Trump Demands Retraction From Pulitzer Board After Russia Hoax Indictments

Trump Demands Retraction From Pulitzer Board After Russia Hoax Indictments

An attorney for former President Donald Trump wrote a letter to the interim administrator of the Pulitzer Prize Board this week demanding accountability for corporate media outlets that pushed the now-debunked Russia collusion hoax narrative and were rewarded for it.

“[I]t has recently become apparent that the subject articles were based on incontrovertibly false information provided by dubious sources who were maliciously attempting to mislead the public and tarnish our client’s reputation,” the letter said, specifically demanding that the board strip The Washington Post and The New York Times of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting unless the board wants to face legal action.

The letter follows and cites recent indictments of key players in the hoax. In September, lawyer Michael Sussmann was indicted for giving the FBI false statements when he made up the fake Alfa Bank-Trump conspiracy story and when he lied about working on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Earlier this month, Igor Danchenko, who was a crucial contributor to the bogus and Democrat-funded Steele dossier, was also charged for providing false statements to the FBI when he denied that he colluded with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Less than a week ago, The Washington Post removed large parts of two articles, issued corrections, changed headlines, and took down a video summarizing an incorrect article because it said it “could no longer stand by the accuracy of those elements of the story.” Yet the Pulitzer Board has not taken any action to retract the awards or set the record straight.

In fact, on the Pulitzer’s webpage, it still identifies the work of the two outlets as being “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.”

“By failing to remove these statements, revoke the award, or even publicly comment on the illegitimate nature of the works, the Pulitzer Prize Board is actively advancing the false narrative contained therein and promoting defamatory statements against our client,” Trump’s attorney wrote, adding that the Pulitzer Prize Board is legally obligated “to retain and not destroy or alter in any way” any evidence or documentation that relates to Trump’s potential claims against the Times and the Post.

The letter from Trump’s attorney threatening legal action follows a letter that Trump himself sent the board’s interim administrator in September calling for a revocation of the prize. In it, he decried the awardees’ “sensational” headlines and “now-debunked” articles that relied on “unsubstantiated anonymous sources.”

Because of the connotation that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism is “credible, well-sourced and trustworthy,” Trump said, “there is a heavy burden to ensure that these works are continuously and closely examined as to the veracity of the information contained therein.”

“When it becomes apparent that a Pulitzer Prize-winning work was based on shoddy, dubious and manifestly false reporting — as is the case here — the Pulitzer Prize Board must react accordingly,” Trump concluded.

Kylee Zempel is an assistant editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @kyleezempel.
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