I didn’t think it would happen, but it was immediate.”

In October, Ms. Huddy and Ms. Bakhtiar told The Hollywood Reporter that they had broken the nondisclosure agreements they had signed with Fox News to speak with the “Bombshell” filmmakers.

Ms. Kelly left Fox News for NBC in 2017. Her stint at the network came to an abrupt halt in October 2018, after she wondered aloud, during a “Today” show segment that was criticized as racist, why it was inappropriate for white people to dress in blackface for Halloween. Ms. Kelly and the network had a final parting of ways last January, with NBC agreeing to pay her the outstanding balance on her contract, about $30 million.

Since then, she has kept a relatively low profile, appearing once on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program and posting self-produced interviews on Instagram and YouTube.

In the video posted Thursday, Ms. Kelly said “Bombshell” got a few things wrong. For one thing, she said, Mr. Ailes was not happy with the line of questioning she employed with Mr. Trump during the debate. In the movie, the Fox News chairman is shown saying that the tough exchange made for good television. “A fantasy,” Ms. Kelly said.

She also criticized the scene in which the character played by Ms. Robbie accuses her of watching out for her own career at the expense of other women at Fox News, calling the scene an example of “victim-shaming.” Still, she added, she would not have cut the scene from the film.

In a comment on her Instagram page, Ms. Kelly expressed another complaint with “Bombshell,” writing, “They never asked me for the rights to my book, nor would I have sold them if they did.

“But clearly, they lifted large portions of it for the movie,” she continued. “Then sprinkled in a bunch of fiction.”

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Tucker Carlson Dissents as Right-Wing Media Weighs Trump’s Iran Strike

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166793529_5e878431-1a85-4e7b-a6a1-6c59060a751f-facebookJumbo Tucker Carlson Dissents as Right-Wing Media Weighs Trump’s Iran Strike United States Politics and Government Television Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Rivera, Geraldo News and News Media Limbaugh, Rush Hannity, Sean Fox&Friends (TV Program) Fox News Channel Carlson, Tucker Bannon, Stephen K

It was the kind of full-throated critique of President Trump familiar to MSNBC viewers, yet transplanted to the heart of Fox News: Tucker Carlson, the network’s conservative 8 p.m. host, upbraiding the White House for its attempts to justify the killing of a top military commander in Iran.

“It’s hard to remember now, but as recently as last week, most people didn’t consider Iran an imminent threat,” Mr. Carlson said at the start of his Monday show, going on to mock Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for saying intelligence agencies had identified an undefined Iranian threat.

“Seems like about 20 minutes ago, we were denouncing these people as the ‘deep state’ and pledging never to trust them again without verification,” Mr. Carlson told viewers, eyebrow arched. “Now, for some reason, we do trust them — implicitly and completely.”

At 9 p.m., Fox News made way for the pro-Trump commentary of Sean Hannity, who declared “the world is safer” after the death of the commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

But Mr. Carlson’s dissent showed how a right-wing media world that typically moves in lock step with the president has struggled to reconcile Mr. Trump’s surprise escalation with his prior denunciations of open-ended conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In an interview, Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist, said that he and other supporters of the president were still hunting for an effective defense.

“This is a very complicated issue, and the people who support President Trump, from Tucker Carlson all the way to Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, are really trying to work through this,” Mr. Bannon said on Monday. “What you’re seeing now — live on television, live on radio — is people working through what this means.”

Just as the political world was caught off-guard by the killing of General Suleimani, so too was the conservative media complex.

As reports emerged last Thursday of the missile strike in Baghdad that killed the general, Mr. Hannity phoned into his Fox News show from vacation to offer vociferous praise. That same night, Mr. Carlson warned his viewers that “America appears to be lumbering toward a new Middle East war.”

On “Fox & Friends” the next morning, the co-host Brian Kilmeade said he was “elated” by the news, only to be scolded by Geraldo Rivera, who pointed to false intelligence peddled by the George W. Bush administration to justify the Iraq War. “Don’t for a minute start cheering this on,” Mr. Rivera, a Fox News correspondent, told the hosts.

