MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow warned viewers at the start of her Tuesday show that they may feel dirty enough to require a shower after her lead story on Jerry Falwell, Jr.
Falwell, the president of Liberty University, was the focus of an exclusive report by Reuters detailing an effort to get Donald Trump fixer Michael Cohen to cover up the release of salacious photos.
Falwell went on to announce an endorsement of Trump that Maddow described as “inexplicable.”
Cohen reported to federal prison on Monday to begin a three-year term that included a conviction for his role in Trump’s hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
“Just six days before the Iowa caucuses in 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump got a critical endorsement from a most unexpected place,” Maddow noted. “He got a very high-profile endorsement from this man, Jerry Falwell, Jr. ”
“Jerry Falwell, Jr. is known mostly for being Jerry Falwell Jr. But also for inheriting control of his dad’s cash cow televangelist college, which is called Liberty University,” she explained.
“When Jerry Falwell, Jr. decided to endorse Trump in January 2016, he not only endorsed him at that key moment ahead of the Iowa Caucuses, he also heaped praise on him, calling Trump, ‘a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again.’ He said, ‘In my opinion, Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the great commandment.’ I mean, right, that is so obviously about Donald Trump,” Maddow joked.
It was just odd that Falwell endorsed Trump, but it was also odd who he did not endorse.
“I mean, Ted Cruz had literally launched his 2016 presidential campaign with his family at Liberty University. He launched his campaign there around telling the whole story of his father’s life as an evangelical preacher just like Jerry Falwell. But nonetheless, Jerry Falwell, Jr. snubbed Ted Cruz and all the other candidates and threw his support to Trump instead, describing him as the most Jesus-like of all of the candidates,” Maddow noted.
Maddow then detailed the Reuters story on Falwell’s photos.
Cohen said he had seen one of the photos in question, which he described as “terrible.”
“So according to this Reuters report, the Falwells’ enlisted Michael Cohen’s help in 2015 to make this blackmail threat go away involving, what was the word, ‘racy personal photographs.’ Jerry Falwell’s racy personal photographs,” Maddow noted.
“Then the following January, just ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Cohen helped persuade Falwell to issue his endorsement of Trump’s presidential candidacy at a critical moment just before the Iowa Caucuses,” she also noted.
“Might have been helpful to have that one racy, terrible, photograph in reserve when it came to being persuasive about when to issue that endorsement,” Maddow suggested.
“Asking for a friend, is an endorsement intended to influence the outcome of a federal election a thing of value?” Maddow wondered. “And are you allowed to arrange for such a thing of value to be contributed to a campaign by quashing naked picture blackmail efforts for televangelists with added insurance of keeping naked pictures for yourself as a reminder?”
“Is this normal?” she asked.
Colin Powell ally calls on House to begin ‘immediate’ impeachment hearings on Bill Barr
Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday Morning with Ali Velshi, former Colin Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) should immediately begin impeachment hearings against Attorney General Bill Barr.
After discussing Donald Trump's threat to not strep down peacefully should he lose in November, Wilkerson turned his ire on Barr who has been accused of acting like the president's personal attorney.
Addressing Trump's riling up his base with accusations of election theft, Wilkerson said, "This is a very, very dicey situation that he's creating, and I don't think he's smart enough to realize that he is creating it to the extent that he is."
Trump’s threats to reject peaceful transition have made America look ‘ridiculous the world over’: historian
On CNN Saturday, historian Douglas Brinkley warned that President Donald Trump's repeated threats to reject a peaceful transition of power are a national humiliation for America on the world stage.
"I want to point out something that you told The New York Times on the president's election doubts," said anchor Christi Paul. "Your quote is, 'This may be the most damaging thing he's ever done to American democracy.' How so?"
"Because our great export in the United States is our free and fair elections," said Brinkley. "So we tell the rest of the world how to hold them and now here we are in 2020, mayhem about to happen, president of the United States talking about fraudulent ballots, rigged election, I may not leave even if I lose. It makes us look ridiculous the world over. We've lost our franchise on free and fair elections. You almost feel like we need a group of nations to monitor our own election, instead of the other way around."
DOJ’s rush to publicize discarded ballots story is evidence of pro-Trump election interference: report
Past and present employees at the Justice Department are questioning the motives of higher-ups who prematurely announced an investigation into discarded ballots in Pennsylvania, only to have to quickly walk back their story as more details become available.
According to a report from the Guardian, federal prosecutors jumped all over a story out of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, that an employee “incorrectly discarded” a handful of ballots in mid-September that led to a meeting between Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr. With the DOJ publically announcing the ballots were for Trump, that allowed to the president to turn it into a campaign issue even though the story fell apart within hours.