PERESTROIKA: Trump in meeting Wednesday with Russians that was closed to U.S. press but included a representative of a Russian news agency, which released photos.
Many angles to explore in the saga of Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and the Washington Post has them covered in detail, with assists from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
But some points that jumped out at me:
* SEN. TOM COTTON
: The normally camera-hungry Arkansas senator finally granted a little time to a polite Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter on the matter. Said Cotton:
"The FBI director reports directly to the Deputy Attorney General and it's clear from Rod Rosenstein's letter that he had lost confidence in Director Comey. It's hard to stay on the job under those circumstances. I expect the Deputy Attorney General to testify to Congress to explain more of his reasoning and the timing, but the most important thing now is that the President nominate a new director of unimpeachable integrity and unquestioned independence to lead the FBI."
This is, in essence, the Trump line. Rosenstein was responsible for Trump's firing. Oops. Says the Washington Post
Rosenstein threatened to resign after the narrative emerging from the White House on Tuesday evening cast him as a prime mover of the decision to fire Comey and that the president acted only on his recommendation
The article reports that Trump, agitated by an apparently growing probe of his campaign's connection to Russians, ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein to make a case against Comey in writing this week. They did. Trump fired him.
The Russian angle grew stronger with reports in the Wall Street Journal that Comey was getting daily updates about potential collusion between Trump associates and the Russian government.
* ARKANSAN IN SPOTLIGHT
: Sarah Huckabee Sanders,
the daughter of the former Arkansas governor, was thrown in Tuesday night to take press questions — help promote what Talking Points Memo called a "collage of lies" being put forward by the Trump administration. She toted the ball for Trump, of course, and got roughed up pretty well on Twitter for it — "the voice of lies,corruption failure and multiple FBI investigations. Tokyo Rose=Arkansas Sarah," was how one put it. As with all things Trumpian, the record was instantly mined for words Sanders' had previously uttered that don't look so hot in the current chaos. For example:
And also this particularly relevant to the week's news:
It's a nasty job. But somebody's gotta do it.
* RUSSIANS IN THE HOUSE
: Head-slapping story about the unfortunately timed meeting of high Russian officials in the Oval Office Wednesday with Donald Trump. That was bad enough. But U.S. press was kept out of the meeting. A Russian photographer, said to be a personal staffer for an official but actually an employee of the Tass news agency, came equipped with electronic recording equipment. Intelligence officials thought bringing a Russian into the Oval Office
so equipped perhaps wasn't smart security. The only photos available of the event were provided by Russia.
Said a Trump official:
We were not informed by the Russians that their official photographer was dual-hatted and would be releasing the photographs on the state news agency.