Here's How a Single Preposterous Tweet Unleashed Trump's Latest False Attacks on the Russia Probe
Even after many of President Donald Trump's own allies have rejected his unfounded assertions of a massive FBI conspiracy against his campaign, he is continuing to hold on to the theory without a shred of evidence. His latest attack against the FBI over what he has ludicrously dubbed "spygate" stems from a single tweet and rests on a patently absurd interpretation of the relevant texts.
"Wow, Strzok-Page, the incompetent & corrupt FBI lovers, have texts referring to a counter-intelligence operation into the Trump Campaign dating way back to December, 2015," Trump tweeted on Tuesday night. "SPYGATE is in full force! Is the Mainstream Media interested yet? Big stuff!"
As Axios and others pointed out, this new twist on Trump's fraudulent attacks on the FBI comes from a wholly dubious source. A Twitter user named "Falco" tweeted the following post on Monday, citing texts between two FBI agents who used to work on both the Russia investigation and Clinton's email probe:
While Falco presents this as a new bombshell, it's nothing of the sort. The files he's quoting come from a report published in February. And despite his insistence that this revelation shows that the investigation into the Trump campaign began earlier than was previously reported, the texts themselves don't actually mention the campaign at all. Any connection between these texts and the Russia probe is a complete fabrication meant to cast doubt on the FBI's handling of the investigation.
But this tweet made its way from Twitter to Reddit to Gateway Pundit all the way to Fox News — which apparently has such lax standards that it doesn't even fact check the ramblings of random Twitter users.
Trump wasn't explicit about where he got the story, but Fox Business pundit Lou Dobbs was among those parroting the ridiculous non-story, and a subsequent tweet from the president referenced Dobbs: "Great interview by @LouDobbs with Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch concerning the governments counter-intelligence operation into the Trump Campaign. SPYGATE at the highest level. Who would believe?"
Of course, Trump runs the federal government, and he doesn't need to rely on the Fox or uninformed Twitter users for his information about the Justice Department.
As troubling as the story is about how Trump is responding to the Russia investigation, it's just as concerning for what it shows about how the president gets his information. The president needs the best information possible when leading the country through international disputes, natural disasters, and other national issues — and yet he seems utterly unable to distinguish fact from fiction.