NY Times’ Nicholas Kristof Whiffs ‘A Smell Of Treason In The Air’ Around Trump White House

Posted on Sat 03/25/2017 by


By Clay Waters ~

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof caught ““A Smell of Treason In the Air’”around the Trump White House. The title of his Thursday column comes from liberal historian Douglas Brinkley, which Kristof was no doubt eager to glom onto so he didn’t have to go even further out on a leftist limb by saying it himself.

Or is that odor really Kristof’s own flop sweat? Every sentence is redolent with rich conspiracy theorizing and maximalist interpretation of anything a Trump associate has ever done or said, matched by a minimum of actual hard facts. Still, the column is pleasing the paper’s lefty readers: It’s now the second-most read shared and discussed post on nytimes.com.

After claiming the biggest scandal in American political history may have been Nixon’s efforts in 1968 to sabotage a diplomatic effort to end the war in Vietnam, he pivots to you know who’s administration and quickly employed the T-word.

Now the F.B.I. confirms that we have had an investigation underway for eight months into whether another presidential campaign colluded with a foreign power so as to win an election. To me, that, too, would amount to treason.

The text box read: “Did a traitor work with Russia to help Trump?” That would evidently be Trump associate Paul Manafort.

I’m also told (not by a Democrat!) that there’s a persuasive piece of intelligence on ties between Russia and a member of the Trump team that isn’t yet public.

He goes off on what he admits is “a bit of conjecture” heavy on anti-Russian sentiment.

The Russians for years had influence over Donald Trump because of their investments with him, and he was by nature inclined to admire Vladimir Putin as a strongman ruler. Meanwhile, Trump had in his orbit a number of people with Moscow ties, including Paul Manafort, who practically bleeds borscht.

Kristof then performed some elaborate wishful speculation about the enormity of the Trump campaign’s assault on democracy, or something.

This is guesswork, but it might have seemed natural for Trump aides to try to milk Russian contacts for useful information about the Clinton campaign. Likewise, the Russians despised Hillary Clinton and would have been interested in milking American contacts for information about how best to damage her chances.

Further rampant speculation ensued:

One crucial unknown: Did Russia try to funnel money into Trump’s campaign coffers? In European elections, Russia has regularly tried to influence results by providing secret funds. I’m sure the F.B.I. is looking into whether there were suspicious financial transfers.

The contacts with Russia are by Trump’s aides, and the challenge will be to connect any collusion to the president himself. The White House is already distancing itself from Manafort, claiming that he played only a “very limited role” in the campaign — even though he was Trump’s campaign chairman!


In the past, as when foreign funds made their way into Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign, Republicans showed intense interest in foreign interference in the political process. So it’s sad to see some Republicans (I mean you, Devin Nunes!) trying to hijack today’s House investigation to make it about leaks.

Really? Our country was attacked by Russia, and you’re obsessed with leaks? Do you honestly think that the culprit in Watergate wasn’t Nixon but the famed leaker Deep Throat? Republicans should replace Nunes as head of the House Intelligence Committee; he can’t simultaneously be Trump’s advocate and his investigator.

The paper’s left-wing editorial page also argued for getting rid of Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman who had the audacity to turn the tables on the Democrats by revealing that Trump associates’ names hadn’t been redacted from intelligence reports, after their conversations had been picked up under surveillance of other targets. Their identities weren’t masked as is usually the protocol with American citizens.

(Of course, Kristof doesn’t want anyone concerned about the propriety of leaks: Earlier this month he blatantly begged someone in the federal government to break the law and leak Trump’s tax returns.) Kristof concluded:

The fundamental question now isn’t about Trump’s lies, or intelligence leaks, or inadvertent collection of Trump communications. Rather, the crucial question is as monumental as it is simple: Was there treason?

“There’s a smell of treason in the air,” Douglas Brinkley, the historian, told The Washington Post. He’s right, and we must dispel that stench.

Clay Waters was the director of Times Watch a former project of the Media Research Center .

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