A New York Supreme Court on August 17 will hear arguments from Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Fox Corporation in their bid for the dismissal of a $2.7 billion defamation case brought by Smartmatic.
The election-technology company said in its February complaint that the defendants – including Fox News and hosts Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs – spread disinformation about the November 2020 presidential election.
The arguments are set for 9:30 a.m. in front of Judge David Benjamin Cohen, according to the court.
Giuliani and Powell, lawyers for President Donald Trump, appeared on Fox News following the election to say the election had been rigged by Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems.
The pair “needed to identify a villain” to make their story about election fraud work, Smartmatic said in its complaint.
The complaint said: “They knew of President Trump’s popularity. They knew he had millions of loyal followers. To rile them up, to get them angry, to get them to donate money, Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell needed a villain in their story. They needed someone they could say had rigged and stolen the election from a President admired and adored by millions.”
It added: “Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell settled on two villains: Smartmatic and Dominion.”
Fox News in April sought to dismiss the case, saying its hosts didn’t have a responsibility to fact-check lawyers for a sitting president.
Powell’s lawyers earlier this month said her Fox News spots were “about election integrity” and were not attempts to raise money.
Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner said that Vladimir Putin gave more time to the press than Joe Biden, even though the US president had not yet delivered his solo press conference on Wednesday.
“We saw that President of Russia answering more questions in front of the media, longer than I can remember either the current president or his vice president combined in terms of time and number of questions,” Faulkner said.
Faulkner stopped short of explicitly praising Putin, saying she was choosing her words “closely and carefully.”
On her daytime show, “Outnumbered,” Faulkner has frequently criticized Biden for not taking more questions from reporters and not doing enough interviews.
She also criticized Biden for not appearing alongside Putin as former President Donald Trump had. Pompeo had previously insisted that Biden follow Trump’s lead with a joint press conference, and repeated that message during his Wednesday appearance on Fox.
Faulkner returned to the issue of Biden and Putin appearing separately, saying: “Today, when you see these two leaders separate after meeting for three hours and more than 15 minutes, and you see them come out, their messaging will be very different.”
“Does his message get muddled, thereby the message of the American people?” Faulkner said of Biden going second.
In his most severe rewriting of history on the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, Fox News opinion host Tucker Carlson baselessly claimed the riot was organized by the FBI.
“They were almost certainly working for the FBI, so FBI operatives were organizing the attack at the Capitol on January 6, according to government documents,” Carlson said without showing said documents.
Carlson, the most watched host on Fox News, was referring to the latest indictments handed out in the FBI’s investigation of the siege.
His claim relies solely on assuming that anyone listed anonymously as an “unindicted co-conspirator” must have been an FBI agent. Carlson went even further to claim the agents plotted the attack, implying it may not have happened without them.
“It turns out that this ‘white supremacist insurrection’ was – again, by the government’s own admission in these documents – organized by government agents,” Carlson said, raising the tone of his voice to convey that he was not serious in describing January 6 as a white supremacist insurrection.
He played a clip from Wray’s testimony on Capitol Hill where he said the FBI is focused on getting “better sources, better information, better analysis” from white supremacist groups to prevent another insurrection from happening.
Although Carlson kept referring to “government documents,” he did not show any on screen.
Fox News did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on whether any of the network’s journalists have been able to verify Carlson’s claim.
Rather than showing the indictments or background information on undercover sourcing in federal investigations, Carlson relied on the Revolver post and citing his usual “they,” a cabal of government and media elites looking to deceive his viewers.
“That’s a line, and the FBI has crossed it,” Carlson said before accusing Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of playing a “victim” because the plot to kidnap her was “a farce” and “insulting” because it involved FBI informants and under cover agents.
“So if you’re wondering why they are always comparing January 6th to 9/11, there’s your answer,” Carlson said. “They’re using the same tactics.”
Carlson then called for the officer who shot unarmed rioter Ashli Babbitt to be arrested.
His guest was Darren Beattie, the author of the Revolver News post who described it as “the most important and the darkest investigative piece they’ve seen in years,” based on what people have told him, and that the late Babbitt deserves answers.
