Thursday, February 16, 2017

Feds investigating Fox News; Trump blasts leaks; Woodward and Bernstein's views; conservative questioners; support for Sean Spicer

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "CNN's Reliable Sources" <reliablesources@turner.com>
Date: Feb 15, 2017 11:17 PM
Subject: Feds investigating Fox News; Trump blasts leaks; Woodward and Bernstein's views; conservative questioners; support for Sean Spicer
To: <trrytrvrs@gmail.com>

By Brian Stelter & the CNNMoney Media team. Click here to view this email in your browser!
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Carl Bernstein talks "cover up"

With minute-by-minute developments about President Trump, Michael Flynn, Russian contacts, intelligence community concerns, congressional demands and a battery of headlines like "WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS," it's difficult to zoom out... way out... and see the whole picture. But let's give it a try... courtesy of Carl Bernstein, who said this on Brooke Baldwin's show Wednesday afternoon:

Trump has been "telling lies about many of these things under discussion. There has been a real attempt to stonewall the press, to stonewall the FBI, to stonewall congressional investigators. That's what we know so far... Where this goes and the seriousness of it, we don't know... What we DO know is that there are very serious allegations out there..."

Bernstein added: "In this instance what we are finding out is that there appears to be some attempt, somewhere, to cover up what has occurred, and we are trying to penetrate that cover-up..."

Bob Woodward on O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly to Bob Woodward on the "Factor" Wednesday night: "If I were you, I would sue anyone saying 'this is Watergate.' If I were you, Woodward, I'd sue them! They have nothing to back it up, it's all crazy speculation, and that's what we're getting into in this country, nobody knows the facts! Nobody knows anything! It's all speculation."

Woodward: "There IS a lot of speculation and a lot of nonsense, so let's get the facts..."

About the leaks...

Trump is questioning the motivations of the leakers; alleging that the "intelligence community" is behind it; and accusing the "fake news media" of "going crazy." But he's not refuting the accuracy of the reporting. Instead, he's trying to reframe the story, making it about the "criminal act" of leaking instead of the contents of the leaks.

Quoting CNN's Jeffrey Toobin: "Some of these leaks are undoubtedly illegal, that do include classified information, but all great investigative reporting has included information that people are not supposed to disclose... This mix of legal and illegal leaking is a real thing, but our democracy DOES depend on it." Here's my full story about the leak intrigue...

 -- Related video/story: Tapper calls out Trump on conspiracy theories...

Who's investigating?

"We request that your office begin an immediate investigation into whether classified information was mishandled here," key Republican lawmakers Jason Chaffetz and Bob Goodlatte wrote to the Justice Department's Inspector General on Wednesday night...
Quote of the day
"There is this sense of urgency and energy that I feel now that reminds me of being 29 and in a very different situation: in the middle of a revolutionary situation in Russia. I'm not saying it's a revolution now. But there is this uncertainty about what is happening minute to minute, day to day."

--New Yorker editor David Remnick, quoted in this NYT story about journalists feeling a "renewed sense of mission..."

Proof of reporting power

Media editor Alex Koppelman emails: Flynn is no longer the national security adviser in large part because of the WashPost's reporting that he had misled VP Mike Pence. Andy Puzder won't be labor secretary in large part due to reporting, including Politico's obtaining of a tape of Puzder's ex-wife's appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in which she alleged that he'd abused her (allegations he denies, and which she later dropped). A Congress that was resisting calls for investigations into Trump-Russia connections is sounding more and more open to them thanks in no small measure to reporting by outlets including CNN, the NYT and the Post. Trump's team and allies may see this as further evidence that the press is the "opposition party;" in fact it's proof that reporters are still doing their job, holding the powerful accountable...

Tale of the Puzder tape

Shout out to 25-year-old Politico reporter Marianne LeVine... Editor Carrie Budoff Brown praised LeVine's "dogged, creative, relentless, shoe leather reporting" in a memo on Wednesday... And colleague Michael Schwab, who sits near her, says LeVine "was on the phone everyday for months trying to find this tape." Check out LeVine's account of how it happened...

Trump snubbing the front row, calling on conservative outlets instead...

"The fix is in"

That's what CNN's Jim Acosta said right after Trump's lunchtime press conference with Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump called on journalists from the Christian Broadcasting Network and TownHall.com. "This White House, this president, does not want to answer questions, critical questions, about his associates, his aides' contacts with the Russians," Acosta said after trying to shout a question to POTUS about it...

 -- NYT's Michael Grynbaum tweets the scorecard: "As President, Trump has called on Daily Caller, Townhall, CBN, Fox News, Fox Business, Reuters, New York Post, Sinclair..."

 -- Former Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer's reaction: "This is how Authoritarianism starts..."

"Open anger" in the press corps 

On ABC, Cecilia Vega said there was an "open sense of anger and frustration" among reporters at the press conference -- "open anger in here about the fact the president did not take any real questions about the issue of the day." Her colleague Jon Karl called it "astounding."

 -- Reaction from the right: NewsBusters says the ABCers were "whining..." 

 -- IJR's Joe Perticone tweets: "I raised my hand in the front row of Pelosi's press conference the whole time this morning and wasn't called on. This s--- goes both ways..."

 -- Sean Spicer's next briefing: 1:30pm Thursday...

"The opposition party, all lined up"

When Sean Hannity saw this Mediaite story, he wrote, "Omg best story ever. Haha Go Bannon." Why? Because, according to CNN's Kevin Liptak, Steve Bannon walked past a group of reporters outside Spicer's office and called them "the opposition party, all lined up..."

Dylan Byers' must-read about @PressSec

Dylan Byers emails about his deep dive piece for CNNPolitics: The prevailing wisdom is that the combative press secretary is not long for his office... But the most senior members of Trump's staff say the rumors are wrong. Steve Bannon: "It's totally and completely false." Reince Priebus: "The President has full confidence in Sean." 

 -- Byers makes this point in the profile: Spicer is a fighter... So long as Spicer has Trump's support, the rest is noise...

Conway trying to undermine Spicer?

More from Dylan: Many people sympathetic to Spicer in and out of the White House believe Kellyanne Conway is trying to throw Spicer under the bus to offload blame for administration setbacks... "She's clearly guiding a press narrative that he's not up for the job, and that they're reviewing other candidates," one GOP strategist said. "It's becoming abundantly clear that Kellyanne is making Sean's job impossible." Conway categorically denied that she was behind any leaks about Spicer... Read much more here...

Newsy details from the profile

 -- When asked if he had any interest in repairing the W.H.-press relationship, Bannon replied: "I could care less..."
 -- The only things on Spicer's shelves: a framed picture of himself at the podium, a book on Naval Special Warfare (he's in the Reserve), and a Super Soaker commemorating the infamous "SNL" skit...
 -- In December, when Spicer's father died, the president-elect was one of the first people to call him. The very next day, Spicer was back in the office. "There's a loyalty there," one source said...
...

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