The only thing accomplished is revealing how much they miss Trump.
It has become rather evident how the press is struggling in the vacuum of Donald Trump’s departure. Not only do they exhibit the trait of not wanting to cover President Biden objectively but already, he has created serious policy issues from which they hope to distract audiences. The border crisis, job-killing EOs, massive tax-and-spend plans — as well as his frequent displays of impacted faculties — all warrant pointing in the other direction.
And thus we see Philip Bump, at the Washington Post, hoping to exhume a favorite from years past. You would think, after years of embarrassment for chasing this unicorn of a story, that most in the press would think it wise to just step away from such a topic, but this is Philip Bump we are discussing, after all. Rake-stepping is well within his skill set. The headline sounds gripping: The government finally connects the line from Trump’s campaign to Russian intelligence — but there is an underlying fact at play; this will be filed away with all the other ‘bombshells’ we had been treated to over the years.
The basis of Bump’s bombshell rebound attempt here derives from the Treasury Department report surrounding the recent sanctions imposed on Russia, in regards to the hacking events on government servers. In that report was a takeaway line that has Mr. Bump very excited, while others will be provoked to little more than a shrug. This facet involves Paul Manafort and a business contact from Ukraine, Konstantin Kilimnik.
While Manafort was working briefly as campaign manager, among numerous concerns, he was found to have fed polling information to his former acquaintance. This is a known event, as Manafort was fired from the campaign for his involvements with Ukraine players, as well as these being detailed in the Mueller Report. So what is it that has Bump so excited?
That Treasury Dept. report details where Kilimnik took that polling information. This is said, by Bump, to be one of the crucial “gaps” in the Mueller Report. The announcement of note regards this passage.
“During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy. Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” the statement read.
While very interesting on the surface, this new detail does nothing to change the impact nor the previously known specifics of the investigation. Manafort passing the polling data has been known, as has been the name of Kilimnick. Now that we know where he sent that data does nothing to alter any of the previously known contacts with the Trump Campaign. Then Bump helps all of us out, while undermining himself in the process, in providing this passage deep in his column:
It’s important to note that there is 1) no evidence at this point that Trump knew about the sharing of that information or 2) that Russia did much with the information it obtained. There were targeted ads from Russian actors during the campaign, but there remains no good evidence that those ads were targeted with insider information (much less well-targeted in general) nor that they had much of an effect.
Well then. This basically resorts to Philip Bump banging pans together to draw attention to a new detail that he admits provides no proof of campaign connections, no proof the Russians did anything with the information, and is not proof it gave their disinfo campaigns any help. But apart from that, this is huge news!
Here we see what is typical gameplay executed in the press these days. Bump offers a blaring headline, and hundreds of words spread well over a dozen paragraphs, before offering the key detail that is boiled down to — “It’s really no big deal at all.”
One thing we can always count on — the press and their bombshells which never detonate have not changed.