President Donald Trump has been busy tweeting some pretty ridiculous things this long holiday weekend. Among them was a Saturday attack on CNN International that also promoted Fox News.
But why go after CNN International now? No one can really pretend to understand what goes on inside Donald Trump’s mind, but it is intriguing that the attack occurred almost simultaneously with the news that Russian President Vladimir Putin had signed that country’s new “foreign agent” media law.
That law, which took effect the same day, designates certain U.S.–funded media outlets as “foreign agents” in the eyes of the Russian government. It is a tit for tat for a previous designation by the U.S. Justice Department requiring Russian state–funded media outlet RT to register in the U.S. as a foreign agent.
It’s really hard to believe that Trump isn’t doing Putin’s bidding when he pulls stuff like this:
CNN’s communications team quickly responded with a not–so–gentle reminder that Trump should learn what his job is and then actually do it:
The former acting director of the CIA, John McLaughlin, called the president’s tweet “scary if that’s our new normal.” And don’t think special counsel Robert Mueller isn’t paying attention.
But there’s another angle to this that is slightly amusing, in that Trump could be screwing over his own Justice Department in its antitrust case against the AT&T and Time Warner merger. DOJ regulators previously had told AT&T that it would have to sell Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN, in order for the $85 billion merger to be approved.
Earlier this week, Trump said the deal would “not [be] good for the country.”
But AT&T is ready to fight the lawsuit in court. According to CNN, AT&T general counsel David McAtee II said the suit is “a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent.” The company’s CEO, Randall Stephenson, said the DOJ’s decision “defies logic.”
At any rate, AT&T isn’t going to roll over and play dead. That means that evidence and arguments must be gathered and crafted, and there is no doubt the company will use the multitude of attacks and defamation against CNN by the president himself as potential evidence in the trial to show bias.
Which leads us back to Trump’s attack on CNN International this weekend. President Barack Obama’s former White House ethics czar, Norm Eisen, pointed out that Trump’s tweet likely will be used against the DOJ in its antitrust case, and it might even be further evidence of collusion with Russia:
Keep shooting yourself in the foot, Mr. President.