Will Fox News Ask Its Commentators to Disclose Their Mobbed Up Clients?

Yesterday, I asked Fox Media Critic Howard Kurtz if he could dedicate a show to why Fox News commentators Joe DiGenova (who recently took to the air to accuse Democrats of “regicide”) and Victoria Toensing don’t disclose their representation of Dmitry Fitash, whom Rudy Giuliani has publicly asserted has close ties to mobster Semion Mogilevich. It would also be nice if they disclosed that in recent months they were being paid by corrupt Ukrainian oligarch Firtash $250,000 a month to to complain that Hunter Biden was paid $50,000 a month by a different corrupt Ukrainian oligarch.

To be sure, I’m not arguing that there’s a problem with DiGenova and Toensing representing a mobbed up oligarch. Everyone deserves good legal representation and if Firtash wants to spend his money paying for disinformation rather than sound legal advice, that’s his choice.

Mind you, Fox News might feel differently. After all, the network aggressively backed a smear campaign during the Obama Administration to tar any DOJ appointee who had ever represented a terrorism defendant. Among the Fox personalities who, in 2010, believed that lawyers’ past representation of certain kinds of defendants suggested a current ideological affinity for the underlying crime were:

According to Sean Hannity’s logic — “logic” I’m not adopting — DiGenova and Toensing’s representation of a guy with ties to organized crime suggests they, themselves, must support organized crime (and bribery, which is the charge Firtash is trying to beat in the US).

Still, particularly given this precedent, so long as Fox News pretends to be a news organization, it would seem advisable for the network to require DiGenova and Toensing to disclose their ties to someone that the President’s own personal lawyer says has ties to the mob.

Update: Laura Rozen notes that Chris Wallace was among the first to report that Di Genova and Toensing were part of Rudy’s plot.

FOX News has learned the president’s private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was not acting alone in trying to get dirt from Ukrainian officials on 2020 rival Joe Biden. Two high-profile Washington lawyers, Joe diGenova, who’s been a fierce critic of the Democratic investigation, and his wife Victoria Toensing, were working with Giuliani to get oppo research on Biden.

According to a top U.S. official, all three were working off the books apart from the administration. The only person in government who knows what they were doing is President Trump.

54 replies
  1. Rita says:

    Let’s see if I have this right:

    D. Firtash pays Toensing and DiGenova to lobby Barr and the WH to help with his legal woes .And Toensing and DiGenova aid in the smearing of Biden, Trump’s most likely political rival. Seems like Firtash is paying Toensing and DiGenova to make an in kind contribution to Trump’s political campaign.

    There oughtta be a law…

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    When you’re a Republican and supporter of Faux Noise, it is impossible to have a conflict of interest, unless you start supporting a Democrat.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I agree with the meme that Trump Doral hosting the G7 – a domestic crime-in-the-making – is meant to distract from more horrific crimes, including Ukraine and potential aiding and abetting of war crimes in NE Syria.

    As if to prove the point, Trump’s latest “proposal” is to crowd fund the G7 rather than charge taxpayers for the US portion of the expenses. The stupid, it burns.

    Imagine the price gouging Trump would feel free to engage in with crowd funding as the payment source. Imagine the greater corruption it would lead to, and how many Firtashes and Parnases would come out of the woodwork to make their donations, and what they would expect in return. https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/

    Not that Trump thinks the G7 gig at the Doral is itself a problem. He thinks anything is OK if he needs the money. But the quick flitting, the shouting about one crime to hide another, is one of his defining characteristics. He’s also convinced that being open and notorious about his crimes makes any one of them harder to prosecute or to include in articles of impeachment.

    Relatedly, with a mindset like that, imagine how horrible are the crimes he is still trying to hide.

    • P J Evans says:

      For him, being charged with tax evasion is the worst thing he can think of. (Remember that he thinks it’s smart to avoid paying taxes.)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If pursued zealously, it has the potential to derail not just his presidency, but his empire, and land him in jail, with a crew cut and orange jump suit for life.

