But Powell, Dobbs, and Fox are hardly alone. Last Friday, a second former Trump attorney and conspiracy talker, Joe diGenova, tried to wriggle out of a defamation suit with a written apology to Christopher Krebs, Trump’s former cybersecurity chief who diGenova physically threatened last year during a conservative talk radio interview.
After Krebs debunked Trump’s election fraud claims last year, diGenova said he should be “drawn and quartered” and “taken out at dawn and shot.”
But much like Powell, instead of trying to defend his comments, diGenova is rolling over.
“On November 30, 2020, I appeared on the ‘Howie Carr Show.’ During the show, I made regrettable statements regarding Christopher Krebs, which many interpreted as a call for violence against him,” diGenova said in the statement released on the day traditionally reserved for news dumps. “Today I reiterate my public apology to Mr. Krebs and his family for any harm my words caused. Given today’s political climate, I should have more carefully expressed my criticism of Mr. Krebs, who was just doing his job.”
In the statement, diGenova that he had already apologized on Newsmax for his “grossly inappropriate statements.” But much like Powell’s surrender, diGenova’s repentance comes in the face of a defamation lawsuit Krebs filed against him in December.
Newsmax has also aired awkward disclaimers. In the middle of a February interview with MyPillow Guy CEO Mike Lindell, a diehard Trump supporter and conspiracy spreader, a Newsmax anchor abruptly interrupted Lindell as he claimed to have “100 percent proof” of election fraud.
“We at Newsmax have not been able to verify any of those kinds of allegations,” anchor Bob Sellers said. As Lindell continued speaking, Sellers broke out a written statement and read from it: “The election results in every state were certified. Newsmax accepts the results as legal and final. The courts have also supported that view.”
Like Fox, Newsmax is facing legal trouble. In December, an employee of Dominion Voting Systems sued Newsmax and another Trump-boosting outlet, One America News Network (OANN), for personal and professional harms suffered by him and his family. Dominion, which has filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox for spreading lies about its voting machines, has also sent letters to Newsmax and OANN threatening legal action.
WABC Radio has also starting running a disclaimer before the radio show of Rudy Giuliani, who is likewise being sued for defamation by Smartmatic USA and Dominion. WABC doesn’t seem to want any part of that legal action.
“The views, assumptions and opinions expressed by former U.S. Attorney, former attorney to the President of the United States and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, his guests and callers on the program are strictly their own, and do not necessarily represent the opinions, beliefs or policies of WABC Radio, its owner Red Apple Group and other WABC hosts or our advertisers,” says the statement.
The disclaimer angered Giuliani, who is attempting to have the lawsuits against him dismissed, claiming for instance that Dominion made 50 “false and defamatory statements” about him in its legal filing. But Giuliani has also made no attempt to justify his statements against Dominion. Instead, his lawyer promised a “vigorous and complete response” if the lawsuit reached “factual adjudication on the merits” of the case. In other words, we’re kicking the can down on the road while double crossing our fingers the lawsuit never reaches the point of discovery.
But the trend is clear, as The Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake points out: Almost no person or entity who helped spread Trump’s election fraud lies is even attempting to back them up with evidence. In fact, most of those lie-spreaders have either partially or totally backed away from them in the face of litigation: Fox, Newsmax, OANN, Giuliani’s radio host WABC, the RNC, and two former Trump lawyers.
It’s almost as if the dozens of legal defeats Trump’s attorneys suffered in the courts shortly after the election are now being verified by the very people who helped lay the foundation and pushed those cases to begin with.
Still, numerous polls have found that anywhere from half to three-quarters of Republican voters falsely believe the election was “stolen” from Trump. Just last week, a Reuters/Ipsos poll put that number at 60% of Republicans.
If only the death of the Big Lie went out with a big bang rather than a whimper, it might undo some of the damage done by the fraud Trump and his sycophants perpetrated against GOP voters and the nation.