Last night, the Washington Post released a shocking report that indicated that it was Donald Trump himself who crafted the lie that Donald Trump Jr. was meeting with a Russian lawyer about a Russian child adoption program.
It isn’t anything illegal, mind you, but it is shady as hell. I went over the reasons why it was bad here.
However, there is another aspect to the story that should receive equal attention: who the hell in the White House is leaking this stuff to the Washington Post and why would they be releasing info that makes their own boss look bad?
After reading the article from the Washington Post, I have come to the conclusion that this is not about how the president looks in these situations. Instead, it is all about who comes out of these stories looking good. This excerpt from the piece gives us a pretty good clue as to which circle of people might be responsible for the leaks that have plagued the White House:
Hope Hicks, the White House director of strategic communications and one of the president’s most trusted and loyal aides, and Josh Raffel, a White House spokesman who works closely with Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, huddled with Kushner’s lawyers, and they advocated for a more transparent approach, according to people with knowledge of the conversations.
In one scenario, these people said, Kushner’s team talked about sharing everything, including the contents of the emails, with a mainstream news organization.
Hicks and Raffel declined to comment. Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell also declined to comment.
Three key names in the excerpt: Hope Hicks, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner.
Now, it is not definitive proof that any of these three are involved with the frequent leaks – it could, after all, be that none of them are. However, the story does far too many things to just be a random leak given to the Washington Post.
- It was given to the Post after the initial story had died down, allowing it a chance to get a fresh news cycle, unburdened by the many other twists and turns the Russia meeting story took last time.
- It was run by the Post on a Monday, giving it a chance to stir up controversy right at the beginning of the week, in order to get the maximum airtime possible out of the story.
- It continues to tear down Donald Trump Jr. as a fool, and one who does not take good advice.
- It paints the Kushners as the wise members of Team Trump.
The excerpt also shows us that Hicks has perhaps gone all in in supporting the Kushners as the members of the Trump clan seem to vie for power. You don’t get lumped in with the wise unless you have pledged your allegiance to them.
The larger point, however, is this: Trump’s own children – or, at least, members of their respective teams – are openly trying to one-up each other in the press. Knowing the type of attention their father has always paid to the media at large, it would make sense for children struggling to get their dad’s favor by being as visibly successful as possible.
There is a lot of speculation here, though. Was Kushner so bold as to plant the story himself? Did his lawyers? Did Hicks see an opportunity to paint the horse she backed in the best possible light? Honestly, we don’t know, and perhaps we may never know. This is, however, something we are going to see a lot more of.
Because Trump always hires the best people.