Beattie did not present any evidence to support his claims on air.
“After seeing all of this, you have to ask yourself, does the national security apparatus do anything but conspire against the American people?” Beattie said. “I’m led to conclude that we cannot have a democracy – everything in our politics will be fake and performative until we bring the national security sate, including the FBI, to heel.”
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s latest political rally featured a speech by former President Donald Trump, in which he railed against voter fraud again.
Trump delivered his comments via satellite at the Saturday event. He repeated unfounded claims about fraud during the 2020 election and took aim at President Joe Biden’s efforts to reverse his policies.
Trump seemed to respond directly to the Biden administration’s announcement on Friday that it would pull more than $2 billion in funding Trump had diverted to pay for a wall along the southern border.
“All Biden had to do – all he had to do was leave it alone,” Trump said. “So we went from the most successful, the safest border in the history of our country – think of that – to the worst and most dangerous border.”
After Trump spoke to the crowd in New Richmond, Wisconsin, droves of attendees could be seen walking out of the event. A series of videos posted on Twitter on Saturday showed attendees leaving as the pillow pitchman spoke.
Republicans across the US are waging an escalating culture war against critical race theory, an academic concept or framework centered on systemic racism and its effects across American society.
What is critical race theory?
Critical race theorists look at how America’s history of racism and discrimination continues to impact the country today.
“Critical race theory is a practice. It’s an approach to grappling with a history of White supremacy that rejects the belief that what’s in the past is in the past, and that the laws and systems that grow from that past are detached from it,” said Kimberlé Crenshaw, a founding critical race theorist and a law professor at UCLA and Columbia University, told CNN last year.
Why is the GOP turning it into an issue?
The GOP campaign against critical race theory, which distorts the concept, is linked to a broader effort to stifle or invalidate conversations on the pervasiveness of racism in the US in relation to its history, experts say. Republicans have launched similar attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement and the 1619 project in that regard.
“The base of the Republican Party is offended by the political focus on racism and racial justice that has been apparent for several years now, but especially since the George Floyd murder,” Andrew Hartman, a history professor at Illinois State University and author of “A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars,” told Insider. “So, GOP politicians and conservative media obsess over the issue to gin up outrage that might translate into future votes, but in the meantime definitely translates into donations and ratings.”
Jelani Cobb, a staff writer at the New Yorker, historian, and professor at Columbia Journalism School, in a recent tweet said that the “attacks on critical race theory are clearly an attempt to discredit the literature millions of people sought out last year to understand how George Floyd wound up dead on a street corner.”
“The goal is to leave the next dead Black person inexplicable by history,” Cobb added.
In the process, they’ve taken an otherwise niche academic theory and legal practice to catapult it into the center of the contentious, ongoing debate on racism in the US.
“I am honestly confused why Critical Race Theory has become the specific target, except to say that conservatives have a LONG history of educational activism against secular and liberal trends in schools, and CRT checks a lot of boxes in that regard,” Hartman said. “It is an academic theory that emerged from elite universities (Harvard Law in particular). It seemingly indoctrinates students with the idea that racism is endemic and institutional, which flies in the face of conservative colorblindness.”
How is CRT being treated by the right-wing ecosystem?
The GOP obsession with critical race theory was in many ways sparked by former President Donald Trump, who has a well-documented history of racism. Last September, Trump sent out a memo ordering the Office of Management and Budget to stop funding training on critical race theory for federal employees. The memo referred to the theory as a “propaganda effort” that teaches or suggests that the US “is an inherently racist or evil country.”
“The divisive, false, and demeaning propaganda of the critical race theory movement is contrary to all we stand for as Americans and should have no place in the Federal government,” the memo said.
Similarly, Trump also railed against The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” stating that it “rewrites American history to teach our children that we were founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom.”
Although critical race theory is not a staple of K-12 curricula – mostly applying to colleges and universities – local squabbles and highly specific campus incidents have been amplified by Fox News and other outlets and used by politicians for fundraising pushes.
