Donald Trump’s world got upended in likely permanent fashion three hours ago when CNN was the first to report that the heads of the CIA, FBI, and NSA had briefed Trump on potential blackmail material that the Russians were holding against him. That material has since turned out to apparently consist of everything from Trump committing lewd acts caught on video tape in Russian hotels, to his attorney allegedly having secretly met with the Russians about it. Perhaps the most remarkable part: the byline on the CNN story in question includes Carl Bernstein.
Carl Bernstein is half of the famous Woodward and Bernstein who broke Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal wide open in the seventies. He currently serves as an on-air political commentator on CNN, but is typically only seen here and there. And yet when it comes to the CNN article which put all of the Trump-Russia-blackmail dominoes in motion on Tuesday evening, the byline reads “by Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper and Carl Bernstein.”
It’s not clear from the article what role Mr. Bernstein played in breaking the story. But he’s received bylines on CNN’s online stories so rarely that his name isn’t even clickable for the purpose of being able to view his previous bylines, unlike his three collaborators on this story. This makes it a rare event that Carl Bernstein is involved in CNN’s investigative reporting, rather than his usual on-air commentary. And whatever role he’s played, Bernstein has apparently helped break a Trump-Russia scandal that could end up being bigger than Watergate.