February 24, 2017

Every Republican surrogate who is not attending CPAC today is out in force to defend the White House against yesterday's story that Donald Trump's White House reached out to the FBI to get them to act as propagandists for them.

Trump has declared open war on CNN, the New York Times, and other outlets who continue to investigate and report the news with regard to his campaign's contact with the Russians throughout the campaign and during the transition. To their credit, they persist.

Here comes former governor and failed Republican presidential candidate Jim Gilmore, who is now playing the role of Trump surrogate with aplomb. Brooke Baldwin tossed a softball at him, asking whether or not the FBI request from the White House was merely a mistake. Like a good toady, Gilmore made it far more complicated.

"What I think is going on is that the White House was asking [the FBI] to correct the fake news," Gilmore answered. "There was a report widely published by the New York Times and CNN that said there was a great deal of contact between the Russians and the Trump campaign and the FBI indicated that wasn't true."

(Watch the expressions from Press and Baldwin when he says "fake news." Priceless.)

Baldwin came right back on him, asking him to be specific. "What was fake about that report?"

After some argle-bargle about how the White House was trying to get the FBI to correct the record, Gilmore finally coughed up his fake claim.

"Apparently all the White House is attempting to do was to get them to correct the record as they related, that's all," he insisted. "Correct the fake news is all they were trying to do."

Today is really a bad day for Gilmore to be hammering any CNN anchor about fake news. After Trump's CPAC nonsense this morning and then being blocked from Spicer's briefing this afternoon, Trump is really asking for the floodgates to open.

Baldwin wasn't going to let him get away with it, either. "I have to stand up for CNN and just say we stand by our reporter and what you just said is inconsistent with our reporting and that is not fake news," she admonished, before turning to Bill Press.

Press finished him off.

"I find it ironic beyond belief that the White House which had attacked the FBI for being political was now trying to make the FBI act political by helping them shoot down a story," Press scolded. "I also find it ironic, governor, that the man talking about fake news was now trying to manufacture fake news of his own."

He continued, "I think what happened -- frankly, it's not a pretty picture -- is that Reince Priebus got caught with his pants down and now he's embarrassed and they're trying to cover it up!"

Press added, "What this proves is there is no doubt about an ongoing FBI investigation of contacts between the Trump organization and Russian officials. That's not going to go away just because Michael Flynn went away."

At that point, they had to cut to John Kasich at the White House, so Gilmore was left spluttering.

The White House must really be concerned about what is going on right now. They are quite focused on discrediting news outlets which have been relentlessly reporting about Trump's contacts with Russia, either through surrogates or possibly directly via business contacts or his children. The coordinated attacks on specific news outlets which have reported real stories about the corruption in this administration are relentless and intended to marginalize them.

If that's the case, then I encourage CNN and the rest of them to stay on the story, because clearly where there is smoke, there's fire.

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