As Fox’s top-viewed opinion hosts struggle to land on a coherent depiction of President Joe Biden in the way they handled Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, critical race theory serves as a convenient programming staple. Coverage of critical race theory dominates Fox News coverage across daytime, primetime, and online.
“Often compared by critics to actual racism, CRT is a school of thought that generally focuses on how power structures and institutions impact racial minorities,” an explainer post reads on the Fox News website.
An attorney for Sidney Powell filed a court motion Thursday asking a judge to dismiss a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against her, arguing her television appearances advancing conspiracy theories about the 2020 election were “not infomercials” and comparing her to a Buddhist monk.
“Powell’s Fox News interviews were about election integrity, evidence of election fraud, and her intention to take legal action to bring the malfeasance to light,” the filing says. “Her appearances were not informercials promoting her law firm or DTR’s websites. [sic]”
Powell, a former attorney on Donald Trump’s 2020 election team, falsely accused Smartmatic of being in cahoots with Dominion Voting Systems, a rival election technology company, to “flip” votes from then-President Trump to now-President Joe Biden. When Trump fired Powell from his legal team, she subsequently filed four failed and conspiracy-theory-filled lawsuits seeking to overturn the election results.
In the new filing, Powell’s attorney, Howard Kleinhendler, said she can’t be held responsible in a New York state court over her claims, comparing her to a Buddhist monk in the Himalayas.
“Plaintiffs ask this Court to assert personal jurisdiction over Powell because her words were broadcast world-wide by Fox news from New York and maybe, as a result, some New Yorkers sent money to a Texas not-for-profit corporation called Defending the Republic,” Kleinhendler wrote. “According to this theory, a Buddhist monk shrouded in red robes high atop the Himalayas demanding Tibetan independence from China can be haled into this Court for defamatory statements against the Communist government.”
Rudy Giuliani also asked to dismiss the defamation suit
An attorney for Giuliani also filed a motion for dismissal on Thursday. Like Powell, Giuliani’s attorney argued that Smartmatic didn’t have jurisdiction to sue him in New York over comments claiming the company had secret Venezuelan connections it used to develop technology to manipulate election results.
Fox News, too, has filed motions asking the court to dismiss the Smartmatic lawsuit.
Court filings in February and in April argued that since the media company was offering newsworthy information from the president’s lawyers to viewers, it didn’t need to deeply scrutinize Powell’s and Giuliani’s claims. Smartmatic has argued that Fox News shouldn’t benefit from legal protections normally given to media companies in defamation lawsuits in New York.
Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity’s relationship with former President Donald Trump soured as the one term president kept falsely claiming that the 2020 election was stolen, according to an updated book.
A newly released paperback copy of CNN anchor and media reporter Brian Stelter’s book “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth” details revelations learned since its initial release back in August 2020.
Hannity, who has openly campaigned for Trump at rallies despite his job at a news organization, was continuing to advise Trump in frequent phone calls leading up to Election Day, according to Stelter.
But when Trump began to peddle disinformation about the election and kept lying that it was stolen, the primetime host reportedly came close to a breaking point.
“The calls and counseling continued right up until Election Day-when the relationship between the two men began to break down. Hannity, according to one source, was ‘disgusted’ by some of Trump’s election denialism,” Stelter writes.
Stelter notes that he was initially “skeptical” of his source saying Hannity and Trump had a falling out because “Hannity devoted so much time to the Big Lie throughout the month of November and well into December.”
“At least [Tucker] Carlson was wise enough to focus on other Fox-friendly subjects,” Stelter writes. “Hannity kept inviting Kayleigh McEnany to hold up packets of paper and swear that the legal path to a second term was right around the corner, even though Trump’s suits were laughed out of court left and right. McEnany and other Hannity guests filled the Fox audience with false hope night after night and never, ever delivered.”
Fox News anchor Chris Wallace pressed Sen. Joe Manchin Sunday over his strategy and hopes for bipartisanship in the Senate.
Democrats continue to express increasing interest in scrapping the filibuster, a rule that allows the minority party to block measures from being brought to a vote, but Manchin is one of the few standing in the way of his colleagues’ wishes.
