Political insiders who subscribe to former New York Times and Politico reporter Mike Allen's morning e-mail newsletter -- Axios AM -- might realize it's not really a "newsletter." It's more like a "Talking Points Memo," and the talking points are reliably Democratic in tone. Allen's Friday edition previewed the Nunes memo release under the headline "1 Big Thing: The memo's price."
The team at Axios found anonymous White House aides who think the president is screwing up, who "recognize their could be a high cost" to Trump's decision to allow the memo's release, as they told Allen and Jonathan Swan. Smell the liberal bias (bolding from the original):
- Swan learned that the White House plans to dress up the decision by arguing that it's an action of "transparency."
- But this puts President Trump publicly crossways with both the intelligence community and the FBI — not a place you want to be.
- And then there's the lead-balloon factor: Swan scooped yesterday that many in the White House think the memo will be a dud — hardly delivering on the expectations that Fox's Sean Hannity and others on the right have whipped up with the online #ReleaseTheMemo frenzy.
- So with no slam dunk, there could also be a political cost.
- An administration source said last night: “Some back and forth on whether to actually do it. If it really is a dud and the memo really doesn’t say a hell of a lot, why would you risk pissing off [FBI Director Christopher] Wray?"
- That West Wing fear syncs with a claim by Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who said at an Axios event that the memo will be a letdown for the right — containing nothing that obviously invalidates the investigation or would cause anyone to get fired.
- And the policy price ... The Boston Globe front-pages: "The hot topic at congressional Republicans’ annual policy retreat ... is not infrastructure, immigration, or even tax cuts — it’s 'The Memo.'"
White House aides who support the president and think he's not screwing up didn't get a paragraph. Why confuse the Axios audience with an opposing view?
Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel questioned that don't-mess-with-the-FBI spin: "Having tried--and failed--to stop the memo on grounds of 'national security,' 'omissions,' and 'versions,' Ds/media are out with new reasons today. Now we are told 1) memo is a nothingburger that will backfire on WH, and 2) Trump would be unwise to mess with the FBI.The latter is particularly curious. IE, the FBI is not a rogue, unaccountable agency, but you better watch out or it might come after you."