This looks like a good place to put this thing down [Live inauguration feed and comment thread]
January 20, 2009, 1:45 PM ET
CNN boss Chris Licht is coming under increasing pressure over his widely criticized handling of a CNN town hall featuring former President Donald Trump, and now employees are dishing to longtime media insider Brian Stelter about how they really feel about him.
Writing on Twitter, Stelter said that multiple CNN staffers have confirmed to him the impression of Licht given in a report by The Atlantic's Tim Alberta, which made the CNN boss come off as "paranoid, self-absorbed, and reluctant to admit mistakes."
"'Trumpian' is the phrase several staffers used with me," wrote Stelter, who for years was employed as CNN's media reporter.
Stelter also said that there "is sympathy for Licht" among some CNN staffers, although they nonetheless "feel like he's been carrying out someone else's orders
RELATED: 'Cowards': Soledad O'Brien rips former CNN colleagues for silence as Chris Licht wrecks the network
There has been some public criticism from some CNN employees about the Trump town hall, including from media reporter Oliver Darcy and Christiane Amanpour, but so far there has been no broad public revolt by CNN employees.
The Trump town hall has drawn criticism in particular because CNN filled the studio audience with diehard MAGA fans who cheered on the former president even when he mocked and demeaned the woman he was found liable for sexually abusing.
Former Republican Justice Department officials are sounding the alarm that a second term for Donald Trump would spell disaster for the rule of law — and could shatter the anti-autocratic guardrails that held in his first term, reported The Guardian on Monday.
"Former DoJ officials, some Republicans and academics say that if Trump becomes the Republican nominee and is elected again in 2024, he would most likely appoint officials who would reflexively do his bidding, target dissenters he deems part of the 'deep state' and mount zealous drives to rein in independent agencies," reported Peter Stone.
Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general during the George HW Bush administration, sounded a particularly dire alarm and told the publication that "of all the many reasons Donald Trump’s candidacy should be rejected out of hand, none is more important than his utter disdain for the rule of law – the idea that we are a society governed by rules and not by the will of one person.'"
Ayer did not hold back, painting Trump as an existential threat to the country.
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“In his first term, aided by attorney general William Barr, who made a pretense of believing in even-handed justice, Trump was still able to grossly misuse the Department of Justice as a political campaign tool, to do favors for his friends, and to seriously undermine the separation of powers," said Ayer. “There would be no arguable adults in the room in a second Trump DoJ. Beyond pardons for the January 6 criminals and politically motivated prosecutions, one can expect a broader pattern of abuses aimed at securing his autocratic power.”
Notably, even Barr, whom Ayer praised, spent much of his time weaponizing the Justice Department for political use, particularly trying to bury the conclusions of the Mueller report, but he drew the line at using it to overturn the electoral process.
Trump has already hinted he will go much further, the report noted, by holding a rally in Waco, Texas, as a dark nod to far-right antigovernment extremists who use the Branch Davidian siege as a rallying cry for domestic terrorism. He has also outlined a plan to roll back merit reforms at the civil service so he can purge career government officials who are disloyal to him, which was thwarted when he left office but could be reinstated if he returns.
“If Trump were re-elected, we can look forward to a swift and deep decline in the rule of law,” former DOJ inspector general Michael Bromwich told The Guardian. “Top levels of the DoJ would be staffed with election deniers; there would be a wholesale exodus of talented career personnel from every division of DoJ; and large numbers of January 6 insurrectionists would be pardoned. After four more years, the Department of Justice as we know it would be in tatters.”
All of this comes as Trump faces criminal indictment in New York for business fraud, and as he increasingly anticipates charges in the federal investigation of classified documents hoarded at his Mar-a-Lago country club.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Donny Deutsch mocked conservatives for running the "woke" hysteria into the ground.
Ron DeSantis and other Republicans have screeched about the so-called "woke agenda," which they warn will undermine American values and put children at risk from all manner of threats, but the "Morning Joe" host said most voters simply don't care about that manufactured issue.
"Joe Biden, 350 pieces of bipartisan legislation signed, and Ron DeSantis and everybody else is talking 'woke, woke, woke, woke, woke,'" Scarborough said. "Again, something that I said on this show and I heard a lot about from liberals, even, in 2021. You're not hearing it, again, in part because there have been some corrections. You have the head of Berkley Law School, Yale Law School, Stanford Law School going, 'Hold on, hold on, we're not going to let these woke mobs get in the way of free speech.' They're saying it at the most elite law schools in America, so common-sense Americans are going, 'Okay, there may still be a problem, but they're working on it,' and yet these Republicans are all acting like it's 2019, 2020 and they just keep freaking out. Well, Joe Biden is talking about job training and signing bipartisan bills."
Conservatives have turned against Chick-fil-A for hiring a vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion -- which actually happened over a year ago but largely escaped notice until recently -- and Deutsche said that was a nadir for "woke" hysteria.
READ MORE: 'Cowards': Soledad O'Brien rips former CNN colleagues for silence as Chris Licht wrecks the network
"The 'woke' movement officially jumped the shark," he said. "Joe, you touched on this earlier with the Chick-fil-A move. Right-wing company, I don't say that negatively, very family values, closed on Sundays, the head of the -- [company chairman] Dan Cathy came out against same-sex marriages. They're very conservative. Now, all of a sudden -- you're right, very conservative, obviously a great company, and they came under fire they have a DEI initiative, diversity, coming under fire from right-wing groups. That's the official moment that 'woke' officially jumped the shark and put Fonzie on skis in Honolulu."
Watch the video below or at this link.
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