If you want to keep a secret, never consider living in Washington D.C.. Nobody - absolutely nobody - can keep a secret there. Details of the most clandestine conversations often are relayed before the original speaker can take a deep breath.
Fact is, the continual sieve-like communications of the D.C. verbal plumbing system keep the place going, providing uninterrupted grist for the media mill. Some people you’ve never heard of - hangers-on mostly - make a pretty good living leaking.
The constant stream of “I-shouldn’t-say-anything-but...” is mother’s milk to the national media. Without the constant dribble, many of those folk would be unemployed. Whether that’s a good or bad thing we’ll leave for another time.
At the moment, those national writers and talkers are going on and on about the lack of leaks in the Robert Mueller investigation. “Air tight,” they say. “We have no idea what’s happening because no one’s talking.” Sitting out here in the arid Southwest, I’m not convinced.
I think the Mueller team IS leaking and it’s with such finesse and understatement those media types are either not paying attention or, if they are, some of 'em are in on the game.
Case in point. Ripped from CNN and NBC front pages as I write, a story headlined “Mueller asking if Trump knew about hacked Democratic emails before release.” It goes on to report Mueller’s team is asking “pointed questions” about whether Trump was aware those emails had been stolen before that fact was known publically.
Now, that’s a detailed report. And, if true, it gives us a bit of a window to what’s going on in the investigative offices. “If true.” And I’d bet it is.
In fact, I’d bet a sizeable amount that Mueller’s people have been strategically “leaking” since the git-go.
More cases in point. Before Mueller’s people talked to Manafort, Page, Ryan or any of the others, we learned of the impending sessions from the media. There were no filed documents in advance. No news releases about upcoming talks. No talking head interviews. No published schedules. All the interviewees were privately contacted. It’s not likely they tipped the media types beforehand. Would you?
No, I suspect Mueller and team have been “creatively leaking” bits and pieces to cooperative reporters. Little dribs and drabs that make headlines.
“Why would they do that,” you ask.
Pressure, sez I. I think Mueller is lifting the curtain - just a bit - every few days or so, to keep up the mounting pressure on folks in the White House. As more names from Trump’s inner circle show up in the headlines and on the HDTVs in the living quarters, I'd wager pulses are quickening and it’s getting harder to breathe.
When subjects are interviewed, there aren’t cameras around for the coming and going. Sometimes, the face-to-face sessions are in a third party location unknown to the media. Other times, subjects converse on closed-circuit TV.
We most often see file photos of Manafort, Ryan, et al. entering or leaving a court house or other public building when pleading to charges. But, not when visiting Mueller. Public locations are routinely staked out by the media. We sometimes see old pictures of the miscreants when documents are filed or unsealed. What we see most is file footage, shown repeatedly.
Mueller and friends are running a deep, searching, wide-ranging, thorough investigation. Unintended leaks or talented reporter sleuthing have amounted to zero.
But, leaks there have been. Many. And, they’re likely to continue. Mueller seems to be using them skillfully to create tensions and nervousness among both those his team’s talked to and those yet to sit in front of his microphones and cameras. He’s controlling the atmosphere around the investigation to twist the nerves of those waiting for both shoes to drop.
How’d you like to be waiting for his call? Oh, hold on. Donny, your phone’s ringing. (image/Shawn Rossi)