Reporter Who Spread Dossier Circulated Photoshopped Picture of Trump Holding Russian Flag

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
March 27, 2019Politics
Reporter Who Spread Dossier Circulated Photoshopped Picture of Trump Holding Russian Flag
President Donald Trump holds a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office at the White House, on March 25, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

A reporter who helped spread the unverified and unsubstantiated dossier claiming there was collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia also circulated a photoshopped picture of Trump holding a Russian flag, admitting his mistake but declining to apologize.

David Corn, the Washington bureau chief for the openly left-wing Mother Jones publication, was one of the first reporters to write about ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier, which included a slew of unsubstantiated claims and has been widely discredited since being published in early 2018.

Corn and Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News admitted on March 26 that the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller—which, after nearly two years, was unable to establish collusion between Trump or anyone in his campaign and Russia—undercut the dossier.

“That’s what got people worked up initially, and we do have to acknowledge that that which was alleged has not panned out,” Isikoff said during an appearance on MSNBC. “You know, it was endorsed on multiple, multiple times on this network, people saying it’s more and more proving to be true, and it wasn’t.”

NTD Photo
David Corn, chief of the Washington bureau for Mother Jones takes pictures inside the East Room of the White House in Washington on March 24, 2009. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Corn said that major portions of the dossier were “more or less” debunked but continued to defend theory of collusion between Trump and Russia.

The same day he appeared on the network, Corn shared a picture on Twitter that showed President Trump in the White House along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other American and Russian officials.

The picture was taken on May 10, 2017.

Corn shared the picture nearly two years later on March 26, 2019, adding in a caption: “Imagine looking so happy with representatives of the regime that attacked your nation and a regime you aided and abetted by denying the attack was underway. All smiles.”

It wasn’t clear where Corn obtained the photo, but it was clearly photoshopped.

Several elements were added in, including a small Russian flag that Trump appeared to be holding in his left hand.

There was also a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin photoshopped onto the wall, in place of a portrait of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

A third element was also added: in the picture Corn shared, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway can be seen taking a picture with a smartphone of Trump and Lavrov.

But in the real picture, no one is there—Conway had been photoshopped in.

Corn shared the picture at 7:46 p.m. EDT, according to a timestamp of his Twitter post.

Nearly 12 hours later, 7:08 a.m. on March 27, Corn posted an update to 715,000 followers.

“Just so everyone knows: this was a photoshopped pic that added a few features, such as Trump holding the Russian flag and the portrait of Putin,” he wrote. “But the smiles are real.”

This is not the first time this month Corn has drawn questions about the validity of his his tweets.

On March 5, Corn wrote on Twitter that he’d seen some “obscene anti-@AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] graffiti” in a Pheonix, Arizona, airport. However, he didn’t provide any evidence for the claim.

The tweet drew many responses, most of which expressed heavy skepticism or derision.

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