Sunday, January 28, 2018

Forensic reading

Went back and reread last week's NY Times piece where it alleged Trump "ordered" Mueller be fired.

WASHINGTON — President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive.  
The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel. Mr. Mueller learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials in his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice. 
I've added italics for emphasis.

First graph tells me no one with direct knowledge of the events spoke with the Times, the Times sources are hearsay. It's therefore possible all four sources get their version of events from the same source.

Second paragraph tells me those NY Times sources are probably leaking from within the Mueller team, not the White House. The Mueller team might have motive to spin the facts against Trump, seeking public leverage against him, especially in light of how disclosures of FBI impropriety have taken a toll on the investigation's image.

Second paragraph is written to advance the notion this is "new information", but at the same time, the lead says the events reported happened seven months ago. Suggests to me those disclosing to the times only recently came by way of their information.

There are those in media who say the Times story has been vindicated because other media has matched the Times' reporting.

Not quite. For example, when Ed Henry at Fox News put out a story based on his own source, that Trump wanted Mueller fired, he included a caveat:
The source could neither confirm nor deny a New York Times report that Trump ordered Mueller's dismissal, but backed down...
Seems to me, there's a pretty big difference between wanting something or discussing something, and issuing a order to have it done.

And it still all amounts to smoke and mirrors. Mueller wasn't fired. And if anything close to what the NY Times describes actually happened, it clearly was pulled and the notion abandoned before getting beyond the most limited White House circles.

Only after the events became known to Mueller's team did the story find its way the NY Times. Coincidence?

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