BuzzFeed Follows Up CNN Trump Report With Salacious, Unverified Information

By Chris Ariens 

While the current POTUS was giving his farewell address in Chicago, the incoming POTUS was tweeting about a blockbuster but unverified report about him.

It all started late this afternoon when CNN’s Jake Tapper, Evan Perez and Jim Sciutto were joined by Carl Bernstein, to report on a two-page summary that U.S. intelligence officials presented to both Pres. Obama and Pres.-elect Trump last week, that Russia had been attempting to compromise the incoming president.

But it wasn’t just CNN that had been working the story. The memos, collected as opposition research, had been circulating for months. Mother Jones’s David Corn had them, but couldn’t verify them.

Huffington Post contributor Julia Ioffe did too.

BuzzFeed had them too, and more. A full 35 pages of documents covering a period of several months in 2016, highlighting the most salacious bits.

BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith shared an email he sent to his staff explaining why they went ahead with the story, even though he wasn’t sure if the documents were real:

And finally, a response from the Pres.-elect, calling the whole thing “FAKE NEWS.”

While this was all playing out online, especially on Twitter, the cable news channels and broadcast networks kept the cameras trained on Pres. Obama and his 52-minute farewell address in Chicago. “I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest-possible transition, just as President Bush did for me,” said Obama, adding, “It’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face. We have what we need to do so. We have everything we need to meet those challenges.”