After special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s final report found no collusion between Donald Trump or his 2016 campaign and Russia, the editorial board of the Washington Post spun a new conspiracy – Trump’s “deference” to Russian President Vladimir Putin could be “repayment for the Kremlin’s help during the presidential race.”
The Post did not specify to which “deference” it was referring. Trump has taken a hardline approach toward Russia, rejecting its annexation of Crimea, sanctioning Russian entities and checking Russian influence in Syria among many other actions.
The newspaper’s editorial board also stated as fact that Putin interfered in the 2016 election specifically to assist Trump in the presidential race when there was no consensus conclusion reached on that assessment by the U.S. intelligence community and serious questions have been raised about the unsubstantiated claim.
Shortly after the release of Attorney General William P. Barr’s summary of Mueller’s main conclusions on Sunday, the Washington Post published an editorial board piece titled, “Trump did not collude with Russia. But he’s wrong to say Mueller exonerated him.”
In the editorial, the Post allowed that Mueller’s conclusion of no collusion, as per Barr’s summary, “should be a relief to Americans worried that the nation’s senior leaders acted as agents of a foreign power during the 2016 election.”
The bizarre editorial, however, went on to advocate the conspiracy that Trump was allegedly deferring to Putin, and doing so to perhaps repay the Russian strongman for alleged help in the 2016 presidential race:
On the other hand, Mr. Trump’s bizarre refusal to acknowledge the Russian interference, and his unceasing assaults on Mr. Mueller’s investigation, are all the more confounding. It is still not out of the question that Mr. Trump’s disturbing deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin is repayment for the Kremlin’s help during the presidential race. But it seems more likely that Mr. Trump is simply a Russian apologist. That is not comforting.
The January 6, 2017, U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) report by three intelligence agencies assessed the conclusion that Putin favored Trump and worked to get him elected only with a classification of “moderate confidence,” while the FBI and CIA gave it a “high confidence” rating.
The narrative of Russia seeking to get Trump elected was also partially challenged by the book of James Clapper, who served as director of National Intelligence under the Obama administration. It was Clapper’s agency that released the Intelligence Community report.
And an extensive Republican House Intelligence Committee report charged that the IC’s findings on the matter were colored by politics. The Republican House Intelligence Committee’s 250-page report on alleged Russian collusion found that the IC assessment of Putin’s strategic intentions for allegedly interfering in the U.S. election to aid Trump “did not employ proper analytic tradecraft” and contained “significant intelligence tradecraft failings that undermine confidence” in the judgments, including the failure to “be independent of political considerations.”
As Breitbart News reported, Clapper’s own book describes numerous shifts in Russia’s alleged attitude toward Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
At first, Clapper writes that Russia simply opposed Hillary Clinton and didn’t favor one Republican presidential candidate. After Trump seemed initially poised to possibly win, Clapper relates an alleged Russian propaganda effort to aid Trump’s victory in order to defeat Clinton. Toward the final stretch of the presidential campaign, with Trump’s poll numbers falling, Clapper wrote that Russia shifted its position away from purportedly aiding Trump and focused mainly on opposing Clinton, even allegedly providing Green Party candidate Jill Stein with more favorable coverage.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.