The Leakers Get Craftier

Hey, are you all still here?

Thanks to everyone — especially Rayne — for watching after the likker cabinet while I was in Oz. It appears the Donald Administration has only gotten crazier since I was gone.

Last night, the WaPo published yet another big scoop show more lies about Russia. It reveals that President Trump personally dictated the response to the news that Don Jr, Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner met with Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared an article, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”

Two important details about this scoop: first, as Laura Rozen noted, Trump’s focus on adoption came after he chatted up Vladimir Putin at the spouse’s dinner for up to an hour at the G20 (remember how Trump gesticulated wildly to get Putin’s attention). Given that Trump claims they spoke about adoptions, it makes it more likely (as batshit as this is to contemplate!) Trump looped Putin in on how to respond.

Remember, too, that Rob Goldstone specifically envisioned involving Trump in this matter.

What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?

I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.

At this point it’s probably safest to assume all the other claims about this — such as that there was no follow-up — will prove to be lies, too.

I wanted to point one more thing out, though.

The WaPo story is notable for two reasons. First, it features an almost entirely new set of journalists from the three mainstays who’ve published the other big Russian scoops. Just as interesting — in the wake of the unceremonious firing of Reince Priebus and others — the story almost entirely hides the sources for the story. While the story quotes an anonymous Trump advisor and airs the complaint of Jared Kushner’s legal team, the story says nothing about who actually revealed this story. And the story is specifically framed in a way that tees it up for Robert Mueller to ask questions about Trump’s obstruction, personally.

Trump has serially fired his staffers because no one can get a handle on this Russian scandal. But with each firing, Trump also makes it likely new leaks with badly exacerbate the scandal.


25 replies
  1. orionATL says:

    my thought when some clever journolisto pointed out that scaramucci may not have lasted long but had managed a much desired feat (for trump loyalists), to get rid of spicer and priebus, was that those acts had also freed the fired ones up to spill the beans BIGLY. and so it may have come to pass – and in double time.

    my next thought was “how will the trump machine try to protect itself from these verbal stilletos?”

    it’s not really illegal to talk about conversations directly with or overheard with a president is it?

    is it not the case that these conversations aren’t classified or otherwise protected except by the “candid, confidential advice” convention?

    • greengiant says:

      Because NDAs? When did having Federal employees sign NDAs start?  Or consider the court order sealing all information on the Sater affair,  including forbidding divulging anything to members of Congress and sealing the requests that the judge unseal his reasoning for the seal.    For all “we” know there are innumerable court orders sealing stuff up.

  2. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Fox News sued over Seth Rich story.

    The Fox News Channel and a wealthy supporter of President Trump worked in concert under the watchful eye of the White House to concoct a story about the murder of a young Democratic National Committee aide, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

    On April 20, a month before the story ran, Butowsky and Wheeler — the investor and the investigator — met at the White House with then Press Secretary Sean Spicer to brief him on what they were uncovering.

    The first page of the lawsuit quotes a voicemail and text from Butowsky boasting that President Trump himself had reviewed drafts of the Fox News story just before it went to air and was published.

  3. perris says:

    It’s really hard rapping my head around these leaks, I mean how hard is it finding a common denominating character at all the briefings where there is a leak?

    I mean, there’s not a stadium in these meetings, this should be simple.

    I think one of the leakers might actually be Bannon, in a a scorch the earth retribution of sorts.

    Off topic, came here just to post this, far too coincidental


  4. Rugger9 says:

    Cross-posted from the Trump-Russia thread to keep this current:

    Note that Caesar Disgustus still hasn’t signed the sanctions bill that passed 98-2 in the Senate and 419-3 in the House and presented to him on July 28.  Since the House is gone for August, and the Senate still in session, could this be a pocket veto?

  5. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Leaks may be least of Trump machine issues.
    Spear-phishing may be the bigger issue.

    These recent spear-phishing events, while not malicious, do illustrate the problem.

    The trollbait is very clever.

    – Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert bit on an email from fake “Jared Kushner”. He even sent his private email in reply.

