CNN Follows CN by 8 Days on Russiagate Payback Story

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A week after CN, Cable News Network reported that Donald Trump knows he lost but is holding out to get back at the Democrats for undermining his legitimacy with Russiagate.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Last Thursday, CNN posted an article online that began:

“(CNN) — President Donald Trump told an ally that he knows he lost, but that he is delaying the transition process and is aggressively trying to sow doubt about the election results in order to get back at Democrats for questioning the legitimacy of his own election in 2016, especially with the Russia investigation, a source familiar with the President’s thinking told CNN on Thursday.”

The article went on to say that Trump’s refusal so far to concede the election to Joe Biden comes in part from his “perceived grievance that Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama undermined his own presidency by saying Russia interfered in the 2016 election and could have impacted the outcome, people around him have said.”

Eight days earlier on Nov. 10, a week after the election, Consortium News reported:

“Republicans must know that Joe Biden received more votes, in too many states, and by too wide a margin, for the 2020 election results to be overturned. Nevertheless, many Republican leaders are still backing Donald Trump’s claim that Biden’s election was not legitimate.

After the Democrats played the fabulist Russiagate card to undermine Trump’s legitimacy, they should not be surprised by Republican efforts to undermine Biden’s. This is U.S. politics in a downward spiral.

The same way Trump laid the groundwork during the campaign by questioning the validity of mail-in voting (which goes back to the American Revolution), Hillary Clinton laid the groundwork during the 2016 campaign to undermine Trump by recklessly branding him a ‘Putin puppet.’

That blossomed into four years of full-blown Russiagate, which was meant to question the validity of Trump’s election, undermine his legitimacy and hamper his ability to act as president.

Now the Republicans are questioning the validity of Biden’s election, undermining his legitimacy and hampering his ability to act as president-elect, and later as president.

This is tit-for-tat for the Russiagate gambit.”

Missing the Point

The reliably pro-Democratic CNN could not resist the opportunity to insult Trump, as if sticking to the facts about his presidency isn’t damning enough.  And it threw a compliment Clinton’s way that misses the point.

The CNN story said:

“Trump continues to hold a grudge against those who he claims undercut his election by pointing to Russian interference efforts, and he has suggested it is fair game to not recognize Joe Biden as the President-elect, even though Clinton conceded on election night in 2016 and the Trump transition was able to begin immediately.”

First off, it’s journalistic malpractice to speak of “Russian interference efforts” as if it’s a flat fact, when the two core elements of Russiagate—a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign and a Russian hack of Democratic servers—have been debunked by none other than Special Counsel Robert Mueller and CrowdStrike president Shawn Henry.

The latter’s sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee admitted to no evidence that anyone had hacked the servers, and Mueller reported no evidence of such a conspiracy. In case you missed it:

CNN points out that Clinton conceded, but incorrectly says on election night. Her campaign chairman John Podesta addressed the Clinton rally in New York to say the election wasn’t over yet. Clinton only conceded the next morning, after reportedly a night of throwing things around her hotel room and after a phone call from Obama.

Trump will leave too, even if he doesn’t formally concede, and maybe through the backdoor.  But the point is that though Clinton made the difficult speech, which Trump refuses to make, she didn’t let things lie there.

predicted three days before the 2016 election that if Clinton should lose, she would leverage blame against Russia to try to overturn the election. And that is exactly what she and the Democrats did (and for which Trump is now paying them back for.)

First the Democrats supported electors changing their votes by arguing Moscow had stolen the election. When that failed they lobbied Congress to not certify the vote. When that failed, a four-year campaign ensued to falsely charge Trump, Russia and WikiLeaks for her failure and to undermine the legitimacy of the 2016 election, just as Trump is doing now to this one.

Of course none of this appears on CNN, which long ago gave up the central tenet of political journalism: impartiality.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional career as a stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe . 

Consortium News

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