Monday, June 29, 2020

NYT Book Review: Sentence them to the galleys!

Right, "Intel" gave him a call 10:30 Sunday night after leaving him hanging for 48 hours. "Hi, Mr. President, Intel here, we got a line on that report that we've been collecting evidence going back to January that GRU has been paying Afghan militants to kill NATO troops since 2018, and it turns out when we had that emergency National Security Council meeting on the subject last March, as reported in The Times, WaPo, and Wall Street Journal, among other places, we apparently decided the evidence wasn't credible, so we didn't want to bother you. We suspect the New York Times Book Review of fabricating the whole thing."

With their field critics in Helmand, who planted the story with the militants ("Just tell the interrogators Russians were paying you, and in turn we'll get you lunch with an agent to pitch your manuscript"). No, the @nytimesbooks bit must be a bizarre Autocorrect. But in general he's once again gotten out ahead of where the cleanup crew can follow him, simultaneously acknowledging that the reports exist, "based at least in part on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals", and claiming that The Times made them up.

And in other cheap shots:

And the deleted White Power tweet rescued from oblivion:

My unpopular opinion on this, by the way, is that Trump really didn't have much of anything to do with it—I think it's deputy communications director Dan Scavino, who has a history of sneaking the appalling into the president's feed, as David Graham was telling us back in April 2017:

It’s highly unlikely that Trump himself is searching out this material, since he doesn’t use a computer. The more likely culprit is Dan Scavino, Trump’s social-media director, whom the Office of Special Counsel last month deemed to have violated the Hatch Act by assailing Republican Representative Justin Amash. Warzel noted, for example, that Scavino tweeted the Schumer-Putin pic before the president’s account did.

But that doesn’t get Trump off the hook: The tweets appear under his name, the buck stops with him, and he has gleefully taken responsibility. (“My use of social media is not Presidential - it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL.”)

It's been particularly important to him to hide how computer-illiterate and not in control of his Twitter account he is, and practically everybody has indeed forgotten; so he can't get out of this one without sounding stupid even to himself, so he could only have Scavino delete the thing while he himself was out with Lindsey-Woolsey Graham on the golf course (after lying that he was canceling his weekend golf to "make sure LAW & ORDER is enforced") and get his henchmen to issue the denial:

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere claimed that Trump had not heard the man screaming “white power” at the start of the video he tweeted.

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