    – “The Mooch” bit on an email from fake “Priebus”

    – “The Mooch” bit on a email from fake “Jon Huntsman Jr”

    – Huntsman bit from fake “Eric Trump”

    – Eric Trump bit from fake “Donald Trump Jr.”

    • Rayne says:

      Bigger than spearphishing via email if you consider Perry’s pranking by telephone. Ridiculously incurious people who allow themselves to be played and may yet do serious damage to the public in the process. Imagine scrambling military response based on spearphishing or a prank call, for example.

  6. Rayne says:

    I liked Roger Sollenberger’s assessment of sourcing/likely leaker on WaPo story. Pope JK. Hah.

    ABC refers to “two senior level sources” in its piece; if Jared is one, who’s the other? or are there two other sources in additional to Jared who were willing to validate the story? Time stamp on ABC piece was 10:17 p.m. EDT last night — does this mean Kelly is good with this or that a leak problem still needs to be addressed?

  7. Evangelista says:


    You wrote, above, “…while I was in Oz.”

    I hate to be prissy-picky about grammar and syntax, but I think that should be “am” and “in OZ”.

    Back here in Kansas the Washington Post does NOT publish scoops;  it publishes allegations.  The “revelations” of WaPo allegations are not the stuff of responsible news reportage, they are the stuff of wanna-be Nostradamuses trying to fake Edgar Cayce for credibility.

    In OZ, where flowers sing and witches box compasses, things can happen in isometric isolations.  It is for this, I presume, that you are still there and unaware that there is connection between “adoption of Russian children”, which was barred by Russia’s Duma (not Putin) following U.S. Congress’s “Magnitsky Sanctions Act” and the “Magnitsky Act Sanctions” and “Russian Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya” and her efforts to make contact with persons in the U.S. government (and potentially to be) and anyone potentially influential, in efforts on behalf of a client effected by the Magnitsky Act Sanctions.

    There are also connections between a possibly ex-US cum Russian citizen oligarch named William Browder, aka “Bill” Browder, Magnitsky, who was his employee, and the U.S. Congress, who appear to have passed the Magnitsky Act as a private legislation at the behest of and for the personal benefit of William Browder and his “business” interests in Russia, legal and illegal.

    You, while you were in Reality should have been aware of all, or most, of these connections.  In OZ, where memories may be clouded and become frooty, you may have become, and so be, forgetful of such old whirlwind and grown-up stuff that you left behind.


    Even if you are still in OZ you need to get back in touch with Reality if you are going to write back to here in Reality about the stuff going on here in Reality.  I strongly recommend you tie a string-to-Reality to your finger to tug on as necessary while reading the fatuous distraction pseudo-journalism the flatu-prop press, of which WaPo is a member in good standing, prints as ‘revelation’.

    To some of us it is incredible that they can re-cast a ridiculous blast of distorted and now re-distorted back-fence gossip by simply re-referencing it to a resultant extenuation from its central issue, and have that re-cast load of fly-bait fly in such forums as yours Emptywheel;  not be recognized for the load of shit it is.

    The above “serious” commentary discussion is not to be denied, however;  even though it would leave Chicken-Little astonished and disbelieving.

    • Larry says:

      Someone doth protest too transparently, struggling not with denial of service but with servicing her denial much, Evangelista?

    • bmaz says:

      Wow. Asinine petty grammar enforcement AND Edgar Cayce in only one single run on idiotic comment.

      You are upping your game it seems. Not in  any useful or good  way, of course, but upping nevertheless.

      • Evangelista says:


        I was trying for a creative way to point out to Marcy that she had been sucked in by MSM manipulators giving a lip-sticked pig a second push, not even changing the color of the lip-stick, only changing the name.  I’ll admit my effort didn’t make it to varsity level.

