Journalists were right about Russiagate

If Mueller’s report feels familiar, it’s because so many of the incidents it documents have already been reported. Take the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who a Trump associate claimed had dirt on Hillary Clinton. When the New York Times first reported this story in July 2017, Trump Jr. claimed that the “short introductory meeting” was innocuous; in a subsequent appearance on the Fox News program Hannity, Trump Jr. called the meeting “such a nothing” and “literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame.” Sean Hannity noted that “liberals in the destroy Trump media once again have worked themselves into frenzy. They’re frothing at the mouth.”

According to Mueller’s report, the Times had it right all along: Trump Jr. had quickly responded to the potential offer of opposition research on Clinton with the words “if it’s what you say I love it,” and set about arranging a meeting. We knew this before the Mueller report was issued, because Trump Jr. released his emails after learning that the Times was about to publish them and expose the falsity of his initial story. But the extent to which the Trump campaign was eager to get its hands on this Hillary dirt was fleshed out in the Mueller report in a way that further vindicated the Times’ journalistic efforts…

In January 2018, to take another instance, the Times reported that Trump had ordered White House Counsel Donald McGahn to fire Robert Mueller in June 2017, only to back off when McGahn refused to do so. “Fake news, folks. Fake news. A typical New York Times fake story,” Trump responded at the time, and his cable news champions took up the same refrain. “Haven’t we had a number of these Washington Post, New York Times stories end up being debunked with their phony, you know, anonymous sourcing?” Hannity said on Fox News the night the story broke. “Yeah, these are not reliable reporters,” Hannity’s guest Gregg Jarrett replied.

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