Source: Jonathan Davis

Former President Donald Trump is calling on the Pulitzer board to revoke prizes awarded for so-called “Russian collusion” reporting in 2018 because the allegations proved to be false.

In particular, Trump noted in a statement Sunday morning to Bud Kliment, the interim administrator of the awards, that prizes awarded to The New York Times and Washington Post should be rescinded because they were handed out under the guise of “false reporting.”

The panel awarded the prizes under the realm of “National Reporting,” but Trump said the series of stories published by both papers had been based on “false reporting of a non-existent link between the Kremlin and the Trump Campaign.”

“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,” the former president said in a letter to Kliment.

The New York Post added:

The former president, who also called for the prizes to be revoked in March 2019,  pointed to the indictment last month of Michael Sussmann, a former rep for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, by special counsel John Durham.

Durham alleges that Sussmann lied to the FBI when he tipped them off in September 2016 to a possible link between the Trump campaign and Alfa Bank, which has ties to the Kremlin.

“Though the secret server theory did not find its way in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Durham found discrepancies between Sussmann’s congressional testimony and his interview with the FBI. Sussmann told Congress that he was working for Alfa Bank on a project but told the FBI he was not working for a specific client at the time,” Fox News reported.

“At the same time, Perkins Coie’s internal billing records showed that Sussmann billed the Clinton campaign for the hours he worked on the Alfa Bank project. The law firm’s clients also included the Democratic National Committee, while the firm also hired a research company that produced the dossier from Christopher Steele that accused then-candidate Donald Trump of being compromised by the Russian government,” the network added.

But none of what has been reported in the past nor found by Durham, Mueller, or congressional committees has ever indicated or proven that the former president’s 2016 campaign was operating in cahoots with Moscow, despite several years’ worth of false claims from many media outlets and Democrats including Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.

As for Sussmann’s indictment, Trump said in his letter it “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.”

The indicted attorney reportedly told the FBI he was relaying the information to the agency as a “good citizen,” but the 45th president said the indictment alleges that Sussmann was “working with other Democrats and billing his time to the Clinton campaign.”​

In addition, Trump wrote that the indictment suggests ​t​hat​ “the FBI’s investigation revealed that the e-mail server at issue was not owned or operated by the Trump Organization but, rather, had been administered by a mass marketing email company that send advertisements for Trump hotels and hundreds of other clients.”

In early 2019, Mueller determined that his team could not produce any evidence of collusion.

Still, Trump said the Pulitzer Board nevertheless praised the newspapers for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nations’ understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team, and his eventual administration.”​

Those stories, however, honed in mostly on the “now-debunked Russia collusion conspiracy theory” and were largedly based on information provided by anonymous sources, Trump wrote.

“The headlines themselves were extremely sensational and leaned heavily on unsubstantiated anonymous sources. For example, much of the information contained in these articles were credited to ​’​people with knowledge,​’​ ​’​current and former officials,​’​ ​’​some senior U.S. officials,​’​ and other vaguely defined individuals​,” said the letter.

“As a result, the public was deprived of an independent means of assessing their credibility, their potential for political bias, and the source of their knowledge,” Trump added.

“When it becomes apparent that a Pulitzer Prize-winning work was based on shoddy, dubious and manifestly false reporting – as is the case here – the Pulitzer Prize Board must react accordingly​,” he wrote, adding that the papers ought to “voluntarily surrender” their prizes.