Culture

Newsweek: Trump Appears To Be Reading Literal Russian Propaganda On The Campaign Trail

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Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek has published some hefty Donald Trump exposés over the past few months, including a damning piece that shows the Trump Organization’s reported sketchy ties, which are largely inextricable, to foreign politicians, foreign financiers, and criminals. This would present huge risks to national security if Trump were elected as president. Eichenwald also recently dropped a piece that revealed how Trump — who claims to want to bring jobs back to America again — shunned U.S. steel manufacturers in favor of Chinese suppliers. Now, Eichenwald has another report out that doesn’t reflect well on the Trump campaign.

And boy, is it ever a complex web, one that will only feed the accusations against WikiLeaks that it might be unwittingly (or otherwise) helping Russia in its efforts to get Trump elected? (WikiLeaks is definitely not pro-Clinton, but who the hell knows what WikiLeaks is doing.)

Eichenwald’s newest piece has to do with disinformation spread by the Kremlin that somehow appears to have landed in the hands of Trump, who read it out loud off of a sheet of paper at a Monday night rally in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. What Trump recited was a purported email from journalist Sidney Blumenthal that had, presumably, surfaced as part of a new WikiLeaks dump of Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta’s emails. The weird part here is that Blumenthal’s email had quoted one of Eichenwald’s articles word for word, but the Kremlin (and Trump) believed it was something written by Blumenthal.

It gets weirder. Something got falsified “in translation” (cough), and the resulting email claimed to hold the smoking gun that would show Hillary Clinton to be wholly responsible for Benghazi. Russian-State sponsored Sputnik News reportedly declared this falsified data to be an October surprise that could sink her presidential run. Eichenwald states that it was ever-so-briefly posted on Sputnik News before someone realized it was false, and the article was scrubbed.

Somehow, Trump and Sputnik — a Russian propaganda outlet — ended up with the same false information. Did someone pass it to Trump and, if so, whom? Does he read Sputnik — again, a Russian propaganda site — for news? That may be the most likely case, but somehow, it ended up in Trump’s grubby paws, and he read it during his Monday rally:

At a rally in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, Trump spoke while holding a document in his hand. He told the assembled crowd that it was an email from Blumenthal, whom he called “sleazy Sidney.”

“This just came out a little while ago,” Trump said. “I have to tell you this.” And then he read the words from my article.

“He’s now admitting they could have done something about Benghazi,’” Trump said, dropping the document to the floor. “This just came out a little while ago.”

The crowd booed and chanted, “Lock her up!”

This video is queued up to the relevant segment (a mere blip in a 3+ hour video) of the Wilkes Barre rally, and let’s break it down below.

So, Eichenwald recognized part of his article in the email, but it also contained the falsehoods. He also points out how quickly this disinformation was manufactured — Podesta’s emails just dropped via WikiLeaks — but somehow, it ended up with Trump, and he stood onstage in Wilkes Barres and merrily read aloud a falsified Blumenthal email that claimed Clinton was solely responsible for Benghazi.

Sadly, this recitation isn’t even needed to prove how Trump is full of nonsense with his debate claim: “I know nothing about Russia.” A U.S. intelligence officer already called bullsh*t on Trump’s claims, and we know he previously encouraged Russia to target Clinton. Also, Trump magically appeared on Russian State TV with Larry King and then played dumb about knowing where the interview would appear. And there he was on Monday, repeating disinformation from the Kremlin. It’s all very mysterious and, well, disturbing. After all, Trump can’t keep his mouth shut about the intel briefing he received as a presidential nominee.

Eichenwald’s been tweeting about this madness. As he points out, the Trump tapes were abhorrent, but while they showed Trump engaging in a lewd, predatory conversation, this wasn’t a matter of national security. However, the prospect of Trump being fed talking points by the Kremlin is terrifying. You can read Eichenwald’s piece at Newsweek. Russia’s looking pretty sloppy right now with their propaganda game.

(Via Newsweek)

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