        I am a little baffled that the MSM Trump-bashers have been putting the effort they have to trying to fly a narrative so weak in the spar it can’t but collapse for its error-weight if it does get into the air.  I mean, the central component is a lawyer contacting a publicist for help to make a contact on behalf of a client, and the publicist using a lie for a lure to effect a meeting, which, for the lawyer’s reason and the publicist’s stupid lie-lure being totally apart was inevitably a short, and unproductive, meeting.  How much time and blather does such a commonplace error, one every professional person at some times gets sucked into, putting unwarranted confidence in self-aggrandizing PR person’s self-advertisement of abilities, warrant?  How does it have anything to do with anything except itself in its core occurrence?  And the contemporary circus of political clowns and their mascot pundits is trying to make how big of a show of — not it, and not its failure as a contact gambit, but of some irrelevant imagineering of an assigned, and also irrelevant, connection to a third-party twice-removed uninvolved target.

        The whole issue is bullshit out of the gate, and it has a breathless audience;  not of legitimate spectators, but of player-participants, all apparently really believing their own delusions that their imagineered event is something real.

        I mean, this, not the event, is the show for us spectators.  But as a show it’s only next after touring a madhouse for entertainment, with no other value.

    • Wrick says:

      Message from Oz. We are watching the raw prawns being phished up and putting them on the barbie. Welcome to come over for the BBQ. Just make sure you speak proper English before you apply for your tourist visa. – Slider – (cya lighter).

      PS. Not sure if our correspondent should have said ‘when’ instead of ‘while’ she was in Oz,  but ‘while’ does convey a sense of continuity where ‘when’ doesn’t. Viewing the US implosion from without does make one feel more connected with the reality continuum than the circus US politics has become.


  8. lefty665 says:

    May be that with recent departures some of the old leakers are out and different reporters who have cultivated different sources are now getting space.

    Kelly is likely to be both better at identifying leakers than Priebus and harder on them when he catches them . If I were leaking out of the White House I’d be covering my tracks better than before and asking the Wash Post to cover theirs better too.

    Obama was not shy about intercepting journalists communications when looking for leaks and threatened to charge journalists as co-conspirators with leakers. He was not under nearly as much stress as Trump is. Expect we will find out what Kelly and Wray cook up with Trump’s “encouragement”. Wray may have an interesting first day on the job.  “On your left sir is the bathroom, on the right is the 1st Amendment. Please be careful where you piss.”

    • Evangelista says:

      The continual drip of “yellow journalism” we have pouring down on us today suggests “journalists” who are selected for their abilities to write piddle on demand, their doing so being erceoved a “1st Amendment Right” to saturate newsprint with piss.  We the readers are supposed to be just pleased that the dribblers are paper-trained.

  9. Larry says:

    The leaks have come fast and furious, consecutively and seemingly irrepressibly.  How can that be?  Can it really be coming from inside the closeknit bounders of the Trump inner and near-inner circle?  Could the leaked information possibly be repackaged double-secret highest-tech surveillance from a core group of intelligence folks taking aim at the lying buffoonish president who has dissed them and repurposing the info in steady revelatory emissions as leaks to journalists from a handful of agent-sources?  I hope so!  And I hope they succeed.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Probably. But be careful of what you wish for. Your resaoning likely is not the truth as to why the ‘leaks’ are happening. The ‘leakers’ may be windows computers.

      Think about that. Seriously.

      • Evangelista says:

        “GardyLoo!” (“Garde de l’eau!”).  The traditional warning cried out by the maid (in Britain) when she was about to dump a chamber-pot into the street from a window.  Perhaps we should revive it.  Require it be posted at the top of pseudo-journalists’ storied;  and maybe as a pop-up on Windows-computers, to appear each time the system is breached…  Or would that over-clutter the screen, like another layer of advertisers’ pop-ups…

  10. lefty665 says:

    This Wash Post release of transcripts of Trump’s calls with Mexican and Australian leaders ought to give Kelly and Wray something to chew on. OTOH, Just as the story about Junior’s statement, this is the kind of thing Priebus or Spicey could have carried out when they left.

    Interesting that the Post pointedly noted that they retyped the transcripts complete with errors. Apparently they learned something from The Intercept’s screw up with Ms Winner. They’re not going to leave the same trail of bread crumbs. They are indeed getting craftier.

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