Mr. Bannon, the former chief of Breitbart News, now runs a pro-Trump podcast, “War Room: Impeachment.” In the interview, he said he was concerned that a burgeoning conflict in Iran could threaten Mr. Trump’s support among “working-class, middle-class people, particularly people whose sons and daughters actually fight in these wars,” a group that believed the president opposed significant foreign intervention.

“Why was it necessary to kill this guy and to kill him now and to exacerbate the military issues, given the fact that President Trump looks to us as someone who’s not trigger-happy?” Mr. Bannon said, paraphrasing a question he said he was hearing from independent voters.

“That still has to be explained,” Mr. Bannon continued. “I don’t know if it’s the president addressing the nation. I don’t know if it’s the president getting on ‘Fox & Friends.’ But clearly, at some point and time, the president’s got to walk through not just what his logic was, but also where he wants to take this.”

Indeed, part of the problem for conservative media commentators was the lack of guidance from the White House, which has been slow to settle on a public narrative around General Suleimani’s death.

In 2003, as the Bush administration prepared for a conflict in Iraq, White House officials took pains to build support among allies and media commentators for an invasion. In 2020, the Trump administration seems to be attempting the reverse: retroactively arguing its case even as the world grapples with the consequences of a provocative military strike.

Without providing specifics, Trump aides have referred to evidence from intelligence agencies about an imminent threat from Iran — the same intelligence agencies that Mr. Trump and his media surrogates have attacked for three years as biased and prone to fabricating evidence.

The White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, is virtually unknown to the public, because she has not held a briefing in her six months on the job and rarely agrees to interviews outside of Fox News. An attempt on Twitter by Vice President Mike Pence to connect General Suleimani to the 9/11 attacks was quickly proved wrong.

Mr. Pompeo, dispatched to the major political talk shows on Sunday, argued that “appeasement” of Iran would increase the risk of a terror attack, even as General Suleimani’s death set off enormous anti-American protests in Tehran. That prompted an on-air rebuke from Mr. Carlson, who showed a clip of Mr. Pompeo on his Monday Fox News show.

“The risk of terror is also increased by bombing other people’s countries,” Mr. Carlson said.

Mr. Carlson, a longtime opponent of American involvement in the Middle East, has been more willing than Mr. Hannity to criticize Mr. Trump, though he has not called out the president by name in his recent commentary on Iran. After his Monday segment on General Suleimani, he introduced a five-part series, “American Dystopia,” chronicling urban decay in San Francisco. (The president later retweeted a Twitter post by Mr. Carlson promoting the series.)

Mr. Trump, for his part, has done relatively little so far to persuade the public. Aside from a brief and hastily convened TV statement from his Palm Beach resort, he has kept to Twitter, initially posting a caption-less picture of an American flag on the day of the Baghdad strike. On Tuesday afternoon, the president spoke informally to reporters at the White House about the strike.

On Monday, he granted his first interview on the matter to the radio show of the conservative host Rush Limbaugh, a Trump safe space with a direct line to the president’s political base.

“I hope this is the greatest year of your life, sir,” Mr. Limbaugh cooed to Mr. Trump at one point, while also venturing that the Suleimani killing had many Americans on edge. “People are being scared to death, their kids are being scared to death, out of their minds, that somehow this is going to start World War III,” he said.

Mr. Trump responded haltingly, as if testing out ideas for his message. “This should have been done for the last 15 to 20 years,” the president said, calling General Suleimani “a terrorist” and declaring that “our country is a lot safer.” Soon, he had veered into complaints about House Democrats and their views on Israel.

Charlie Sykes, a longtime right-wing talk-radio host and a critic of Mr. Trump, said in an interview that the president could still draw on a reservoir of support among his conservative supporters.

“Killing terrorists has always been a great talking point for Republican presidents,” Mr. Sykes said. Mr. Trump’s campaign-trail opposition to the Iraq War, though, complicates matters.

“Trumpism is both isolationist and highly militaristic at the same time,” said Mr. Sykes, who is also a MSNBC contributor. “It’s not dovish — it’s highly militaristic, but it’s selectively militaristic. Being strong is not inconsistent with appeasing the North Koreans or Vladimir Putin.” He paused to laugh. “My head is hurting just thinking about this.”

