Mon, Jun 17, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Trump accuses ‘NYT’ of ‘virtual treason’ in tweet

AFP, WASHINGTON

US President Donald Trump on Saturday accused the New York Times (NYT) of “a virtual act of treason,” after it reported the US is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid.

Current and former government officials have described the classified deployment of US computer code inside Russia’s power grid and other targets, the NYT reported.

The action is intended partly as a warning, but also to leave the US poised to conduct cyberstrikes in the event of a major conflict between the US and Russia, the newspaper said.

Trump tweeted that the accusations were “NOT TRUE,” calling the media “corrupt” and repeating accusations that journalists are “the enemy of the people.”

“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. “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.”

The NYT report came after an investigation by US special counsel Robert Mueller of alleged hacking by Russia’s GRU intelligence agency and social media manipulation by Russia’s Internet Research Agency to benefit Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Mueller detailed a disturbing number of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia ahead of the 2016 poll.

Trump has claimed the report cleared him of wrongdoing.

On the question of obstruction of justice, the report did not conclude Trump committed a crime, but Mueller wrote that “it also does not exonerate him.”

In its Saturday report, the Times described “broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials.”

It also cited US National Security Council officials as saying they had no security concerns about the newspaper’s reporting on the digital incursions, perhaps indicating that some of the intrusions were meant to be noticed by the Russians.

The NYT, Washington Post and other publications have issued numerous investigative reports into Trump and his administration, with probes also under way by congressional committees.

FEUD WITH KHAN

Also on Saturday, Trump launched a fresh attack on London Mayor Sadiq Khan, backing a right-wing British columnist who has been widely accused of Islamophobia and once called migrants “cockroaches.”

Trump attached his latest denunciation of the mayor to a retweet by Katie Hopkins about crime in “Khan’s Londonistan” — using a term widely perceived as a pejorative reference to the British capital’s Muslim population and Khan’s Pakistani ancestry.

“LONDON needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan is a disaster - will only get worse!” Trump wrote in response to Hopkins’ tweet, later adding the mayor was “a national disgrace who is destroying” the city.

The feud began when Khan, whose bus driver father emigrated from Pakistan in the 1960s, criticized Trump’s travel ban on people from certain Muslim countries.

Hopkins, who wrote in support of Trump’s election campaign during her time at the Daily Mail, has been dogged by numerous allegations of Islamophobia and hate speech during her career as a columnist, including her 2015 description of migrants as “cockroaches.”

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