At an off-camera briefing with Department of Justice officials after Attorney General Sessions announced a jihad against leaks yesterday, a reporter asked: "Longstanding DOJ policy is not to prosecute reporters. Are you willing to say today that you will not prosecute reporters for doing their job?"
Focusing on his audience of one, in the Oval Office, Sessions said: "We are taking a stand. This culture of leaking must stop. ... So, today, I have this message for the intelligence community: The Department of Justice is open for business. And I have this warning for would-be leakers: Don't do it."
This offensive, despite the appealing politics at first blush, is fraught with risk for Trump. With these investigations in the hands of career FBI agents, they can lead to unexpected places: You could wind up prosecuting a West Wing official, not some deep-state Obama holdover.
Be smart: Administration officials sound convinced that with their all-base-all-the-time strategy, the politics of this is great for them.
But as an Obama alumnus pointed out to Swan: Can you imagine President Obama saying that Eric Holder, his own attorney general, had taken a "very weak" stand and needed to be "much tougher" on something — and 10 days later, Holder announced just such a crackdown?
Stephen Miller, the Trump senior policy adviser who just tangled on-camera with CNN's Jim Acosta, is under consideration for White House communications director, top Trump sources tell me.
The effort to find a Mooch successor is still in the name-gathering process, and Miller is not the top contender, the sources said.
Miller is proudly hardline nationalist, and a favorite of the Trump faithful:
Many in the GOP establishment think Miller has been unpersuasive in his few trips to the TV cameras and the briefing room.
For Sunday papers ... "Dozens of convicts serving time in U.S. prisons for terrorism-related offenses are due to be released in the next several years," AP's Deb Riechmann writes:
From CNN's Brian Stelter in his "Reliable Sources" newsletter ... # of solo press conferences by presidents after 200 days in office (today is Trump Day 198):
P.S. Things Trump doesn't want to answer questions about ... N.Y. Times, top of col. 1, "Mueller Pursues Flynn Documents At White House": "Investigators ... asked the White House for documents related to the former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn, and have questioned witnesses about whether he was secretly paid by the Turkish government during the final months of the presidential campaign."
Automated phone polling by the rising GOP public-affairs firm Firehouse Strategies, along with the data analytics team at 0ptimus, finds Trump's base shrinking among likely midterm voters in the key swing states of Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio (2,901 interviews).
Partner Alex Conant tells me:
Amid an internally convulsive search for his replacement, Ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick "is looking to stay closely involved in strategic and operational decision-making," per a Financial Times front-pager by Leslie Hook in S.F. (subscription):
Once a month, as a weekend thought-starter, Axios checks in with the world's most interesting and influential people on their passions, quirks and life hacks.
Today's participant is former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, whose Bloomberg Philanthropies has the ambitious mission of ensuring "better, longer lives for the greatest number of people."
See Mayor Mike's "My 6 Big Things," including Spanish lessons, sleeping, tech — and his bucket list.