Trump and Russians use same talking point to disparage CIA, Congress over hacks

President-elect Donald Trump today used a Russian government talking point to disparage the US intelligence community and Republicans (and Democrats) in Congress who want answers about Russia’s attack on the American election. (I was initially alerted to this by Peter Sinclair on Twitter.)

In an interview with the New York Times this morning, Trump called the investigation of the Russia hack “a witch hunt.” That’s the same phrase used this morning by Russia Today, aka RT, a Russian state propaganda organ.


Here’s Russia Today:


And here’s Trump in the NYT:


It’s no coincidence that Trump and the Russian government are using the exact same new talking point at the exact same moment in time. Either Trump’s team coordinated with the Russians, or at the very least, Trump saw the Russian report and decided to parrot it. Which raises the question of why Team Trump continues to use Russian government sources to inform their campaign and now transition. This isn’t the first time that Team Trump has been caught using Russian talking points.

This also isn’t the first time that Russian propaganda seemed to be in lock stop with those wanting to damage Hillary Clinton with these leaks. We reported in October on how Russia scooped Wikileaks on Wikileaks’ own story on the Podesta emails.

Russia’s state propaganda organ, RT (previously known as “Russia Today”), scooped Wikileaks yesterday on Wikileaks’ own story.

On October 22, at 8:20AM Eastern Time, the Russians tweeted a new story of theirs about the Wikileaks Podesta emails.

Then, 30 minutes later, at 8:50AM ET, Wikileaks announced its new Podesta emails to the world.

In other words, the Russians broadcast the Wikileaks story to the world before Wikileaks itself, and the Russians even had enough notice to write a story about it.

(Twitter adjusts the time-stamp to the reader’s time zone — so the tweets below are time-stamped for my time zone, US Eastern time, and thus are in fact 30 minutes apart.)

And mind you, Trump is attacking the intelligence community for an alleged leak about a leak that Trump doesn’t care about. Trump thinks leaking is fine. He thinks Julian Assange is a hero. He probably thinks Vladimir Putin is a hero (we know he thinks Putin is the victim of a “witch hunt”). So why does Trump care if the CIA leaks to? At least the CIA isn’t trying to subvert our democracy.

Trump is also attacking Republicans (and Democrats) in Congress who has expressed concern about the hacking, and Russia’s overall efforts to influence elections in the US and Europe. So those members of Congress, including John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, Adam Kinzinger, and everyone else who has disapproved of the Russian attack, are also partners to the “witch hunt.”

As an aside, Trump was in a foul, one might even say deranged, mood this morning. His Tweets were a hot mess. Trump criticized Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appearance on Trump’s own TV show, then Trump again complained about the election, then about the fact that he got caught lying about his premiere campaign promise (to build a wall with Mexico), and more. The tweets were disturbingly personal, insecure and disjointed. It was in that psychological morass that Trump spoke with the NYT.

Here are Trump’s tweets this morning, culminating in Trump’s call for a witch hunt against the American intelligence community. Keep in mind that Trump reportedly is planning to gut the intelligence community because he thinks the CIA made up the story in order to undermine Trump’s presidency. In that context, the “witch hunt” comments make more sense.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • AnthonyLook

    Trump and Putin sitting on a tree——- R-I-M-M-I-N-G.

  • Moderator3

    Am I surprised?

  • woodroad34

    Cnn now reports:

    Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

    The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

    The classified briefings last week were presented by four of the senior-most US intelligence chiefs — Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.

  • ComradeRutherford

    Cool! So, Putin is now telling The Don exactly what to say. And He’s not even inaugurated yet.

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  • Demosthenes

    The Donald is little more than an open Russian puppet, and the GOP is literally along for the ride. What is amazing is they actually think a lid can permanently be put on this outrageous coordination. Do they think the Democrats will never win back a house of Congress to properly investigate this or that the GOP will always go along with hiding the facts?

  • Demosthenes

    “It’s hard to decide if DJT is a complete idiot, complete con or a cunning idiot and a cunning con or all.”


  • brel1

    This is all so entertaining and terrifying at the same time. Some Republicans are actually thinking that, hey a hacker could hack us (probably already has) and disclose damaging info on us, while Donny is in his bubble, not thinking, period. There is most probably a lot of damaging info that can come out on the GOP and things could get really really interesting if not totally dangerous. Bring it on. It’s hard to decide if DJT is a complete idiot, complete con or a cunning idiot and a cunning con or all.

  • Badgerite

    “trump follows Putin’s script.” I would guess we will be seeing a lot more of this kind of headline.
    Since when does the United States of America have to run its foreign policy appointments and policies past Vladimir Putin first?

  • emjayay

    Not that it’s news or anything but he’s an idiot. Top secret information is never shared with a TV network or anyone. They got the unclassified press release like everyone else.

    I didn’t know inaugurations were a “show”, but I expect it will be a great show just like the Republican convention was, as promised by Trump, a great show. Great, as in a parade of deranged hateful screaming jackals and a couple has-been celebrities.

  • quax

    Indeed. No surprise here. Trump is too lazy to come up with his own wording, much easier to have the Kremlin provide the taking points for him. (I bet he never misses any of their briefings).

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