In January, Donald Trump famously labeled CNN as “fake news” during a press conference.
As expected, CNN ratcheted up its anti-Trump coverage. A recent report showed CNN spent 92% of its air time covering Trump, almost exclusively, in an unfavorable light.
CNN’s Trump hysteria is partly why the network is running a distant third among the big three cable news outlets in terms of viewer trustworthiness. However, CNN hasn’t altered its mission, and recently released another absurd report.
Jeff Sessions didn’t disclose his meeting with the Russian ambassador when applying for security clearance. CNN aptly laid out all the reasons why the nondisclosure was benign, then devolved into yellow journalism.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to properly disclose his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a security clearance application, CNN reported on Wednesday night.
Sessions attributed the oversight to advice he received from an FBI employee who helped him fill out the form. The FBI employee told Sessions he didn’t need to note every interaction — especially passing ones — with foreign officials. So, Sessions didn’t.
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Phil Mudd, who spent time at the CIA and the FBI and now works as a counter-terrorism analyst for CNN, acknowledged Thursday morning on “New Day” that he, too, didn’t list every foreign official he came into contact with on his security clearance forms — comparing it to going 62 in an area where the speed limit is 55.
The article should’ve ended at that point because there was nothing untoward about Sessions’s actions. Per advice from the FBI, Sessions didn’t disclose any of his passing meetings with ambassadors.
Nevertheless, the CNN report continued and unraveled its own credibility:
The problem here for Sessions — and the Trump administration more broadly — is that the meetings the Attorney General failed to disclose are with the Russian ambassador. Not the ambassador to France or England or literally any other place in the world.
And that means the omissions matter. Because they land amid a federal investigation now being run by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.
The problem is the investigation hadn’t even begun in earnest.
From the New York Times:
“As a United States senator, the attorney general met hundreds — if not thousands — of foreign dignitaries and their staff,” Ian Prior, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said in a statement. “The attorney general’s staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the F.B.I. investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities.”
Mr. Sessions filled out two such forms, Mr. Prior said, one last July, as he was first formally vetted by the Trump campaign, and one after the election in November.
That means Sessions was either supposed to disclose hundreds of incidental meetings over a seven-year period, or solely disclose a meeting with Kislyak that would’ve had no special significance in July and November.
Despite its fallacious logic, the CNN report soldiered on:
Is it possible that the smoke isn’t being produced by a fire, as Trump insists? Sure. But the growing amount of smoke belies Trump’s repeated insistence that the investigation is simply “fake news” or a “witch hunt.”
The public disagrees with Trump on this, too. In a new Fox News national poll, more than six in ten (61%) of people said they were concerned with reports of “Russian meddling in U.S. affairs,” as opposed to just 38% who said they weren’t concerned. Almost 7 in 10 (68%) approved of the appointment of a special counsel to look into Russia’s meddling and possible collusion with elements of the Trump campaign.
People were split on whether they thought evidence would be found proving the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians; 43 percent said they expected that to happen while 45 percent said they didn’t.
If Trump truly believes that this whole thing is a made-up story, then he should be unrelentingly supportive of the Mueller investigation. Because Mueller is the only person at this point who can clear away all the smoke and show that there is no fire. (Not even Trump can do that at this point — even if he wanted to. The story has gotten totally beyond his control.)
And yet, Trump continues to work to undermine Mueller and his findings. Which means that every development like this latest one with Sessions will just add more smoke to the story. At this point, there’s so much smoke surrounding Trump and Russia, it’s getting very hard to see.
The report highlighted that 61% of people had “concerns” about Russian interference, but downplayed the fact that a plurality of people (45%) believed no proof of collusion would be uncovered.
Reports like this one from CNN are the reason why, according to an Economist/YouGov poll, 59% of Democrats believe Russia actively tampered with the election results and changed tallies in favor of Donald Trump.
Democrats in government are intentionally adding gasoline and lit matches to embers like this report on Sessions.
From the New York Times:
Democratic lawmakers demanded Mr. Sessions’s resignation on Wednesday. “He’s lied under oath,” Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, wrote on Twitter. “He’s misled on security clearance forms. It’s simple — he should not be the Attorney General.”
This is particularly hypocritical because Harris was embroiled in a scandal as Attorney General of California when taxpayers had to bear the brunt of a $4.7 billion bailout after the closing of a nuclear power plant; the bailout was deemed unlawful, and Harris had a stark conflict of interest with the people she was investigating.
If the self-proclaimed “most trusted name in news” continues to shamelessly peddle misinformation, hysteria will spread, which is the Democrats’ strategy for reclaiming the House in 2018.
People must be vigilant and continue to call out CNN for its fake news.