BREAKING: After Team Trump Denies Trump Shared Classified Information With Russia, Trump Tweets That He Did ‘Share With Russia’
After last night’s Washington Post blockbuster story alleging that President Trump dropped highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during their highly-publicized meeting last week, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said that the story, as reported, was false; so did Dina Powell, the deputy National Security Advisor; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a half-rebuttal, stating that “the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations.” As I mentioned last night, McMaster’s statement was deliberately worded to deny aspects of the Washington Post story that did not exist – namely, to mirror Tillerson’s statement, even though the Post story didn’t allege that Trump had revealed sources, methods, or military operations.
This morning, President Trump took to Twitter again.
And once again, members of his administration look foolish. Here’s Trump:
This is about as close to a confirmation of The Washington Post story as Trump could tweet. Trump is, of course, infamous for his use of the phrase “fake news.” It doesn’t appear here. Trump doesn’t deny any aspect of The Washington Post story at all, actually – he just says that he had the right to do it (true) and that it was a good idea (no way of knowing). (UPDATE: The White House is now denying that Trump’s tweets mean that he’s confirming The Washington Post story. That’s not particularly credible in light of Trump’s tweets, which as the White House constantly says, speak for themselves.)
But just as Trump did last week, he undercut the public position of multiple high-ranking members of his own administration in order to take public relations into his own hands. Last week, he made fools of his vice president and press secretary by trotting them out to claim that FBI director James Comey was fired on the advice of deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, then telling NBC’s Lester Holt that he was going to fire Comey anyway and deliberately mentioning Russia. This week, he’s deployed his team to deny The Washington Post report, then tacitly admitted its contents.
Trump’s continuing ability to shred the credibility of those who are supposed to be able to speak for him means that he remains the sole source of information from the White House. And that means that he’s going to be answering every question, since nobody will believe his surrogates. It even means that people are going to start trusting media again – an awful development given the fact that they, too, err and lie for political purposes.
But most important, Trump’s newest tweets will open the door to more questions about Trump’s handling of classified information, just as last week’s interview opened the door to more questions about his firing of Comey. Trump may be doing all of this out of ignorance of how the job works, but ignorance isn’t going to save him from the dogs of the media and the Democrats if he can’t come up with some more plausible answers.
Meanwhile, the Republican legislative agenda stalls.