    • Tom says:

      “war crimes in NE Syria” — watched CBS News yesterday evening – Turks and/or their hangers-on using white phosphorus munitions with children among the victims – still can’t get the images out of my mind

  4. joel fisher says:

    Fox only needs to convince the morons who watch it’s a “news” organization. They would be a little more professional if there were large scale boycotts of the products that pay for the “news”.

  5. BobPDX says:

    I’m surprised that the Firtash story hasn’t gotten more airtime. He’s basically paying big bucks to shop around Shokin’s affidavit in the hopes that it will get him off the hook with the DOJ, and then Rudy ruins the whole thing by blabbing about it. Toensing and DiGenova have a son who works under Barr. Why is this news not above the fold?

    • timbo says:

      Let’s hope that the our counter-intelligence guys are aware of this… and not completely hamstrung/gutted by the Trump regime.

  6. ducktree says:

    When was it that Dotard latched onto looking at “the oranges” of the Russia investigation? Considering his undocumented calls to Putin and backdoor to Manafort through Downing . . . (it would be irresponsible not to speculate).


    And when did Manafort hitch his wagon train to Ukraine?


    Poor Zelenskiiy . . . bolshe moi!

  7. Tullalove says:

    Focus, folks! The Doral debacle had the effect of making Trump seem like he’s been beaten down, and had to capitulate. So , now, the headlines are about his backing down on this one, future, breach of…well, pretty much anything it takes to skirt the norms of the system. These norms are already breached, and his surrogate hench-people need to be held accountable in real time.
    Don’t let Doral derail the point of EW’s post.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Plenty of focused people around here, thanks.

      But you’re right, this White House alternates between what Trump says to promote his personal interests and what his aides tell him he should say.

      His track record in supposedly changing his heart is to sell it as a moment of maturity, It captures the news cycle for a short time. Trump then goes back to what he originally wanted, in this case maybe changing Doral to Bedminster.

      But the false notion that Trump had a moment of maturity or self-awareness lingers in the press, as if it were true – despite his constantly reversing course back to his original tack. That’s on the normalizing press.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        For example, months after court orders to stop separating immigrant children at the border – and administration claims that they never had separated them, but had stopped doing it anyway – the TrumpMiller Show continues to separate thousands of kids from their parents at the border.

        When Trump says he’s changed his mind, or that he acknowledges superior authority, he’s lying.

        • timbo says:

          Also, about that borderwall… isn’t that still a legal case on that somewhere? Or is that a done deal now? In any case, we could go OT (on Trump) for hours and not reach the end of all the crap he’s tried to pull or has pulled in his existence on Earth. The point is to focus and not let his knack for getting people so confused that they just throw their hands up and “let Trump be Trump!” be the easiest decision.

          • K-spin says:

            Agree. While it is so hard not to get riled up, and be distracted by every new example of DJT’s corruption / idiocy, we have to keep focusing on the solution and supporting every effort to achieve transparency, and hold this guy to account. Every new example is consistent with what we already know – that he has no conscience, will never believe he has done anything wrong, and is wholly incapable of putting the interests of anyone else above his own. In that light, we’ve got to change the narrative – instead of seeing each new revelation as something new, we’ve got to frame each one as just one more piece of evidence that confirms that the current investigation is necessary, while also making it harder and harder for his minions / GOP delegates to defend him. I know it’s hard not to get ANGRY about each new revelation (and I for one have def been guilty of this!) but we just can’t afford to lose focus or be distracted from the Big Picture.

            • K-spin says:

              Oh, and huge props to Marcy for finding a way to include the words ‘Sean Hannity’ and ‘logic’ in the same sentence. You rock, GF!

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The MSM is in fairly constant need of correcting its framing. Rudy Giuliani is not, for example, waging a shadow foreign policy in Turkey and Syria. Donald Trump is.

    The professionals at State, DOD, CIA, and so on are trying to maintain traditional foreign policy in the region, with all its pluses and minuses. As President, Trump has different priorities. But he refuses to redirect those agencies to comply with his wishes.