“If you were to keep the idea that maybe you would vote to kill the filibuster, wouldn’t that give Republicans an incentive to actually negotiate,” Wallace asked. “By taking it off the table, haven’t you empowered Republicans to be obstructionists?”
Manchin disagreed, saying there are “seven brave Republicans that continue to vote for what they know is right and the facts as they see them” and that he believes there are more that feel the same way, adding he sees “good signs.”
Wallace pointed out that Republicans did not support a bipartisan commission to study the January 6 Capitol insurrection and that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is “100%” focused on stopping President Joe Biden.
“Aren’t you being naive about this continuing talk about bipartisan cooperation?” Wallace said.
“I’m not being naive. I think he’s 100% wrong in trying to block all the good things that we’re trying to do for America,” Manchin responded, adding he believes McConnell puts politics before policies. “I’m going to continue to keep working with my bipartisan friends and hopefully we can get more of them.”
The appearance came on the heels of an op-ed written by the senator and published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail. Manchin used the piece to announce he won’t be voting in favor of the Democrats’ sweeping voting rights legislation, the For the People Act, calling it overly partisan.
“Some Democrats have again proposed eliminating the Senate filibuster rule in order to pass the For the People Act with only Democratic support. They’ve attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past,” Manchin wrote.
The filibuster is a prolonged debate that can be used by the minority party to block a bill from going to a vote and can only be ended by a supermajority vote of 60 Senators.
The Senate is currently split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.
Fox News reportedly refused to air an advertisement created by a progressive PAC that featured testimonials from law enforcement officers about their treatment by the pro-Trump mob that stormed the US Capitol on January 6.
“We couldn’t have fathomed in our wildest imaginations that even a Fox News would reject an ad that simply condemns the insurrection, and condemns people who support the insurrection,” Ben Meiselas, a co-founder of the PAC MeidasTouch, told the Los Angeles Times. “What Fox has really become is a fascist echo chamber gatekeeper for their base.”
The advertisement features testimony from some of the law enforcement officers who responded to the riot.
“It’s been very difficult seeing elected officials and other individuals whitewash the events of that day or downplay what happened,” said DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone in the advertisement in a clip that was originally from an interview on CNN.
“I experienced the most brutal, savage hand-to-hand combat of my entire life,” he added.
During the riot, prosecutors say Fanone had a heart attack after he was shot several times with a stun gun, dragged down steps, and beaten with a flagpole, as Insider previously reported.
Capitol Police Captain Carneysha Mendoza is also featured in the advertisement, speaking about the chemical burns to her face she experienced. That clip was lifted from her testimony before the Senate in February.
The advertisement ends with on-screen text that reads “the GOP betrayed America.”
Meiselas and his brothers, Brett and Jordan, who founded MeidasTouch last year, told the LA Times they had placed the ad buy with Fox News last week but were told Friday that the network would not air it. They said they had never in the past had an advertisement rejected by Fox News.
Fox News did not return Insider’s request for comment Sunday.
The progressive organization posted the minute-long advertisement to its Twitter page and said it planned to air the advertisement on other networks.
The PAC told the LA Times it had paid Fox News $185,000 to run the advertisement from June 6 to June 15 during its programming.
“The fact they want to cancel and censor the voices of law enforcement who bravely guarded the Capitol. It’s the height of hypocrisy, and it’s un-American,” said Brett Meiselas.
Trump’s address at the North Carolina GOP State Convention on Saturday night was the first time the former president had made a public address since his Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) speech in February.
Fox News was once Trump’s favorite news channel, but he has repeatedly trashed it in recent years. He has called it “unwatchable” and has urged his followers to watch “anything else,” Insider’s Yelena Dzhanova reported.
One America News (OAN) and Newsmax are now battling it out for pro-Trump viewers, Insider reported. Both of the conservative networks decided to air the former president’s speech live, Newsweek said.
MSNBC showed some of the address, with a correspondent speaking over the remarks, Newsweek added.
Insider reached out to Fox News and CNN for comment but did not immediately receive a response.