WASHINGTON — To the White House and its supporters, the big story in Washington isn’t the investigation into possible Trump campaign ties to Russia. It’s about leakers working to undermine the president.
“SABOTAGE,” read the subject line of emails sent out by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican Party, which pointed to “people within our own unelected bureaucracy that want to sabotage President Trump and our entire America First movement.” Trump tweeted Thursday that he’s facing “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”
The language reveals much about how Trump and his backers are explaining the seemingly never-ending blitz of bad news rocking the White House. As Democrats talk about possible obstruction of justice and dream of removing Trump from office, the president and his allies reject that he bears responsibility for his woes. They see a plot to undermine him at every turn, as evidenced by the anonymous sources disclosing the embarrassing and damaging information — some of it classified.
All administrations have to deal with leaks, from the release of the Pentagon Papers on Vietnam policy to Edward Snowden’s dump of national security files. But the scope and frequency experienced by the Trump White House is remarkable.
In addition to an endless stream of gossip and internal squabbling, news outlets have been privy to everything from details of draft documents to the president’s private phone conversations with foreign leaders. This week came reports that the president had shared highly classified information with Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting, revealed by those with knowledge of the conversation.
“This has all the markings of a coordinated, silent coup,” said Michael Caputo, who worke