The Deep State Media Game
Jeffrey Lord
by

Isn’t this just a tad curious?

Here’s the headline in Wednesday’s Washington Post:

Trump’s national security advisers warned him not to congratulate Putin. He did it anyway. 

The story begins this way:

President Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers Tuesday when he congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” according to officials familiar with the call.

Trump also chose not to heed talking points from aides instructing him to condemn the recent poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain with a powerful nerve agent, a case that both the British and U.S. governments have blamed on Moscow.

The president’s conversation with Putin, which Trump described as a “very good call,” prompted fresh criticism of his muted tone toward one of the United States’ biggest geopolitical rivals amid the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference and the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian officials.

Let’s recall that what got us to this point is that when to their horror, the friends of Hillary in various government agencies like the FBI, the CIA and the DIA realized she had lost and Donald Trump was in fact set to be the next president, they set to work. The critical part is the Trump/Russia collusion narrative would not have worked unless the likes of Brennan/CIA, Clapper/DIA/ and Comey/McCabe/Strzok from the FBI started feeding leaks to various friendlies in the media. Everybody leaked to the media and they had their constituency with this or that favorite reporter. The question now: Is this still going on? Based on the evidence, the answer is yes.

A few days ago there was this story popping up in USA Today to defend special counsel Robert Mueller. The story features: a conversation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Then there is ex-Obama CIA Director and careerist John Brennan, now signed on as a contributor for the Trump-bashing MSNBC, saying that the President of the United States is “unstable, inept, inexperienced and unethical…. I had been very angry at Donald Trump for the things he said and the things he did — I am now moving into the realm of deep worry and concern, our country needs strong leadership.” And, as my colleague George Neumayr pointed out yesterday in “John Brennan’s Thwarted Coup,” there was this belligerent coup-style talk also from Brennan to the elected President: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America… America will triumph over you.”

Not to be forgotten is former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who made yet another CNN appearance to say that Trump attacked the FBI leadership because it “posed a threat to him.” And as investigative reporter and Fox contributor Sara Carter headlined:

Former DNI James Clapper Allegedly Leaked to CNN, Investigation Revealed

Carter’s report began this way:

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper allegedly leaked information to CNN early last year regarding the classified briefings given to then President-Elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama on the salacious dossier claiming the Russians had compromising information on the president-elect, according to government sources, who noted the evidence of the leak was collected during the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation.

And, but of course, in the wake of his own firing — a firing called “by the book” by FBI Director Christopher Wray, the now-ex Deputy Director of the FBI — Andrew McCabe lashed out in public not at the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which recommended his firing. No, McCabe went after the President by saying his firing was “part of this administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the special counsel investigation.”

And, of course, speaking of “by the book,” fired FBI Director James Comey is about to hit the book circuit with his own story. Title? A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership. But of course.

Question? What is going on here? Time after time after time one can only ask… is there a Mueller “Get Trump” campaign being waged in the media by Trump enemies in the Deep State with an assist from anti-Trump media?

Is the Department of Justice running a damage control operation through the media? Is anyone at DOJ or the Special Counsel’s office inquiring into just how the information of rogue anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok being shifted around by Mueller — something that happened in the summer but was not reported until December — made it into the media when it did? Which is to say, conveniently, on the heels of the news of the General Michael Flynn pleading? What role did Mueller and/or the Department of Justice play in keeping that news from the public — and Congress?

How, exactly, do various pieces of information from inside the belly of the Deep State beast slow roll themselves into public view? Why, for example, does the news of McCabe’s potential firing surface ever so gently on NBC? As opposed to elsewhere — say, Fox — where the scandal that has been McCabe’s conduct might actually be treated as same?

And why, exactly, does that puff piece in USA Today, headed like this, appear?

Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, says Robert Mueller is ‘not an unguided missile’

This story, again, out of the blue, beginning:

WASHINGTON — Despite unrelenting criticism from the White House on the course of the investigation into Russia’s election interference, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Monday offered unqualified support for special counsel Robert Mueller.

Back there on December 1 of 2017, right after it was clear General Michael Flynn was going to plead guilty, out of the blue the New York Times has this story headlined:

Mueller Removed Top Agent in Russia Inquiry Over Possible Anti-Trump Texts

That story begins:

WASHINGTON — The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, removed a top F.B.I. agent this summer from his investigation into Russian election meddling after the Justice Department’s inspector general began examining whether the agent had sent text messages that expressed anti-Trump political views, according to three people briefed on the matter.

The agent, Peter Strzok, is considered one of the most experienced and trusted F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators. He helped lead the investigation into whether Hillary Clinton had mishandled classified information on her private email account, and then played a major role in the investigation into links between President Trump’s campaign and Russia.

But Mr. Strzok was reassigned this summer from Mr. Mueller’s investigation to the F.B.I.’s human resources department, where he has been stationed since. The people briefed on the case said the transfer followed the discovery of text messages in which Mr. Strzok and a colleague reacted to news events, like presidential debates, in ways that could appear critical of Mr. Trump.

