White House Under Fire Over Editing Of Transcript and Video Of Press Conference In Helinski

download.jpgThe late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” That distinction may have been lost in the editing of the controversial press conference in Helinski with President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Arguably the most important and most reporting part of the press conference was a question and answer involving Putin, where he admitted that the Russians wanted Trump to win the presidential election.  An official transcript of the press conference, however, by the White House omits the key controversial part of the question by Reuters reporter Jeff Mason.  Additionally, the White House videotape omits the same information.  The discrepancies have been raised with the White House but no change has been made.  This is a serious problem given the fact that this is an official record being released to the public.  In fairness to the White House, some news organizations also omitted the language and, as noted by the Atlantic, the clarity of the question was muddled due to cross talk and movement. It could indeed be due to “feed issues.” The Atlantic cites two news organizations with the same editing:the Federal News Service and Bloomberg Government.  Nevertheless, the question was clearly stated by Mason but edited out of the transcript.  If this was (as claimed) a transcription or feed error, then it should have been corrected. It has not.

Mason asked “President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?”Putin then responds with “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”Part of the problem is the overlap with the English translation from Putin’s prior response, but the question can be clearly heard and Putin appears to answer the first part.  While “Yes, I did” could be taken as referring to the direction to the officials, it seems more tied to the first half of the question on wanting Trump to win.

However, the transcript shows the following exchange with the first part of the question removed:

PRESIDENT PUTIN: That could be a first step, and we can also extend it. Options abound, and they all can be found in an appropriate legal framework.

Q: And did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

PRESIDENT PUTIN:  Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.–Russia relationship back to normal.

Again, in fairness to the White House, it is worth noting that the editing is actually worse than the likely intended meaning. The omission of the first part of the question makes it sound like Putin just admitted to ordering the interference with the election, which he continued to deny in the press conference.

Making matters worse is the editing of the White House videotape.  Even if the cross talk is used to justify the omission in the transcript, there is no reason why someone would go in and cut off the first part of the question from Mason.  Again there could be a feed issue, but this was one of the most reported exchanges of the conference and should have been noticed as missing in the video and transcripted records.

The editing should have been corrected days ago.  The question was clearly stated and answered by Putin, who would never had said that he ordered the election interference.  I fail to see how such a ham-handed effort at editing could have passed review at the White House.  Many are likely to demand answers and the public has a right to know about how this occurred.

Russia deleted the entire exchange, of course, but we are not Russia.  Given the immediate outrage over the press conference statement, the White House should have been particularly careful to preserve the record for the public to read and see. It can then reach its own conclusions. Indeed, the White House could add its own commentary on the clarity of the question and answer in other forums. However, the public record should not be manipulated and even the perception of such manipulation can be as damaging as actual manipulation.

106 thoughts on “White House Under Fire Over Editing Of Transcript and Video Of Press Conference In Helinski”




  2. I loathe Trump, but Turley has this completely wrong. Please read the correct rendition from Philip Bump in the Washington Post. For once, there is nothing nefarious in what the White House has done. It is, in fact, an accurate rendition of the recording they received.. and many others too. The only problem is the recording was not able to pick up all that was said. Read the article and get the true explanation.

    1. Well, you’ve wasted your time. Go to the Washington Post and read the accurate and true explanation of what happened by Philip Bump.

  3. Too bad subjectivism even exists. That’s what we learned today. And that IS an objective fact.

  4. cutting out possibly the most significant portion of the press conference? besides the white house falsification I wonder if anyone else made a similar cut/correction? Maybe the kremlin/russian state tv transcript? The coordination should be shocking.

    the reality is that president pansy appears to a fully controlled russian asset.

  5. Good grief, people. It’s 2018, watch the press conference if you care what was said. Everything is there – no transcribing necessary.

    1. OMG common sense. Are you feeling well? Because the rest of the national asylum isn’t.

    1. To be honest.. It’s the new version featuring the death of the problem that caused 1984.

  6. Show me an administration that didn’t launder anything to make itself look better. Dear Mrs. Clinton, where are the 30,000 emails
    Have a nice day.

  7. Yes, the govt. needs to provide a complete transcript. You may have noticed that the entire apparatus of USGinc. redacts, lies and omits information.

    To jump from the idea that Putin wanted Trump to win into all the crap associated with “Russia interfered with our elections and democracy!” is not logical.

    Here is some actual information about that:

    “10 days ago in The True Meaning of ‘Collusion’ I mentioned how Robert Mueller in his indictment of 12 Russians -but not Assange-, released on the eve of the Trump-Putin summit, strongly insinuated that WikiLeaks had actively sought information from Russians posing as Guccifer 2.0, that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton. I also said that Assange was an easy target because, being closed off from all communication, he cannot defend himself. From the indictment:

    a. On or about June 22, 2016, Organization 1 sent a private message to Guccifer 2.0 to “[s]end any new material [stolen from the DNC] here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.” On or about July 6, 2016, Organization 1 added, “if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after.” The Conspirators responded, “ok . . . i see.” Organization 1 explained, “we think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary . . . so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.”

    Now, the indictment itself has been blown to shreds by Adam Carter, while the narrative that the Russians hacked DNC servers and provided what they stole to WikiLeaks, has always categorically been denied by Assange, while the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and others have concluded that the speed at which the info was downloaded from the servers means it couldn’t have been a hack.

    Oh, and Carter left little standing of Mueller et al’s portrait of Guccifer 2.0 as being of Russian origin. Plus, as several voices have pointed out, Assange had said on British TV on June 12 2016, ten days before the date the indictment indicates, that WikiLeaks was sitting on a batch of material pertaining to Hillary Clinton. An indictment full of allegations, not evidence, that in the end reads like Swiss cheese.” see Zero Hedge

    1. Jillinksi, I expect any day to hear that Assange has been kicked out of the embassy and extradicted to the U.S. He’s repeatedly offered to testify but has been rebuffed. Last thing they want is for him to tell the truth – it would destroy the fake narrative.

      1. Autumnova,

        You bet! Assange has repeatedly said he did not get the russia-gate e-mails from any State. Bill Binney has analyzed the e-mails and can show they could only have been downloaded on site. Their speed is too fast to constitute a hack.

        But yes, it’s very plausible that the Chinese hacked her e-mails. We do know that Israel has all of them. The NSA should, according to Binney, be able to tell us exactly where they were hacked from. So while I think multiple state actors could very easily have obtained her e-mails, it looks like Seth Rich is still most likely the person who got them to wikileaks to publish.

        There is a new tool for helping Assange to be found at kimdotcom’s twitter feed. It is called: discord. All are welcome to sign up.

        Thanks for both your videos!

        1. Besides Fox News and its disciples, who cares about Hillary Clinton’s emails? The reason Fox constantly pivots to this topic to cover for Trump every time there’s another scandal they can’t spin. People like you fall for this crap every time. There are more immediate and relevant issues, including the doctoring of official transcripts, as Turley points out today. Then, there’s the Cohen tape discussing payoffs to various women–a matter which Giuliani adamantly denied Trump had any knowledge of. Yet another lie. How about taking $12 billion of our taxpayer money to bribe farmers who can’t sell their goods because of Trump tariffs, so they’ll vote Republican in the fall? How about making the qualification for SNAP benefits nearly impossible to get? The Senate has to vote on this one, and they likely won’t go for it.

          1. just anybody who cares about mishandling of classified materials. or maybe hillary trafficking in selling classified information that is selling it to the Saudis or yeah maybe Russians too. No biggie if you’re a democrat.

          2. Well, the DNC cares about them enough to file a bogus lawsuit, along with multiple govt. agencies and Democrats in general but all of them care in a bizarre, self serving way.

            I agree that Trump uses distraction all the time to cover over his misdeeds. I don’t think that statement can be argued with. However, Clinton’s e-mail server was illegal and it’s very strange that her use of it is simply ignored as the criminal matter it actually is, while simultaneously it is being used to drum up war against Russia and to close down real journalism as done by wikileaks.

            The fact that her criminal actions are ignored and also that Trump’s criminal actions are ignored should be of significance to all citizens regardless of team,oops, I mean party affiliation!!!! It shows that the parties are in cahoots, that the rule of law does not apply to establishment figures and that propaganda is being used on every faction of our population. As a citizen, I do care, about all of it.

            1. Yeah, Jill, it ‘is’ strange that Hillary’s emails aren’t handled as a criminal matter. Perhaps no case exists that anyone wanted to take to court. Perhaps many Republicans have done the same and no one wants to push it.

              1. Her use of the server is illegal. The e-mails contain multiple instances of illegal activity and yet, nothing is done about it. I do ascribe to teams so I think it may very well be possible that Republicans have done the same thing. If so, they should also be under indictment.

                For partisans, it’s always o.k. if their team does it and wrong when the other team does it. Until citizens drop this idea and get a real set of actual ethics, meaning people understand that it is the action itself, not the party of the person who is doing that action which determines the illegality of the matter, then we won’t get anywhere.

                Clearly, many people who run this country (into the ground) are from both legacy parties. Further, they are getting away, literally, with illegal acts up to and including murder. This should “bother” citizens because a nation cannot keep going like this with no rule of law. We are in collapse and god/desses knows what comes after that. It won’t be pretty. It’s horrifying right now.

                It’s so difficult for non-partisan people to understand why partisans will put their party above the common good. Political parties are now cults. No amount of evidence seems to matter to partisans. Just worship the leadership and shut up. That’s a cult. We should be citizens. That would preclude being a cult member!

        2. Thanks, hadn’t been to Kim’s twitter in awhile. I’ll check it out.

      1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

        “Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said his organisation is preparing to publish more emails Hillary Clinton sent and received while US secretary of state.”

      2. Also excerpted from the article linked above:

        “Assange’s comments came in an interview on ITV’s Peston on Sunday. ‘We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton … We have emails pending publication, that is correct,’ Assange said.He did not specify when or how many emails would be published.”

      3. Also excerpted from the article linked above:

        “WikiLeaks launched a searchable archive in March of 30,322 emails and email attachments sent to and from Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of state. The 50,547 pages of documents are from 30 June 2010 to 12 August 2014, and 7,570 of the documents were sent by Clinton, who served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.”

      4. Now here’s point: What Julian Assange said on June 12, 2016, on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, in no way whatsoever demonstrates that Assange already had the DNC emails by June 12th, 2016. The fact that Wikileaks published the DNC emails on July 22nd, 2016, in no way whatsoever demonstrates that Assange was referring to the DNC emails during his interview on ITV’s Peston on Sunday on June 12th, 2016. Consequently, Assange’s statement on June 12th, 2016, in no way whatsoever refutes the chain of custody for the DNC emails alleged in the NSD hacking indictment against the 12 GRU officers.

      5. Excerpted from ITV’s Peston on Sunday, June 12th, 2016:

        Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, said on Sunday that the journalist organisation is planning to release upcoming leaks in relation to US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

        Speaking to Peston on Sunday, Mr Assange said Wikileads has further information relating to claims circulating since 2015 that Clinton had in the past used her family’s private email server for official communications.

      6. Also excerpted from ITV’s Peston on Sunday, June 12th, 2016:

        Wikileaks plans to release further leaks of emails sent by Hillary Clinton from her private server, founder Julian Assange has revealed.

        “Wikileaks has a very big year head,” he said in an interview with ITV’s Peston on Sunday.

        Mr Assange said Wikileaks has accumulated a large cache of information about the Democratic presidential nominee that could be used to bring an indictment against her.

        “Loretta Lynch [the attorney general]…is not going to indict Hillary Clinton,” he conceded.

        “It’s not possible that could happen, but the FBI could push for concessions from [a] new Clinton government in exchange for its lack of indictment.”

        Mr Assange said the emails Wikileaks holds about Ms Clinton contain “very strong material”, such as the former secretary of state allegedly instructing her staff to remove the “classified” header from a classified document and send it by unclassified fax.

        The Wikileaks founder added that Ms Clinton is a problem for freedom of the press because of her push for Wikileaks to be prosecuted.

        1. Now here’s the stronger point: What Julian Assange said to ITV’s Peston on Sunday, as contemporaneously reported by ITV’s Peston on Sunday, directly contradicts the claim that Assange was referring to the DNC emails on June 12th, 2016, and that, therefore, Assange might have already taken custody of the DNC emails on or before June 12th, 2016. Assange himself, in his own words, said that “the emails Wikileaks holds about Ms Clinton contain ‘very strong material’, such as the former secretary of state allegedly instructing her staff to remove the ‘classified’ header from a classified document and send it by unclassified fax.”

          P. S. The particular Whack-A-Mole mole responsible for the claim refuted here has forfeit her protection.

    1. Yeah, Olly, anyone who criticizes Putin’s butt buddy has “Trump Derangement Syndrome”. There’s no merit to the criticism of him, now is there? You Fox Disciples are the ones who are deranged.

      1. that language is offensive to homosexuals or so I am told. but it’s ok to use that kind of language if you are a Democrat i suppose.

        1. It was intended as a metaphor–If Putin told Trump to drop his drawers, bend over and spread ’em, he would, because he is clearly deferential to him. He wants to build the Trump Moscow Tower. He cannot deny the ties of his campaign to Russians, nor his outrageously deferential conduct toward Putin publicly, even to the point of siding with Putin over his own agency appointees. That’s all we know about right now. Because of Trump’s poor track record with bankruptcies and reorganizations, borrowing from US commercial banks would either not happen or the terms would be oppressive, so he’s looking to Russian oligarchs.

          As to gay men, they are like any heterosexual couple: what they do is consensual. They aren’t “butt buddies” at all, and that’s not how they’re referred to. The phrase was intended to describe a straight man who is so desperate to get something he wants from another man that he would bend over and spread ’em if asked to do so. That’s not an LGBT slur at all. It’s intended as an insult to Trump and a comment on the lengths he would go to curry favor with Putin. The question you should be asking is: why?

          1. just say you’re sorry, you forgot your PC training for a minute because you were overheated about trump. i could care less about it to be fair.

      2. Criticism? I have no problem with criticism if it is rooted in equally applied reasonable and rational standards; for instance the Rule of Law. However when the criticism is applied unequally and often without reason or rational standards, then it deserves the same level of consideration one would give the rantings of lunatic; for which you and many others qualify.

        1. Yes, rule of law. Trump must be interviewed by Mueller because rule of law.

          1. hollywood – is there a crime that Trump supposedly has committed? Or is this still a SP in search of a crime?

    2. Awesome. “Townhall.” Apparently, when the legitimate media insists on publishing facts that objectively demonstrate the imbicility, criminality, and immorality of the day glo bozo, it’s time to start screaming “fake new” and rush off to some obscure alt-right, basement-moderated, Breitbart-wannabee shill for the wackjobbery. Understandable, in that there’s really no evidence-based defense for the abomination in the White house. But at least he “promised” a wall and talks bad about “those” people. Lol.

      this is to “ya, it’s really sort of embarrassing that we all fell for it” olly

    3. Awesome. “Townhall.” Apparently, when the legitimate media insists on publishing facts that objectively demonstrate the imbicility, criminality, and immorality of the day glo bozo, it’s time to start screaming “fake new” and rush off to some obscure alt-right, basement-moderated, Breitbart-wannabee shill for the wackjobbery. Understandable, in that there’s really no evidence-based defense for the abomination in the White house. But at least he “promised” a wall and talks bad about “those” people. Lol.

      this is to “ya, it’s really sort of embarrassing that we all fell for it” olly

      1. Marky Mark Mark – you do not know how the federal government works, do you? Your ignorance is showing.

  8. This is nothing knew.

    I know I said would but I meant to say wouldn’t.

    There was no Russian involvement.

    There was Russian involvement.


    Trump lies without hesitation, even when it makes hime look worse than if he told the truth. There has never been a President, perhaps a representative of any level, that has lied so easily and so often as has Trump. Trump is a liar. Therefore, it follows that Trump will design the events or news to suit himself. After lying about it; either denying it or justifying it-his dupes on this blog will do a yeoman’s job of justifying it through legal self gratification-it will be forgotten as it disappears into time and the shear volume of lies.

    What makes Trump’s lying so typical of a pathological liar is that he accuses everyone he doesn’t agree with of lying. Editing/designing a video is just another lie. Get used to it America.

    This is the President of the United States.

    1. Please correct your spelling starting with the first sentence. Before you start pointing figures at others for illiteracy. Comment REJECTED;.

      1. That is really all you have. Pathetic, but still a Trump supporter. When it all comes down to it; that is as significant as a Trump supporter can be.

        1. Curiously Michael Aarethun should’ve corrected his own diction before he started pointing “figures” at the letter “k” in Mr. Basonkavich’s first sentence, “This is nothing knew.” BTW, Michael Aarethun correctly spelled the word “figures,” just as Mr. Basonkavich correctly spelled the word “knew.”

  9. Turley fails to understand [sarcasm alert] that the official government transcripts and videos of the historic Helsinki meeting are Trump’s personal property fully intended for Trump’s personal viewing and reading pleasure. It’s only natural that Trump gets to TiVo his preferred rendition of “reality”–whatever that might be. In the future, when you visit Trump’s Presidential Library, the aerial photographs of Trump’s inauguration will bear a striking resemblance to Yasker’s Farm at the height of Woodstock. Be sure to bring your magnifying glass with you. Otherwise you’ll miss the Jimi Hendrix of disinformation, Vladimir Putin, playing his infamous electric balalaika rendition of out national anthem.

  10. Emphasis on this point only works to further deceive and mislead public understanding of the integrity of the US political system. Whatever Putin or any other Russians may have advanced, is miniscule compared to the damage to democracy done by gerrymandering, voter suppression, electronic manipulation of votes, removing voters from voter rolls, rural votes heavily advantaged by the Electoral College, not to mention AIPAC and other Israeli lobbying forces in total control of Congress.

    1. Especially if the public is illiterate. and keeps talking about non existent democracies instead of the existing Republic system, supports the give the power to NY and CA only advocates and is pro Islamic jihadist and and anti all other religions …. such as yourself. Just a short translation with the BS removed.

    2. ah gerrymandering. which is done by the elected reps of the people. some faults of democracy are simply inherent my good fellow.

      also… i am interested how your mind leaped, from rural voters being advantaged (never heard of that one) to AIPAC?

  11. There was a book written years ago which used to get attention when I was in high school. It was called: “Much Ado About Nothing.” Who wrote that book? Anyone know?

    1. Liberty2nd – there is a play by William Shakespeare entitled Much Ado About Nothing, however, it is not a book.

      1. Yes it is a “play”. The phrase is a play on words of sorts. Sort of like the topic.
        No President can have a meeting with a Russian President after the McCarthy era in America. We got into Vietnam War because the Dems were afraid to be identified as “soft on Communism”. Well. Here we are sixty years later.
        By the way, who was our ally in WWII against Hitler and the Germans?

    2. Google or Amazon Books? Five seconds of your time?

      William Shakespeare as a play

      it was also a film from the 1960’s

  12. The question is “Who is responsible?” I am sure Trump did the editing and translations himself so we have to lay it all at his feet. Bad Trump.

    When you are editing you always make choices. Who made the choices and who had final cut approval?

    1. Paul – Transcripts aren’t supposed to be about editing but recording. What Rudy is doing, trying to say “cash” really was. “not cash,” that’s editing.

      1. enigma – transcripts are meant to be corrected. You do not take them at face value.

        1. There can be errors which can and should be corrected. They are not intended to omit whole portions or change the meaning of what was said.

          1. Obviously Devin Nunes edits transcripts and videos for the White House in his spare time. Trump is blameless [sarcasm].

            1. L4D still enables David Benson – you can always volunteer your services.

      2. So what gives you the authority to state what the real statement was or was not?

        What proof can you offer?

        1. Michael – Which lying statement do you mean, the video of Putin responding to the reporter or the audio of Trump mentioning cash? I can only direct you to watch the news coverage where the unedited versions of both are in heavy rotation. Of course, you can choose to believe anything Rudy Guiliani tells you or the White House statement over your own eyes and ears? Up to you.

      3. No, EIB: it’s just plain lying. The bigger point about Rudy is his prior denial that Trump knew about the payments.

        1. he probably forgot. seriously, you think a billionaire with hotels on many different continents doesn’t have a lot of legal matters to fill his plate, every single day? you guys have no idea the level or magnitude of hassles that a guy like trump has managed just as a businessman

  13. I don’t understand how this isn’t illegal. This is blatantly misleading the American people on the us.gov website.

    1. Kristen Steffen – have you been out to the gov website to be offended? Do you know SCOTUS continual rewrites its judgments? Shouldn’t that be blatantly misleading the American people and the American legal system on the us.gov website?

      1. theskepticalcynic – please, please, please do not tell me there is no Easter Bunny.

    2. How about the FBI blatantly misleading FISC; does that concern you in the least?

      If the director of the FBI can read that citation at least three times in the course of assessing the application for his personal certification and not come away from it assuming that Clinton’s campaign and the DNC were the ones who commissioned it, how on earth can anyone argue the judge would make that assumption?

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