The Washington Post's Reporting Can't Be Trusted
After the highly politicized raid on President Trump's personal residence at Mar-a-Lago by the Biden Department of Justice, Fake News Media kicked into high gear to justify it. Chief among the legacy media culprits is The Washington Post. In an article published on August 11, 2022, The Washington Post claimed that the FBI had searched former President Trump's home looking for nuclear documents. This article claimed that "classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought" in the search. The alleged "sources" for the article were "people familiar with the investigation."
The Washington Post followed up on this article on September 6, 2022, with another piece claiming that nuclear secrets were among the classified documents seized by the FBI in the raid. This article claimed that a document "describing a foreign government's military defenses, including its military capabilities" was seized in the raid. The alleged source or sources for this article were "people familiar with the probe."
The Post followed that report on November 14, 2022, with yet another anonymously sourced report claiming that investigators believe that Trump's ego prompted him to keep classified documents after he left office, though according to "people familiar with the matter," thus far, no indications have been found that Trump tried to sell or use government secrets.
The Washington Post reports on the Mar-a-Lago raid bear the hallmarks of fake news. The stories rely solely on anonymous sources. The paper provides no facts whatsoever tending to show that the anonymous sources are well placed enough to know what they are talking about. The claims made in the articles cannot be otherwise verified. Essentially, the paper asks readers to trust its reporting about these sensitive matters. But can The Post's reporting be trusted? A review of a few of The Post's other anonymously sourced articles relating to President Trump confirms that the answer is no.
Comey asked for more Russia investigation funding
Recall when then President Trump fired FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017? The very next day, May 10, 2017, The Washington Post ran a story claiming that Comey had sought more funding for the Russia investigation only days before he was fired. The article claimed that the request was made by Comey to deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein. The sources for the WaPo story were two anonymous "officials with knowledge of the discussion." The article suggested that the request for more Russia investigation funding contributed to the president's decision to fire Comey. The Post's story, with its anonymous sources, supposedly confirmed an earlier anonymously sourced report on the same issue by The New York Times.
The stories were not true. The same day the reports came out, May 10, 2017, a Justice Department spokesperson labeled the report "100% false" after conferring with deputy A.G. Rosenstein directly. Thereafter, Rosenstein also confirmed to Congress that the former FBI director had not requested more resources for the Russia probe. Furthermore, on May 11, 2017, the day after the WaPo's report, acting FBI director Andrew McCabe confirmed in testimony before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that the Russia investigation was adequately funded; that funds are not typically requested for one case; and that funding requests are made to Congress, not the A.G. In short, the anonymous reports were dead wrong.
Russian bounties for Taliban killing American Troops
On June 28, 2020, The Washington Post published a story claiming that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban for killing American troops. This article, based on anonymous "people familiar with the matter," claimed that the Russian bounty scheme had resulted in the deaths of "several U.S. Service members." The "people said" the intelligence about the program was "passed up from the U.S. Special Operations forces based in Afghanistan and led to a restricted high-level White House meeting in late March." The problem with the story is none of the reporting is true.
The very next day, the United States Department of Defense issued a press release stating that it had no evidence corroborating the media claims. Shortly thereafter, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie with the U.S. Central Command confirmed that the intelligence on the issue "wasn't proven" and had "very, very low levels of authenticity" and that his personnel were still investigating. United States secretary of defense Mark Esper and General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed in testimony before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee on July 9, 2020 that the the reports about the Russian bounty program were not confirmed. Furthermore, contrary to the WaPo reporting, the director of National Intelligence at time the the reports came out, John Ratcliffe, verified that former DNI Richard Grenell and President Trump were not briefed on the intelligence, which both former DNI Grenell and President Trump also confirmed. As late as April 2021, the Biden administration continued to maintain the Russian bounty reports were still unconfirmed. (This a particularly damning admission, since then-candidate Biden prevaricated repeatedly about the "Russian bounty" story after it came out in 2020 and lambasted President Trump over it.) Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a national media watchdog group, published a devastating takedown of the Fake News peddled by The Washington Post, and others, on this "Russian bounty" story.
The "find the fraud in Georgia" story
The Washington Post published a report on January 9, 2021, claiming that President Trump pressured a Georgia elections investigator to "find the fraud" while investigating the 2020 election. The article was revised later, but it originally implied that President Trump urged the investigator to fabricate evidence of fraud, claiming he told her to "find the fraud" and that she would be a "national hero" if she did. The story was based on an anonymous source, which the WaPo claimed was "an individual briefed on the call" who remained anonymous "because of the sensitivity of the conversation." The WaPo went on claim President Trump's phone call could amount to obstruction of justice or other criminal violations. (The previous links are to articles about the WaPo article due to the extensive revision made to the original.)
The truth came out a couple of months later, when an audio recording of the phone call was found and produced in response to a public records request. The quotes published by The Post were made up. The media reports about the call were all wrong. President Trump did not tell the Georgia investigator to "find the fraud" or that she would be a "national hero" if she made some fraud up. Further, the Georgia investigator, Frances Watson, confirmed in an interview that she was not pressured by President Trump during the call. (In a follow-up report, The Washington Post disclosed that its anonymous source was Jordan Fuchs, the Georgia deputy secretary of state, who supposedly talked to the investigator after her conversation with Trump.) The fabricated quotes from President Trump published by The Post in its false report were cited by Democrats in the second bogus impeachment of President Trump in January 2021. Fake news can be serious business indeed.
There are more factually incorrect stories peddled by The Washington Post about President Trump, but these prove the point: The Washington Post's reports about President Trump simply cannot be trusted. While Americans are all understandably interested in more background on what the DOJ is up to with its raid on the home of a former president, we are not likely to get the real story from The Washington Post, about this or anything else pertaining to former president Trump.
Daniel R. Street is an attorney with over 25 years of litigation experience. He is the author of the Fake News Exposed about Trump book series. Check out his website at danielrstreet.com.