Donald Trump’s trying to take down Chuck Schumer — with a photo from 2003.
On Friday, the president tweeted a picture of Schumer and Russian President Vladimir Putin enjoying some Krispy Kreme donuts and coffee at the opening of a Russian-owned Lukoil gas station in New York City.
This move came as a reaction to scrutiny on Attorney General Jeff Sessions after journalists reported he met Russian ambassadors during his confirmation hearings and failing to disclose that these interactions. (As a result he recused himself from the investigation.) Just one day prior, Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, called for Sessions’s resignation.
Trump tweeted, “We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!” and the picture, shot by Associated Press photographer at the gas station on the west side of Manhattan.
At a press briefing on Thursday, Schumer said:
“Attorney General Sessions had weeks to correct the record that he made before the judiciary committee, but he let the record stand. There cannot be even the scintilla of doubt about the impartiality and fairness of the attorney general, the top law enforcement official of the land. After this, it’s clear that Attorney General Sessions does not meet that test. Because the Department of Justice should be above reproach, for the good of the country, Attorney General Sessions should resign. But, whatever one’s views on resignation, the most important thing we must do is ensure the integrity of the investigation.”
Trump fails to point out that the photo is from 14 years ago, which is misleading considering what he’s attempting to initiate an “immediate investigation.” Also, it’s quite the false equivalence: Schumer’s public pastry eating with Putin at a widely covered visit from over a decade ago is not the same thing as the current attorney general secretly talking to Russian representatives during a political climate where said country has been found to be meddling in government affairs.
And people on the internet have appeared to track down how the photo ended up on Trump’s Twitter. Vocativ’s Kevin Collier shared a popular theory: It went from the top of subreddit The_Donald, to an Infowars editor, then Trump’s director of social media, and ultimately, Trump’s account. The photo also appeared on a slew of other fake media sites late Thursday night before Trump tweeted in on Friday.
Soon after Trump tweeted out the photo, Schumer responded. He tweeted, “Happily talk re: my contact w Mr. Putin & his associates, took place in ‘03 in full view of press & public under oath. Would you &your team?”
If Trump’s going to try to come after Schumer, he might want to consider using fresher dirt, and some that doesn’t bring donuts into the hot mess.
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