The New York Times has inadvertently attacked the credibility of its own reporting on the Obama Administration’s investigation of Russia and now-President Donald Trump.
Times reporters Michael Schmidt and Michael Shear write that Trump believes the “deep state” intelligence community, staffed with holdovers from the Obama Administration, wiretapped several of his campaign associates because of a spurious article from Breitbart News:
On Sunday, the president demanded a congressional inquiry into whether Mr. Obama had abused the power of federal law enforcement agencies before the 2016 presidential election. In a statement from his spokesman, Mr. Trump called “reports” about the wiretapping “very troubling” and said that Congress should examine them as part of its investigations into Russia’s meddling in the election.
Mr. Trump’s demand for a congressional investigation appears to be based, at least in part, on unproved claims by Breitbart News and conservative talk radio hosts that secret warrants were issued authorizing the tapping of the phones of Mr. Trump and his aides at Trump Tower in New York.
The Breitbart article in question (which Schmidt and Shear do not link to) cites the Times’ own reporting on the intelligence community. Their January 19th article, “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates,” also bore Schmidt’s byline.
An editorial note at this link reveals that the print version of this article was headlined: “Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides.”
It quotes an anonymous source who says that “wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House” as part of an investigation into “the business dealings that some of the president-elect’s past and present advisers have had with Russia.”
At the end of the article, the Times‘ reporters fret that then-Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions would “for a time be the only person in the government authorized to seek foreign intelligence wiretaps on American soil.”