Government by Leaks
Author: Greg Valliere
September 7, 2022
WASHINGTON HAS ALWAYS BEEN A SIEVE, as eager reporters seek scoops that can bolster TV ratings and newspaper sales. The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others, furiously compete for leaks, with the Post taking the lead on Trump’s alleged handling of highly classified documents.
THE LATEST BLOCKBUSTER CAME LAST NIGHT, as the Post — citing un-named sources — reported that documents found by FBI agents on Aug. 8 in Trump’s Florida home contained information about a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities.
ONLY A HANDFUL OF OFFICIALS — virtually none in the Biden administration — apparently were allowed to view the documents, which the Post claimed were scattered in boxes in Mar-a-Lago that also contained press clippings and personal correspondence.
WHO LEAKED? The timing of this strikes us as linked to the upcoming appointment of a special master who could take months to rule on the FBI raid. Trump is skilled at stalling and delaying, and the prospect of a lengthy appeals process may have prompted Justice Department and FBI officials to act on their own, leaking the information.
THESE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS reportedly are aghast at what the files contained; some files labeled “top secret” were empty, raising the issue of where those documents are.
NOT SURPRISINGLY, TRUMP ALLIES HIT BACK last night. One of his attorneys said the Justice Department “continues with no respect for the process nor any regard for the real truth. This does not serve well the interests of justice.”
TRUMP’S SUPPORTERS undoubtedly will erupt today, claiming that this is still another hoax, with the FBI planting documents. But this latest leak — if true — is so
egregious that some Republicans in Congress may be uneasy about Trump’s sloppy handling of the documents, and this may knock a point or two off of Trump’s poll ratings. He already trails Joe Biden in recent head-to-head matchups.
THIS MUCH SEEMS LIKELY: The leaks will persist, as Justice Department officials
and others — frustrated with the pace of the investigation — will tell the Washington Post about what they have found. This is all about appealing to the court of public opinion; it obviously isn’t a court of law, where even Donald Trump is entitled to due process.
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