Trump and the #peepeegate documents
For the record:
So this leaked out (bada bing!) last night. I guess it’s fitting. It also smells (ha!) of being fake news…
CNN release yesterday evening and 35 page doc follows on internet. This doc contains a LOT of actual details in the allegations, real-world claims detailed enough that it should be possible for someone to fact check them. Both CNN and their US Intelligence sources took care to disclaim upfront any implication that such fact checking had been done, despite there being months to do so, and prior access but not release by Mother Jones. The docs were presented as being produced as a sort-of private-detective product for *both* the R and D parties’ candidates opposing Trump, and have dates in the mid-2016 range.
Now the allegations about Russian government conspiracy to blackmail Trump are of course the most serious, but from a PR and political campaign perspective, the part about prostitutes is pure gold (bada bing!).
The part that doesn’t add up is: why release it now? Why not during the campaign? (there were a couple of points where Clinton was definitely not confident)? Why not prior to the electoral college, when the Republican party clearly had the power to very easily force the election to the House of Representatives where party control would allow them to pick any third candidate of their choosing? IOW- what changed this past week? Is CNN getting punked? (claims of hoax on dumpsterchat site 4chan).
I’m no Trump fan, but we’ll see how this stuff holds up. Will trump’s image be soiled? (bada-bam!) Will the famed teflon coating wash clean once again (get off the stage!), as with previous arguably more serious claims against his character?
Other lesser observation, very very circumstantial and speculative: The CNN segment at around 5pm yesterday evening. A couple of details suggest the reporters shown weren’t planning to be on TV that day – Middle guy wears a jacket that doesn’t quite fit, you can see it when he lifts his hands from the desk. Middle guy and also Jake Tapper on the right look, arguably, like they’re due for a haircut, but maybe got stuck with Wolf Blitzer’s hair/makeup people. Maybe the middle guy spilled coffee on himself earlier in the day. This has absolutely no bearing on the veracity of the story itself, it just faintly suggests that CNN was forced to pull the trigger sooner than they were planning to (about to get scooped), or they may not have been planning to do so at all until 3-4 pm same-day.
This suggests the following interpretation – speculating wildly here:
Documents making allegations float around campaigns and press for a couple of months, but no major media feels confident enough to publish, even by the past year’s very forgiving standards. Then yesterday, 2 things happen. (1) buzzfeed publishes documents, and (2) on very short notice, someone tells CNN the same documents were included in last Friday’s Trump briefing, and CNN immediately puts it on TV, without time to do any follow-up.
Mmkay? So that’s how you make fake news right there.