Kurt Eichenwald writes today in Newsweek: "The response of Donald Trump and his staff on September 29 to the revelation that one of his companies illegally violated the Cuban trade embargo during Fidel Castro's presidency has exposed a growing problem for the Republican nominee: His campaign operation is disorganized and shares Trump's disdain for facts."
Once again, Eichenwald literally brought the receipts, and once again, Trump's lawyers are threatening a reporter for telling the truth.
Under a President Trump, it's clear that truth-telling would become even more of a crime than it already is.
Both the Trump campaign staff and the Trump Organization had been told for days by Newsweek that it was about to publish an article disclosing that a Trump company had paid at least $68,000 to explore business opportunities in Communist Cuba. Federal law at the time imposed tough restrictions against spending even a penny in Cuba, with the intent of financially starving the country, which for decades been categorized as an American enemy. While there were some exemptions, such as engaging in humanitarian work approved by the government, the Trump venture did not qualify for any of them, and once the Cuba business trip was over, consultants and Trump executives discussed ways to make the trip appear to be a charitable effort.
Newsweek's requests for comments, documents and even an interview with Trump were ignored, which was unusual. Traditionally, when campaigns, companies and other professional groups are told that a piece about them is in the works, they will contact a reporter to find out the scope of the story, even if there is no plan to give a comment. That way, they can have a planned response ready when the story breaks.
On September 28, the night before Newsweek's story on the Trump-Cuba connection was posted, The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC revealed the findings of the article, and Maddow read several of the opening paragraphs on the air. About 15 minutes after that segment ended, a Trump lawyer emailed Newsweek, stating that someone in Trump's camp had searched the company's records and found no documents proving the Cuba trip had occurred. The Trump lawyer suggested the magazine rethink posting the story.
Trump's paid defenders (including former campaign manager and female-shover Corey Lewandowski, who still remains on the payrolls of both CNN and Trump!) lied faithfully and in earnest over the next 24 hours about the Newsweek Eichenwald exposé.
Obtained from a source, here are the Trump surrogate talking points on report of Cuba business dealings… pic.twitter.com/tTz6gkpPAQ
— Kyle Blaine (@kyletblaine) September 29, 2016
And their lies were scripted. Kellyanne Conway on "The View," the various blondes who pop up on CNN and Fox News–all used talking points that reflect classic strongman anti-freedom of the press tactics.
Buzzfeed reporter Kyle Blaine obtained and tweeted three of the talking points. Trump's surrogates were told to name-call (the story was "manufactured" and "pathetic," and the reporter was "totally discredited); blame the Hillary Clinton campaign for the piece; and say that Eichenwald's Cuba article proves that Democrats and "their media allies" are revealed as desperate because they're discussing things Trump did in the '90s.
None of the talking points challenge any of the facts of the piece, or even Eichenwald's allegation that Donald Trump violated federal law and broke the Cuba embargo back then.
Given the repeated misrepresentations by Trump's people, Newsweek decided to release one document obtained in the reporting of the Trump company's Cuba effort: an invoice showing the amount charged by the consultant, the clear designation that it was for business dealings in Cuba, and references to how Trump employees might disguise the purpose of the trip to make it appear that it was connected to a charity.
Newsweek continues to wait for comment from the Trump campaign on those facts.