The New York Times has gone in full defense mode following former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony today accusing them of peddling a fake news story related to Trump/Russia collusion.
As The New York Times reports, Comey – while speaking before the Senate Intelligence Committee – stated that this New York Times article from February alleging through anonymous sources that members of the Trump campaign team had contact with Russian intelligence officials was “not true.”
In its rebuke of Comey’s statement, the Times asserts that “multiple news outlets have since published accounts that support the main elements of The Times’s article, including information about phone calls and in-person meetings between Mr. Trump’s advisers and Russians.”
The New York Times goes on to insist that “Mr. Comey did not say exactly what he believed was incorrect about the article, which was based on information from four current and former American officials.”
As for those anonymous officials, The Times states they “could not immediately be reached after Mr. Comey’s remarks,” despite having corroborated the report in the months since its publishing.
“One possible area of dispute,” The Times writes, “is the description of the Russians involved. Some law enforcement officials took issue with the Times account in the days after it was published, saying that the intelligence was still murky, and that the Russians who were in contact with Mr. Trump’s advisers did not meet the F.B.I.’s black-and-white standard of who can be considered an ‘intelligence officer.’”
The NY Times goes on to argue that several “former American intelligence and law enforcement officials” (more anonymous sources, yay) “have a broader definition, especially when it comes to Russia.”
The Times further names Roger Stone as an example of a Trump associate who allegedly had contact with Russian intelligence officials – despite the man’s repeated characterization of that contact as benign.
The New York Times goes on and it names Jared Kushner’s meeting with the head of a state-associated Russian bank.
This is an issue Republicans have also deeply contested is being blown out of proportion.
During an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, former Chief of Staff under George H.W. Bush John Sununu let loose on the assertion that Kushner’s meeting with the Russian bank official is noteworthy, stating that, “during the 10 weeks everybody is trying to meet somebody who’s going to be in the administration.”
“Everybody who’s involved in business, everybody who’s involved in politics. I can’t tell you how many people tried to meet with me during the time I was named Chief of Staff.”
In the face of questions concerning the veracity of The New York Times’ report on Russian collusion with Trump campaign officials – even from Comey himself – the outlet is standing firmly by the information granted it by its anonymous sources.
On the topic of anonymous sources, Comey stated during his testimony today that, “the challenge – and I’m not picking on reporters — about writing stories about classified information, is the people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on, and those of us who actually know what’s going on are not talking about it.”
“We don’t call the press and say, ‘Hey, you got that thing wrong.’”