Pulitzer Prize board rejects Trump's demands to yank awards from The New York Times and The Washington Post for coverage of Trumpworld's ties to Russia and the Mueller probe

Pulitzer Prize and Donald Trump
A podium for the Pulitzer Prizes and former President Donald TrumpGetty Images
  • The Pulitzer Prize board rejected Trump's effort to get a 2018 award rescinded.

  • Trump has complained that The Washington Post and New York Times' coverage does not deserve the award.

  • The board said two reviews found none of the stories have been discredited by recent developments.

The Pulitzer Prize Board on Monday formally rejected an effort by former President Donald Trump to get the panel that oversees the highest award in journalism to rescind the prize jointly awarded to The New York Times and The Washington Post in 2018 for coverage of Russian interference in the 2016 election and the ensuing special counsel probe by Robert Mueller.

The Pulitzer board said it had commissioned two separate reviews into The Post and The Times' reporting and that each of the independent inquiries found that the stories still stand.

"The separate reviews converged in their conclusions: 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," the board said in a statement.

Trump and some of his allies have complained that the prize should have been revoked. He reiterated this plea in a May letter where he threatened to sue the board if it failed to rescind the awards. The former president has also demonized the two national publications, among others, with his claims that journalists who report critically on him are "the enemy of the people."

In May, Trump specifically mentioned Special Counsel John Durham's investigation into the actions of Michael Sussmann, a one-time lawyer for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign. He's also attacked former FBI Director James Comey, though he hasn't specified how that applies to reporting about Comey's actions.

"I again call on you to rescind the Prize you awarded based on blatantly fake, derogatory, and defamatory news," Trump wrote in the May letter. "If you choose not to do so, we will see you in court."

Only one of the 20 stories cited as winning work mentions the episode at the center of Sussmann's trial. Prosecutors alleged that Sussmann misled the FBI about who he was working for when he came forward with suspicious-looking data possibly showing a cyber connection between the Trump Organization and a Kremlin-linked banked. Sussmann was later acquitted. 

The 2017 Times reporting in question is focused on how then-FBI Director James Comey tried to steer the bureau through the sensitive task of a public investigation into Clinton and a then-unknown investigation into Trump and his advisors' ties to Russia, which was interfering in the 2016 election. The story mentions that the FBI looked at the data, which was the main focus of the trial.

Most of the remaining stories focused on Donald Trump Jr.'s attendance at an infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, Trump's firing of Comey, and how the Obama administration grappled with dealing with a president-elect who may have been compromised.

The Comey stories, including the Times' publication of Comey's notes about his meetings with Trump, helped spur the public call for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference and ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Representatives for The Post and Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Trump also did not respond to Insider's message.

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