I’m calling them Trump lies. As President, he can call up the Justice Department, and ask the Attorney General if this allegation is true. Instead he prefers Fox News.
The New York Times calls this a “distortions of the truth.” Here is Trump’s tweet on Friday:
“Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president,” he tweeted Friday. “It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story. If true — all time biggest political scandal!”
The big problem are “reports” and “implanted” Of course, Trump is saying, “I’m not making this up” however these are not Justice Department nor FBI reports. It is just something he heard, on Fox News. A commentator is not a news reporter, particularly true on Fox News. Welcome to the echo chamber, from Hannity’s mouth, to a flurry of tweets from Trump and then back to Fox News. Ping pong garbage.
A marketing principle: “You can not turn a lie into the truth by telling it a thousand times. But the lie will seem credible enough to the public, after they hear it a thousand times to be believed as the truth.” A second rule is “Never concede you are wrong.”
The New York Times and the Washington Post has been very cautious in their reporting. This is how the Washington Post presented the story:
In mid-July 2016, a retired American professor approached an adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign at a symposium about the White House race held at a British university.
The professor took the opportunity to strike up a conversation with Carter Page, whom Trump had named a few months earlier as a foreign policy adviser.
But the professor was more than an academic interested in American politics — he was a longtime U.S. intelligence source. And, at some point in 2016, he began working as a secret informant for the FBI as it investigated Russia’s interference in the campaign, according to people familiar with his activities.
There is no evidence that there was a paid FBI spy within the Trump campaign. This is a lie, and very regrettable that President Trump finds it necessary to attack the FBI in this manner. When Russia agents are making contacts either abroad or in the US, with the objective of interfering with the US elections, then this is likely a crime. The duty of the FBI is to find out who the Russian agents are working for, and their US counterparts. If this requires striking up a conversation with campaign advisers, this is just good law investigation tactics.
However, as pointed out on CNN, this reporting was based on leaked information to the New York Times and Washington Post. They know who this individual is but have refused to disclose it. I hope it stays this way, at least until Mueller’s investigation is finished. As reported today in the New York Times, Trump’s congressional allies are demanding full disclosure of the informant, in an attempt to “investigate the investigation” and disrupt or discredit the investigation. And as collateral damage, weaken the public’s general confidence in the FBI.
According to the New York Times:
“Law enforcement officials have refused (hand over documents on the informant), saying it would imperil both the source’s anonymity and safety. “
It would also open the door to more unprecedented congressional inquiries, and interference of the judicial process in the name of “oversight.” The only basis for wrongdoing is Trump’s tweets based on Fox News – that’s how screwy things have become.
Robert Mueller is conducting a serious criminal investigation with the help of the FBI. He runs a tight ship, with the only information surfacing in the media is from Trump’s personal lawyers or through court filings.
The FBI investigation had its first big break in May 2016 when George Papadopoulos, who like Carter Page, was a foreign policy adviser, talked to Australia’s ambassador in London, about obtaining political dirt on Hillary Clinton including Clinton’s hacked emails, to help influence our elections in favor of Trump. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.
The adage “the best defense is an offense” seems to be Trump’s strategy. Trump and Mike Hannity (Fox News) are trying their best to create an alternative reality, where conspiracy theories and deep state nonsense can thrive. This is shameful.