The New York Times has a CROSSFIRE HURRICANE of a scoopty scoop for you today, and it is that — hold on to your loved ones and put the pregnant women and children outside in a shed — it may have gotten a story wrong once, just a little bit, but it was only on the question of whether the FBI was investigating whether then-candidate Donald Trump and the Tsar of all the Russias were giving each other hacked email tongue baths through a secret server, and also all these Russian spies were just cold hanging out on the Trump campaign getting Iced bro. It’s possible, nothing to see here, maybe they’re sorry.
Perhaps you will read “A Secret Mission, a Code Name and Anxiety: Inside the Early Days of the F.B.I.’s Trump Investigation” and think it’s about the FBI pushing back on now-President Donald Trump’s daily accusations of witchhuntery and Deep State cabals out to crucify him and his bigly stupid sons, explaining very s-l-o-w-l-y for the Trump idiots among their readers that in fact the Bureau wasn’t biased at all, and — when it came to the Trump Russia investigation, anyway — did everything by the goddamn book. And that is your right as an American. But you’ll excuse us if we’re more focused on the fact that this seems to be the first time the Times is offering a Sorta Culpa since that one time the ombudsman questioned their judgment — and was coincidentally subsequently shitcanned like a common Trump Secretary of State — on their now infamous Oct. 31, 2016, story “Fuck Mother Jones And Slate, We’re The By God Motherfucking New York Times.”
Back then — a week before the election — David Corn of Mother Jones and Franklin Foer at Slate had posted back-to-back incredible bombshells; Corn posted about a foreign spy who would later be identified as Christopher Steele, the author of the Steele Dossier, and how he was trying to get people to listen to him about bizarre coinkydinks that kept turning up between the Trump campaign and Russia, and Foer posted about this one email server that only sent messages between Russia’s Alfa Bank and the Trump Organization. (Later it would come to light that a small fraction of computer lookups also were received by Spectrum Health, owned by the family of Betsy DeVos and her little brother, Erik Prince.)
Within an hour, the Times’s Eric Lichtblau would pooh-pooh them both … and it would be … carry the one … EIGHTEEN MONTHS before the Times explained itself, sort of, which is today.
Let’s put on our monocle and examine the relevancies.
The facts, had they surfaced, might have devastated the Trump campaign: Mr. Trump’s future national security adviser was under investigation, as was his campaign chairman. One adviser appeared to have Russian intelligence contacts. Another was suspected of being a Russian agent himself.
In the Clinton case, Mr. Comey has said he erred on the side of transparency. But in the face of questions from Congress about the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. declined to tip its hand. And when The New York Times tried to assess the state of the investigation in October 2016, law enforcement officials cautioned against drawing any conclusions, resulting in a story that significantly played down the case.
Okay! As far as we know — editor Dean Baquet usually responds to the unending questions about that shitball of a story with a snarl and a curse — that’s a first! Of course, it would be unchivalrous of us not to point out that “caution[ing] against drawing conclusions” is not the same as “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia,” but do go on, New York Times.
Mr. Steele was gathering information about Mr. Trump as a private investigator for Fusion GPS, a firm paid by Democrats. But he was also considered highly credible, having helped agents unravel complicated cases.
In October, agents flew to Europe to interview him. But Mr. Steele had become frustrated by the F.B.I.’s slow response. He began sharing his findings in September and October with journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere, according to congressional testimony.
Gonna stop you right there again, NYT. How about Mother Jones? Or are we just going to memory-hole them for scooping your august asses?
So as agents tried to corroborate Mr. Steele’s information, reporters began calling the bureau, asking about his findings. If the F.B.I. was working against Mr. Trump, as he asserts, this was an opportunity to push embarrassing information into the news media shortly before the election.
That did not happen. News organizations did not publish Mr. Steele’s reports or reveal the F.B.I.’s interest in them until after Election Day.
Aaaand way to puss out again, NYT! Buzzfeed may have done your job for you by printing the dossier entries themselves, but David Corn certainly revealed the FBI’s interest in the dossier … an hour before you beshat him. Here, let’s see what he said then:
The FBI, after receiving the first memo, did not immediately request additional material, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates. Yet in August, they say, the FBI asked him for all information in his possession and for him to explain how the material had been gathered and to identify his sources. The former spy forwarded to the bureau several memos—some of which referred to members of Trump’s inner circle. After that point, he continued to share information with the FBI. “It’s quite clear there was or is a pretty substantial inquiry going on,” he says.
Honestly, NYT, what is this petty-ass bullshit?
Here, in another section, is a fuller culpa:
In late October, in response to questions from The Times, law enforcement officials acknowledged the investigation but urged restraint. They said they had scrutinized some of Mr. Trump’s advisers but had found no proof of any involvement with Russian hacking. The resulting article, on Oct. 31, reflected that caution and said that agents had uncovered no “conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.”
The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.
THAT IS A BAD PARAGRAPH TO PUT THE INFORMATION THAT THE FBI WAS ACTUALLY INVESTIGATING CANDIDATE TRUMP WHEN EVERYBODY’S FUCKING PUNDIT MOM WAS SCREAMING ABOUT HOW YOU COULDN’T VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON BECAUSE SHE WAS ‘UNDER FBI INVESTIGATION.’
Fucking learn to construct a news pyramid New York Times, Jesus Christ.
A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts. [LOL yeah nah — editrix] But the article’s tone and headline — “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” — gave an air of finality to an investigation that was just beginning.
You fucking think, New York Times?
We imagine your Five Dollar Feminist will have other thoughts on this NYT story, focusing on the FBI covering its ass and whatnot, and it is a worthy subject. But this one story, and editor Baquet’s surly responses to any peon’s questioning of it — this comment to WaPo’s Erik Wemple is the nicest he’s given — has been a bit of a hobbyhorse around these parts, as it damn well should be.
And even in this, where they finally, FINALLY explain (sort of) how they fucked Devin Nunes’s cow so badly, is a start. (They don’t name reporter Eric Lichtblau, though they should, and they don’t name the source who burned them OR give a clearer, direct quote.) That they still manage to be petty bitches and erase the reporters who actually scooped them, like so many Stalins deleting so many Trotskys, is a damn shame, and they’re not getting our fucking golf clap for it.