Over at the Washington Post the same story surfaced. At the same time. The Post story said this:

The president’s most vociferous defenders in Congress have called for a special counsel to investigate how the FBI handled the Clinton probe and other Clinton-connected matters. Word of the texts could give new fuel to those demands.

In other words? If this story had come out in the summer, the President’s “most vociferous defenders in Congress” would have had considerable ammunition early on. Instead, the story on Strzok was kept from Congress and the public for months.

These stories, both individually but certainly collectively, raise questions. Did the Special Counsel’s communications shop or the DOJ’s communications office provide the Times or the Post with any of this information? If not, was there any curiosity in either or both places to ask where this information on the Strzok story and all the rest came from? If this information did come from the Mueller or Rosenstein offices, were the principals informed? Did they authorize the release of the news? Why in December for the Strzok leak — and not “this summer” as mentioned in the Times story? Why the NBC leak on McCabe?

And now, stunningly, there is the leak of a seriously confidential national security note to the President that could only have been handled by a handful of national security staff — everywhere in the media.

All of this goes to the question of a corrosion of the system — of a buddy system within the Deep State government to protect one another. That, speaking of Watergate, is precisely what got Nixon Attorney General Richard Kleindienst in trouble. When he died in 2000 the New York Times noted just exactly what got Kleindienst in legal hot water. The Times wrote it this way:

His undoing began when he was picked to succeed John N. Mitchell as attorney general after Mr. Mitchell resigned early in 1972 to lead the Nixon re-election campaign. On March 8, 1972, Mr. Kleindienst was asked during his Senate confirmation hearings whether the White House had interfered with a Justice Department antitrust action against the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation.

“I was not interfered with by anybody at the White House,” the nominee replied, repeatedly emphasizing his statement.

… On May 16, 1974, Mr. Kleindienst pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of refusing to testify accurately before the Senate. A few weeks later, he was fined $100 and given a 30-day suspended sentence by a judge who called Mr. Kleindienst a man of “highest integrity” but one who had “a heart that is too loyal.”

In other words, in seeking to protect his friends, the Attorney General was his own worst enemy and it caught up with him.

There is a considerable school of thought that the real scandal here is not the fantasy of a Trump/Russia collusion, but rather the seriously bigger-than-Watergate scandal of an insiders attempt to first prevent the election of Trump and, when that failed, to engineer a palace coup to depose the elected president. And to make sure that they protect each other when new information on their behind-the-scenes dealings abruptly pops into public view.

Question: Are we seeing a “modified limited hangout” — to borrow an old Watergate term? Run by people who, very much like Watergate, are most concerned with protecting their friends and so engage in two kinds of leaks: those that can damage the President and those that are selectively slow-rolled into public view so they can protect their pals?

For those who came in late, the term “modified limited hangout” comes directly from the Watergate scandal, specifically a taped conversation in the Oval Office between then-President Nixon, White House Counsel John Dean, White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, and Assistant to the President John Ehrlichman. The subject was what information should be released to the public — which is to say the media and the Congress. The conversation went like this:

PRESIDENT: You think, you think we want to, want to go this route now? And the — let it hang out, so to speak?

DEAN: Well, it’s, it isn’t really that —

HALDEMAN: It’s a limited hang out.

DEAN: It’s a limited hang out.

EHRLICHMAN: It’s a modified limited hang out.

PRESIDENT: Well, it’s only the questions of the thing hanging out publicly or privately.

Whatever is going on here today Americans are seeing some version of this “modified limited hang out” from the Deep State. Peter Strzok transferred from Mueller staff? It takes months to learn. Bruce Ohr involved? Oh by the way, he was talking to the ex-British agent Christopher Steele about the dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign through GPS Fusion. So we transferred him to a new position. What? You mean Americans didn’t know Ohr’s wife worked for GPS Fusion? Oh, right. Sorry. Well, that’s true. By the way, Andy McCabe is a hero. Oh…wait! Sorry, the Inspector General’s report may not be so good for us so (whisper, whisper) it looks like Andy McCabe may be fired.

But then when information is needed to damage the President? Why, get that information out pronto. The word on what the President was advised to not say to Putin was out within hours of the call.

In short: The Deep State media game afoot here is to protect the Deep State buddies by slow-rolling out the news that affects them negatively — and if possible keeping that news from the public and Congress. But any news that can help sabotage the President? That is to be leaked ASAP.

This kind of thing can and — it seems increasingly likely, will — make Watergate look like a piker.

Question? Is there a Member of Congress willing to ask Mr. Mueller and Mr. Rosenstein if they authorized their communications shops to get the word out on Strzok during the time period that everyone was focused on the Flynn indictment? Did the New York Times and the Washington Post get priority over the Committees of Congress that had jurisdiction on these matters? Is that a general rule — media first, Congress second if at all? And if no one in either the Mueller or Rosenstein shops had anything to do with the leaks — did either of those principals show any curiosity at all as to who did? Or how it happened?

Just asking.

Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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