Democrats and their allies in the press spent the last four years accusing President Donald Trump of being soft on Russia.

And worse: Some called the president a Russian asset, a traitor, Putin’s patsy and much, much more. It was all nonsense, because behind the rhetoric was the stark reality that Trump, and his administration, have actually been tougher on Russia than many of his predecessors. Now, with the president on the way out, one lone voice in the anti-Trump press — CNN, specifically — has spoken the truth out loud.

On CNN’s “New Day” on New Year’s morning, the network’s Fareed Zakaria was asked how U.S. Russia policy under President Joe Biden might differ from policy under President Trump. “I think, in general, there isn’t going to be as much difference as people imagine,” Zakaria said. “The Biden folks are pretty tough on Russia, Iran, North Korea. You know, the dirty little secret about the Trump administration was that while Donald Trump clearly had a kind of soft spot for Putin, the Trump administration was pretty tough on the Russians. They armed Ukraine. They armed the Poles. They extended NATO operations and exercises in ways that even the Obama administration had not done. They maintained the sanctions. So I don’t think it will be that different.”

The dirty little secret??? It was never a secret at all. All of the actions Zakaria listed were well-known public policy during the Trump years. Any of Zakaria’s colleagues, at CNN and in the press as a whole, might have cited them. But many instead chose to contribute to the media’s Russia hysteria that began even before the president was inaugurated and continued through the years of Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Flash back a few years. On Feb. 20, 2018, Trump tweeted, “I have been much tougher on Russia than Obama, just look at the facts. Total Fake News!” Much of the media stood up as one to denounce Trump’s statement. “Simply false,” said CNN. “That’s not true,” said TIME. “The facts suggest the opposite,” said The Washington Post. “Mostly false,” declared PolitiFact, adding that Trump’s tweet “immediately drew guffaws among media commentators.”

But of course, Trump’s tweet was true, something that most of those media outlets cannot admit even today. But at the time, I texted with a Republican lawmaker who was baffled by the media denials. Of course Trump is tougher on Russia than Obama was, he noted. Then the evidence started coming in a fast and furious series of texts.

Trump had, the lawmaker noted: 1) Bombed Syria, Russia’s main client, and unleashed the U.S. military in Syria, including against Russians; 2) Armed Ukraine; 3) Weakened the Iran nuclear deal, and would likely soon end it [which Trump later did]; 4) Browbeat NATO allies to increase defense spending; 5) Approved $130 billion in new defense spending; 6) Added low-yield nukes to the U.S. arsenal; 7) Started research and development on a new missile after Russia deployed a missile that did not comply with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; 8) Shut down Russia’s consulate in San Francisco; and 9) Pumped more U.S. oil and gas, making the U.S. more energy independent.

Those were just the reasons at the time, in 2018. As time went on, Trump continued and expanded on all those Russia-limiting moves. Plus, he not only kept in place earlier sanctions against Russia, but he added new ones.

The short version of the story: Trump was right, and the media consensus was wrong.

Now the question is whether, with Trump leaving office, journalists can take a look in the mirror and see what they got wrong — and why they got it wrong. The Russia hysteria did not have to happen. The evidence was always there for any journalist to see. It was always possible to adopt a sober, critical, reasoned stance toward the Russian allegations, rather than engage in the hysteria that Trump’s opposition hoped would ultimately result in his removal from office.

Even now, it’s not too late to take a look back. With the Trump presidency coming to an end, perhaps some of the Russia hysterics will give it a try.

Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.

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(11) comments

simon1dog

President Trump was never impeached.

BigBob

A timely, friendly reminder for all Typhoid Donnie’s supporters:

Your cult idol the “Chosen One”, the one with the “Best Brain”, the one who is “Making America Great Again”:

Lost the Popular Vote - Twice

Lost the Electoral College

Lost the House

Lost the Senate

HAS BEEN IMPEACHED AND IS FACING A SECOND IMPEACHMENT.

Is a one term President

Almost 400,000 dead from the trump virus (but his Golf game is improving).

Has only 11 days left in office

Attempted a coup by leading an attack on the Capitol of the United States of America.

Just thought you would like to know.

You're welcome!

RESIST

All true! [thumbup]

RESIST

Oh, but he was, Simon, he was and what is more thrilling is that he will be again!!!

BigBob

Occasionally the less intelligent among us post the bald-faced lie that the fascist currently in our White House was not impeached. To make it abundantly clear for even the most foolish –

The person not elected by the American people (twice) was impeached, remains IMPEACHED and for time and all eternity will be IMPEACHED.

Historians will write stories about his having been IMPEACHED.

Poets will compose works about his being IMPEACHED.

Children will sing songs about our IMPEACHED president.

Comedians will perform skits about his IMPEACHMENT.

Dictionaries in the future will have a picture of the bunker-hider next to the word “IMPEACH.”

So no matter how many times people try to deny it, the guy who is destroying our nation has been IMPEACHED. So stop lying about it!

simon1dog

Shut is off his meds again. Most of his delusional data comes from Shishka's posts. Donald Trump is still your president.

shutthefrontdoor

There are not enough expletives to describe this repugnant Lame D*ck residing in our White House who revels in misconduct. His caveman antics, lies, and mistruths continue today after he got his twitter account back. Enough hardship and death has been attributed to him and his administration's inept handling of the virus, we now have a "murder investigation" opened for the capital building invasion of his "patriot's" spurred on by him, his idiot sons, Uday & Qusay, and cronies like Rudy ("trial by combat!") G-erk! COVID-45 should be impeached again!, the vote could not come soon enough, and who really cares if he will not attend President Biden's inauguration.

RESIST

[thumbup]

BigBob

Typhoid Donnie has operate as tool of Vladimir Putin with the most obvious being this weeks actions where he spurred conservative/fascist domestic terrorists to attack the bedrock of our nation, the United States Capitol building.

Comment deleted.
BigBob

You are so confused, but that is not surprising. Typhoid Donnie spurred on his conservative/fascist domestic terrorist minions to march on our capitol and take it over. He told us on 19 December he was going to do it and he did. Sadly five people died, dozens were injured and the hallmark of our Republic the Capitol of the United States of America was ransacked and damaged. Hopefully the fool is going to removed from office or neutered before he can do any more harm to our democracy. And each person who participated in the insurrection needs to be identified and charged with murder.

RESIST

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