White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany criticized the New York Times on Monday for what she said was a "false" report on whether President Trump was informed on intelligence that Russia paid rewards from militants linked to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan.
McEnany disagreed with the Times' "misleading reports" that President Trump was briefed on intelligence, saying the president only receives verified intelligence information and claiming there were "dissenting opinions" within the intelligence community. Trump himself has denied on Twitter that he or Vice President Mike Pence was briefed on the matter.
McEnany concluded the press conference by criticizing the Times' "absolutely irresponsible decision" to "falsely report" that the president was informed.
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"I really think it is time for The New York Times to go back and wonder why they have been wrong, so wrong so often," McEnany said. "The New York Times falsely claimed that Paul Manafort requested that the survey data be transmitted to Oleg Deripaska before he had to issue a correction. In June 2017, The New York Times falsely wrote that the 17 intelligence agencies had agreed to the Russian interference before having to issue a correction that there were only four agencies.
"In 2017 – February of that year, the New York Times ran a story claiming that Trump campaign aides had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence, which even James Comey had said was almost completely wrong." .
The press secretary then pointed to a March 2019 column of former Times executive editor Max Frankel, who said she claimed the Trump campaign had a "blanket deal" with Russia to aid in the defeat of Hillary Clinton in exchange for a "pro-Russian" foreign policy, one thing she emphasized was "Russian deception".
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"It is inexcusable, the failed Russia report from the New York Times," McEnany said before leaving the meeting room. "And I think it's time for The New York Times and also The Washington Post to return their Pulitzers."
In 2018, the staff of both newspapers shared the Pulitzer Prize for National Reports. The Pulitzer Prize Board praised both outlets for "relentlessly reported public source coverage of public interest that dramatically promoted the nation's understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign , the transition team of the president-elect and his eventual administration. "
Fox News' Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.