So, Donald Trump went off at a rally in Pennsylvania about an email from Sid Blumenthal that was released by Wikileaks. The email was on talking points about Benghazi that could be used against Hillary Clinton.
During his speech, Trump held up a piece of paper. “This just came out a little while ago. I have to tell you this,” Trump said as he read from the page, which he identified as an email from Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal.
“The attack was almost certainly preventable,” Trump read. He continued, “Clinton was in charge of the State Department … if the GOP wants to raise that as a talking point against her, it is legitimate.”
Trump said, “In other words he [Blumenthal] is admitting that they could have done something about Benghazi. This just came out, a little while ago.”
Now, this is a pretty big revelation… except that this wasn’t a quote from Blumenthal. It was a quote by Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek, and it was in that email. Here’s where it gets hilarious, however: Turns out, the same “mistake” was made on a Russian propaganda site, Sputnik.
The misconstrued “email” that Trump was reading had appeared in an article on a Russia-funded website called Sputnik, which has since taken it down.
You can see the original in a screen grab from The Washington Post.
It’s unclear how Trump obtained the same misinformation that appeared in Sputnik. Eichenwald asks: “Who in the Trump campaign was feeding him falsehoods straight from the Kremlin?”
I don’t know, nor can I prove, that Trump’s campaign (or maybe Trump himself) is pulling talking points from Sputnik, or that Russian propagandists are emailing the campaign with material to use, but it’s an awfully big coincidence that they were pretty much the exact same thing. Given Russia’s determination to meddle in our affairs, I wouldn’t discount that the talking point came from Sputnik or any other Russian propagandist.
There’s no reason to believe that the Trump campaign is actively working alongside Russian propagandists, but they are receiving the same stuff those propagandists are putting out and they are using it. It’s far, far more likely that they are throwing everything they have against the wall to see what sticks because they are losing.
In all honestly, working alongside Russian propagandists is perhaps too clever for some of the folks who are still working with Trump’s campaign.