President Trump took to Twitter Friday morning to slam the "failing and desperate" New York Times over a report that one of its journalists "was feeding false stories" about Trump to the FBI — a characterization of the incident the Times' refutes.
"Just revealed that the Failing and Desperate New York Times was feeding false stories about me, & those associated with me, to the FBI," Trump wrote in a pair of tweets. "This shows the kind of unprecedented hatred I have been putting up with for years with this Crooked newspaper. Is what they have done legal?"
He then provided a quote from Fox News' morning show "Fox & Friends": "This Russia Collusion Hoax was perpetrated in part by people inside the government, and in part by a compliant (Fake News) media," he wrote, citing The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway. "The facts are starting to pour out. Stay tuned!" he added.
Trump appears to be referencing a report published Thursday by the Washington Examiner based on an email obtained by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch.
"A New York Times reporter fed information about Jared Kushner meeting with Russians to the FBI, newly released emails show," The Washington Times' Daniel Chatin reported Thursday. "Journalist Michael Schmidt sent an email on March 24, 2017, to FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs Michael Kortan, stating that his colleagues were reporting on the FBI's Russia investigation and had stumbled onto some information about President Trump's son-in-law and top adviser."
"Wanted to flag you on something," Schmidt told Kortan. "Three of my colleagues are working on a story about the Russia investigation. They’re told that Jared Kushner is among the individuals who the F.B.I. is scrutinizing for their meetings with Russians. My colleagues were told that Ambassador Kislyak, after meeting Kushner and General Flynn in early December at Trump Tower, set up a meeting with Kushner and a Russian banker. Kushner ultimately met with the Russian banker. The banker worked for Alpha Bank. Thanks. Mike."
"Kortan forwarded the email to FBI special agent Peter Strzok, who was leading the bureau's Russia investigation, and Jonathan Moffa, an FBI counterintelligence officer," Chatin reports.
As noted by The Washington Times, The New York Times has since pushed back on the report and Trump's claim, NYTimes Communications asserting in a tweet that they don't "feed stories to the government or anyone else" and that what the email shows is just a journalist doing what he's supposed to do: attempt to "ensure fairness and accuracy."
"We don’t feed stories to the government or anyone else," NYTimes Communications wrote. "We routinely reach out to those who figure prominently in our coverage for comment to ensure fairness and accuracy."