Trump: New York Times’ Russia Cyber Report Was ‘Virtual Act of Treason’

June 16, 2019 Updated: June 16, 2019

President Donald Trump has accused The New York Times of committing an “act of treason” over its recent report alleging that the United States is “stepping up digital incursions” on Russia’s electric power grid.

The June 15 report cited anonymous former and current government officials as claiming that the United States has increased its cyber-attack efforts as a warning to Russian authorities. The article said it was a “demonstration” of the Trump administration’s use of their new authorities.

On June 15, the president disputed the claims laid out by The New York Times and accused the newspaper of being “desperate.”

“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,” he wrote on Twitter. “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.”

In a separate post, Trump extended his criticisms to the current media landscape.

“Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today,” he wrote. “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!”

The new authorities discussed in the article were granted last year by the White House and Congress to the U.S. Cyber Command, an arm of the Department of Defense.

The Cyber Command’s mission is to “direct, synchronize, and coordinate cyberspace planning and operations to defend and advance national interests,” according to its official website. The Defense Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a June 15 statement, The New York Times responded to Trump’s criticism that it had committed treason, writing on Twitter that administration officials had cleared the article.

Trump, on June 16, continued his criticisms of the newspaper and this time included The Washington Post.

“A poll should be done on which is the more dishonest and deceitful newspaper, the Failing New York Times or the Amazon (lobbyist) Washington Post! They are both a disgrace to our Country, the Enemy of the People, but I just can’t seem to figure out which is worse?” he wrote.

The president added that when he leaves office, “both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!”

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