This weekend saw the entire country come to terms with the new media, social media, and what is real.
It started off with a bombshell to quelch a previous bombshell.
Friday evening, special counsel spokesman Peter Carr issued a rare statement rejecting the central claim in a BuzzFeed article, that Mueller has corroborating evidence (including testimony from Cohen) indicating Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the deal.
The statement was drafted internally within the special counsel’s office, which made the decision to release it, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the situation. The deputy attorney general’s office, which oversees the special counsel, was only given a heads up it was coming Friday evening.
BuzzFeed has since stood by its report, although no other outlet has confirmed it. This set off a wave of predictable “fake news” claims from the crazed right.
But even the Mueller office denial set off speculation. What exactly was incorrect about the Buzzfeed report?
Rudy Giuliani went on CNN and, well, muddied the waters even more in such a way that made it seem like the Buzzfeed article had at least a kernel of truth. Giuliani did not deny that Trump talked to Cohen about the testimony in advance. He said he doesn’t know one way or another. Then Giuliani hinted that maybe he (Giuliani) was actually lying about that, and actually does know that Trump had the conversation, but can’t acknowledge it because it’s attorney-client privilege. Then Giuliani ultimately comes out with this gem: “And so what if he talked to him about it?” Giuliani’s position appears to be: sure, Trump talked to Cohen about his testimony, and believes that what Cohen was going to testify to was the truth.
This New Yorker interview with Rudy Giuliani is gold. Rudy is always entertaining, as the nearly senile septuagenarian lawyer who might say anything next. But this interview is great even for him.
First, there are the tapes that totally contradict the BuzzFeed story — and also, tapes? What tapes? Oh yeah, tapes. Well, the tapes have nothing to do with this:
Did President Trump’s lawyers or you yourself reach out to the special counsel’s office after the story, as has just been reported?
I can’t discuss that. President Trump would not have done that. If anybody would have done it, obviously it would have been his lawyers, and I really can’t discuss that. That would be confidential.
But I can tell you, from the moment I read the story, I knew the story was false.
Because I have been through all the tapes, I have been through all the texts, I have been through all the e-mails, and I knew none existed. And then, basically, when the special counsel said that, just in case there are any others I might not know about, they probably went through others and found the same thing.
Wait, what tapes have you gone through?
I shouldn’t have said tapes. They alleged there were texts and e-mails that corroborated that Cohen was saying the President told him to lie. There were no texts, there were no e-mails, and the President never told him to lie.
So, there were no tapes you listened to, though?
No tapes. Well, I have listened to tapes, but none of them concern this.
Okay…. so bottom line: the Buzzfeed story discussed on this blog and elsewhere, and never confirmed by any other news outlet, may or may not be true but probably has some kernel of truth but we don’t know what and won’t know what until the Mueller Report is released to the public if it is release to the public.
THEN, we had some crazy video that went viral involving several students from Covington Catholic High School and a Native American man. It looked like the students (from an all-white boys’ school) were harassing the Native American man (named Nathan Phillips, a Vietnam Vet) on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
This was how the local Covington (KY) news channel handled it:
But then longer videos emerged and the story developed. The students were there as part of a March For Life event. They were being taunted by a group known as Black Hebrew Israelites.
Nathan Phillips said he and his Native American group intervened between the two groups in order to diffuse the situation.
With the resources of a Louisville PR firm used by the GOP, Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School junior smirking at Nathan Phillips, issued a statement which read in part:
I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.
I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me — to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.
Some bought this; others didn’t, and the entire incident became a Rorschach test where people see what they want to see. Other videos have emerged of the students (purportedly) taunting a woman.
You want full video of the MAGA high school kids?— 🤔Ken Ashford (@KenAshford) January 22, 2019
Here they are before the Native American incident, harassing women as they pass. pic.twitter.com/52ON3Da7On
And here is another one with a Covington Catholic kid screaming: “It’s not rape if you enjoy it”
Latest Covington Catholic video from the Lincoln Memorial incident on Friday has surfaced where one of the students yells, "It's not rape if you enjoy it!"— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) January 22, 2019
Good luck spinning this one… pic.twitter.com/4yJXHrLP0Z
So the country is split and nobody knows what’s real.
One thing is for sure: even IF the Covington Catholic high school kids are being wrongly accused, their “lives are not over” as many of their supporters over-dramatically claim. They are white and privileged. They will be fine.
All of this took place, by the way, on a weekend, where not one but TWO documentaries came out on the Fyre Festival… where white privileged young adults got taken in for millions of dollars to attend a music festival on a remote island that never had a chance of happening.
Nothing is real.