Saturday, January 26, 2019

Fondness For Leaks

The owner, general manager, and head coach for Team Russia are all in place while several players are attending the tryouts for quarterback. One of them appears to be U.S. Representative Peter King of New York's mildly Republican 2nd congressional district, comprised of parts of Long Island's Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Right wing cyber-mag Newsmax reported that on Monday, January, 28

"That is disgraceful to have no evidence and to be investigating the president of the United States," said King. "To me, this is not an indictment of President Trump. This is an indictment of the FBI leadership."

Other reports during the weekend claimed that Trump hid the evidence of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and King said he does not blame Trump at all for concealing records of conversations, given the leaks that were occurring at the time.

The last thing President Trump would want was his conversations with any world leader ending up on The New York Times," said King. "I don't blame the president at are talking to a foreign leader, a person that can be an adversary, the last thing you want is that all over the news."

Republican King may be as slick as he is obsequious.  Maintaining Putin can be an adversary, the congressman will be able to avoid characterizing the President as a traitor once evidence of Trump's cozy relationship with the Russian president is fully revealed.

Nonetheless, the timing of King's assertion that President Trump is deeply concerned with leaks was really, really bad.  On Wednesday, Vanity Fair published anexcerpt from "Team of Vipers: by former White House aide Cliff Sims, who contends that there were several leakers in the Administration, though none so prolific as Counsel to the President Kellyanne Conway.  When Conway was accused by the Morning Joe team of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of heaping praise upon Trump publicly but privately ridiculing him, Sims was directed to respond and

I assumed this was because she feared Trump would believe the charges ... I had not brought my work laptop upstairs with me when she called, so Kellyanne pointed over to her personal MacBook sitting on the conference table on the other side of the room. “Just use that and type something up for me,” she said.

I sat down and started slowly pecking out a statement. ... I was also getting distracted by the nonstop stream of iMessages popping up on the screen. At that point, personal phones had not yet been banned in the West Wing, so Kellyanne was sitting at her desk texting away. And since her iMes­sage account was tied to both her phone and her laptop, ... I could inadvertently see every conversation she was having.

Over the course of 20 minutes or so, she was having simultaneous conversations with no fewer than a half­-dozen reporters, most of them from outlets the White House frequently trashed for publishing “fake news.”

Jour­nalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Politico, and Bloomberg were all popping up on the screen. ... As I sat there trying to type, she bashed Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, and Sean Spicer, all by name.

("The real leakers, past and present, get much more positive press than I do. While it’s rare, I prefer to knife people from the front, so they see it coming," Conway said in a statement shortly after publication.) ...

She also recounted private conversations she’d had with the president, during which, at least in her telling, she’d convinced him to see things her way, which she said was a challenge when you’re deal­ing with someone so unpredictable and unrestrained. She wasn’t totally trashing the president, ... but she definitely wasn’t painting him in the most favorable light. She was talking about him like a child she had to set straight. ...

I was supposed to be writing a statement, defending her against accusations that she had done almost exactly what I was watch­ing her do that very moment.

It is now several days since this incident was revealed, and Conway remains one of the President's most trusted advisers, as she will remain. There has been no censure, rebuke, or criticism because she is truly trusted by Donald Trump. She is trusted to leak like a sieve because that is what the President wants her to do.

If the President were as concerned about leaks as Representative King claims he is, he could direct one- and only one- adviser on his foreign policy team to join him with Vladimir Putin. It could be the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Adviser or any one lesser figure. If there then were a leak (which there likely would not be), the source would be obvious.

But he hasn't, and he won't.  Representative King may or may not understand why. However, the Speaker of the House (below, from last July, as Minority Leader) appears to understand:

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