Since the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller Mueller’s report on his Russia investigation on Thursday, Donald Trump has taken to Twitter repeatedly both to claim that the report vindicated him — because Mueller failed to bring criminal charges against Trump — and to attack “Democrats” and “the media.” In one of his four Twitter messages about the Mueller Report posted before noon on Easter Sunday, Trump cited a New York Times “op-ed” to claim that he was owed an apology.
There was only one problem with the tweet. The Times op-ed piece cited by Trump does not appear to exist.
“Do you believe this?” Trump wrote. “The New York Times Op-Ed: MEDIA AND DEMOCRATS OWE TRUMP AN APOLOGY. Well, they got that one right!”
Twitter users were puzzled, but some saw the bizarre remark as par for the course for Trump. “This NYT op-ed doesn’t exist but whatever,” said frequent Twitter Trump critic @nycsouthpaw, in a Twitter post in reply to Trump.
But Daniel Dale, the Toronto Star Washington correspondent who keeps a running tally of Trump’s public lies — as well as the instances in which Trump has fabricated stories in which people refer to him as “sir,” as Inquisitr reported — found a possible candidate for the op-ed in Trump’s tweet.
On Thursday, Dale noted, The Times published an op-ed headlined, “Barr Is Right About Everything. Admit You Were Wrong.”
But Guardian reporter Jon Swaine may have come up with an even more likely candidate, as he posted on his account.
Indeed, Swaine himself had earlier predicted in a Twitter post that, “Dollars to donuts this is how it was styled in a Fox News chyron.”
In National Review magazine, right-wing pundit Andrew McCarthy on Friday published an essay insisting that Democrats apologize to Attorney General William Barr, because in McCarthy’s estimation the Mueller Report “vindicates” Barr.
But the Times op-ed from Thursday appeared a more likely candidate for the essay that gave rise to the Fox News chyron — that is, the text across the bottom of a TV screen — and as a result, Trump’s tweet.
The piece was authored by Christopher Buskirk, who bills himself as “editor and publisher of the journal American Greatness.” In the piece, Buskirk argues that “American political and media elites” who promoted the “Russia collusion hoax” do, in fact, owe Trump an apology. But whether that op-ed, published four days earlier, is the one that Trump meant in his Sunday tweet, or if Trump actually knew which op-ed he meant, remains unclear.
Buskirk’s characterization of the Mueller Report is incorrect. On Page Two of the report, posted online by The New York Times, Mueller clearly states that his “investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign.”
On the same page, Mueller also made clear that his investigation was not focused on “collusion,” but rather criminally chargeable “conspiracy” which he described as an actual, “agreement” between Trump and Russia, adding that “collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law.”