How many layers removed can a source be before the entire report starts to look absurd?
The Associated Press seems to have pushed the limits in an article published Friday morning. Here’s the lede:
A senior Justice Department lawyer says a former British spy told him at a breakfast meeting two years ago that Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump “over a barrel,” according to multiple people familiar with the encounter.
So, sources say a DOJ lawyer said a former British spy told him that Russian intelligence told him it had the president “over a barrel” during the 2016 elections. Got that? The AP’s tweet wasn’t any clearer, stating: “BREAKING: Sources reveal senior Justice Department lawyer's interview with lawmakers: He said former British spy told him Russian intelligence believed it had Donald Trump 'over a barrel' during the 2016 campaign.”
I count five-times removed from the original source, but it was pointed out to me on Twitter that it is even more removed than that. We have the “Russian intelligence,” Christopher Steele (former British spy), Bruce Ohr (Former DOJ official), DOJ lawyers, lawmakers, “sources,” and the Associated Press.
The Federalist’s Sean Davis summed it up best:
(Disclosure: I also write for the Federalist.)