News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Wikileaks, RUSSIA, Hannity and Much, Much Moore

U.S. President Donald Trump waves goodbye as he enters Air Force One after participating in the East Asia Summit, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Manila, Philippines. Trump finished a five country trip through Asia visiting Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Good Tuesday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • On Tuesday, President Donald J. Trump will participate in the 12th Annual East Asia Summit Head of State and Government Luncheon, followed by an official photograph.
  • The president will then participate in the 12th East Asia Summit plenary session.
  • Later in the afternoon, the president will depart the Philippine International Convention Center for the Philippine International Convention Landing Zone via motorcade en route to Ninoy-Aquino International Airport.
  • The president will then depart Ninoy Aquino International Airport for Hickam, Hawaii, en route to Washington D.C.

Trump Jr. was “in contact” with Wikileaks during the election

ANOTHER LEAK. Before I get into the specifics, I want to emphasize that this information appears to come from a congressional committee investigating the RUSSIA-Trump connection. The Atlantic broke the story yesterday and here’s how they wrote about the origin of their information: “The messages, obtained by The Atlantic, were also turned over by Trump Jr.’s lawyers to congressional investigators.” Someone on a “congressional committee” is leaking. When is this going to stop!?!?

The messages, which are Twitter direct messages, “provided” to The Atlantic don’t appear incriminating. Trump Jr. rarely responded to Wikileaks. In fact, he responded only three times to the messages. The American intelligence community believes [Wikileaks] was chosen by the RUSSIAN government to disseminate the information it had hacked,” The Atlantic tells us. Here is the entire chain of messages, provided by Trump Jr. You decide if this is a “smoking gun” or not.

Are these communications illegal? Website Law & Crime reached out to Paul S. Ryan, vice president of watchdog group Policy & Litigation at Common Cause, who doesn’t think they are illegal. “I didn’t see strong evidence of any of that going on,” said Ryan.

Trump Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, released a statement saying:

“Over the last several months, we have worked cooperatively with each of the committees and have voluntarily turned over thousands of documents in response to their requests,” he said, according to The Atlantic. “Putting aside the question as to why or by whom such documents, provided to Congress under promises of confidentiality, have been selectively leaked, we can say with confidence that we have no concerns about these documents and any questions raised about them have been easily answered in the appropriate forum.”

You can decide what kind of “proof” these exchanges constitute regarding “collusion” between the Trump campaign and RUSSIA.

Update on the Sean Hannity attack

Yesterday, I wrote how Sean Hannity was attacked for replaying his radio interview with troubled candidate Roy Moore on his Fox News show. Anti-Hannity forces went after him for allowing Moore to answer allegations that he has pursued underage/almost underage women when he was in his 30s. Apparently, this did not sit well with the lefties who lobbied his advertisers to pull their commercials from his show. Hannity’s fans vowed to boycott Keurig, one of the advertisers that appeared to back away from Hannity. Three other brands have also boycotted the show: Hebrew National, Reddi-wip, and Marie Callender’s.

Keurig, however, has walked backed their initial move to leave Hannity. The Blaze writes: “Keurig CEO Bob Gamgort apologized to the company’s employees after the company faced intense backlash for canceling ads on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.”

Here’s the letter from the CEO:

Dear Keurig Team Members,

You are likely aware that Keurig became the focus of some media attention over the weekend related to a tweet issued from our official Twitter account on Friday. The tweet announced the withdrawal of advertising from “Hannity” in response to comments made on his program last week that were viewed as controversial by many of our consumers. This is to provide you with full transparency on the situation, our lessons learned and our path forward.

Like most consumer-oriented companies, Keurig’s media purchases are driven by delivery of ratings for our target consumer audience. We also have a defined set of programming guidelines to ensure we deliver our advertising in the right programming environment and protect our brand from objectionable content.

The fact is, our consumer demographics match well with live news programming, which is why we advertise on nearly all cable news channels, ranging from MSNBC to Fox to CNN, all of which will continue. However, given the dynamic nature of news, we always need to evaluate that programming environment on a real-time basis.

