The fallout from the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort feels never-ending, and those still suffering the sting of the right-wing backlash are the ones who enforced the move, including the federal magistrate judge who signed off on the search warrant.
On the latest episode of The Daily Beast’s Fever Dreams podcast, host Will Sommer and guest host Andrew Kirell, senior editor at The Daily Beast, discuss the right’s obsession with magistrate judge Bruce Reinhart.
On Thursday night’s broadcast of Tucker Carlson Tonight, during fill-in host Brian Kilmeade’s commentary on the judge, Fox News aired a fabricated image of two separate photographs depicting Reinhart on an airplane receiving a foot massage from convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell.
It took almost 24 hours for Kilmeade to address the incident, taking to Twitter not to apologize but rather to claim that the fake image was shown on the news network purely as a goof.
“It’s gotten out of control,” Sommer says.
“There’s a larger takeaway here from that treatment of everyone involved in this enforcement, which is raising the stakes for people to individually be involved in any kind of law enforcement activity or any scrutiny of Trumpworld, which is by saying, ‘Oh, gosh, do you really want to indict Donald Trump? Do you really want to do that? Do a raid on him? Because we’re going to really go through your life in much the same way we saw with the Russia investigation.’
“In the case of the judge, I believe his synagogue had to cancel services because of threats against him.”
Also on the podcast, the hosts talk with Nick Lutsko, a musician who writes and sings songs that, according to Sommer, are a crossover between our crazy political moment and the lives we lead on the internet. But most importantly, says Sommer, Lutsko sings about conservatives including Dan Bongino and, unsurprisingly, Alex Jones.
Lutkso explains how he came into this line of songwriting.
“I went to school for commercial songwriting,” he says. “It was really tricky trying to find out how to pave a lane for a career in songwriting, because I’m in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and where I went to school was not far from Nashville, Tennessee, and it was all just very pop country. There's very much like a set formula, which I learned in school is essentially turn on the radio and repeat whatever you hear.
“I wasn’t that interested in it. And I just kind of had to get creative with how I could make a living doing music.”
In the podcast’s “Fresh Hell” segment, the hosts discuss what is known as an “energy enhancement system,” which Sommer describes as “one of the craziest things I’ve ever covered.”
The device, which has been embraced by QAnon conspiracy theorists, claims to cure cancer, autism, or “basically every medical ailment you have,” Sommer explains.
“You set it up in each corner of your room, ideally your bedroom… would you believe the recommended dose of this is enough screens that will cost you $120,000 and people are buying this stuff?
“For me, this just summed up where these kind of quack medical cures are. Overall, this sums up the thriving community of people grifting off of conspiracy theorists.”
“This thing is obviously fake… it’s a bizarre world.”
Kirrell explains: “It looks like a mysterious, onyx-like box that is extremely large, that you can fit in the middle of your living room.
“You put something in front of QAnon people or diehard believers… you can pretty much sell any product to these people.”