According to a recent filing by Special Counsel John Durham, it turns out Trump was being spied on after all — both as a candidate in 2016 and as President of the United States — by operatives paid by Clinton campaign associates. In addition to being an explosive revelation in its own right, this is also very embarrassing news for the media, who have repeated endlessly that nobody spied on the Trump campaign.
The media’s dismissive approach to Trump’s spying allegations endured throughout his presidency. Whenever the issue was brought up on liberal TV networks, it elicited little more than eye-rolling and derision.
Durham’s latest filing alleges that a tech firm paid by a Clinton campaign lawyer infiltrated the servers of Trump’s private properties, and later the Executive Office of the President. They then monitored all web traffic in an attempt to establish a link between Trump and Russia, according to Durham.
Lesley Stahl’s 2020 interview with Trump on CBS’s 60 Minutes is a perfect example of the media’s refusal even to entertain the spying accusations:
DONALD TRUMP: They spied on my campaign.
LESLEY STAHL: There is no real evidence of that.
TRUMP: Of course there is, it’s all over the place.
TRUMP: Lesley, they spied on my campaign, and they got caught.
STAHL: Can I say something? You know, this is 60 Minutes and we can’t put on things we can’t verify.
Stahl’s attitude at the time was perfectly in line with the rest of her colleagues’. For years, they smugly repeated that “there was no spying” of any sort on Trump or his campaign, while at the same time refusing to dig into the topic even slightly.
On December 9, 2019, CNN’s Erin Burnett stated confidently that “there was no spying on the Trump campaign, which is a conspiracy theory that Trump has pushed since taking office.”
During the December 10, 2019 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson joked that Trump’s allegations had as much merit as the “pizzagate” conspiracy theory:
EUGENE ROBINSON: It’s completely wrong. It did not happen. This was — there was no spying.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The conspiracy, Gene, is no more accurate than pizzagate.
ROBINSON: Right. It’s just as accurate as pizzagate. That’s a good analogy.
The media’s knee-jerk dismissal of Trump’s allegations has left them looking pretty foolish in this case. It’s not the first time their incurious attitude has come back to bite them, and it’s likely to happen again as Durham’s investigation continues.