Friday, February 02, 2018


Remember when newly appointed chief of staff John Kelly was said to be bringing order to a chaotic White House by, among other things, limiting President Trump's exposure to unreliable media reports?
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s ongoing efforts to cut off President Trump’s supply of nonsense now include blunting the influence of Omarosa Manigault, the former Apprentice star and current White House advisor. The Daily Beast reports that Manigault has been one of the worst offenders in “triggering” Trump by passing on unvetted news articles that enrage the president.
The New York Times told us that because Trump didn't know how to use a Web browser, he
was dependent on aides like Stephen K. Bannon, his former chief strategist, to hand-deliver printouts of articles from conservative media outlets.

Now Mr. Kelly has thinned out his package of printouts so much that Mr. Trump plaintively asked a friend recently where The Daily Caller and Breitbart were.
The printouts are gone, Bannon and Omarosa are gone -- but if this Washington Post story is to be believed, the crazy doesn't need to reach Trump via Breitbart printouts because it can come in via Republican members of Congress in good standing:
President Trump was only vaguely aware of a controversial, classified memo about the FBI’s Russia investigation when two House conservatives brought it to his attention in a Jan. 18 phone call.

The conversation piqued Trump’s interest.

Over the next two weeks, according to interviews with eight senior administration officials and other advisers to the president, he tuned in to cable television segments about the memo. He talked to friends and advisers about it. And, before he had even read it, Trump became absolutely convinced of one thing: The memo needed to come out.

“He was listening to a number of members of Congress talk about how concerned they are and what they read. It’s not just a couple of us,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), one of the House conservatives who spoke with Trump on the Jan. 18 call....
The other congressman on that initial call was Jim Jordan of Ohio.

The Daily Beast has a different origin story:
According to three sources with knowledge of their conversations, Trump has been in regular contact with Hannity over the phone in recent weeks, as the Fox News primetime star and Trump ally has encouraged the prompt release of a controversial four page memo crafted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. Hannity has gone to the wall to push for the public release of the memo, which the Intelligence Committee and its chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), authorized this week in a party-line vote despite the classified information therein.

Sources say Hannity’s persistent advocacy reinforced Trump’s already growing determination to get that memo into the public realm—despite huge potential fallout within the law enforcement and intelligence arms of his own administration.
The Beast story and the Post story aren't contradictory. The Beast says that Hannity encouraged Trump's "already growing determination" to release the memo. The Post story says that the Meadows-Jordan call inspired Trump to focus on cable-news segments about the memo -- presumably including segments from Hannity's show.

Kelly has acknowledged in multiple media reports that he's never tried to limit Trump's phone calls to friends outside the government, nor has he tried to curtail Trump's marathon TV-watching. And Kelly favors the release of the memo. But releasing the memo is nuts, and the nuttiness may have reached the White House through the "respectable" channel of a phone call from two congressmen.

That's the problem. The crazy isn't just in fringe media publications. Washington Republicans are crazy. The rot is pervasive.

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