On NPR, NR's Reihan Salam Says Democrats See Russia Obsession as Losing Political Steam

On Friday night's All Things Considered, NPR anchor Ari Shapiro broke out the euphemisms for the FBI sending a spy (or an "informant") into the Trump campaign....just to spy on the Russians. He called it "an FBI source who met with Trump campaign officials early in the Russia investigation." Reihan Salam of National Review, not exactly a Trump booster, said the ground is shifting under the Democrats' feet on Russia-gate: 

SHAPIRO: And, Reihan, this narrative is interesting because a lot of Democrats see the FBI as having thrown the campaign to President Trump...So, Reihan, how do you interpret President Trump's attacks on the FBI that Democrats had been attacking not long ago?

SALAM: Well, what we know is that President Trump is a very impetuous figure. He often reacts emotively, immediately, rashly to criticisms and what have you. But what I'm struck by is this -- there are a number of Democrats who now believe that this relentless focus on the Mueller investigation, on the possibility of collusion with Russia, et cetera, is actually far less advantageous for Democrats than a focus on bread-and-butter issues -- on the state of the economy, on wage growth, on the prospects for health care and what have you.

And I must say, when you're looking at the fact that in the generic ballot House Democrats seem to be doing somewhat worse than they had been months earlier, it doesn't seem ridiculous to me. So perhaps President Trump is trying to bait his opponents into focusing on this story rather than on other stories that might prove more damaging for Republican political prospects. It's really hard to say.

SHAPIRO: Do you think he's that canny?

SALAM: Well, I think that he is very shrewd about creating media firestorms and about driving the news cycle. So in that sense, I think...

SHAPIRO: Kimberly, you're nodding your head yes.

SALAM: ...That he's pretty shrewd.

KIMBERLY ATKINS, Boston Herald: Yeah. He can read polls. And he's saying that people are losing faith in the Mueller investigation. And he's pushing that forward.

Meanwhile, over at the PBS NewsHour, liberal analyst Mark Shields called the spying-on-Trump facts a "total fabrication" and complained Trump "has moved Republicans on the FBI, Republican voters were far more favorable toward the FBI before he started his harangue and his canard...But I don’t think he’s moved public opinion. I really don’t." Shields is ignoring the CBS News poll (where a majority now see the Mueller probe as politically motivated)....just like CBS News tried to ignore it. 

Naturally, David Brooks signed up with the liberal analysis that this story is somehow fictional:  "The problem is, Daniel Boorstin wrote a book in 1962 saying you can’t beat a pseudo-story with a fact. We have facts. No, this didn’t happen. He has got a story. And somehow we’re stuck in this, where his story trumps our facts."

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