The media today: So much for the dog days of summer

“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.

 

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Pete Vernon is a CJR Delacorte Fellow. Follow him on Twitter @ByPeteVernon.