Trump called some Russia scoops 'fake news' but Mueller report shows they were very real

In January of 2018, after the New York Times...

Posted: Apr 19, 2019 7:37 AM

In January of 2018, after the New York Times reported that President Trump had ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump responded in characteristic fashion.

"Fake news, folks," Trump said at the time. "Fake news. A typical New York Times fake story."

The White House disputed the accuracy of another explosive story from the Times, published in May 2017, that said Trump had asked for former FBI director James Comey's "loyalty." Trump, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (then acting as deputy press secretary) said, "would never even suggest the expectation of personal loyalty, only loyalty to our country and its great people."

Contrary to the denials, those stories, among several others, were corroborated Thursday with the release of a redacted version of Mueller's report on the results of his investigation.

With regard to the Times' report on Trump ordering Mueller's firing, which was also reported by outlets like CNN, Mueller's report said that the president did ask former White House counsel Don McGahn to do just that.

"After the story broke, the President, through his personal counsel and two aides, sought to have McGahn deny that he had been directed to remove the Special Counsel," the report said. "Each time he was approached, McGahn responded that he would not refute the press accounts because they were accurate in reporting on the President's effort to have the Special Counsel removed."

And as for the 2017 Times story about Trump's request for Comey's "loyalty," the report said that "substantial evidence corroborates Comey's account of the dinner invitation and the request for loyalty."

The divergence between the White House's contemporaneous denials and the conclusions detailed in the Mueller report have opened up a new front in the information war between the press and the administration that has defined Trump's presidency.

Throughout Mueller's investigation, Trump and his allies were steadfast in their dispute of reporting pertaining to the probe, routinely lashing out at the journalists and news organizations behind the stories. Last month, after Attorney General William Barr said in a letter that Mueller did not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, the president went as far to say that outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post should be stripped of the Pulitzers they won for their reporting on the investigation. But while there were certainly some errors made by outlets in their reporting on these issues, most of the reporting that Trump and his allies have derided was accurate, including the stories that won the Times and the Post the top prize in newspaper journalism.

After the report was released Thursday morning, a number of reporters went on Twitter to memorialize the discrepancies, which places the White House in an awkward position: the administration has been quick to trumpet Mueller's finding that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but doing so implicitly acknowledges that the report undermines the president's credibility.

"As the president now embraces this report and says it exonerates him, it's worth noting that the report confirms a lot of the reporting by NYT, [Washington Post] and others about the president's actions, many of which he or his advisers denied in real time," said the Times' White House correspondent and CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman, one of the co-authors of the 2018 story about Trump ordering Mueller's firing.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

The Times was not the only outlet to have its reporting backed by Mueller's team. A January 2017 story published by the Washington Post said that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had communicated with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, on the same day in December 2016 when the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for efforts to meddle in the election.

The Mueller report details that Flynn directed K.T. McFarland, who was tapped by Trump to serve as deputy national security adviser, to "kill the story," which was written by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. According to the report, McFarland complied with Flynn's request, calling Ignatius to tell him that there was no discussion of sanctions on the call with Kislyak.

"McFarland made the call as Flynn had requested although she knew she was providing false information, and the Washington Post updated the column to reflect that a 'Trump official' had denied that Flynn and Kislyak discussed sanctions," the report said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 91935

Reported Deaths: 2780
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6884152
DeSoto527653
Harrison366071
Jackson332666
Madison316485
Rankin312173
Lee251566
Jones234077
Forrest229468
Washington214771
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Lauderdale1977122
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Oktibbeha172549
Lamar154833
Neshoba1513103
Panola140326
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Sunflower136943
Warren136249
Leflore133279
Pike119848
Pontotoc119616
Monroe116665
Scott114925
Copiah114533
Coahoma108926
Holmes107658
Marshall105914
Grenada102634
Lincoln102652
Yazoo102527
Simpson99841
Union96223
Tate94337
Leake93235
Adams88133
Wayne86421
Pearl River83349
Marion82832
Covington78721
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Newton74222
George74013
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Tallahatchie72517
Winston71819
Tishomingo64035
Attala63325
Chickasaw63124
Tippah62016
Walthall58525
Clay55916
Hancock54420
Noxubee53915
Jasper53214
Clarke51937
Smith51514
Calhoun50612
Tunica47013
Claiborne44716
Montgomery44420
Lawrence42112
Yalobusha41014
Perry38216
Humphreys36815
Quitman3595
Stone34511
Greene33316
Webster32613
Jefferson Davis31711
Carroll30612
Amite30310
Wilkinson29917
Kemper28415
Sharkey25811
Jefferson2349
Benton2081
Franklin1833
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1023
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128097

Reported Deaths: 2264
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18531332
Mobile12931288
Montgomery8546170
Madison730373
Tuscaloosa6984109
Lee557059
Shelby544649
Baldwin500347
Marshall375942
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Calhoun316538
Morgan311825
Houston258621
Elmore246847
DeKalb229319
St. Clair217434
Walker217480
Talladega199125
Limestone190819
Cullman179717
Dallas172526
Franklin170328
Russell16852
Autauga161924
Lauderdale159031
Colbert156024
Escambia153824
Blount148713
Jackson144210
Chilton142824
Dale127442
Covington127227
Coffee12357
Pike11289
Tallapoosa112483
Chambers110742
Clarke104316
Marion90328
Butler90138
Barbour8097
Marengo69419
Winston68012
Lowndes64327
Pickens61514
Bibb6129
Hale60928
Bullock58314
Randolph58112
Lawrence57320
Monroe5708
Washington54213
Geneva5364
Perry5366
Wilcox52911
Cherokee52615
Conecuh51611
Crenshaw50731
Clay5057
Macon46619
Henry4474
Sumter41419
Fayette4088
Choctaw34212
Lamar3272
Cleburne3056
Greene29715
Coosa1573
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