FOX News is Trump State Media, and they're not even pretending anymore that there's any separation between the White House and the cable network.
It is “in the public interest” for the White House's top communicator to be excused from federal ethics laws so he can meet with Fox News, according to President Donald Trump’s top lawyer.
Bill Shine, Trump’s newly minted communications director, and Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economist, who worked at CNBC before his White House post, have both been excused from provisions of the law, which seeks to prevent administration officials from advancing the financial interests of relatives or former employers.
“The Administration has an interest in you interacting with Covered Organizations such as Fox News,” wrote White House counsel Don McGahn in a July 13 memo granting an ethics waivers to Shine, a former Fox executive. “[T]he need for your services outweighs the concern that a reasonable person may question the integrity of the White House Office’s programs and operations.”
Kudlow, a former CNBC host, received a similar waiver allowing him to communicate with former colleagues.
Including Shine and Kudlow, the White House has granted a total of 20 waivers to provisions of various federal ethics laws and the ethics pledge that President Trump instituted by executive order the week he took office. Federal agencies have granted many more such waivers.
The news media has been a particular object of those waivers. Early in the administration, after The Daily Beast questioned the propriety of then-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s communications with employees of Breitbart News, the pro-Trump outlet he led before and after his White House tenure, the White House issued a blanket ethics waiver allowing all senior West Wing appointees to freely communicate with the press.
That move was widely seen as an effort to retroactively cover Bannon for previous meetings that would’ve otherwise run afoul of ethics rules—a move that may itself have constituted a violation of those rules.
FOX News employees run the White House, and the White House runs FOX News. Considering nearly half of Republicans want Trump to have the power to exterminate news organizations, it won't be long before FOX News is the only game left in DC. Who will stop him? A Roberts Court with Kavanaugh on board as the fifth vote? A GOP Congress? None of the checks and balances work right now. Our last chance is November, and both sides know it.
Should Trump succeed in making sure the Democrats don't control the House or Senate in January, we're done as a nation and a republic.