Bloomberg News claimed Sunday that Breitbart News and conservative radio host Mark Levin had not cited “independent” evidence to back up the claim that the Obama administration had conducted surveillance on Donald Trump’s aides in the 2016 campaign.
Breitbart, the media outlet previously run by White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, published a story Friday outlining actions supposedly taken by the Obama administration to monitor Trump Tower in New York during the campaign. The story, which claimed the moves were aimed at undermining Trump’s candidacy, referenced commentary by radio host Mark Levin that made similar claims.
Neither Breitbart News nor Levin cited independent reporting to back up the assertions.
However, Levin cited several independent news sources in his Mar. 2 broadcast. Several of these, plus others, were also cited by Breitbart, including:
- Heat Street, “EXCLUSIVE: FBI Granted FISA Warrant Covering Trump Camp’s Ties To Russia,” Nov. 7, 2016
- New York Times: “N.S.A. Gets More Latitude to Share Intercepted Communications,” Jan. 12, 2017 (via PJMedia)
- New York Times: “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates,” Jan. 19, 2017
- New York Times: “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence,” Feb. 14, 2017
- New York Times: “Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Election Hacking,” Mar. 1, 2017
- Washington Post: “Sessions met with Russian envoy twice last year, encounters he later did not disclose,” Mar. 1, 2017
In a subsequent report on Sunday morning, Breitbart News cited additional independent, mainstream sources, including:
- Guardian, “John McCain passes dossier alleging secret Trump-Russia contacts to FBI,” Jan. 11, 2017
- BBC, “Trump ‘compromising’ claims: How and why did we get here?” Jan. 12, 2017
The “without evidence” talking point has been ubiquitous this weekend, repeated by mainstream media outlets and Democratic Party representatives alike, though the evidence has been in plain sight for weeks — and was duly cited.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.