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CNN anchor accuses GOP senator of calling Russian interference a ‘hoax,’ but that’s not what the tape shows

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Chuck Ross on May 17, 2020

CNN anchor Jake Tapper said Sen. Ron Johnson suggested that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a “hoax” in an interview Sunday with the Wisconsin Republican.

But a tape of the interview shows that Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, instead told Tapper that the now-debunked theory of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign was the hoax.

The exchange highlighted a common occurrence in the media’s coverage of the Russia probe. Lawmakers and others who dispute the theory of collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign have been accused of also denying that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 contest.

But the issues are separate.

While the Russian government orchestrated email hacking and social media disinformation campaigns to meddle in the 2016 election, nobody affiliated with the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin, the special counsel’s office found.

Johnson asserted in the interview that leaks to the media fueled “this entire Russian collusion hoax.”

“And it was a hoax.”

“I don’t know what you mean by a hoax,” Tapper replied.

“Senator, it’s not a hoax that the Russians attempted to interfere in the 2016 election. You know that. It’s not a hoax,” Tapper continued.

“You’re suggesting the entire Russia interference campaign was a hoax, and it was not,” Tapper added later in the interview, noting that the Senate Intelligence Committee and other investigators have found that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 election.

After a contentious back-and-forth, Johnson told Tapper that he was not denying that Russia interfered in the election.

“The hoax was that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Johnson said. “The disinformation that Russia put into the 2016 campaign flowed through the Steele dossier and Hillary Clinton. I’m not trying to deny Russia tried to intervene with our election.”

“That’s what they do,” he added.

Tapper did not acknowledge his apparent misinterpretation of which aspect of Russiagate Johnson believed was a hoax. Instead, he moved on to another topic.

“Can we get back to unmasking?” he asked.

The special counsel’s office found that the Russian government meddled in the election, but uncovered no evidence that any Trump associates conspired with Russia during the campaign.

The collusion allegation originated largely with Christopher Steele, a former British spy who investigated the Trump campaign on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC. Steele alleged that the Trump campaign was involved in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Kremlin.

CNN hyped the Steele dossier for several years after it was published in January 2017, asserting in news reports that the FBI had corroborated some of Steele’s allegations. But those stories, and the dossier, have turned out to be a bust. The Justice Department inspector general released a report that said the FBI was unable to verify key allegations in the dossier. Some of Steele’s claims were debunked, and his primary source of information for the Trump investigation disputed aspects of the dossier.

The FBI also received evidence in 2017 that Russian intelligence operatives might have fed disinformation to Steele, who is based in London.

“They put Russian disinformation into the Steele dossier that was bought and paid for through cutouts for the Hillary Clinton campaign,” Johnson told Tapper.

A spokesperson for CNN responded to a request for comment but declined to offer a statement on the record.

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5 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Lajeune Fennell May 17, 2020

    Trump ought to get 7 more years instead of 4 to make up for the time wasted for the last three years by the democrats!

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Al Pambuena May 17, 2020

    Never any proof…where there is a ton of proof on Biden and china..and corruption with Ukraine and son hunter.

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Carol Darling May 17, 2020

    Tapper wants to ignore what they & other Very Fake Media did to this Prez by drilling down on Russian Collusion 24/7. Day in day out for at least 2 yrs but maybe even longer. No harsh words for those who set this Prez & several of his so called Advisors to the Prez. Most the Prez barely knew or spoke maybe once to them. The Very Fake Media needed dishonor the Prez for the Far Left Dems that they work in tandem with to bring down this Prez.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Norma Brown May 18, 2020

    My, look how the left-sream media scrambles to unearth women who have NOT been mauled by Joe “Fingers” Biden. Where were they when Kavanaugh was under (false) attack? For the record, all of America has listened to his creepy tales of small children playing with the hair on his legs, and witnessed his incessant caressing and smelling of women. He’s a pervert. Period.

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    Susan Rogers May 18, 2020

    ““They put Russian disinformation into the Steele dossier that was bought and paid for through cutouts for the Hillary Clinton campaign,” Johnson told Tapper.”

    “The FBI also received evidence in 2017 that Russian intelligence operatives might have fed disinformation to Steele, who is based in London.”

    In other words, Hillary, Obama and the DNC conspired with foreigners to steal the Presidency.

    Reply

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