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Trump Fails to Overturn 2018 Pulitzer for Russia Coverage

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin
Former US President Donald Trump with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump lost his bid to have the 2018 Pulitzer Prize given to the New York Times and Washington Post for their Russia coverage rescinded. Credit: BY 4.0

Former President Donald Trump has lost his bid to overturn the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting awarded for coverage of Russian election interference in the 2016 US presidential campaign.

Trump, who has rejected any such meddling, wrote a letter to the Pulitzer Prize Board last October, calling on it to rescind the prize. They were shared by the staff of The New York Times and The Washington Post.

He alleged the articles were based on “false reporting.” It was the latest in a series of complaints the former president and others close to him had about the articles, which also detailed Russia’s ties to Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign.

On July 18th, the Pulitzer board released a statement, saying it had commissioned two independent reviews of the work.

“Both reviews were conducted by individuals with no connection to the institutions whose work was under examination, nor any connection to each other,” the board said.

“The reviews found that no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes,” it was said.

Pulitzer rejects Trump’s demands

The board concluded that its 2018 Pulitzer shared award for national reporting would not be changed.

In his letter to the committee, Trump called the twenty winning articles “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 articles included evidence of links between Russian interference and Mr. Trump’s campaign and administration as well as efforts by Mr. Trump to influence investigations into those connections, The Times reported.

In its 2018 summary note, the Pulitzer Board said the award went to The Times and The Post for their “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s 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.”

At the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Trump described Russian President Vladimir Putin as “wonderful” and a “genius.” He later released a statement saying, “If I were in Office, this deadly Ukraine situation would never have happened!”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly also tried to influence Trump’s administration by allegedly paying lobbyists $30.5 million, according to a report last year by the independent NGO “Open Secrets.”

The report charges that the money was given during the four-year span that Trump was in the White House with the aim being to influence US policy in favor of Turkish interests.

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