CNN Follows CN by 8 Days on Russiagate Payback Story

A week after CN, Cable News Network reported that Donald Trump knows he lost but is holding out to get back at the Democrats for undermining his legitimacy with Russiagate.

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, Oct. 23, 2020. (White House, Tia Dufour)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Last Thursday, CNN posted an article online that began:

“(CNN) — President Donald Trump told an ally that he knows he lost, but that he is delaying the transition process and is aggressively trying to sow doubt about the election results in order to get back at Democrats for questioning the legitimacy of his own election in 2016, especially with the Russia investigation, a source familiar with the President’s thinking told CNN on Thursday.”

The article went on to say that Trump’s refusal so far to concede the election to Joe Biden comes in part from his “perceived grievance that Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama undermined his own presidency by saying Russia interfered in the 2016 election and could have impacted the outcome, people around him have said.”

Eight days earlier on Nov. 10, a week after the election, Consortium News reported:

“Republicans must know that Joe Biden received more votes, in too many states, and by too wide a margin, for the 2020 election results to be overturned. Nevertheless, many Republican leaders are still backing Donald Trump’s claim that Biden’s election was not legitimate.

After the Democrats played the fabulist Russiagate card to undermine Trump’s legitimacy, they should not be surprised by Republican efforts to undermine Biden’s. This is U.S. politics in a downward spiral.

The same way Trump laid the groundwork during the campaign by questioning the validity of mail-in voting (which goes back to the American Revolution), Hillary Clinton laid the groundwork during the 2016 campaign to undermine Trump by recklessly branding him a ‘Putin puppet.’ 

That blossomed into four years of full-blown Russiagate, which was meant to question the validity of Trump’s election, undermine his legitimacy and hamper his ability to act as president. 

Now the Republicans are questioning the validity of Biden’s election, undermining his legitimacy and hampering his ability to act as president-elect, and later as president.

This is tit-for-tat for the Russiagate gambit.”        

Missing the Point

The reliably pro-Democratic CNN could not resist the opportunity to insult Trump, as if sticking to the facts about his presidency isn’t damning enough.  And it threw a compliment Clinton’s way that misses the point. 

The CNN story said:

“Trump continues to hold a grudge against those who he claims undercut his election by pointing to Russian interference efforts, and he has suggested it is fair game to not recognize Joe Biden as the President-elect, even though Clinton conceded on election night in 2016 and the Trump transition was able to begin immediately.”

First off, it’s journalistic malpractice to speak of “Russian interference efforts” as if it’s a flat fact, when the two core elements of Russiagate—a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign and a Russian hack of Democratic servers—have been debunked by none other than Special Counsel Robert Mueller and CrowdStrike president Shawn Henry. 

The latter’s sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee admitted to no evidence that anyone had hacked the servers, and Mueller reported no evidence of such a conspiracy. In case you missed it:

CNN points out that Clinton conceded, but incorrectly says on election night. Her campaign chairman John Podesta addressed the Clinton rally in New York to say the election wasn’t over yet. Clinton only conceded the next morning, after reportedly a night of throwing things around her hotel room and after a phone call from Obama.

Trump will leave too, even if he doesn’t formally concede, and maybe through the backdoor.  But the point is that though Clinton made the difficult speech, which Trump refuses to make, she didn’t let things lie there. 

I predicted three days before the 2016 election that if Clinton should lose, she would leverage blame against Russia to try to overturn the election. And that is exactly what she and the Democrats did (and for which Trump is now paying them back for.)

First the Democrats supported electors changing their votes by arguing Moscow had stolen the election. When that failed they lobbied Congress to not certify the vote. When that failed, a four-year campaign ensued to falsely charge Trump, Russia and WikiLeaks for her failure and to undermine the legitimacy of the 2016 election, just as Trump is doing now to this one.

Of course none of this appears on CNN, which long ago gave up the central tenet of political journalism: impartiality.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional career as a stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe

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17 comments for “CNN Follows CN by 8 Days on Russiagate Payback Story

  1. $outhpaw58
    November 24, 2020 at 15:56

    When talking about undermining a president’s legitimacy, how about looking back at Donald Trump’s birther scandal, that he foisted upon president Barack Obama.

    I don’t know why Donald Trump does the things that he does.
    I wouldn’t believe something that he reportedly told to an ally, or to an adversary for that matter.
    Donald Trump lies so much, that I wouldn’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

  2. November 24, 2020 at 12:53

    I don’t blame Trump for fighting back against the deep state. He’s obviously not one of them, that’s one point in his favor.
    The last several election cycles have really exposed for all to see what a farce it all is!