On Monday night, Mr. Hannity previewed a potential new talking point for the president. “We can’t and won’t be going with boots on the ground in Iran,” he told viewers. “That’s not gonna happen, and frankly, it’s not necessary.”

Still, the situation in Iran remains fluid. On Monday, Mr. Bannon used his podcast to point out the contradictions of the president’s approach, noting, “One of the central building blocks of why he was elected president was to get out of these foreign wars.”

A co-host, the former Trump campaign aide Jason Miller, leaped to the president’s defense, but Mr. Bannon interrupted. “You’re thinking like Republicans,” he said. “Where’s the populist nationalist movement in this? This is supposed to be a new day.”

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After Another Year of Trump Attacks, ‘Ominous Signs’ for the American Press

Westlake Legal Group 29trumpmedia01-facebookJumbo After Another Year of Trump Attacks, ‘Ominous Signs’ for the American Press Trump, Donald J Television Smith, Shepard Sanders, Sarah Huckabee Presidential Election of 2020 Newspapers News and News Media MSNBC Hannity, Sean Grisham, Stephanie Freedom of the Press Fox News Channel CNN Cable Television

On Twitter, President Trump deployed the phrase “fake news” 273 times this year — 50 percent more often than he did in 2018. He demanded “retribution” over a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, declared that Washington Post reporters “shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House,” and accused The New York Times of “Treason.”

Four American journalists were barred from covering the president’s dinner with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. The administration argued in court that it had the right to ban a reporter from the White House. The daily White House briefing ceased to exist. And a new press secretary rarely spoke in public outside of Fox News.

Mr. Trump’s vilification of the news media is a hallmark of his tenure and a jagged break from the norms of his predecessors: Once a global champion for the free press, the presidency has become an inspiration to autocrats and dictators who ape Mr. Trump’s cry of “fake news.”

For those who wondered if Mr. Trump might heed the concerns of historians and First Amendment advocates — who say his actions have eroded public trust in journalism, and perhaps the very concept of empirical facts — 2019 provided a grim answer.

“Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon,” the former Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who quit the network this year after disagreements about its Trump coverage, said at a gala last month. “We don’t have to look far for evidence of that.”

Few presidents have affected the perception of journalism like this one. A Pew survey this month found that Americans’ confidence in news coverage is closely correlated to their opinion of Mr. Trump. Forty percent of Republicans who strongly approve of the president’s job performance said that journalists have “very low” ethical standards, versus only 5 percent of Democrats.

Mr. Trump has long oscillated between taunting, cajoling, criticizing, and manipulating the journalists who cover him. Asked by The Times in January about his views of the free press, Mr. Trump replied in contradictory ways, deeming the news media “important,” “beautiful,” “so bad,” and “unfair.”

And when he was confronted by the publisher of The Times, A.G. Sulzberger, about a rise in threats against reporters since he took office, Mr. Trump declared, “I don’t like that,” before quickly returning to his grievances. “When you get really bad stories, where it’s not true, then you sort of say, ‘That’s unfair.’”

By year’s end, Mr. Trump had referred to the press on Twitter as “the enemy of the people” in 21 tweets, up from 16 tweets in 2018.

To Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, these rhetorical attacks have rippled outward. Globally, Mr. Simon said in an interview, at least 30 journalists were jailed in 2019 under charges of reporting false news in 2019.

“We view that as governments around the world taking advantage of the Trump ‘fake news’ framing and using that as a pretext of imprisoning journalists,” Mr. Simon said. “The dissemination of that rhetoric has only increased in the last 12 months. It’s having a very negative effect.”

Domestically, journalists in Washington say Mr. Trump’s behavior this year has only deepened their unease.

Jonathan Karl, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, cited the attempt by the administration to ban a journalist — Brian Karem of Playboy magazine — from the White House grounds. The episode mirrored an incident in 2018 where Trump aides revoked the credentials of a CNN correspondent, Jim Acosta, and falsely accused him of “placing his hands” on an intern. (Both journalists’ passes were restored by the courts.)

