“I remember when August was a very slow time for news,” Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi tweeted last night. “People did crazy stuff like go on vacation.” Count me among the overwhelmed crazies. I’m writing this from the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport, trying to keep up with a deluge of news pouring from the nation’s capital.
That attempt begins with The Wall Street Journal’s scoop that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury as part of his probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign. The escalation of Mueller’s investigation marks the latest development in a story that has dominated political coverage for months. The Journal’s reporting led evening newscasts, and indicated that the inquiry into Trump’s ties to Russia will “likely continue for months.”
Then there was The Washington Post’s disclosure of the transcripts of President Trump’s calls with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The records of the conversations show combative exchanges with both leaders, and contradict a rosier picture that the administration attempted to sell to the media. Details of the calls had been previously reported, but the leak of the full transcripts shows that new Chief of Staff John Kelly’s attempt to plug a leaky West Wing has a long way to go.
While we’re on the subject of leaks, “three West Wing and defense officials” told Conservative Review’s Jordan Schachtel that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is “a man fiercely opposed to strengthening the US alliance with the Jewish state.” The internecine conflict between McMaster and more nationalist members of the administration has emerged as a major topic of coverage this week.
Senators are headed home for their August recess, but if yesterday was any indication, DC journalists won’t be able to relax along with them. Below, more on a news-filled day in Washington.
- “Unprecedented, shocking, and dangerous”: The Atlantic’s David Frum says that leaking the transcripts of the president’s calls with foreign leaders threatens national security.
- At least some people get a vacation: Senators are headed home for the August recess. HuffPost’s Matt Fuller writes that Republicans have little to show after six months in power.
- Michael Flynn still in the news: The Associated Press’s Chad Day and Stephen Braun report that the former national security adviser’s amended financial filing will disclose a connection to Cambridge Analytica, a controversial data analysis company heavily funded by the Mercer family.
- In his own words: After initially declining to release the audio of Anthony Scaramucci’s profane phone call with Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker posted excerpts of the conversation It’s worth a listen.
- Not quite DC, but related: The Washington Post reports that “the Secret Service has vacated its command post inside Trump Tower in Manhattan following a dispute between the government and President Trump’s company over the terms of a lease for the space.”
Other notable stories
- Maria Elena Salinas is leaving Univision after more than 35 years at the network.
- The New York Times’s John Herrman says that, for the far right, YouTube is the new talk radio.
- Insightful trends piece by CJR’s Meg Dalton on the rise of the podcast as biography.
- Another damning Uber exposé, this one from The Wall Street Journal’s Douglas MacMillan and Newley Purnell, who report that the ride-hailing company leased cars its executives knew to be dangerous to drivers in Singapore.
- CJR’s Jackie Spinner has a nice profile of Chicago Tribune Standards Editor Margaret Holt, a woman who knows “more about errors than anyone in Western civilization.”
- Stephen Miller’s fiery appearance in the briefing room on Wednesday was highlighted by testy exchanges with The New York Times’s Glenn Thrush and CNN’s Jim Acosta. The Post’s Farhi examines whether the reporters went too far.