Scandal-plagued former Fox News executive Bill Shine—who was hired three weeks ago by President Donald Trump to fix the bungling White House messaging operation—is himself being trailed by a dark cloud of embarrassing publicity, including a series of racist tweets posted over the years by his wife Darla.
The latest indignity for Trump’s freshly minted deputy chief of staff—who oversees the White House communications department and was a key figure Wednesday in the widely criticized banning of CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins from a presidential press conference—is Thursday’s formal request from a Trump-backing right-wing legal activist that federal prosecutors investigate Shine for alleged criminal conduct during his two decades as the top aide to Roger Ailes, the late, disgraced Fox News founder.
“As a strong supporter of President Trump, I am deeply disturbed that Mr. Shine, who has had a questionable past and background, is now serving in an influential position in our government,” Freedom Watch Chairman Larry Klayman wrote in his lengthy letter, replete with specific allegations, and addressed to Geoffrey Berman, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, along with assistant U.S. attorneys Damian Williams and Andrea Griswold.
The letter also requests that Berman recuse himself from any investigation of Shine and/or Fox News because he “was appointed by President Trump, who in turn technically appointed Mr. Shine,” and because his “former law firm, Greenberg Traurig, has represented Fox News.”
Klayman added: “Additionally, Mr. Berman is a former law partner at Greenberg Traurig of Mr. Rudy Giuliani, who also was closely associated with Fox News’ former disgraced chairman Roger Ailes, and still appears regularly on the cable network.”
Klayman continued that “apparently the president took the bad advice of [Fox News star] Sean Hannity to hire Mr. Shine”—a reference to Shine’s close friend and Trump’s influential adviser. “However… Mr. Shine’s hiring makes it even more critically important that the Department of Justice act in an expeditious manner to investigate Mr. Shine’s actions as the chief lieutenant of [the late] Ailes during the same period these allegations cover.”
Fox News declined to comment. The Daily Beast is seeking comment on Klayman’s letter from the Justice Department and the White House, and will update this article if they respond.
Klayman—who launched his campaign against Shine the week before his official White House appointment—said in a statement to The Daily Beast: “A full investigation is necessary to preserve and protect the integrity of President Trump, and the White House—which is ‘The People’s House.’…
“Given this unfortunate and ill-advised appointment, a full and completely thorough DOJ investigation of the serious outstanding allegations against Shine and his time at Fox News—as the ‘right hand man’ of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes—must now be aggressively and expeditiously pursued,” added Klayman, who served as a government lawyer in the Justice Department’s anti-trust division from 1979 to 1982.
Klayman’s letter contains a kitchen sink’s worth of allegations based on published reports concerning, among other issues, the apparently moribund federal investigation into Fox News’ and parent company 21st Century Fox’s alleged misuse of corporate funds to pay off female employees who have accused Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and others of sexual misconduct.
“As the [New York] Times and other press reports have indicated, senior management, including Mr. Ailes and Mr. Shine, allegedly engaged in a pattern of harassment against Fox News employees who made claims of sexual misconduct, including obstructing these employees’ civil liberties and their right to due process,” Klayman wrote.
“According to press reports, Fox News and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, have paid out approximately $100 million in settlements to such claimants since the termination of Mr. Ailes. These settlements have been shrouded in secrecy under confidentiality provisions.”
He continued: “Before Mr. Shine’s termination, it had been alleged that Fox paid millions in settlements that were not properly disclosed to the company’s auditors and shareholders as legal settlements relating to sexual misconduct claims. As you know, a public company’s willful misrepresentation of such financial transactions would constitute a crime.”