ABC Writes Off Trump’s Defense, Highlights KGB 'Blackmail Tactics'

ABC seemed to be holding out hope Thursday evening on World News Tonight that BuzzFeed’s salacious accusations against President-elect Donald Trump were true. “The Russians and Trump have angrily denounced the allegations as completely false, including the unverified claim that Trump was secretly recorded when he visited Moscow,” declared Brian Ross giving the impression that the president-elect was mistaken, “Trump says he knows better than to let that happen.

But spies for the former KGB are famous for just that kind of blackmail tactic against foreign visitors,” Ross hyped, “U.S. officials say the Russians posted this video of an American diplomat with an alleged prostitute, complete with background music, after the diplomat refused to become a double agent.

Ross reported that both President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden were briefed on the details of the claims, with Biden telling the press he was told, “We can't say it's not true. We can't say it is true.” Ross also noted that the source of the information, Christopher Steele a British spy, was reportedly now in hiding. Both of these pieces of information were delivered in a way as to try and add weight to the allegations.  

“The cold war ended, but the Russian intelligence operations in hotels in Moscow, targeted against Americans, has never stopped,” Richard Clarke, a former National Security official told Ross.

The ABC reporter had, even more, Russian exploits to tout, including the phone tapping of an American diplomat. “Three years ago, the Russians intercepted the very undiplomatic phone conversation of a top American diplomat, Victoria Nuland, and posted it online,” he recalled

Trump said Wednesday the Russians have nothing on him,” Ross reiterated before wrapping up his report claiming, “As for that former British spy, authorities tell ABC News tonight he is considered a trusted source who has been helpful with past FBI investigations, with both the Kremlin and Russian organized crime.

It’s baffling to believe that ABC thought it was appropriate to conjecture that Russia has compromising information on the president-elect. By showing off Russia’s success in obtaining evidence to blackmail diplomats and then making the argument that no official has said the claims were false does just that. It could be argued that ABC was effectively gambling on the salacious accusations, published by BuzzFeed, being true.

Transcript below: 

ABC
World News Tonight
January 12, 2017
6:34:51 PM Eastern

DAVID MUIR: Of course, President-elect Donald Trump taking aim at U.S. intelligence after that leaked document with unconfirmed allegations that Russia has gathered material on Mr. Trump. He called the leak disgraceful. Well, tonight, the former spy at the center of the storm now in hiding, and this evening right here, new video of him. Here's our chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross.

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

[Cuts to video]

BRIAN ROSS: The former British spy at the center of the unsubstantiated Trump allegations, is identified by the BBC tonight as this impeccably dressed, 52-year-old man in a video posted by a British Debate Society. Christopher Steele, who colleagues tell ABC News has gone into hiding. Today in Washington, Vice-President Joe Biden confirmed that he and the president were briefed by intelligence officials.

JOE BIDEN: We feel obliged to tell you, Mr. President, because you may hear about it. We can't say it's not true. We can't say it is true.

ROSS: The Russians and Trump have angrily denounced the allegations as completely false, including the unverified claim that Trump was secretly recorded when he visited Moscow. Trump says he knows better than to let that happen.

DONALD TRUMP: In those rooms you have cameras in the strangest places. Cameras that are so small with modern technology, you can't see them, and you won't know.

ROSS: But spies for the former KGB are famous for just that kind of blackmail tactic against foreign visitors. U.S. officials say the Russians posted this video of an American diplomat with an alleged prostitute, complete with background music, after the diplomat refused to become a double agent.

RICHARD CLARKE: The cold war ended, but the Russian intelligence operations in hotels in Moscow, targeted against Americans, has never stopped.

 

ROSS: Not to mention, hacking computers and bugging phones. Three years ago, the Russians intercepted the very undiplomatic phone conversation of a top American diplomat, Victoria Nuland, and posted it online.

VICTORIA NULAND: And, you know, [ bleep ] the EU.

ROSS: Trump said Wednesday the Russians have nothing on him, and he's prepared to get tough with Vladimir Putin if needed.

TRUMP: Do you honestly believe that Hillary would be tougher on Putin than me? Does anybody in this room really believe that? Give me a break.

ROSS: But U.S. officials believe that, saying they think Putin ordered the hacking of the Democratic Party, in part, because he feared Clinton would be tougher to deal with than Trump.

[Cuts back to live]

As for that former British spy, authorities tell ABC News tonight he is considered a trusted source who has been helpful with past FBI investigations, with both the Kremlin and Russian organized crime.

 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Foreign Policy Russia Conspiracy Theories Trump transition Political Scandals Trump-Russia probe ABC World News Tonight Video Brian Ross Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

Sponsored Links