The New York Times published a story Tuesday night claiming that there was contact between associates of Donald Trump and Russian intelligence officials during the presidential race. While the story states that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has found no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign and essentially is a rehash of a previous story, journalists have gone bonkers over it.
The Times story, “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence,” cites four current and former American officials saying that phone records and intercepted calls show contact between Trump campaign officials and associates of the president with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.
Despite the bombshell headline, the story includes several caveats. The Times reporters wrote that intelligence officials have found no evidence of cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, and that “it is not clear whether the intercepted communications had anything to do with Mr. Trump’s campaign, or Mr. Trump himself.”
The article identifies former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, former foreign policy adviser Carter Page, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and longtime Trump associate Roger Stone as being looked at by the FBI. Manafort denied the validity of the story. He told The Times, “This is absurd. I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”
Stone did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller request for comment. White House press secretary Sean Spicer denied Tuesday that there was any contact between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the election.
A Times story which two of the same writers, Michael Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo, are credited for from January includes most of the same claims as the piece Tuesday night. The January story titled “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates,” also said that law enforcement and intelligence agencies are looking at intercepted communications between associates of Trump and Russian officials.
The story similarly identifies Manafort, Stone, and Page as being under scrutiny and includes similar caveats. “It is not clear whether the intercepted communications had anything to do with Mr. Trump’s campaign, or Mr. Trump himself,” the January article states. It later adds, “The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said.”
Despite these facts, below is how journalists have responded to the newly published story.
‘Holy moly,” Los Angeles Times national reporter Matt Pearce tweeted.
Dan Rather, who was brought down by false reporting about George W. Bush’s military record, wrote on Facebook, “Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now.”
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin tweeted, “Shoes keep dropping…how bad does this get?”
Ashley Feinberg, a writer for Gizmodo, tweeted, “It is fucking insane that Trump is not being impeached.”
Daily Beast senior editor Michael Weiss wrote, “Shortest. Presidency. Ever.”
David Rothkopf, who is the CEO and editor of the company which publishes Foreign Policy magazine, tweeted, “We are at turning point in Kremlingate story, ladies & gentlemen. Trump admin compromised for as long as it remains.”