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Trump prepared for impeachment hearings with an epic Fox News binge

Trump is getting his spin directly from Dobbs, Hannity, and company — and he isn’t even trying to hide it.

President Donald Trump Returns To White House From New York Trip
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk on the South Lawn after they returned to the White House from New York City on Tuesday.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the hours leading up to an especially pivotal day in his presidency — the House begins public impeachment hearings Wednesday morning — President Donald Trump indulged in an epic Fox News binge.

Trump started watching Lou Dobbs on Fox Business sometime around 7:30 pm last night. He later flipped the channel over to Fox News to catch Sean Hannity’s show. Then, this morning, he began his day with Fox & Friends.

How do we know this? Because Trump provided commentary for each of the shows he watched on Twitter. He altogether posted 12 tweets quoting or tagging Fox News personalities over about a 12-hour stretch. And with one exception — a Dobbs-inspired post spreading misleading figures about crimes committed by DACA recipients — all of Trump’s Fox News-inspired tweets railed against the impeachment hearing.

None of them made a very convincing case. Trump, citing Dobbs, urged people to read the White House summary of his fateful July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — a document that fueled the impeachment proceeding by indicating Trump used military aid to Ukraine as leverage for political favors:

Trump then posted a string of tweets quoting a Hannity rant in which he called the Democrat leading the impeachment inquiry — Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) — “compromised” and a “coward.” (Ad hominem attacks are a logical fallacy.)

“Sean the amazing warrior!” Trump tweeted in tribute to Hannity at the end of the thread.

Trump wasn’t done heaping abuse on Schiff. In his string of tweets responding to Fox & Friends on Wednesday morning, Trump attacked Schiff as “corrupt” and criticized the procedure the House voted to follow for the hearings. Citing host Steve Doocy, Trump falsely accused Democrats of “leaking out everything” when in fact they released hearing transcripts that were vetted by lawyers and broadly corroborate a government whistleblower’s account of how Trump abused his office during his dealings with Ukraine.

To close out his Fox News binge, Trump, citing commentary from Charles Hurt, suggested he did nothing wrong because Ukraine ultimately received the aid he withheld. But that talking point ignores the fact that aid was only released after the CIA’s top lawyer reportedly made a criminal referral to the DOJ about the July Trump-Zelensky phone call and on the same day House Democrats announced they were opening an inquiry into the matter. If you get caught robbing a bank and decide to leave the cash and make a break for it, that doesn’t mean you didn’t do anything wrong.

Not only do Trump’s tweets indicate that he’s indulging himself in friendly propaganda at a moment of crisis for his presidency, but they illustrate how both he and his defenders have struggled to develop a coherent defense of his conduct.

Even Trump seems less than satisfied. After he finished watching Fox News on Wednesday morning, he posted all caps tweets yelling, without any context, about “NEVER TRUMPERS!” and “READ THE TRANSCRIPT!

The news moves fast. To stay updated, follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter, and read more of Vox’s policy and politics coverage.

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