The catalyst for the current situation was commentary made by Sean Hannity on his TV and radio programs last week, which sparked a significant number of consumer complaints directed to us as advertisers on his TV program. Hannity himself later apologized for his comments in his own tweet: “As I said on TV tonight, I apologize when I misspoke and was not totally clear earlier today.”

In most situations such as this one, we would “pause” our advertising on that particular program and reevaluate our go-forward strategy at a later date. That represents a prudent “business as usual” decision for us, as the protection of our brand is our foremost concern. However, the decision to publicly communicate our programming decision via our Twitter account was highly unusual. This gave the appearance of “taking sides” in an emotionally charged debate that escalated on Twitter and beyond over the weekend, which was not our intent.

I want you to know the decision to communicate our short-term media actions on Twitter was done outside of company protocols. Clearly, this is an unacceptable situation that requires an overhaul of our issues response and external communications policies and the introduction of safeguards to ensure this never happens again. Our company and brand reputations are too valuable to be put at risk in this manner.

The nature of social media and the internet news environment is that stories like this explode, and generally do not disappear quickly. Given the circumstances, we wanted to reach out and communicate with you directly so you understood our position and the protocols we have in place.

I apologize for any negativity that you have experienced as a result of this situation and assure you that we will learn and improve going forward. As we all know, the external environment is changing rapidly. We need to dial-up our speed and responsiveness to stay ahead of these developments and we will.


A well-written, prudent response. Any brand coming under fire for its advertising practices should review the issue in question before impulsively responding. Our social media-calibrated culture has turned into a perpetually outraged, impulsive lynch mob. Companies ought to be careful before they start alienating half their consumer base.

Moore controversy heating up

I don’t see how this ends well. Yesterday, a new accuser came forward with attorney Gloria Allred to accuse Judge Roy Moore of attempted rape. Or “attempted oral sex,” if you adhere to the Clintonian understanding of sex.

“Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me, putting his hands on my breasts,” Beverly Young Nelson alleged. “I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and locked it so I could not get out. I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping, he began squeezing my neck, attempting to force my head onto his crotch.”

Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks (R) said he will still back Moore. But even more politicians have come forward to say they want Moore to step down. More than 20, according to CNN. Sen. Cory Gardner, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Moore should be expelled from the Senate if he should win the race. (Here’s how you get expelled from the Senate.)

Some have gone further than simply asking Moore to toss in the towel: Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said he would rather vote for the Democrat. Columnist George Will said that Moore opponent Doug Jones deserves to win.

What a mess.

Historical picture of the day:

Actresses Cindy Williams, left, and Penny Marshall, stars of the ABC-TV comedy series “Laverne and Shirley,” make an impression in cement after the taping of their show in Los Angeles, Nov. 14, 1979. Hand and footprints of a number of celebrities encased in cement along with their autographs will be auctioned to help the American Heart Association. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

Other morsels:

Thanksgiving is coming: 10 tips to help you not overeat

Sessions considering second special counsel to investigate Republican concerns, letter shows

Rand Paul returns to Washington after attack at his home

House Democrats seek probe of FCC chairman’s treatment of Sinclair

“Misgendering” gets teacher booted from school

Menendez jury deadlocked, ordered to keep trying

Air Force Could Be Sued For Millions Over Texas Church Shooting

FBI: Anti-White Hate Crimes Are The Fastest Growing Racial Hate Crimes In America

D.C. Carry License Applications Skyrocket In October

‘Transracial’ man was born white, identifies as Filipino

Weed is the new craft beer, says ex-Budweiser chief

Barbie makes doll of hijab-wearing Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad

Colin Kaepernick named GQ magazine’s “Citizen of the Year”

Amazon officially announced it’s making a ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV series, as it searches for an epic hit like ‘Game of Thrones’

A clip of George Takei talking about persuading men who are ‘afraid’ to have sex is circulating

4 US soldiers wounded after an IED attack in Afghanistan

More than 103 million Americans will have high blood pressure under new guidelines

Supreme Court will hear challenge to California pregnancy center law

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!