Donald Trump has always teased at his close bromance with Vladamir Putin through bragging about him complimenting him, Trump calling Putin a strong leader and refusing to actually admit what the intelligence community has stated - that Russia is hacking us.
So today, when Kurt Eichenwald printed this bombshell article, no one was truly shocked. In it, Kurt says the following:
"The documents that Wikileaks unloaded recently have been emails out of the account of John Podesta, the chairman of Clinton’s election campaign. Almost as soon as the pilfered documents emerged, Sputnik was all over them and rapidly found (or probably already knew about before the Wikileaks dump) a purportedly incriminating email from Blumenthal.
The email was amazing—it linked Boogie Man Blumenthal, Podesta and the topic of conservative political fevered dreams, Benghazi. This, it seemed, was the smoking gun finally proving Clinton bore total responsibility for the terrorist attack on the American outpost in Libya in 2012. Sputnik even declared that the email might be the “October surprise” that could undermine Clinton’s campaign.
To understand the full importance of the story—and how much Putin and his Kremlin cronies must have been dancing with delight—I have to quote the top few paragraphs:
In a major revelation from the second batch of WikiLeaks emails from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta it was learned that Hillary's top confidante Sidney Blumenthal believed that the investigation into Benghazi was legitimate because it was "preventable" and the result of State Department negligence.
In an email titled "The Truth" from Hillary's top confidante Sidney Blumenthal, the adviser writing to undisclosed recipients said that "one important point that has been universally acknowledged by nine previous reports about Benghazi: The attack was almost certainly preventable" in what may turn out to be the big October surprise from the WikiLeaks released of emails hacked from the account of Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta.
Then came the money quote: "Clinton was in charge of the State Department, and it failed to protect U.S. personnel at an American consulate in Libya. If the GOP wants to raise that as a talking point against her, it is legitimate," said Blumenthal, putting to rest the Democratic Party talking point that the investigation into Clinton's management of the State Department at the time of the attack was nothing more than a partisan witch hunt."
Those words sounded really, really familiar. Really familiar. Like, so familiar they struck me as something I wrote. Because they were something I wrote.
The Russians were quoting two sentences from a 10,000 word piece I wrote for Newsweek, which Blumenthal had emailed to Podesta. There was no mistaking that Blumenthal was citing Newsweek—the magazine’s name and citations for photographs appeared throughout the attached article. The Russians had carefully selected the “of course” paragraph, which mentions there were legitimate points of criticism regarding Clinton and Benghazi, all of which had been acknowledged in nine reports about the terror attack and by the former Secretary of State herself. But that was hardly the point of the story, “Benghazi Biopsy: A Comprehensive Guide to One of America’s Worst Political Outrages.” The piece is about the obscene politicization of the assault that killed four Americans, and the article slammed the Republican Benghazi committee which was engaged in a political show trial disguised as a Congressional investigation—the tenth inquiry into the tragedy."
Yes, the Russians were trying to present direct quotes and passages from a journalist who was NOT Sydney Blumenthal as the October Surprise that would supposedly tank Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Mind you, this just dropped a few hours ago. The update to this story is even more shocking.
While at a rally in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump started waving around a document and saying that he had an email from Sydney Blumenthal - the same email that Sputnik quoted. Immediately, Trump started spouting the same disinformation as the Sputnik article, using a typical Russian tactic. He says:
“This just came out a little while ago. I have to tell you this.”
And then he read the words from Eichenwald's article, presented as being from Blumenthal.
“He’s now admitting they could have done something about Benghazi. This just came out a little while ago.”
It is crystal clear that the Russians are behind this, they are intentionally feeding misinformation to the Republican candidate and are trying to affect the outcome of the election. Who fed Trump this information? Did he have it before Sputnik published it?
This news comes after the news earlier today that Trump had received information in a security briefing that clearly indicated the Russians were behind the hack at the DNC, something he lied about in last night's debate.
Should he be receiving national security briefings when he's this close to Putin and Russian oligarchs? When the Kremlin is writing his talking points, it may be time to step back and re-evaluate.