Once again, the establishment press is proving Steve Bannon right: they are the opposition, and they’re pushing for “enemy.” I think good journalism and truth-telling is very important. When President Trump tweets asinine things or outrageous accusations, the press, along with simple bloggers like me, should call him out. But the Washington Post is now engaged in the opposite of truth-telling.
The group of illustrious poobahs that form WaPo’s editorial board have chosen to keep a permanent cloud over the White House in a never-ending hunt for Ivan (the one who coordinated between the Trump campaign and the Russians), versus dealing with the truth.
These are the same people who wrote, on July 22, that “Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy.” This is the same newspaper that accused FBI Director James Comey of “abuse of power” on July 6 because he spoke out about Hillary Clinton’s email crimes, though he would not recommend prosecution. This is the editorial board that worried about the “bad timing” and “damage” of Comey’s October 28 announcement on the reopening of the Clinton case. It’s clear they hate Trump and consider him the enemy, and they always have.
On Tuesday, the editors wrote this:
You’d think that all of this would be of surpassing concern for Republican members of Congress. The president who leads their party has been officially reported to have made false statements alleging criminal activity by his predecessor. What’s more, his campaign is under scrutiny for possible cooperation with a dedicated and dangerous U.S. adversary in order to subvert American democracy.
Yet to listen to Republican members of the Intelligence Committee, the most pressing problem to arise from Russia’s intervention and the FBI’s investigation of it is that reports of contacts between Russia’s ambassador and Mr. Trump’s designated national security adviser were leaked to The Post. The priority of Chairman Devin Nunes (Calif.) and other Republican members, judging from their statements, is not fully uncovering Russia’s actions but finding and punishing those who allowed the public to learn about them.
These guys are having fever dreams of Watergate and “All the President’s Men.” There are similarities between how Trump and Nixon dealt with the press. There are similarities in damaging DNC information being exposed during a campaign. And there are definite, provable ties between key Trump campaign figures and some Russians. But that’s all they are: similarities, shadows.
The FBI did investigate, including the extraordinary step of seeking two FISA warrants in a counterintelligence capacity on Trump’s campaign, and when that was denied as too broad, on specific individuals. In yesterday’s testimony, Director Comey would not comment on specific investigations into Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and Carter Page.
But this is all old news. There’s no shocking revelations here. We’ve known since last July that Manafort has Russian connections–it wasn’t even hidden. CNN reported last November, before the election, that the FBI has been investigating “alleged connections between Russia and Trump.” CNN reported it on Nov. 2. The New York Times reported on “intercepted communications” on Jan. 19, which Trump claimed was the source for his “wiretap” tweets.
We all know that Trump’s accusations about Obama are nothing more than bombast and made-up stories. We all know that Trump needs to stop making stuff up and tweeting it. But that in itself doesn’t justify condoning leaking of classified information and a forever investigation of the sitting president, that WaPo editors favor.
At this point, the Trump-Russia investigation is either stalled, cold, or going nowhere fast. During yesterday’s hearings–which consisted at many points of simple grandstanding by Democrats like Reps. Terri Sewell and Adam Schiff–Comey admitted that the Russians were working to discredit Hillary Clinton and damage her campaign. He also admitted that the Russians believed Trump wasn’t going to win.
He said it appears that the Russians were trying to damage the legitimacy of American democratic institutions and elections. That’s the most serious charge against the Russians. The Washington Post is helping them succeed, while pretending to act in the service of truth.
When Rep. Trey Gowdy and Chairmen Devin Nunes focused on the leaks of classified information, they did it because these are known felonies that were actually committed. When WaPo editors focused on nebulous charges of cooperation between Trump’s “men” and Russia, they continued to engage in speculation, when the FBI has admittedly found no evidence of that.
The Republicans seem to be slavishly following the cues of the president, who, while failing to retract his accusation against Mr. Obama, is seeking to direct attention elsewhere. “The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information,” he tweeted Monday morning. Such a diversion, like anything else that distracts attention from Vladimir Putin’s support for his election, would be to Mr. Trump’s advantage.
Pursuing the leaks is not a diversion. If there was solid evidence of collusion, or new information, WaPo would be correct to pursue it. But they prefer to keep the truth buried and keep a cloud over the White House for as long as possible.
If it weren’t for their burying of Hillary Clinton’s email crimes for two years, I might even give them the benefit of the doubt that it’s not crassly political. But it is all, 100 percent political.
Certainly, Russia is a threat, and Russian interference in our elections is unacceptable. But that doesn’t give WaPo editors the right to hide behind this threat in order to keep unconfirmed speculation about the president going forever. And that’s exactly what they want.