It was Harry S. Truman who said something on the order of, “In Washington, if you want a friend, get yourself a dog.”
It’s a tough town, and it will grow inevitably tougher if the people there — government or media — see blood in the water. Well, the ocean is beginning to churn with a bit of the red stuff.
I wrote a while back about how the media began to have suspicions about the contacts between the Russian government and the presidential campaign of The Current President (TCP) way back in the summer.
Now it turns out that the intelligence community had the same concerns, and in their case it was because they were pulling in hard evidence in the form of phone contacts, and from banking and travel records.
We now know that weeks before the election, concerned intelligence officials briefed the Obama administration and Senate leadership, but Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that if those concerns saw the light of day, he would scream “Politics!” to high heaven.
Sixteen of 17 intelligence agencies signed off on the findings of concern. The one agency that declined to go along was the FBI, under the direction of James Comey. He was concerned about the possible political fallout from the intelligence pronouncement, but of course felt his own pronouncement about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails was a whole other thing.
So now we’re left with many in America asking, “What in the hell is going on?” Some Republicans are trying to thwart any investigation by saying, “This is not our job.” But these are the same people who were crying “BENGHAZI!” at Hillary Clinton.
What are we to do other than keep the heat on? With Gen. Mike Flynn now hoping to evade prosecution, there are at least four other top Republicans possibly in the intelligence community’s crosshairs: Paul Manafort, who worked as a consultant in Ukraine for a politician back by Moscow; Roger Stone, a longtime Republican hired gun; Carter Page, a businessman who served as a policy adviser to the campaign of TCP. And the Big Cheeto himself, who in the past has lied about having met Mr. Putin, but who has had plenty of business dealings with the Russian oligarch class, up to and including having sold one of them a mansion in southern Florida.
It’s right to be concerned that there’s so much here the media might not be able to keep up with it. It can’t be long before the TCP administration moves from yelling “Fake News” to simply yelling “Old News.”
But the intelligence community will continue to do its work, and that’s bad news for TCP. When he told all of America that the intelligence community should not be trusted because they were wrong about those weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the Iraq War, it sure wasn’t the brightest move.
Intelligence people are still smarting over having provided intelligence that the administration of George W. Bush contorted into “evidence.” I don’t believe that what happened then is remotely possible anymore. They were burned, but I don’t believe they’ll be burned again.
And here’s a bitter irony: In the run-up to that war, the lead dog was The New York Times, which gave Judith Miller the run of the pages in order to shill for the Bush administration. The Times got a lot of egg on its face then, but they’re hot on this story right now.
The hounds have been unleashed.