Jun 14, 2017

GOP senses pattern: Trump vents, then damaging leaks emerge

Andrew Harnik / AP

Republicans are seizing on a familiar — and for them, distressing — pattern: when President Trump applies unconventional or inappropriate pressure to "independent" public officials, his intervention is often followed by damaging leaks.

About an hour after the Washington Post broke the story Wednesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, I started hearing from Republicans who are starting to draw a straight line from Trump's undisciplined venting to damaging leaks.

Text message from a GOP operative close to the White House: "Leak was probably a response to stories about POTUS firing Mueller. Can't fire him now."

Why this matters: We don't know where the Post got their leak or what the motivations were behind it, but we do know why former FBI director James Comey leaked memos of his private conversations with the President. Comey said in his public testimony that when Trump tweeted about possibly having "tapes" of a critical conversation with Comey — the contents of which Trump disputes — the former FBI director felt it was urgent to get his contemporaneous accounts of the conversations into the public sphere. He thought it might lead to the appointment of a special counsel (which it did.)

Bottom line: Had Trump kept his mouth shut and his thumbs away from his iPhone, he'd be in a much safer space.

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Situational awareness

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  2. Trump misrepresents 2020 Russia briefing as Democratic "misinformation"
  3. Bernie Sanders takes aim at Bloomberg: "Trump will chew him up and spit him out"
  4. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone
  5. Scoop: Lyft acquires cartop advertising startup Halo Cars

Sanders takes aim at Bloomberg: "Trump will chew him up and spit him out"

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders told CBS "60 Minutes" that he was surprised by Mike Bloomberg's lackluster performance at Wednesday's Democratic debate.

What he's saying: "If that's what happened in a Democratic debate, you know, I think it's quite likely that Trump will chew him up and spit him out."

Scoop: Lyft acquires cartop advertising startup Halo Cars

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Lyft has acquired Halo Cars, a small startup that lets ride-hailing drivers earn money via ad displays mounted atop their cars. Lyft confirmed the deal but declined to share any details.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing companies are increasingly eyeing additional ways to generate revenue, and Lyft rival Uber has been quietly testing a partnership with New York-based Cargo that gives it a cut of the advertising revenue, as I previously reported.