President Trump has been critical of the entire Russian election meddling story since reports began to emerge in late last year that U.S. intelligence has concluded that Russian operatives undermined the 2016 presidential election and tilted the results in his favor. Trump questioned and dismissed that conclusion initially, but after meeting with intelligence officials during the transition who presented evidence to him, he finally accepted their assessment and admitted that Russia “probably” did it.
But when further reporting revealed undisclosed meetings between members of the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, as well as the existence of the now-infamous “Pee-Tape Dossier” containing raw intelligence about Trump’s business and personal history in Russia, Trump took a different tack all together. He pushed back hard.
Despite the mountains of smoke puffing-up from multiple corners of the his campaign, Trump himself insisted that there was no fire. The entire narrative, he maintained, was a “ruse,” invented by Democrats and promoted by the media to discredit his victory and delegitimize his presidency.
Trump’s allies in the media have parroted that claim as well, taking their cues from the president and attacking the media, the “deep state” of holdovers from the Obama administration, and even the investigators themselves. All are enemies of the president who are out to destroy him for purely political purposes, their theory goes, and it’s up to voices on the right to defend him.
On Thursday, a new and powerful ally joined this coordinated media counter offensive to undermine the multiple investigations that appear on the verge exposing the truth about the Trump campaign and its links to Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin himself has entered the fray on Trump’s behalf, and he did so very publicly.
At his annual end-of-the-year marathon news conference for Russian and international media, Putin took a question about U.S. investigations into President Trump and the 2016 election scandal. His answer was shockingly familiar to American ears.
“This is all made up by people who oppose Trump to make his work look illegitimate,” he said. Putin even went so far as blaming the “deep state” in the U.S. intelligence community that still sees the Kremlin as a hostile adversary: “Do they want to ban all contact,” he asked?
To prove his point, he offered another eerily familiar talking point: “Look at the markets, how they went up. That speaks about investors’ trust in what he does,” Putin said.
Compare that to a tweet Trump sent on Tuesday, saying “Consumer Confidence is at an All-Time High, along with a Record High Stock Market. Unemployment is at a 17 year low…” it’s hard to miss the obvious synchronicity.
It’s not exactly a shock to the see the right wing media actively coordinating with President Trump to combat the daily deluge of damning reports emanating from special counsel Mueller’s investigation.
Media outlets like FOX News and Breitbart, as well as the armies of talk radio hosts and conspiracy blogs, have been in lock-step with Trump for months. When the president takes to twitter to attack the FBI in an attempt to undermine the credibility of Robert Mueller, Breitbart publishes his entire tweet-storm verbatim.
When the Wall Street Journal’s Pro-Trump editorial board calls for Robert Mueller to resign, Janine Pirro uses her weekend show on FOX News to call for the Trump-Russia investigation to be shut down and for Muller and his team to be arrested.
And every time a report emerges exposing something new about Trump associates and their encounters with Russian officials, it’s cast-off as fake news. Sean Hannity has even taken to calling the CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post, and any other news outlet that reports on the Trump-Russia scandal as the “Destroy Trump Media,” a mantra he repears daily to this millions of TV viewers and radio listeners.
But when the man Trump’s accused of conspiring with comes to his defense with the same exact talking points he’s been pushing for months – from halfway around the world, no less – it should set-off alarm bells from K-Mart to the Kremlin.