Echoing media outlets covering President Trump’s controversial July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the resulting impeachment inquiry by Congressional Democrats, the intro to Wikipedia’s article on the controversy focuses solely on Trump supposedly demanding an “investigation” into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Both the media and Wikipedia have ignored or minimized that President Trump’s biggest concern was Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election helping spark the discredited “Russiagate” investigation.
Wikipedia editors have also refused to mention in the intro that the Department of Justice concluded Trump committed no criminal wrongdoing and characterized mentions of liberal donor George Soros being involved in the controversy as “conspiracy theories” despite the proven role of organizations funded by Soros.
As media began reporting on the “whistleblower” complaint about Donald Trump’s call with Zelenskiy and other interactions with Ukraine, editors on Wikipedia began constructing an article on the topic as well. The article has seen heavy contributions from the site’s left-wing anti-Trump editors who constitute nearly all of the top ten contributors to the page. Wikipedia’s page on the “Trump-Ukraine controversy” authored by these editors presently states in the intro that the controversy is “Trump used a phone call on July 25, 2019, to repeatedly pressure Zelensky to investigate business dealings of Joe Biden . . . and his son Hunter.”
Not included in the intro is any mention of the fact that a much larger portion of Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian President was discerning what role officials in the country played in crafting the discredited narrative of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia to rig the 2016 election. Several media outlets, including CNN and MSNBC, have similarly misrepresented the transcript of the call by not mentioning that request in their coverage and claiming the “favor” he requested concerned investigating Biden instead. Biden is actually mentioned some time later with no clear connection to the “favor” request.
One reason for this detail’s exclusion from Wikipedia’s article on the controversy is its exclusion from sources deemed “reliable” on the site, though some have covered it, including sources cited in the article. However, most coverage of these facts has occurred in sources deemed “unreliable” thus preventing their inclusion. Despite sourcing being available to elaborate on Trump’s concerns about the Russia investigation’s origins, Wikipedia almost completely avoids mentioning this detail at all. In the article body, mention is made of efforts to determine whether Ukrainian officials in 2016 investigated Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort in order to help Clinton win the election, though portrayed as entirely the effort of Trump’s attorney and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.
In fact, allegations of Ukrainian officials investigating Manafort and Trump to influence the 2016 election in Clinton’s favor have been made since Ukrainian official Serhiy Leshchenko first revealed the “black ledger” purportedly detailing illicit payments Manafort received for lobbying on behalf of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. A court in Ukraine concluded last year that Leshchenko improperly revealed information about Manafort to influence the 2016 election and Fusion GPS employee Nellie Ohr testified before Congress that Leshchenko funneled information to the firm, which was hired by the DNC and Clinton campaign to conduct opposition research against Trump.
An early 2017 Politico article further detailed allegations of then-contractor for the Democratic National Committee Alexandra Chalupa seeking assistance from Ukrainian officials in investigating Trump and Manafort. Politico reported Ukrainian embassy officials were told they were coordinating an investigation with the Clinton campaign, which sought to launch Congressional hearings. The Hill’s John Solomon later quoted one official as stating Chalupa claimed the DNC wanted to paint Trump and Manafort as Russian agents so Trump could be removed from the general election ballot.
Material mentioning Solomon’s reporting on alleged collusion between Ukrainian officials and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election was added to the Trump-Ukraine controversy page as “background” until editor “SPECIFICO” insisted on moving it to a “conspiracy theories” section. The Solomon material was subsequently removed, though editors discussed adding it back so long as Solomon’s claims were presented as conspiracy theories.
Also included in the “conspiracy theories” section are mentions of Soros-funded groups being involved, even as one was directly cited in the error–laden whistleblower complaint. The section further includes Trump’s mention of DNC-contracted cyber-security firm Crowdstrike and claims his questioning of Russian responsibility for alleged election-related hacking involved a “far-right conspiracy theory” despite liberal outlets such as The Nation publishing criticism of the allegations. Wikipedia editors previously purged sources from the article on alleged Russian interference for noting criticism of the hacking allegations from cyber-security experts.
Editors have not only sought to exclude details about the full context of the call, but to also minimize any mitigating details. While the article on the Trump-Ukraine controversy mentions a Department of Justice finding that Trump’s call did not involve any criminal violations, this has been left out of the introduction to the article with editors arguing including it would give “undue weight” to the conclusions of the highest law-enforcement body in the country.
Past actions by left-wing Wikipedia editors to spin Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to minimize Trump’s exoneration on Russian collusion are consistent with these efforts. This included minimizing criticism regarding the integrity of the Russia investigation to the point editors have smeared outlets such as The Epoch Times, whose Spygate coverage focuses on alleged improprieties at the heart of the investigation. Such questions are also the subject of investigations by the DOJ Inspector General. A report on the FISA warrant issued against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, which relied on opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign, is reportedly set for release in October.
T. D. Adler edited Wikipedia as The Devil’s Advocate. He was banned after privately reporting conflict of interest editing by one of the site’s administrators. Due to previous witch-hunts led by mainstream Wikipedians against their critics, Adler writes under an alias.