Just a day after the the special counsel leading the investigation indicted 13 Russians and three Russian organizations, the White House deputy press secretary said it’s the media and Democrats who have “created chaos more than the Russians” for their coverage of the probe into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“There are two groups that have created chaos more than the Russians, and that’s the Democrats and the mainstream media,” said Hogan Gidley in a Saturday “Fox & Friends” interview.
The indicted are accused of manipulating American social media and political rallies to sway the 2016 presidential election toward then-candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and against the eventual Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Despite this announcement it was the Democrats and the media that “continued to push this lie on the American people for more than a year, and frankly Americans should be outraged by that,” Gidley continued.
It wasn’t clear what “lie” he was referring to, though the deputy press secretary did emphasize that Russian interference had no effect on the election whatsoever — an issue not addressed in the indictment. Gidley also said that the indictment “proves” there was no Russian collusion with the Trump campaign — even though special counsel Robert Mueller is continuing the investigation.
Journalists slammed the assertion as false.
Zeke Miller, White House reporter for The Associated Press, said Gidley’s comments were either an “embarrassing misstatement by a White House official or a stunningly unsupported charge against fellow citizens,” while reminding his followers that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Russia was engaged in “information warfare” against the U.S.
A reminder the DAG said yesterday Russia was engaged in “information warfare” against the US (and NSA echoed today). This is either an embarrassing misstatement by a White House official or a stunningly unsupported charge against fellow citizens. https://t.co/Ncgpj97aAt— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 17, 2018
CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski said, in an apparent sarcastic response, he was going to “go out on a limb” and refute Gidley’s comment.
Gonna go on a limb and say the Russians hacking the DNC, John Podesta, other Democratic organizations, and Colin Powell + funding pro-Trump Twitter trolls caused more chaos. https://t.co/aLO4jYWxLZ— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) February 17, 2018
Politico’s chief economic correspondent called the comment not only false, but “repulsive.”
A former Clinton aide indicated that Gidley’s comments amounted to a White House defense of a foreign power whose operatives have been indicted by the Department of Justice.
The US taxpayers are now financing Russia’s legal defense https://t.co/dbip5n4b07— Josh Schwerin (@JoshSchwerin) February 17, 2018
Then there were these reactions:
Good god almighty. Just back from interplanetary travel??— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) February 18, 2018
But just this morning, HR McMaster said the evidence of Russian interference is " now really incontrovertible". So perhaps you need to look up what incontrovertible means.— Alan Kaiser (@alanhkaiser) February 17, 2018
That’s exactly what the russian troll farms tweets say. I wonder where they got it.— Todd (@ToddColorado) February 17, 2018
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- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.