For Mr. Karl, who reports for ABC News, the year’s “most chilling moment” came when a video that depicted Mr. Trump as a mass murderer, shooting and stabbing members of the press, was screened at a retreat for the president’s supporters at the Trump National Doral Miami resort.

“There are ominous signs,” Mr. Karl said.

The violent video, concocted by right-wing provocateurs, was later disavowed by the White House. But the administration has presided over more subtle rebukes of the press.

The daily White House press briefing was once a ritual of Washington life and, viewed abroad, a potent symbol of accountability in government. In 2017, the Trump administration held about 100 formal briefings; in 2018, that number dropped by roughly half.

Two briefings took place in 2019.

The first, on Jan. 28, began with a barbed greeting from the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders — “Missed you guys,” she said dryly — and the second, on March 11, ended with shouted questions about Mr. Trump’s involvement with payoffs to a pornographic film star who had alleged an extramarital affair. Ms. Sanders referred to outside counsel and cut the queries short.

“Thanks so much, guys,” she said. No more questions.

In reality, Mr. Trump remained more directly accessible to journalists than several of his recent predecessors. He routinely fields questions during photo-ops and has made a habit of jousting with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House while the presidential helicopter whirs in the background.

But the arrangement is stacked in Mr. Trump’s favor. The noise lets him ignore questions he dislikes. And the events are entirely at Mr. Trump’s discretion, as opposed to a regular briefing where officials must answer for the news of the day.

Ms. Sanders departed the White House in June, signing on as a commentator at Fox News. Her successor, Stephanie Grisham, has yet to hold a White House briefing. For the first five and a half months of her tenure, she granted interviews only to Fox News, Fox Business and the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a regional network that had required its affiliates to broadcast pro-Trump editorials. Ms. Grisham appeared on ABC and CBS for the first time in December, after Mr. Trump was impeached.

Fox News remained Mr. Trump’s news venue of choice, despite the president’s occasional carping about the channel’s insufficient loyalty. Of Mr. Trump’s roughly 70 interviews in 2019, 23 took place on Fox News, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS News reporter and the unofficial statistician of the White House press corps. (Fox Business interviewed Mr. Trump an additional four times.)

Sean Hannity, the Fox News star, interviewed the president on seven occasions. ABC, CBS, and NBC each had one interview; CNN was shut out. The Times had one formal interview with Mr. Trump, and he spoke with The Post twice. Mr. Trump’s bookings ranged widely, from C-Span to Telemundo to right-wing stalwarts like Breitbart News and The Daily Caller. He also spoke with Bill O’Reilly, the former Fox News host who was fired after numerous revelations of workplace harassment.

In the ratings, Fox News ended 2019 far ahead of its competition. Not only did the channel beat its cable rivals, MSNBC and CNN — it was also the highest-rated network on television outside of the traditional Big 4 broadcasters (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox). Mr. Hannity’s show drew an average of 3.3 million viewers a night, making it the No. 1 program in cable news.

Mr. Smith’s abrupt exit in October shocked his colleagues and offered a glimpse at strains inside the network, where pro-Trump morning and evening programming often clashed with the sometimes critical reporting included as part of its daytime news coverage. The impeachment hearings underscored the divide, with anchors like Chris Wallace acknowledging the damaging testimony against Mr. Trump, even as Mr. Hannity dismissed the process as a “revolting charade.”

Impeachment offered some answers to a question media executives are asking themselves as a new year begins: Will a news-saturated public continue to tune into the Trump Show?

There are early signs of news fatigue. Ratings for the televised impeachment hearings were solid, but they fell short of political spectacles like James B. Comey’s testimony in 2017. Television audiences for the Democratic primary debates dwindled over the course of the year. Over all, cable news viewership was down slightly in 2019, despite all the political drama.

At one point in 2019, even Mr. Trump suggested that he might tune out the news, too. After yet another perceived slight, he conspicuously canceled the White House subscriptions to The Post and The Times.

Like many Americans, though, the president could not bear to look away. Days later, he was back to complaining about the coverage in the papers that he had claimed he would not read.

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