  3. November 24, 2020 at 12:14

    This is tit for tat is probably so, yet there’s no denying our election process is rife with shenanigans. This would be a good time to address it once and for all.

  4. C. Parker
    November 24, 2020 at 10:55

    This makes sense, but, it still doesn’t excuse Donald Trump’s behavior during his 2016 campaign and his disastrous presidency. He, and he alone has himself to thank for being an easy target. Hilary Clinton’s lies about Russia first began as cover for the DNC’s corruption as the worked to oust a Bernie Sanders nomination. Those email’s were hacked from within the Clinton campaign headquarters- not hacked from Russia. Now with Senator Sanders out of the way, whoever won 2016 election, this country lost. Ditto 2020 election. Ugly stuff.

      November 24, 2020 at 12:17

      Where in the piece is Trump being excused? It says insults aren’t necessary because the facts of his presidency are damning enough. In other words journalists should just stick to the facts with no need to embellish them.

  5. Mark Thomason
    November 24, 2020 at 10:10

    We must expect the Republicans will now do what the Democrats just did. We face 4 long years of de-legitimizing the election. The only question is what exact theories will be deployed. That they’ll do it is without doubt. Democrats deserve it, for what they did, and Republicans are out for payback.

      November 24, 2020 at 10:20

      You might expect Senate investigations into Hunter and Joe Biden’s business dealings, if the Republicans hold the Senate.

  6. Jeff Harrison
    November 24, 2020 at 00:20

    You got it, Joe. The 2020 election is as bad as the 2016 election. That is to say that you don’t want either of them to win. We are well and truly screwed.

  7. nomad
    November 23, 2020 at 21:58


    Given that we have systemic government corruption, what can we do about it?
    Does it really matter who we vote for given this fact?
    What can we do about government reforms that benefit the voters?
    Our government won’t do anything that will hurt them such as campaign finance reforms and modernizing our voter systems to be more transparent and more PCI compliant.

    Tulsi Gabbard who a few great ideas about improving election integrity, but nobody reached out to her. The DNC was not interested in her.

    • November 24, 2020 at 12:11

      I’ll suggest learning of SEP (socialist equality party) and begin supporting them.


      While following the news source related to them.


      • nomad
        November 24, 2020 at 13:56


        Thanks for the links, but I can’t deal with socialism or communism.
        I had some relatives that were killed who had lived in these two economic systems outside
        the U.S.

        I see democratic socialism and socialism as being the same thing. It starts out good, then it turns
        bad. Why? The elites become corrupt, which negatively affects people. It sounds cool, but living, working,
        and traveling outside the U.S, and talking to some people in some of these different economic systems gives
        you a reality check.

        As for our crony economic capitalistic system, remove crony from it, and let some of them fail.
        Also, regulate our capitalistic system, so it does not become too monopolistic is a better option.
        Our current system is a hybrid (private & government) – crony capitalism and lite socialism. Look at how many problems
        we currently have with our levels corruption that should be fixed. Look at how much debt we over time:

        Here is something you should read:

  8. Chet380
    November 23, 2020 at 20:50

    What’s going on with Special Prosecutor John Durham’s investigation? … Is the grand jury still convened?

  9. Frank Desantis
    November 23, 2020 at 19:40

    Joe right on. The cast of characters in the Obama and Hillary approved Deep State led 4 year campaign to delegitimize the Trump presidency is an unparalleled assault on the rule of law and the Constitution itself.
    I am not a Trump fan but loathe the successor, another lap dog of the Isrseli state and the MIC. Pity this country.

  10. Tom Kath
    November 23, 2020 at 18:58

    To question the validity of an election that has so far only been proclaimed by the MSM controlled by one side, is surely what real journalism should do.

      November 23, 2020 at 19:06

      But numerous state governments now have certified the results, not the media, which has been reporting on these governments’announcements.

  11. Me Myself
    November 23, 2020 at 18:45

    CNN is a good example of A.I. artificial Intelligence made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally.
    Artificial product inferior to the real thing.
    How about a more appropriate name like FNN (FAUX News Notwork) ;-}

    A bit juvenile, yup!

  12. robert e williamson jr
    November 23, 2020 at 18:16

    Oh how I have waited for this opportunity. Thank you Joe so much. But you did creep me out here when I read this just after sending a comment on Mr. Camps take on things.

    Payback time. Generally to seek vengeance, revenge that is , is a road that leads to no where. The idea being that if the plaintiff has been victorious it should be below them to seek retribution.

    In this instance however if the democrats ever expect to retain their relevance the need to bust Mitch and the “BOYS” chops a couple of good ones to send a message.

    I will not be holding my breath.

    My best to all at CN be safe and continue to fight the good “trouble” fight.

Comments are closed.