Yesterday, BuzzFeed posted an article that made unsubstantiated claims regarding Russia and Trump. The source of this round of nonsense is a British journalist who fed a story to be CNN.
I tweeted the story was so ridiculous I would not cover it. But now, CNN, the Financial Times, and others have been caught propagating fake news over the story, and Trump is battling CNN and BuzzFeed.
Trump went so far as to call BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage”. It’s an interesting mess, so let’s recap from the beginning.
BuzzFeed reports These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia.
A dossier, compiled by a person who has claimed to be a former British intelligence official, alleges Russia has compromising information on Trump. The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.
Gone is the day when media posts verified stories. Today is the day media runs rampant with tabloid articles loaded up with unverified allegations, known errors, and purposeful smear campaigns that are obvious.
At least BuzzFeed admitted its sloppiness upfront. That’s a clear step above the Washington Post.
BuzzFeed posted the full document “so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.”
Well, not really, BuzzFeed wanted the attention such a story would bring.
Also yesterday, CNN reported Intel Chiefs Presented Trump With Claims of Russian Efforts to Compromise Him.
Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.
The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.
CNN False News
It took CNN all of one paragraph before it got the facts wrong. Trump never saw the two-page addendum.
NBC News reports Donald Trump Wasn’t Told About Unverified Russia Dossier.
President-elect Donald Trump was not told about unverified reports that Russia has compromising information on him during last week’s intelligence briefing, according to a senior intelligence official with knowledge of preparations for the briefing.
A summary of the unverified reports was prepared as background material for the briefing, but not discussed during the meeting, the official said.
FBI Source – McCain
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) says he delivered a dossier to FBI Director James Comey late last year containing unverified claims that Russia had gathered compromising information on President-elect Donald Trump.
“Late last year, I received sensitive information that has since been made public,” McCain said in a statement on Wednesday. “Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgement about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the Director of the FBI. That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue.”
The statement comes on the heels of reports that President Obama, Trump and congressional leaders were briefed on the allegations made in the dossier.
Trump responded to the media reports on Twitter Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, calling them “fake news” and “a total political witch hunt” and denying that Russia has ever tried to blackmail or leverage him in any way.
Trump Goes After BuzzFeed, CNN
Trump calls BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage”
OOPS! Wrong Guy
Here’s a snip from page 18 of the the dossier.
The alleged UK intelligence office not only assembled a total pile of garbage, but got the wrong Michael Cohen or simply made up allegations.
Financial Times “What We Know”
Long after these facts came out proving without a doubt what a pile of garbage the report was, the Financial Times discredited itself with another pile of garbage called “Trump/Russia dossier: what we know so far”
What we know is the report is garbage, but the Financial Times would only say “the Financial Times was given access to the dossier and spent time last year attempting to verify some of its claims, but has so far been unable to do so.”
The Financial Times did include this bit of sap.
The dossier also claimed that Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s general counsel, met Russian officials during a secret visit to Prague either at the end of August last year or early September. The meeting allegedly took place at the Prague offices of Rossotrudnichestvo, a Russian state organisation for cultural exchanges. Mr Cohen is alleged to have discussed contingency plans to cover up the Russian operation to support Trump. Mr Cohen has denied ever having visited the capital of the Czech Republic.
Fake News Spreads Like Wildfire Again
So here we go again, with another media roundup up fake news starting then spreading like wildfire.
The Deep State Goes to War with President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer
Glenn Greenwald nails it with his assessment: The Deep State Goes to War with President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer.
Democrats, still reeling from their unexpected and traumatic election loss as well as a systemic collapse of their party, seemingly divorced further and further from reason with each passing day, are willing — eager — to embrace any claim, cheer any tactic, align with any villain, regardless of how unsupported, tawdry and damaging those behaviors might be.
But cheering for the CIA and its shadowy allies to unilaterally subvert the U.S. election and impose its own policy dictates on the elected president is both warped and self-destructive. Empowering the very entities that have produced the most shameful atrocities and systemic deceit over the last six decades is desperation of the worst kind. Demanding that evidence-free, anonymous assertions be instantly venerated as Truth — despite emanating from the very precincts designed to propagandize and lie — is an assault on journalism, democracy, and basic human rationality. And casually branding domestic adversaries who refuse to go along as traitors and disloyal foreign operatives is morally bankrupt and certain to backfire on those doing it.
Beyond all that, there is no bigger favor that Trump opponents can do for him than attacking him with such lowly, shabby, obvious shams, recruiting large media outlets to lead the way. When it comes time to expose actual Trump corruption and criminality, who is going to believe the people and institutions who have demonstrated they are willing to endorse any assertions no matter how factually baseless, who deploy any journalistic tactic no matter how unreliable and removed from basic means of ensuring accuracy?
All of these toxic ingredients were on full display yesterday as the Deep State unleashed its tawdriest and most aggressive assault yet on Trump: vesting credibility in and then causing the public disclosure of a completely unvetted and unverified document, compiled by a paid, anonymous operative while he was working for both GOP and Democratic opponents of Trump, accusing Trump of a wide range of crimes, corrupt acts and salacious private conduct. The reaction to all of this illustrates that while the Trump presidency poses grave dangers, so, too, do those who are increasingly unhinged in their flailing, slapdash, and destructive attempts to undermine it.
For months, the CIA, with unprecedented clarity, overtly threw its weight behind Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and sought to defeat Donald Trump. In August, former acting CIA Director Michael Morell announced his endorsement of Clinton in the New York Times and claimed that “Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” The CIA and NSA director under George W. Bush, Gen. Michael Hayden, also endorsed Clinton, and went to the Washington Post to warn, in the week before the election, that “Donald Trump really does sound a lot like Vladimir Putin,” adding that Trump is “the useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but whose blind support is happily accepted and exploited.”
Almost immediately after it was published, the farcical nature of the “dossier” manifested. Not only was its author anonymous, but he was paid by Democrats (and, before that, by Trump’s GOP adversaries) to dig up dirt on Trump. Worse, he himself cited no evidence of any kind, but instead relied on a string of other anonymous people in Russia he claims told him these things. Worse still, the document was filled with amateur errors.
It is not hard to understand why the CIA preferred Clinton over Trump. Clinton was critical of Obama for restraining the CIA’s proxy war in Syria and was eager to expand that war, while Trump denounced it. Clinton clearly wanted a harder line than Obama took against the CIA’s long-standing foes in Moscow, while Trump wanted improved relations and greater cooperation.
Nobody should crave the rule of Deep State overlords.
Yet craving Deep State rule is exactly what prominent Democratic operatives and media figures are doing. Any doubt about that is now dispelled.
Greenwald Noted: ” If any of the significant claims in this “dossier” turn out to be provably false — such as Cohen’s trip to Prague — many people will conclude, with Trump’s encouragement, that large media outlets (CNN and BuzzFeed) and anti-Trump factions inside the government (CIA) are deploying “Fake News” to destroy him.”
That Cohen angle is indeed false, according to Cohen’s passport.
I purposely stay away from stories like these when they first break because they inevitably turn out to be a stinking pile of easily refuted garbage.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock