Wait! Washington Post’s Bump Makes the Last Pitch for Russian Collusion

Screenshot (C-Span)

Shortly before the release of the Durham report, I wrote about the concern that we have a de facto state media in the United States. The column explored the pattern of false claims replicated across media platforms in the last four years. Then the Report was released and the media seemed intent to prove the point. However, even in this determined group, the Washington Post (which won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the Russian collusion) set a new level of denial with a column by Philip Bump.

Bump has long been controversial for his role in pushing some of the false claims discussed in prior columns. Some of those are worth noting briefly because they share common elements to his most recent column.

For example, Bump was one of those who made the false claims that Attorney General Bill Barr cleared Lafayette Park for a photo op for Trump. He also claimed that Barr lied in his denial of the use of tear gas by federal agents. Bump wrote the Washington Post column titled “Attorney General Bill Barr’s Dishonest Defense of Clearing of Lafayette Square.” Not only did the Post refer to the “debunked claim” that no tear gas was used by the federal government, but goes on to state:

“It is the job of the media to tell the truth. The truth is that Barr’s arguments about the events of last Monday collapse under scrutiny and that his flat assertion that there was no link between clearing the square and Trump’s photo op should be treated with the same skepticism that his claims about the use of tear gas earns.”

It turns out that both assertions were true. Bump and others were pushing a conspiracy theory and exhibited little interest in confirming the facts. (I testified in Congress not long after the clearing of the area and stated that the conspiracy theory was already contradicted by the available evidence).

Indeed, the falsity of the photo op claim was evident within a day of the clearing. When various investigations disproved his earlier allegations, Bump wrote a rather bizarre spin on the controversy where he grudgingly acknowledged the evidence supporting Barr on the park clearing while entirely ignoring his prior accusations on the the tear gas controversy.

Bump also slammed Trump for claiming that his campaign was spied on by the FBI under the Obama Administration. (Trump used the term “wiretapping” which is a rather dated term for surveillance). Bump again guffawed at the suggestion. Later it was shown that the surveillance did target both the campaign and campaign associates.

Bump also pushed the Russian collusion story and slammed the New York Post for its now proven Hunter Biden laptop story. He was also there for the Democrats when he wrote a column titled “Why the Trump Tower meeting may have violated the law — and the Steele dossier likely didn’t.” Of course, nothing came from the Trump Tower meeting because there was no cognizable crime. 

In 2021, when media organizations were finally admitting that the laptop was authentic, Bump was still declaring that it was a “conspiracy theory.” Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Bump continued to suggest that “the laptop was seeded by Russian intelligence.”

Bump often seems content that most readers will not go much beyond the headline. For example, when Trump slammed the top 20 most dangerous cities as being Democratic-run, Bump announced it was false in a column titled “Trump keeps claiming that the most dangerous cities in America are all run by Democrats. They aren’t.” However, his statistics showed that on a per capita data, none of the 20 most violent cities were run by Republicans. On a straight crime rate comparison, only one city was run by a Republican (Jacksonville, Fla.). Seventeen of the 20 cities  were run by Democrats (two had independent mayors).

Anticipating the obvious response, Bump wrote that “Trump would no doubt shrug at that detail… that his assertion was only slightly wrong.” Well, yeah. The effort of the column was to avoid the underlying point on criminal justice policies to show that the number might be off by a couple cities. It literally focuses on a single tree to avoid seeing (and addressing) the forest. It would still be roughly 95% but that slight difference is the focus of the column rather than the claimed connection of crime rates to criminal justice agendas.

Given that history, many of us were waiting for Bump’s spin after years of pushing these collusion claims. He did not disappoint.

Yesterday, the New York Post ran a column by me that was used as the theme for the cover.

Bump again declared two parts of the column to be false and again proceeded to prove that they were not.

Bump declares:

‘The report details how the Russian collusion conspiracy was invented by Clinton operatives and put into the now-infamous Steele dossier, funded by the Clinton campaign,’ Turley writes, incorrectly. At another point, he writes that “President Barack Obama and his national security team were briefed on how ‘a trusted foreign source’ revealed ‘a Clinton campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to Vladimir Putin so as to divert attention from her own concerns relating to her use of a private email server.’ It then happened a few days later.” That is also incorrect.”

Let’s start with the second claim. Bump says that it is untrue that Obama was briefed on the Clinton campaign plan. Notably, in the long time line that follows, Bump never shows how the statement is false. Indeed, he admits that “Russian intelligence obtained by the U.S. government indicates that Clinton’s campaign decided to ‘vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service.’”

Note Bump does not deny the briefing occurred. Indeed, the line is based on the Durham report and the briefing was previously reported by media. Rather, he later reveals that he is just objecting because the Clinton people would not confirm the intelligence report. He writes:

“That allegation remains unconfirmed to this day despite Durham questioning Clinton staffers about it. Clinton herself told Durham that the claim — sourced to Russia, which Durham describes as a “trusted foreign source” — “looked like Russian disinformation to me; they’re very good at it, you know.”

So Bump is citing Clinton whose campaign funded the dossier, hid the funding in its legal budget, denied its role to reporters, and actively pushed not one but two false claims with the FBI.

Bump then adds, bizarrely, that “it’s strange to argue both that the Clinton campaign explicitly sought to dig up dirt linking Trump to Russia, leading to Steele’s work in June, and that it wasn’t until late July that they decided to make this a core strategy. The latter undermines the former.” I will leave that to you to figure out.

Now on to the main event. Bump says it is false that “The report details how the Russian collusion conspiracy was invented by Clinton operatives and put into the now-infamous Steele dossier, funded by the Clinton campaign.”

Once again, when you get to his proof, it is not there. He does not defend the actual allegations in the dossier that Durham demolishes in his Report. He only suggests that others may have invented or pushed their own conspiracy theories a couple weeks earlier.

Bump curiously starts the relevant timeline in June 2016 and emphasizes that the Clinton campaign did not make the collusion effort a “core strategy” until July. That formal decision is used rather than the earlier dates when Fusion was hired and the research funded by the campaign. Durham details how Fusion approached Steele in May 2016 to do the work.

Bump details how figures like Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook were raising Russian concerns as proof that the Russian collusion allegations were not just the work of the campaign.

Citing the Clinton campaign manager as evidence that others were raising the concerns is hardly compelling. It also does not alter the fact that the campaign’s dossier manufactured false allegations that were then fed to the government and media.

In reality, there were earlier concerns by the government with regard to Carter Page being targeted by the Russians. However, Durham notes that those concerns in March 2016 over Page were not because they believed that he was an asset. Rather American intelligence “was concerned about the Russians reaching out to Page” and found that Page was not “receptive to the recruitment efforts.”

What Bump does not address are the findings in both the Inspector General and Durham reports that the Clinton campaign actively pushed the false claims into the FBI and into the media. The dossier would be used in the FISA court and former FBI Director James Comey would even continue to reference the false “tee-tape” claim from the report in 2018. The dossier would also be cited for years as “corroborated” and reliable by the media as well as Democratic members of Congress.

What is clear is that Clinton efforts were sufficiently pronounced by July 2016 that former CIA Director John Brennan briefed former President Obama on Hillary Clinton’s alleged “plan” to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.” The Russian investigation was launched days after this briefing.

Pointing out that there were others raising Russian contacts in the weeks before does not alter the role of the Clinton campaign in fostering the false collusion and Alfa Bank allegations as a political hit job. Bump also does not address how the campaign hid the funding and lied to reporters about its role.

However, Bump saved the best for last. After telling readers that there was nothing to see here, he further assured them that

“there’s an alternative way to consider the Russia probe: that Russia hoped Trump would win, that Trump was happy to have their help and that federal counterintelligence officials saw that as problematic.

This appears to be what actually happened.”

Call it Russian Collusion 2.0. In other words, as with his take on the Hunter Biden laptop, Bump is still arguing that it was the Russians after all.

There is another possibility.

As Bump wrote when he was falsely accusing Barr, “it is the job of the media to tell the truth.” This would be a good time to start.

173 thoughts on “Wait! Washington Post’s Bump Makes the Last Pitch for Russian Collusion”

  1. OT: “Trump social media firm sues Washington Post for defamation, seeks $3.78 billion in damages”

    Based on recent suits, this seems reasonable. 🙂

    1. Good. Bleed them dry….Unless the published front page mea culpa in large font appears.

  2. This is just so damned frustrating. I realize that there may be no legal means to prevent a news fabulist from attempting to commit fraud on the readers, but can’t we at least pass a law to bar government officials from defrauding the public? How can this be nothing more than an unpunishable lapse in ethics?

    I urge everyone here to write your congresscritter and ask them to please draft and debate legislation that makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly use fake news stories to support their public statements and a felony to intentionally commit hoaxes to influence an election. The penalty should be double that placed on the public as given in 18 U.S.C. § 371—CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE UNITED STATES. It is illegal for you and I to conspire to commit fraud against the government. It should be twice as illegal for the them to commit fraud against us. They work for us. If we do not have this protection, the we do not have a government for, by, and of the people. In that case, we have an authoritarian farce and it must not stand.

    1. Maybe I missed someone else mentioning it but isn’t it crystal clear that Putin wanted Hilary and then Biden to win? Isn’t a classic psyop predicated on your perceived enemy favoring your opponent?
      Hilary had “reset” with Putin. Bill made millions for the foundation giving speeches in Moscow.
      The left has a notorious history of favoring communists and this continues to the point of mass cognitive dissonance on the part of anyone who thinks Putin wanted Trump to win.

      Putin firstly wanted chaos and division (acheived) and then democrats in power (not achieved w Trump but achieved with Biden).

      I find it remarkable any other conclusion is entertained.

  3. SPOT ON, PROF. TURLEY…another EXCELLENT ANALYSIS and Great Expose of this still bumpy ‘BUMP in the road…’ Bump and those at the ‘Washington Post’ who won the Pulitzer need a RECALL & RESET LIKE JANET COOKE at WAPO IN 1981, as they were/are writing a fabricated story– perhaps not of their initial making, but they never did the investigative research like Durham, which would show it was/is all FAKE NEWS. Do they have the INTEGRITY like Ben Bradlee did to cut their losses and make this happen????!!!!

  4. I wonder what the rest of the world thinks about the USA having a coup and the perpetrators laughing all the way to the back. They should jailed as flight risks like the J-6 political prisoners.

  5. OT: Erik Prince has been indicted in Austria for weapons trafficking to Libya and looks to be extradited.

  6. Today’s Progressives have drunk so much of the Marxist Kool-Aid that they’ve become Jihadists. And like all Jihadists, they’ll crash the plane they’re riding . . . just to make a point!

  7. Joe Walsh:
    “We’ve been reminded once again this week that Republicans have never been angry at Russia for attacking our 2016 election. They’ve only been angry at our FBI for investigating the attack. Think about that. Russia attacks us, and Republicans go after our FBI for investigating it.”

    1. LOL the Democrats/DOJ/FBI/CIA/OBAMA/COMEY/McCabbe/CLINTONS/BIDENS/Elitists, and a very long list of others have acted in a seditious conspiracy to change elections, to frame innocent people for crimes for political reasons.

      The US has attacked and meddled in so many elections around the world, and you throw a hissy fit over some people in another country that tried to bot information? ALL the while CLINTONS/OBAMA/DOJ/FBI used RUSSIANS to try and frame a POTUS campaign/POTUS with lies. You ignore the top leaders in the justice of our country, framed people for crimes and hounded a POTUS for 6 years trying to put him in jail for standing up to the swamp.

      YOU are part of the problem. It is a fact that is irrefutable at this point that our govt is attacking people for their polical affiliations and put them in prison for TRESPASSING…… BUT RUSSIANS? SMH

      Think about that just a little bit?

    2. Dear Anonymous (5-18-23 7:29) Totally insane that you still don’t get that ALL the research shows that none of this ‘Russian Collusion’ in any way shape or form NEVER HAPPENED. PERIOD. There was never any Russian attack.. Do the Research before you open your sad highly partisan mouth.

    3. Muller said Russia spent $150K on fake ads and bots, and you call that interference, while the FBI spied on a PRESIDENT of the US for 2 yrs , without proper predication, and you think that is somehow a patriotic action. God help US!!

    4. Do you have a brain? Can you read what happened? You’re as dishonest as your are stupid

  8. Russia did interfere in the 2016 election in ways that helped Trump. They ran troll farms to suppress turnout for Clinton, and they hacked and released emails from the DNC servers. This has been substantiated in the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report. Trump publicly asked for Russia’s help, Manafort passed polling data to a Russian agent (Kilimnik), and Stone was in touch with Guccifer 2 re: the Wikileaks release.

    Bump is correct “that Russia hoped Trump would win, that Trump was happy to have their help and that federal counterintelligence officials saw that as problematic.”

    1. They ran troll farms to suppress turnout for Clinton, and they hacked and released emails from the DNC servers.

      Deep into the conspiracy. No evidence of any of it

      1. You’re in denial of the findings the Intelligence Community who investigated both. You’re in denial of the findings of the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee.

        1. Bipartisan? Like Backstabbing Burr the inside trader who abused briefings about the Covid? The others are mostly up to their eyeballs in Chinese money–like McConnell. Peter Schweizer documented this in his book “Red Handed” subjected to a seamless campaign of media suppression. C-Span BookTV would not let him on. He was the subject of an “In Depth” segment 7 years ago–interviewed by Biden groupie Steve Scully. Similar treatment was meted out to John Solomon author of “Fallout” (2020) and exhaustive review the the skulduggery involving everybody from Mueller to Comey in support of the Clintons fixing it so the Russians could acquire Uranium One. Solomon has not been on C-Span since 2014.

          C-Span went down the tubes once Brian Lamb let go of the reins.

        2. The “findings” of the Senate Intelligence Committee are unsupported by a shred of any actual evidence. Their report consists of allegations made by people who are proven liars.

          1. I would note that left wing nuts cite a few vague paragraphs in the senate report – MOST of the report is pretty damning – and not to Trump.

      2. LOL they ran troll farms. And what has the US done to many other countries elections around the world? TROLL FARMS…..LOL

        Seth Rich ring a bell? After the 51 ex intel officials, the DOJ/FBI/CIA active intel leaders LIED to us about everything, you believe the Russians hacked the emails and NOT SETH RICH who was then murdered and his investigation halted?

        You ignore the top leaders of our govt worked in a sedituious conspiracy, framed people to put in prison, and continue to lie to this day?

        BUT RUSSIANS? Our own govt DEMS/DOJ/FBI/CIA worked together to change the outcome of elections and succeeded in 2020 with the suppression of Hunter laptop and quashing 4 investigations into Hilllary/Clinintons Foundations. They did more to effect elections than anyone in modern history.

        I could go on all day with the facts of all the abuse of positions and crimes committed. BUT RUSSIANS? LOL

    2. So why did the Russians give Bill Clinton $500K for one speech, coincidentally as Hilary worked against sanctions vs. Russia? From Wikileaks:
      “With the help of the research team, we killed a Bloomberg story trying to link HRC’s opposition to the Magnitsky bill a $500,000 speech that WJC gave in Moscow,” Jesse Lehrich, on the Rapid Response Communications team for Hillary For America, boasted on May 21, 2015.
      The Russian bank that paid for the speech was promoting stock in Uranium One, and the bank’s chairman paid the Clintons another $2.35 million as the Russian firm Rosatum acquired it. The “fact checks” on this stuff are comical as they usually manage to ignore the $145 million the Russians gave to the Clinton’s foundation.

      And they wanted Trump to win? Everything they did–like the ruse of the “meeting at the tower” is what covert intel would do if the objective was to damage Trump, not HIlary.

      BTW the Wikileaks site has been knocked down, there is just Archive.org, another reason to toss a few bucks in their tip jar. Otherwise the Deep Staters can simply deny that the human malignancy Podesta never wrote emails about “want fresh pizza, 5-10 slices, not too picky” or received messages about “handkerchief with a map on it”. Curiously the FBI sent an alert to field offices in 2007 warning to be on the lookout for…”hot dogs/pizza/handkerchiefs/map”

      Biden put Podesta in charge of the biggest pork pile in US history.

    3. You should start your text with OP-ED since you’re stating nothing but your opinion. Stating facts require cite sources which you do not provide. Telling someone else to do the research is an indicator that this is nothing more than a made up story. If you want people to believe you than cite your sources. Did you not learn this in school or did you just take the F for the class

    4. There no evidence that any of that is true.

      “This has been substantiated in the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report.”

      The unsubstantiated claims of proven liars do not actually constitute evidence. “Trust us” is not something anyone in government gets to say anymore. When one of the accused Russian companies showed up in US court to contest the charges, the US government immediately dropped the case. The pretext was that they did not want to reveal their precious “sources and methods”, which is their go-to excuse for classifying everything embarrassing to them.

      “Trump publicly asked for Russia’s help”

      Another lie. There was wide-spread speculation that Hillary’s (illegal) emails had been (note the past tense) hacked by Russia. Meanwhile nobody in America knew what these emails contained. As always, the American “national security establishment” was far more concerned with keeping information from Americans than it was with keeping it from foreign powers.

      1. Hillary was the one who was colluding with Russians before Trump ever entered the picture. Durham Report covers it, page 69

        . The threat of foreign election influence by Foreign Government-2

        Beginning in late 2014, before Clinton formally declared her presidential candidacy, theFBI learned from a well-placed CHS (“CHS-A”) that a foreign government (“Foreign Government-2”) was planning to send an individual (“Non-U.S. Person-I”) to contribute to Clinton’s anticipated presidential campaign, as a way to gain influence with Clinton should she win the presidency. 316

    5. There isn’t even the slightest hint of a trace of evidence that Russia preferred one candidate over the other. The result they got was better for them than their wildest dreams, but they surely had no way of knowing in advance that the deep state would disrupt the presidency in the way it did.

      If Russia did spend any money on the election they sure got their money’s worth thanx to comey etc.

    6. Factually, your claims are untrue. It’s been proven that the Russian troll farm was another DNC hoax committed by Hamilton 68 in association with a Stanford group. On your second fabrication, the president of Crowdstrike testified under oath that after inspecting the DNC servers, they found no evidence that any data was “exfiltrated” (his word) from the server. The Wikileaks email release came from another source known only to Julian Assange. If the U.S. government really wants to know where he got them, they’ve been going about this all wrong.
      BTW, it is not illegal for campaign to share private polling data to a foreign national. It’s private data, not classified information. Further, Trump joked in asking Russia to help the FBI in locating Hillary’s deleted emails — also not a crime. Third, regarding Stone — so, what?

  9. Sorry Professor Turley, iI have to disagree with you on one point. You say that Bump is making one last pitch on Trump Russia collusion. You can rest assured that there will be many more to come. It’s not only in little league baseball where they let the kid who can’t get the pitch to home base continue to pitch. Sooner or later the kid who didn’t want to be relieved as a pitcher will demand to be allowed to pitch again. Be not mistaken, Bump will soon be on the pitchers mound again and the same results will be cheered on by the coaches on the Washington Post team. As we speak Bump is preparing for a double header.

    1. You may be interested to know that the Washington Post provides different viewpoints in its opinion columns. For example, today (yesterday online) there is a column by Marc Thiessen on the Durham report entitled “A damming indictment of the FBI — and the media”.

      1. Charlie Savage:
        “As an initial matter, Thiessen got his start at a lobbying firm that included two named partners – Paul Manafort and Roger Stone – who were convicted of felonies in the Russia investigation & pardoned by Trump. He does not disclose that conflict to the WP’s readers.

  10. To be honest, I was expecting a column arguing against Russia having being involved in the campaign. What we get is a long list of vaguely connected facts and factoids, that sum up to… I don’t know what. That string of facts and factoids tells me nothing about whether Russia was or wasn’t involved in the campaign. Which is the question that the headline suggested would be answered.

    1. Clueless, the point is that saying that Trump was a Russian plant was a hoax. It’s not whether Russia did or did not have involvement in the election but whether the Democrats instigated a false charge against Trump and were assisted by the FBI. By not considering how serious it is for the nation’s premier law enforcement agency to assist a political party in its election effort you make it obvious that you are living up to your avatar. It’s no concern of yours that history shows that the melding of political parties and law enforcement is always a characteristic of a police state. Maybe it’s time that you get a clue.

      1. The FBI didn’t help the Clinton Campaign in its election effort. The FBI kept the Crossfire Hurricane investigation totally quiet prior to the election. To the contrary, the FBI harmed Clinton’s campaign by having Comey make a public statement about investigating her emails, contrary to FBI norms re: not making public statements about ongoing investigations unless charges are filed. Get a clue yourself.

        1. >”….FBI norms re: not making public statements about ongoing investigations”

          These so-called “FBI norms” have never once been in evidence with respect to ANY of their numerous “investigations” of Trump over the years. They have consistently, and illegally, leaked details of these investigations to their accomplices in the press. Once in a while the leaks have even been truthful, frequently they were lies designed to create bad press for Trump. But the FBI always saw its role as propaganda, not law enforcement.

    2. The point, that clearly went past you, is not only was there no collusion, but some on the left, who have been pushing lies and conspiracy theories, some of them since 2016, STILL PUSH THEIR LIES or (at best) pretend it never happened.

  11. The democrats have propagandized their disciples to believe that their Utopian way is the answer, and that a true disciple will follow the sermons of their leadership. The high ascetic’s dictate what is acceptable to the adherents to write or talk about with severe penalties of being ostracized for wondering.

    America’s founding Mission Statement The Declaration of Independence ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” : And continuing into our constitution: ‘We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.’

    Daily we see or hear of an assault on these founding principles from the Tyrant left. It’s like they are trying to indoctrinate the monkey principle, see/hear/speak no evil, of course with a twist of obfuscation to fact(s)!

    1. George: No, sorry–you actual disciples of alt-right propaganda do NOT get to use the word “disciples” to describe people you disagree with. The media PROVEN to lie is alt-right.

      Turley is paid to attack mainstream media, and until or unless he acknowledges the lies put out by his employer, he is a hypocrite.

      1. You live in a bubble. The left has spent SEVEN YEARS lying about Trump and Russia and yet this weak sauce is all you have. I’m not on the right, but I’m no longer a Democrat because years of lying and dysfunctional polices have destroyed all that was worthy in the Democratic party.

      2. Gigi
        Your post proves above all, you are a tyrant. Quoting you “do NOT get to use the word”, who in the hell do you think you are, my keeper. In horse racing some horses require blinders to remove their peripheral vision making them easier to control; your leftist political view requires blinders to obscure facts. A formula that might help you to discern how dense you are: (density =mass/volume), or in common parlance there’s no room at the Inn.

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