Fox Exec. Shine Leaves White House Under Suspicious Circumstances

Trump on Friday accepted the resignation of Bill Shine, the former president of Fox News, who had spent just nine months as White House communications director. Shine is the fifth person to leave that role under Donald Trump.

Shine will join the president’s reelection campaign as a “senior adviser” — a role that will allow him to spend “more time with my family,” he said in a statement Friday, This suggests he will not have a senior leadership role in the campaign.

His sudden departure came as a surprise to White House employees and people working on the president’s campaign.

Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, tweeted his suspicions about Shine’s White House tenure:

“While in government—

Shine receives $$ from Fox
Gives Hannity a high 5 at Trump event
Strips Fox competitor of WH credential
Ends regular press conferences, thereby giving Fox an advantage as to its access to POTUS + WH
Can’t get financial disclosure approved
Quits abruptly”

In a bombshell article this week, New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer revealed that Shine has been receiving a $7 million payout from Fox News while he’s been working at the White House.

Now people are speculating it may sudden have been Mayer’s revelations that triggered Shine’s departure.

“In December, four Democratic senators sent a letter to the White House counsel’s office, demanding proof that Fox’s payments to Shine don’t violate federal ethics and conflict-of-interest statutes,” wrote Mayer.

“Because Bill Shine had Fox stock options, the criminal conflict of interest law required him to recuse from any “particular matter” affecting Fox’s interests. A ‘particular matter’ includes a matter affecting an industry (news media) or parties (the outlets with WH credentials),” wrote Shaub Friday on Twitter.

The pulling of a competitor’s press credentials, mentioned in the tweet above, refers to the incident where the White House revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass in November of last year. CNN challenged the decision in court and won immediate relief, and the White House essentially backed down. But Shine had initially signed a letter revoking the pass, a decision Shaub now suggests he shouldn’t have been involved in.

“Shine received an authorization under an impartiality regulation to meet with Fox. But that authorization did not waive the conflict of interest law. I wonder if anyone can explain how the WH communications director meets with Fox without affecting its financial interests,” said Shaub, before adding:

“I have no idea why Shine resigned, and I’m not implying these things caused his resignation. But these are things the media ought to be asking the WH about. Fox News could start by sharing information about any meetings it had with Bill Shine. Or does state media not do that?”

Bill Shine’s employment in the White House was one more example of Trump’s cozy relationship with Fox News. And his departure won’t change that relationship. Fox employs a legion of pro-Trump hosts and commentators with whom the president confers regularly.

But Shine’s arrangement with Trump was very unethical. He received pay simultaneously from both the White House and Fox News, while at the same time making decisions that affected Fox’s income.

What’s worse is that these irregular and suspicious conflicts of interest have gone under the radar. It shows that in the Trump’s administration people get away with scandalous behavior that previously would not have been tolerated.

The kleptocracy of the Trump presidency will continue as long as Trump remains president. The Bill Shine situation is just one more example of why we need to remove Donald Trump from office as soon as possible.