I’m old enough to remember when the top priority for the 4th Reich was to choose a Comey replacement at the FBI before the Russian Usurper leaves on his first international trip to visit NATO. Now I suppose the priority is to keep Hair Führer off of Twitter and away from an open mic.
Cannot hardly wait to see what secrets Trump will tell Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the king of Jordan, when they visit the White House today! I’m sure they are wondering which of their security assets he revealed to the Russians, too/also, as their countries have long been allies of the US and probably have been sharing intelligence with us for years.
Let’s see the state of play this morning. For shits and giggles, let’s look at Opposite World to start:
- Fox News’ Jesse Watters, on “The Five”: “The story is the leak.”
- At 8:25 p.m., the banners on the cables stations were … CNN: “WASHPOST: TRUMP SHARED HIGHLY CLASSIFIED INFO WITH RUSSIANS” … MSNBC: “WAPO: TRUMP REVEALED HIGHLY CLASSIFIED INFO TO RUSSIANS” … Fox: “LEFTISTS PROTEST GAY CONSERVATIVE JOURNALIST.”
- Sean Hannity at top of his show: “I have a message for those of you who work in … the White House: Enough with the self-serving leaks!”
Mike ‘Payola’ Allen writing the Axios morning email thingie:
I talked to several White House officials last night, and their denials hinge on the argument that the president has broad authority to declassify, so whatever he says is by definition unclassified.
Ah, the old if the president does it, then it is legal gambit.
Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) morning email agrees with Axios (conventional wisdom? Yes.):
…BUT HERE’S HOW SOME REPUBLICANS WILL DEFEND THIS. The president is, generally speaking, allowed to do what he wants with classified information, and can change the classification. Republicans will express concern and caution with trying to improve relations with Russia. Many will decline comment until they’ve heard from the president himself — or from top White House aides. Good NYT primer: “How Government Secrets Are Declassified and Disclosed,” by Charlie Savage. http://nyti.ms/2pFsPHO
And of course, the Russian Usurper’s apologists are, well, apologizing. This, however, takes the cake:
One adviser who often speaks to the president said the conversation was likely freewheeling in the Oval Office, and he probably wanted to impress the officials. ‘He doesn’t really know any boundaries. He doesn’t think in those terms,’ this adviser said. ‘He doesn’t sometimes realize the implications of what he’s saying. I don’t think it was his intention in any way to share any classified information. He wouldn’t want to do that.’
Unbelievable, Tiger Beat offers The Russian Usurper some conventional wisdom, and 500 Quatloos that none of them will happen:
A CHEAT SHEET FOR TRUMP — WHAT WASHINGTON THINKS YOU NEED …
— NEW COMMUNICATORS: Forget Sean Spicer for a second. Keep him, ditch him — whatever you want. Yes, the press secretary is an important public face of the administration. But even more than a new public face, what this White House needs is someone who understands what it means to communicate with Washington in mind. Trump needs someone who speaks the language of D.C. and Capitol Hill. Someone who is going to craft a strategy and message to bring elected officials on Trump’s side and someone who has credibility with the reporters who cover them.
Right now, Trump has GOP detractors for almost every move he makes. He should hire someone who understands inside-the-Beltway coalition politics, and understands what makes members of Congress happy. We’re not saying they’d take this job, but people like Josh Holmes, Michael Steel, Kevin Madden, Alex Conant, among others, would add some serious gravitas to their operation. They also would know where to go to look for people who are willing to take this job.
— A TRAFFIC COP: One thing we hear constantly from Trump allies and detractors alike is that the president needs someone who can control the flow of information and people to the Oval Office. For example, Shane Goldmacher’s excellent story yesterday about how Trump gets fake news is a prime example about how the White House is broken. An aide like K.T. McFarland, who is on her way to Singapore to become the U.S. ambassador, should not be permitted in the Oval Office with a phony Time Magazine cover. Someone should be filtering that information — or at least trying. Someone should be coaching the president on what he can say — and what he absolutely should not say. If that’s happening, it’s not evident. That all being said, Trump has to be willing to limit his intake, and there’s no evidence he is.
— LONG-TERM STRATEGY: We sound like a broken record on this subject, but the White House needs someone who can lay out to Washington some sort of realistic roadmap for what they’d like to get done, and how they plan to do it. OK, so Trump wants to complete tax reform? What are the specific principles he is not willing to compromise on? What is he willing to do to achieve this? How many districts and states is he willing to visit to get this done? You actually want a border wall, Mr. President? OK, well, government funding is up again in a few months, how are you planning to get what you want, and what are you willing to settle for short of the wall?