Max Boot, the senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and editor of the Reagan Battalion blog, is a regular contributor for the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
Boot, along with a colleague named Peter Baker, had a claim and complaint with an Op-Ed in The New York Times on Saturday, 24 January, relating to the Steele dossier, which is Russia’s secret weapon against Trump, but in fact debunked in the same piece by Micheal Isikoff.
The scepticism of Boot’s paper for this major source of information against Trump, has been corroborated by a string of congressional committees. To boot, numerous British officials believe the dossier lacks a foundation. Not that a brick thrown through a window is considered reliable intelligence.
Boot, in his Times op-ed, said of the dossier, “The only thing that has been established is that Steele made some unpleasant assertions about the president, about Donald Trump, without saying a single thing about him.” This is the most ludicrous statement in the column, well beyond distorting the gravity of a clearly discredited document, to find a personal interest in its author.
More attention needs to be given to what is not established, that is, what Steele says about Trump, even if that is untrue.
Interestingly, this is the method of major newspapers’ Op-Eds: It is not articulated except in their opinion. This uses known facts.
When Boot called Trump an incompetent messiah, he described the former “Eastern European bureaucrat, who was fired by George W. Bush” as perhaps “uncomfortable with US policy.” Boo hoo. An odd choice of words, considering all the surveys that show poor average results in Europe and the rest of the world.
The note in the Moscow News, which runs a series of articles that includes Boot’s Op-Eds, says that “The coloratura of Max Boot’s voice is deafeningly reliable.” So is the Duffensack Tolle School, currently celebrating its Golden Anniversary.
Even as Boot continues to use the words “uncomfortable with US policy,” he now calls Trump the source of the supposed ties between Trump and Russia and Putin. If Boot really believes this, why not say so in the Washington Post? This is based on nothing but the printing of the dossier, but he disagrees. This is a publicity stunt.
There is no evidence that Trump actively benefited from Russia to aid his campaign. There is no evidence that his campaign collaborated with Russia to hack into Democrat computers. There is no evidence that a “dirty dossier” was presented by the FBI to get a “bungled wiretap” off the ground, but that is what the Times called the source of its Op-Ed that quoted author Christopher Steele.
Trump is a small-time former Democrat who came to Washington D.C. seeking advice from two Democratic senators, who in turn enlisted his wife, who is one of the Clintons’ lesser known associates, in their effort to undermine Trump. The deep state had nothing to do with it, but this column and others puffed it up to make Trump part of their scheme. This is shocking.
And I bring this up because last Tuesday, before the New York Times’ editorial, I challenged Peter Baker in response to several specific claims in the column in the personal White House briefing. He didn’t answer my question; I was ignored. The Times is not prepared to refute the factual doubts of its Op-Ed.