The Times diversion

In collusion news today, the New York Times has devoted six reporters to producing the “news” that the previously obscure Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos lies at the heart of the putative case. Their story is “How the Russia inquiry began: A campaign aide, drinks and talk of political dirt.” Paul wrote about it last night here.

I think the story is ludicrous on its face. The Times has served as a prime purveyor of the Trump/Russia hysteria. Yet reality has deflated it. Now the Times returns to pump it up. The names have changed, but the song remains the same.

The Times has lost the thread on its preferred narrative. Indeed, attention has turned to the Steele/Trump dossier and the apparent wrongdoing related to it. The authorities inside the Obama administration who took advantage of it seek to cover their tracks. The deeply felt needs of the Times and its collaborators are consummated in today’s big story.

Who helped the Times concoct its story today? We have come to expect the usual guarded law enforcement and intelligence sources who cannot be identified because the information is classified and they weren’t authorized to talk about it.

Today’s story is not quite so forthcoming. The six Times reporters disclose only that they relied on “interviews.” Well, not just interviews. Late in the story “current and former officials familiar with the debate” appear. The Times story also relies on “previously undisclosed documents.”

The Times story states: “A team of F.B.I. agents traveled to Europe to interview Mr. Steele in early October 2016. Mr. Steele had shown some of his findings to an F.B.I. agent in Rome three months earlier [coincidentally, at the time the investigation started], but that information was not part of the justification to start an counterintelligence inquiry, American officials said.”

With whom did the Times conduct the interviews? What were the circumstances? Who contacted whom? How can this story have remained dormant until today? The Times doesn’t say.

What are the “previously undisclosed documents”? The Times doesn’t say it directly, but the documents do not demonstrate how the counterintelligence investigation started. They do not establish the story’s thesis.

How can any informed observer take this seriously? We await the disclosure of genuine evidence rather than obvious spin. We don’t have nearly enough information to arrive at a definitive judgment. We must keep our minds open until we are privy to it. In time I may be proved wrong. Yet I don’t think it is rash to say that this Times story is some kind of a joke.

Wall Street Journal columnist Kim Strassel puts it this way in response to Obama hack Tommy Vietor’s demand that she correct her column on the Steele dossier (“one of the dirtiest tricks in U.S. political history”). To borrow the Clinton campaign slogan, I’m with her.

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