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The Disinformation that Won The Presidential Election For Don the Con: Published in the New York Times One Week Before the Election


I have seen references to a New York Times story that falsely concluded that the FBI had investigated Donald Trump’s campaign’s connections to Russian meddling and supposedly had found no “clear connections.”  I couldn’t find the article until I clarified the search terms.  It wasn’t coming up on my searches of the New York Times files on their own website.  Finally I tried Googling the statement: “FBI investigate Trump Russia no connection” and there it was: a “fake news” story published on October 31, 2016 claiming that the FBI had investigated Trump and found no “clear connection” to Russia.  In fact, the FBI was continuing to investigate Trump-Russia based on a tip from an Australian diplomat, reinforced by the Steele dossier.   Here is the article.

The first sentence misleadingly implies that the FBI investigation is over and has found nothing: “For much of the summer, the F.B.I. pursued a widening investigation into a Russian role in the American presidential campaign… Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.”  In fact, the investigation was continuing, widening further, and had been initially presented with presumptive evidence of the “conclusive or direct link” which had not been denied nor contradicted by any further leads, merely further confirmed by additional evidence which had to be further evaluated.  “none of the investigations so far” merely showed that agents had not had enough time to fully evaluate the evidence they had uncovered.  Worse, the FBI may have been stalling because they were afraid of appearing to attempt to influence the election; they assumed that Don the Con would lose and they didn’t want him to accuse them of working against him.

The testimony given to Congress by the head of Fusion, Glenn Simpson, referred to a period just before the election, after Steele had briefed FBI agents on his findings– he felt compelled to tell them because he saw what he thought was clear evidence of a conspiracy between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government, that is, illegal activity.  After he advised the FBI and was reimbursed for a flight to Rome to tell them more details, he lost contact with them.  That is, they failed to follow up with him on his findings.  He began to suspect that the FBI was biased in favor of Trump (and in fact, there is some evidence that the local New York office of the FBI had some Trump advocates in control) and stopped contacting them; he did not update the FBI on his further findings as he continued his digging into Russian sources.

In other words, Steele thought the FBI might have been compromised, in part because of the announcement that they had re-opened the investigation into Clinton’s emails.  A week before the election, an article appeared in the New York Times that poured cold water on the suspicion that Don the Con was conspiring with the Russians.  This article was essentially fake; while its contents were accurate enough, its lede and headline gave the false impression that there was nothing wrong with the behavior of Trump and his campaign– while nothing could be further from the truth.  Serious questions had been raised and no exculpating answers nor alibis were forthcoming.  At the same time, the “re-opening” of the Clinton email investigation was pure show, an attempt to prove to Republicans that the FBI was being nonpartisan and thorough.

The re-opened investigation into Clinton’s emails was re-closed shortly before the election, after agents feverishly pored over the copies of emails found on the hard drive of a Democratic sex fiend married to a Clinton adviser and found absolutely nothing new.  Embarrassing, but purely window dressing for Republican whataboutists.  The pair of stories and headlines gave the desired effect: even Clinton loyalists were dismayed, and the story of Don and the Russians appeared to be over.  That lead to a surprising victory for Don, who knew nothing about his team’s laser sighting of voters in swing districts in key states using weaponized data either stolen from Democratic databases or assembled from publicly available records based on such things as recall petitions in Wisconsin.

All this– fake news planted in the New York Times, of all places, for a cherry on top– led to an upset win for the Don.  So here we are: up shite creek without a paddle.

(kitten and dog picture courtesy of Pixabay.)


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