(washingtonexaminer) – Former President Donald Trump called on the Pulitzer Prize Board to rescind the 2018 National Reporting awards granted to the New York Times and the Washington Post for their coverage of the Russian collusion story, claiming the stories were based on “false reporting” and a “complete lack of evidence.”
“As has been widely publicized, the coverage was no more than a politically motivated farce which attempted to spin a false narrative that my campaign supposedly colluded with Russia despite a complete lack of evidence underpinning this allegation,” Trump wrote in a letter addressed to Bud Kliment, the interim administrator of the awards.
Trump pointed to the indictment of Michael Sussmann, a lawyer who had worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, in special counsel John Durham ‘s investigation as evidence for his complaint. Durham alleged Sussmann lied to the FBI about who he was representing when he tipped the agency in September 2016 to a possible link between the Trump campaign and Alfa Bank , which has ties to the Kremlin.
The Sussmann indictment “serves as a damning repudiation of the media’s obsession with the collusion story. The indictment pointedly accuses Mr. Sussman of making false statements to the FBI when he presented ‘evidence’ purporting to show secret communications between my organization and the Russia-based Alfa Bank,” Trump added in the letter.
The former president also complained about the framing of the sources featured by the media outlets that received awards for the work, specifically pointing to articles that credited “’people with knowledge,’ ’current and former officials,’ ’some senior U.S. officials,’ and other vaguely defined individuals.”
Trump said the PPB “must act accordingly,” saying the awards carry a “level of reverence” that implies the reporting being honored is “deemed credible, well-sourced and trustworthy.”
“I would expect that you will take the necessary steps to rectify the situation, including stripping the recipients of their prize and retracting the false statements which remain on the Pulitzer website,” Trump said. “Without holding the recipients to such a high standard of accountability, the integrity of the Pulitzer Prize namesake stands to be wholly compromised.”
Trump previously called for the prizes to be revoked in March 2019.