News outlets banned from the White House press gaggle all have one thing in common: They have all broken or urged the pursuit of major stories about the Trump team’s illicit relationship with Russian intelligence.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer took what several White House reporters who have covered both parties described as unprecedented action by banning several major outlets from a press briefing. The briefing was designed to push back on reporting indicating that the Trump administration has been colluding with the FBI to squash stories on contacts between Donald Trump’s team and Russia.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), pointed out the connection between the press ban and Russia reporting:
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) February 24, 2017
While restricting the outlets that could participate, the move was described in an Orwellian White House release as an “expanded pool.”
Among those excluded were The New York Times, Buzzfeed, Politico, and CNN. All of those outlets have done significant reporting on the Trump-Russia connection. Additionally, the Guardian was banned, and they have pressed for investigating Trump’s Russian ties.
Here is a rundown of the stories that motivated this latest Trump attack on the free press:
The New York Times reported on contacts between Trump aide Michael Cohen and longtime Trump associate Felix Sater, in which Cohen reportedly hand-delivered plans for how to lift U.S. economic sanctions against Russia.
Buzzfeed posted the contents of the dossier collected by a former British intelligence official alleging close ties and possible blackmail between the Russian government and Trump.
Politico reported on texts that suggested that former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort, who also has ties to pro-Putin elements, may have faced a blackmail attempt while part of the campaign.
CNN’s report indicated that Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was rejected by the FBI when he attempted to have the agency publicly squelch reports about Trump interactions with Russia.
The Guardian pushed to “investigate [Trump’s] ties to Russia and his past with Russia,” noting, “Unknown conflicts of interests in both fields can turn out to be a huge danger to the national security of the US.”
The Trump administration does not want these types of stories reported, and they have punished and attacked the outlets who do so. They did the same on the campaign trail, blocking Univision, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, Politico, and The Washington Post from obtaining official campaign credentials.
But now they are attacking the free press from within the White House, while being paid with your tax dollars.