On Saturday afternoon, Donald Trump used his Twitter account to take a curiously timed and oddly specific shot at not just CNN, but CNN International in particular. It stood out as bizarre because Trump is so sheltered from the mainstream media universe, and so ignorant of the world at large, it’s unlikely he even knows what “CNN International” is. Then came a near-simultaneous development which not only explains Trump’s tweet, but also reveals that Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind it.
Several news outlets reported on Saturday afternoon that Russia has passed legislation which cracks down on international media outlets trying to operate within its borders by forcing them to register as foreign agents (link). This is clearly an attempt at retaliation on Russia’s part for the recent United States crackdown on Russian state-run propaganda outlets like RT and Sputnik. This also serves to potentially put international reporters in grave danger while operating in Russia, given Putin’s penchant for simply murdering reporters he doesn’t like.
At nearly the same time this story broke, Donald Trump tweeted “Fox News is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!” Now we know why. He and Putin are clearly plotting against CNN International’s ability to safely operate inside Russia’s borders, or in any territory where the Russian government has influence.
It’s still not entirely clear how Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin managed to coordinate this plot in advance. The two illegitimate leaders did speak privately by phone earlier this week, so they may have hashed it out at that time. But in any case, there’s no question that Trump just conspired with Putin to purposely jeopardize the international reporters working for a major American news outlet. If any CNN International reporter is murdered in Russia, then Trump is guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report