Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei are two of the three founders of the news site Axios. Allen came out of Politico via the Washington Post; VandeHei had co-founded Politico after work at the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. They are heavy hitters in the news business. When they purported to summarize “The public case against Trump” yesterday, I thought attention should be paid.
Allen and VandeHei set forth what they declared to be “known knowns” in a series of bullet points, of which this was the first (emphasis in original): “We know Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chair, has been indicted on 32 counts, including conspiracy and money laundering. We know he made millions off shady Russians and changed the Republican platform to the benefit of Russia.”
Note that Allen and VandeHei cite no sources. Their “known knowns” are to be taken on their authority or as received wisdom. Unfortunately, Allen and VandeHei reveal themselves to be hacks. That is my takeaway — it is now a known known.
The indictment against Manafort is most notable for having nothing to do with collusion with Russia in the presidential campaign. The Manafort indictment is based on an old investigation that revisits conduct dating back a decade. It has literally nothing to do with the election. Allen and VandeHei omit that pertinent point.
The clock strikes 13 in their bit about the Republican platform. Byron York exposed it as a falsehood last year in his Washington Examiner column “What really happened with the GOP platform and Russia.” And yet Allen and VandeHei reiterate the falsehood as a “known known” — in their first bullet point!
Byron York tweeted this comment yesterday morning.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) May 12, 2018
I asked Mike Allen via Twitter if he would correct the piece. He hasn’t responded. He’s sticking with it and I’m standing by my judgment that Allen and VandeHei have coughed up a shockingly crappy piece of work.