President Donald Trump accused the New York Times of committing a “virtual act of treason” by publishing a story on U.S. cyberattacks on Russia’s power grid. Now, a Times publisher is setting the record straight, claiming Trump left out a key detail in his accusation.
New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that painted a bleak picture of Trump’s past “fake news” and “enemy of the people” assertions about the paper. Sulzberger has called Trump out on these attacks before but argued using the word “treason” crossed a new line.
“The president has escalated his attacks even further, accusing the Times of a crime so grave it is punishable by death,” he wrote.
Sulzberger also expressed how he was concerned that the tweet barely waves in the news cycle.
“Many news organizations, including the Times, determined the accusation wasn’t even worth reporting, a sign of how inured we’ve grown to such rhetorical recklessness,” he wrote. “But this new attack crosses a dangerous line in the president’s campaign against a free and independent press.”
Trump originally sent the tweet Monday.
Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019
“ALSO, NOT TRUE!” Trump added in a subsequent tweet. “Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
But Sulzberger said Trump had no reason to say such things, as the Times checked in with Trump’s security aides before publishing and that they greenlighted the story, saying it posed no security risk.
“As the Times prepared the story for publication, our reporter contacted officials at the White House National Security Council, the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command and gave them the opportunity to raise any national-security concerns about the story,” Sulzberger wrote.
“They told us they did not have any,” he added. “Shortly after publication, the president accused the Times of treason.”