Journalist Cathy Areu gave a jaw-dropping response to Donald Trump’s authoritarian quote about having an “absolute right” to do whatever he wants with the Justice Department – not with alarm at the authoritarian nature of the remark but by validating it.
In his interview with the New York Times last week, Trump said, “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.” While this sounded alarms among those who care about the independence of our Justice Department, Areu seemed to endorse it.
She was asked by MediaBuzz host Howard Kurtz on Sunday “What’s been the media reaction” to Trump’s statement? Kurtz did not ask, it’s worth noting, “Has the media properly reported on Trump's authoritarian statement that misunderstands the role of our DOJ?”
Even so, Areu’s response was shockingly ill-informed or else “only” slavishly devoted to making Trump look good.
AREU: I think the media’s actually educating people on what’s going on. In the past, people didn’t understand Mueller’s position, they didn’t understand the power of the president to do these things. So it’s almost like a lesson to the public. The media’s actually educating everyone, this is what could happen. No one understood that Mueller actually was at the disposal of the president, the president could do what he wanted with Mueller.
This is not true, at least not if we are to believe Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith who served as an assistant attorney general and as special counsel to the Department of Defense during the George W. Bush administration. In an article for Lawfare, Goldsmith wrote that it is up to the attorney general to fire Mueller and only then under “very demanding legal criteria” that would have to be justified to Congress. There are steps Trump could take to fire Mueller, Goldsmith explained, but they would require subordinates willing to execute such an order (which Goldsmith thinks unlikely) and would probably be hugely destructive politically.
Even worse than Areu’s misinformation was her apparent stamp of approval for Trump’s authoritarianism.
Yet neither of the other two guests on the panel nor Kurtz challenged a word.
Watch Areu act as though she’s more interested in becoming a paid Fox contributor than in the truth below, from the December 31, 2017 MediaBuzz.