WSJ Editorial Board Blasts ‘Beltway Media’ for Ignoring Dossier

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board slammed “the Beltway media” on Sunday for exhibiting a marked “lack of interest” in reporting on the ongoing investigation into the creation of the salacious “dossier” that alleges President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians.

BuzzFeed caused an uproar and fielded harsh criticism from other media outlets when it published the unverified dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele in its entirety on January 10. Although mainstream media outlets have spent months speculating about claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, the WSJ writes that the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the dossier has been “ignored” because it doesn’t complement the media’s ongoing narrative.

"The Beltway media move in a pack, and that means ignoring some stories while leaping on others," the WSJ editorial board wrote. "Consider the pack's lack of interest in the story of GPS Fusion and the 'dossier' from former spook Christopher Steele."

Noting that the House Intelligence Committee recently issued subpoenas to Fusion GPS after the opposition research firm funded Steele's dossier, the WSJ highlighted how the document and its history lost the media's interest, and was drowned out by stories about alleged collusion.

"The dossier's details have been either discredited or are unverified, but the document nonetheless framed the political narrative about Trump-Russian collusion that led to special counsel Robert Mueller," the WSJ noted. "The real question is why Democrats and Fusion seem not to want to tell the public who requested the dossier or what ties Fusion GPS boss Glenn Simpson had with the Russians in 2016. All the more so because congressional investigators have learned that Mr. Simpson was working for Russian clients at the same time he was working with Mr. Steele."

Instead of showing much interest in the House committee's findings and discovering who requested that Steele compile the dossier and why, the WSJ says media outlets have been far more concerned with House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes' (R-Calif.) involvement in the process.

CNN's Tuesday article covering the Fusion GPS subpoenas, for example, fell under the headline, "Nunes signs off on new subpoenas to firm behind Trump-Russia dossier." Early on in the piece, the outlet reminded readers that Nunes had recused himself by temporarily stepping aside from the Russia investigation after his handling of classified information came under scrutiny. CNN reported that Nunes' signature as chairman for the subpoenas "angered some on the committee who say that Nunes is still seeking to direct an investigation he was supposed to have no involvement in leading."

"Democrats and Fusion seem to care mostly that House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes issued the subpoenas, given that he temporarily stepped aside from the Russia probe in April," the WSJ said. "But only the chairman is allowed to issue subpoenas, and Mr. Nunes did so at the request of Republican Mike Conaway, who is officially leading the probe."

Nunes recused himself back in April after receiving a bevy of complaints for stoking interest in former President Barack Obama's administration and its role in "unmasking" Trump campaign officials whom the government had been wiretapping, although Nunes remains involved in related matters.

"The media attacks on Mr. Nunes for issuing the subpoenas are a sign that he is on to something," the WSJ argued. "Mr. Nunes has since been vindicated, as we've learned that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power did the unmasking. Yet Democrats on the House Ethics Committee have refused to clear Mr. Nunes — trying to keep him sidelined from the Russia probe."

Power, whom the House Intelligence Committee questioned on Friday, received sparse media attention.

Nunes also sought to discern whether any U.S. intelligence agencies aided Steele in crafting his dossier.

"Americans deserve to know who paid Mr. Simpson for this work and if the Kremlin influenced the project. They also deserve to know if former FBI director James Comey relied on the dossier to obtain warrants to monitor the Trump campaign," the WSJ noted. "If the Russians used disinformation to spur a federal investigation into a presidential candidate, that would certainly qualify as influencing an election."

The WSJ editorial board also expressed its frustration with the Department of Justice for "stonewalling" the House committee's investigation into wiretap warrants for Trump's campaign and transition officials.

"Mr. Mueller will grind away at the Trump-Russia angle, but the story of Democrats, the Steele dossier, and Jim Comey's FBI also needs telling," the WSJ concluded, because "Americans don't need a Justice Department coverup abetted by Glenn Simpson's media buddies."

(photo credit, homepage image: Wall Street Journal printing, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Neon Tommy)

Last Modified: October 15, 2017, 8:13 pm

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