    In part, that’s to hide what he wants, which he thinks is being smart rather than afraid. In part, it’s because he does not know how to do it. He doesn’t know the people, machinery, or processes, and can’t or won’t learn them.

    Instead, Trump implements his priorities on the sly, through a handful of sycophants like Giuliani. So we get two foreign policies working at odds with each other. (Trump thinks that’s smart, too, because it lets him hide in the chaos.) We get the lies meant to deny that reality. And people get caught in the middle.

    • Jenny says:

      Trump’s priority is all about serving himself. Greed, greed and more greed. The man doesn’t have both oars in the water.

      Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

    • Eureka says:

      Isaac Chotiner has an informative interview with Brett McGurk, worth the read– including some highlights re McGurk’s interactions with Erdogan; early warning signs; unexpected successes in diplomacy efforts (now vanquished, of course).

      Gives great bas relief to what Trump has really undone with not only this latest set of moves, but how his tweetness has really wrecked our ability to negotiate and rally coalitions in general.

      And a reminder that Erdogan’s Turkey is looking to resolve its own unhappiness with post-WWI boundaries.

      The Former U.S. ISIS Envoy on Trump and the Crisis in Syria

        • Eureka says:

          He’s very gifted. Even (especially?) with truculent subjects: I wouldn’t mind if he could get Rudy on the phone again for another interview.

      • Tom says:

        Best book I’ve read on the origins of the current situation in the Middle East is by Scott Anderson published in 2013 — “Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East”.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Mick Mulvaney says Donald Trump acts the way he does because he thinks he’s still in the hospitality business. That’s because he is.

    Trump set up a minimalist, transparent rather than blind revocable “trust” to hold the businesses he refused to divest from while president. He continues to run those businesses in all but name. He frequently directs millions in government business to them, and encourages foreign and domestic, private and public sector persons to do the same.

    Which means that on the rare occasions Trump acts as president, he’s moonlighting.

    • Vicks says:

      I don’t know much about Mulvaney but that interview was disturbing on so many levels.
      He repeated it a couple times but I don’t remember him saying Trump “thinks” he is in the hospitality business, I thought he said Trump “IS” in the hospitality business. I recorded it, I will watch it again later.
      I just couldn’t get a read on the guy.
      Is Trump surround by key people that don’t know the rules?
      Does Mulvaney know the rules but is he an evil kingmaker gaslighting the country?
      Is Mulvaney a double agent and working for the democrats?
      Is Mulvaney just an idiot?

      • Tom says:

        After the President has spent over two-and-a-half years in the Oval Office, it sounds like more special pleading for Trump’s lack of political experience. Mulvaney is echoing Paul Ryan’s comments excusing Trump’s outspoken criticism of James Comey from June 2017: “He’s just new to this.” See WaPo story from June 8, 2017.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Per my above comment about the MSM being in constant need of reframing their propositions, Philadelphia lawyer Adam Bonin corrects the eminently correctable Dana Bash of CNN:

    The President does not have a “communications” problem; he has a “can’t stop committing impeachable acts” problem.


    • e.a.f. says:

      that line made me laugh! that does seem to be the problem, committing impeachable acts. its exhausting. always when trump is doing one thing, which is reported in the news, you have to wonder, what else is he doing, which he wants to hide or the media isn’t reporting on.

      Cancelling the G7/8/6 at Dorval did take the focus off of the murdered Kurds for a few minutes or even longer on some news casts. They didn’t show any pictures of dead Kurdish children, so trump may think it wasn’t such a bad move after all. Doubt if he cares about Kurds or their children. My concern is, the world will stand by and let Turkey and whomever else murder as many Kurds as they want. It wasn’t as if Trump didn’t warn he was good with a genocide.

      I’m still suspicious about why he did it. Its not like the troops are returning to the U.S.A. They’re in another part of Iraq or going to S.Arabia. My question still is how much was trump “paid” to with draw troops or did he do it for free?

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