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Adam_Davidson247 karma

We are always very concerned when reporting stories in which we suggest that somebody or several somebodies may have broken the law. Even more so, of course, when it involves the President.

We worked extremely hard to test every fact and hypothesis. We gave everybody involved ample opportunity to respond and correct the record. Many took us up on that and we did make changes when appropriate information was provided.

I like to practice what a mentor called no-surprises journalism. Nobody who is mentioned in an article should be surprised by what it says about them. They should be given every chance to rebut every single fact. Now, there's nothing we can do when subjects decline that offer. I made very clear to the White House and Ivanka Trump's personal staff that I would happily walk them through everything in the article and give them a chance to correct, amend, comment. They did not take me up on it. Neither did Ziya or Anar Mammadov. Though Elton Mammadov did meet with our translator in Azerbaijan and went through many questions and gave his responses.

Once we felt confident that our story is solid, we weren't worried about a legal attack on the piece. However, I will confess to being anxious that Trump might tweet about me. I have a family and I wondered if I was putting them at risk. This is a shocking thing to have to worry about. No journalist in American history, I think, has ever had to worry about the President putting his children's lives in jeopardy. And the President didn't put my family in jeopardy. He hasn't tweeted about it. But the very fact that he has done so about other journalists and could do it about me is terrifying.

Adam_Davidson196 karma

I had a lot of people who were sources: people who worked on the project, who worked at the Trump Org, who are expert on the law or on Azerbaijan. I also visited and saw the site.

I also used wikileaks and the Panama Papers extensively.

Much of the most damning information was freely available on the web. That was one of the surprises. Even if I had not had a single confidential source or the budget to fly to Baku and I only had access to google and the web, I could have done almost the whole story.

Adam_Davidson162 karma

I found that post quite frustrating. He misrepresents our conversation dramatically.

More importantly, he lays out the facts of the case and uses analogies that are totally irrelevant to the actual case, itself. For example, he likens this case to a coffee shop entering a building that, years before, was built using corrupt means. But that's not what happened here. The Trump Org was actively involved in getting the building built while corruption was happening.

He says I had no interest in what he was saying. But I found him to be incapable of hearing what I was saying. He kept interrupting me with irrelevant points.

I spoke to well over two dozen FCPA experts, all of whom (save him) agreed with my legal analysis and disagreed with his.

Adam_Davidson117 karma

It is a very odd time. I have to assume that if I had written an article suggesting a one-degree separation from the President of the United States and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard about any other President, there would be enormous call for impeachment.

Imagine if we had discovered that Pres. Obama or either Bush or Clinton had possibly gotten paid millions by the IRGC. It's hard to imagine how extreme the response would be.

I expect it will take us decades to process this time and our overall numbness.

However, I have chosen not to let that dissuade me from doing my job. I need to keep plugging away, reporting, investigating, etc. What else can I do?

Adam_Davidson107 karma

Nobody has. I wish they would.