Perhaps feeling the backlash from his little outburst against president Trump, Tucker Carlson is back to doing what he does best: shilling for the president and protecting him from the liberal “Deep State”.
In a truly ludicrous segment on his show last night, Carlson claimed that despite Federal prosecutors explicitly stating that the president has committed a crime, Trump is in fact the victim of extortion and a liberal plot to take him down. Carlson accused federal prosecutors of being on a “political mission” to take out Trump and overturn the will of American voters.
Carlson’s Alternate Reality
“If you were a federal prosecutor on a political mission, you’d construe those extortion payments as campaign contributions,” Carlson said on his show. “You’d do this even though the money in question didn’t come from, or go to, Trump’s presidential campaign.”
“Then you’d claim that Trump and Cohen violated campaign finance law because they didn’t publicly disclose those payments, despite the fact that disclosing them would nullify the reason for making them in the first place –which was to keep the whole thing secret. That is the argument you’d make, both in federal court and through your proxies on cable television.”
“It is insultingly stupid,” he continued. “But because everyone in power hates the target of your investigation, nobody would question you. And that’s what’s happening right now.”
Let’s take a step back for a moment and contrast Carlson’s version of events with reality.
What Actually Happened
According to Carlson, Trump didn’t do anything other than try to protect his family. On his show, he stated the following:
“Two women approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn’t give them money. Now that sounds like a classic case of extortion. Trump caves to it and he directs Michael Cohen to pay the ransom. Now more than two years later Trump is a felon for doing this.
Of course this wasn’t what happened at all. Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) did not ever approach Donald Trump or try to extort money from him. In fact, it was Michael Cohen who approached Clifford in October of 2016 in an effort to stop her from going public about her affair with Trump in 2006. The president and Michael Cohen have never alleged that Clifford blackmailed or extorted Trump, and there have been no legal claims made against her for the crime Carlson is accusing her of. This is not up for debate — it is a hard fact as Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti pointed out on Twitter:
The Federal Government Believes Trump Committed a Crime
Last week, federal prosecutors released sentencing recommendations for Michael Cohen and his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. This passage from the sentencing is the most important (bold emphasis ours):
“Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.”
‘Individual -1’ is none other than the president himself, Donald J. Trump. This is the U.S Department of Justice explicitly stating that Trump has committed a crime. While Trump is not the subject of the passage, if the person being sentenced has committed a crime ‘in coordination’ and ‘at the direction of’ Trump, it isn’t exactly difficult to grasp the implication. But to spell it out: the payments made by Michael Cohen to both Clifford and former Playboy model Karen McDougal were intended to influence the 2016 presidential campaign, and thereby constituted a violation of campaign finance law. Given Trump directed him to do this, he is also guilty of violating campaign finance law.
The only reason Trump isn’t being indicted is because he is a sitting president. Michael Cohen on the other hand, is going to federal prison.
According to Tucker Carlson though, failure to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign money used to pay of a porn star and Playboy model is really the same thing as, amongst others, failure to disclose buying toothpaste. He continued:
By this reasoning, any money a political candidate spends to maintain or protect his image while running for office now qualifies as a regulated campaign donation and has to be disclosed. That would include, in addition to an infinite number of other things, buying toothpaste and getting a haircut. It would definitely include the taxpayer-financed slush fund Congress has set aside to pay off its own sexual harassment claims. Yes, those now qualify as campaign contributions. They must be publicly disclosed.
Except they’re not disclosed and never will be. Why is that?
The “slush fund” Carlson mentions does not disclose payments for sexual harassment claims for one very good reason: it doesn’t actually exist.
The so called “slush fund” used by Congress Carlson is talking about is a debunked internet meme that falsely equated a U.S. Treasury fund devoted to paying settlements that is administered by the Office of Compliance (OOC). The OOC is overseen by the House Administration and Senate Rules committees. The activity of the fund is also publicly available and can be viewed here.
An Argument Based on Lies
The entire basis of Carlson’s argument then, is completely fraudulent. Based on no evidence, he claims there is a liberal conspiracy in the Justice Department (run by a lifelong Republican) to take down Trump. He claims Stormy Daniels tried to extort money from Donald Trump (which is a serious crime, punishable by jail), despite her never approaching the president or asking him for money. He claims Trump is innocent because Congress also has a slush fund used to pay off sexual harassment claims that doesn’t actually exist.
Carlson must on some level understand how ridiculous his argument is, yet he continues to make the case routinely on his show. Why? Because Carlson’s role at Fox News is to provide cover for Trump and convince his audience that liberalism is the greatest threat to American democracy. This despite the fact there is an obvious criminal in the White House who is doing his best to undermine the rule of law, obstruct justice, and destroy the credibility of the Oval Office.
Carlson it seems, will only go after the president on other media outlets. On his own show, he isn’t just giving the president a break, he is actively spreading lies to cover for him.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.