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.