I don’t mind the political media exhausting themselves every day, making up fake news and running madly after every whiff of anti-Trump scandal like a pack of hyperactive Chihuahuas trying to chase down every car in a Walmart parking lot simultaneously. But it’s nearly as exhausting for the rest of us, just having to watch them.
For instance, after a solid week of yapping about James Comey’s long-overdue firing that they were all in favor of until Trump did it (sort of like how they admit his terrorist nation travel ban would be Constitutional, if any other President had issued it), the Washington Post set off yet another round of frenzied barking with a story claiming that Trump revealed classified information in a meeting about joint anti-ISIS strategy with top Russian officials. It had barely hit the news before dozens of Democrats were rushing to the cameras to demand an investigation and to call it “disturbing” and “reckless” (I’ll say this for them: they can’t govern worth a darn, but they have an amazingly efficient buzzword focus-group testing system.)
They were right about one thing: if it’s true that Trump inadvertently revealed classified data that might identify our intelligence sources to Russia, that would be a serious problem. I can say that with some credibility, because I also said that when Hillary Clinton did that very thing via her unsecure email server, back when all these people who are calling for Trump’s impeachment were brushing that off as nothing and trying to make Hillary President.
But this story set off “smell test” alarms from the get-go, in ways that even the writer noted. For instance, WaPo admitted that even if it were true, it likely wouldn’t be illegal because as President, Trump has the power to declassify information. Also, the story was based on unnamed “current and former officials.” Consider: we’re talking about an ultra-secure meeting of top leaders of two super powers to discuss classified anti-terrorist strategies inside the White House. How many “former officials” were likely to have been in that room?
We do know exactly which “current officials” were in the room: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. All three had to take time out of their busy schedules to state to the press in no uncertain terms that the story was false, it did not happen, and that no intelligence sources or methods were discussed that weren’t already part of the public record.
Was that clear enough to end the controversy? If you believe that, then you’ve never had to try to calm down a pack of Chihuahuas.
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