Well, well, well. A central “fact” of the whole Russia-Trump collusion story turns out to be fake news. The original “fact” was reported by CNN, President Donald Trump’s favorite Fake News Network, so Trump is going to be popping corks on champagne bottles this weekend.
Nice job, CNN!
The total fuck up by CNN was reported today by the Washington Post, in a story with the rather understated headline, “Email pointed Trump campaign to WikiLeaks documents that were already public.” CNN had the date of the email in question wrong by ten days.
Hey, it was only ten days. What possible difference could that make?
Here’s the top to the Post story:
A 2016 email sent to President Trump and top aides pointed the campaign to hacked documents from the Democratic National Committee that had already been made public by the group WikiLeaks a day earlier.
The email — sent the afternoon of Sept. 14, 2016 — noted that “Wikileaks has uploaded another (huge 678 mb) archive of files from the DNC” and included a link and a “decryption key,” according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post.
The writer, who said his name was Michael J. Erickson and described himself as the president of an aviation management company, sent the message to the then-Republican nominee as well as his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and other top advisers.
The day before, WikiLeaks had tweeted links to what the group said was 678.4 megabytes of DNC documents.
The full email — which was first described to CNN as being sent on Sept. 4, 10 days earlier — indicates that the writer may have simply been flagging information that was already widely available.
The message also noted that information from former secretary of state Colin Powell’s inbox was available “on DCLeaks.com.” That development, too, had been publicly reported earlier that day.
Alan S. Futerfas, an attorney for Trump Jr., described it as one of “a ton of unsolicited emails like this on a variety of topics.”
Oh, that’s a pretty big difference. It undermines one of the key pillars behind the whole Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theory. I expect CNN will make a huge public apology for causing this minor misunderstanding.
Trump, the son a Queens slumlord, has larceny in his blood. As an international businessman, he and his associates have been involved, at least indirectly, with massive money laundering, some of it cash from Russia, and worked with global organized crime, including Russian organized crime. (See, for example my story about Trump in Panama.) It’s very possible that the Russian government sought to win influence with Trump by facilitating the flow of money into his business projects, in the U.S. and abroad.
What’s not at all clear, and indeed there is no solid evidence to even remotely suggest it, is that Trump colluded with the Russian government and took money in exchange for political favors. In other words, there is no quid pro quo proven to this point.
And that, in the end, is what this investigation/witch hunt is about. None of us cares if Paul Manafort laundered money or Michael Flynn didn’t register as a lobbyist (for Turkey) in a timely fashion. It’s Trump or bust, for us and Robert Mueller.
The latter has the power to obtain Trump’s tax returns and banking records, and he’ll find dirt. He’ll try to use it (along with his media helpers) to get the president’s scalp, or trip him up on a perjury or obstruction of justice charge, which Trump might be dumb enough to walk into.
But thus far — and even more after today — there’s nothing to indicate that Trump committed an impeachable offense. The Mueller investigation, as I’ve stated before, appears to be a thinly disguised attempt at regime change and the criminalization of foreign policy differences over Russia.
This whole shit show is going to pave the way for a future in which every president faces impeachment charges drummed up by the disgruntled losers, much as the GOP tried to force Barack Obama out with the Birther controversy, in which Trump was a leading participant.
We are fucked. Have a good weekend.