Strike 98: NYT's Maggie Haberman reports a new demise for President Trump
I thought this had to be a parody from a hostile satirist making fun of a writer's tangled style, but no, the blue check was right there:
Trump allies for months questioned veracity of our reporting on what McGahn told Mueller about Trump telling McGahn to have Rosenstein fire Mueller. He’s been a key witness, and WH didn’t understand extent of it @nytmike and me https://t.co/g0rA69t8ak— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 18, 2018
How many times do you have to read this before you can figure out what she is trying to say? As someone who's worked on this, I can offer the helpful hint of separating the first clause about McGahn, then looking at the rest of it, and then going back to tack on the first McGahn clause, and then reading the aside at the front of the tweet to find out what she's getting at. Ummm, I guess this is what passes for clarity at the New York Times.
Argh. What mangled drivel. What gobbledygook.
One of the rules of journalism is that you must make your point clearly. In fact, if you can't make your point clearly, maybe it isn't a point.
Which is what I suspect as I slog through that story that is nevertheless getting so much front-page attention.
Apparently. White House attorney Robert McGahn talked to lawyers from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team for 30 hours about how team Trump was not involved in Russian collusion, at President Trump's say-so, and Haberman is reporting that this was the final Gotcha gift that yielded a treasure trove of information that will finally Get Trump. Here is Haberman's actual piece:
WASHINGTON — The White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, has cooperated extensively in the special counsel investigation, sharing detailed accounts about the episodes at the heart of the inquiry into whether President Trump obstructed justice, including some that investigators would not have learned of otherwise, according to a dozen current and former White House officials and others briefed on the matter.
In at least three voluntary interviews with investigators that totaled 30 hours over the past nine months, Mr. McGahn described the president’s fury toward the Russia investigation and the ways in which he urged Mr. McGahn to respond to it. He provided the investigators examining whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice a clear view of the president’s most intimate moments with his lawyer.
Well, I don't see any arrests or impeachments, do you? I don't even see a credible case against any of Trump's minions. They're all being busted on meta-charges such as lying and obstruction, rather than the actual collusion crime Mueller is charged with looking for (which by the way, isn't a crime), and years-old white-collar crimes that fellow Democrats were up to their ears in, yet evaded action from lawmen.
The story reads like breathless, reality TV. Seriously, what is Robert Mueller going to do with information such as news that the president was furious at the investigation, other than revel privately to himself in the pleasure of making Trump mad? It's useless, though I expect Mueller will try to make a prosecutorial ham sandwich of it.
It's still useless stuff.
What's more, Trump tweets about the same:
I allowed White House Counsel Don McGahn, and all other requested members of the White House Staff, to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel. In addition we readily gave over one million pages of documents. Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction. Witch Hunt!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2018
Hey maybe McGahn did reveal more than a typical lawyer does with a colorful reality-TV-style earful. Water off a duck's back, given that his client is Trump. Maybe he didn't know what he was doing in failing to clam up. Wouldn't be the first time a Trump official has made this kind of blunder - the whole Mueller investigation was premised on the same sort of blundering when Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the brouhaha and turned it all over to deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. It happens. Maybe he didn't want to be the next John Dean and was protecting himself. What I remember about John Dean was that he was famous for blabbing, so maybe he wanted to be the next John Dean, one wonders if she got this right. And maybe Trump isn't talking to him all the time, which could be for any number of reasons.
McGahn has been helpful to Trump, with picking out conservative judges and other stuff, as Haberman notes, so I seriously doubt McGahn really wanted to damage Trump by giving Mueller colorful details, with Trump's full approval, both before and after the report. And heck, King Kong is a pretty good name for Manhattan-based Trump, such breathless silliness from Haberman to succor the anti-Trump left is rather weak fodder for the left. Which is what this is. Thomas Lifson compared it today to pornography, the seeking of endless gratification through fantasy, in this case, the toppling of Trump, and that looks like the case also here.
It's also classic Haberman, to be reporting from supposedly zillions of anonymous sources, on inside baseball matters, much of which frequently turns out wrong. There are no secrets with Trump, he blares it all out on Twitter, and there are always people of no consequence such as Omarosa Manigault-Newman in the woodwork trying to make money. Yet there's no there, there. None of this information will get a resignation from Trump. None of this information is a bombshell. The fact remains, hard, that there was no conspiracy from Team Trump to conspire with the Russians to get Hillary Clinton elected.
Can Haberman just beat it? We're not buying her contorted gobbledygook that's supposed to make us think the end is near.