Sessions’ broad attack on leaks aimed at an audience of one: Trump

Politico reports: Dozens of reporters and a horde of photographers turned out for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ news conference Friday to announce a crackdown on leaks, but the most important target for his message wasn’t in the room: President Donald Trump.

Sessions’ eight-minute broadside against leaks and his stern warning to leakers seemed to be aimed at trying to repair his badly frayed relationship with Trump, who has expressed regret for selecting Sessions and who has specifically complained that he was doing too little to fight the tidal wave of leaks that have swamped the Trump White House.

“First, let me say that I strongly agree with the president and condemn in the strongest terms the staggering number of leaks undermining the ability of our government to protect our country,” Sessions declared. “We are taking a stand. This culture of leaking must stop. … Cases will be made and leakers will be held accountable.”

If Sessions’ desire to address the leaks of most concern to Trump wasn’t sufficiently apparent, the attorney general offered unsolicited outrage toward the leak that roiled the West Wing this week: the publication of transcripts of Trump’s confidential conversations with Mexico’s president and Australia’s prime minister earlier this year.

“Just yesterday, we saw media reports about conversations the president had with foreign leaders,” Sessions said. “No one is entitled to surreptitiously fight to advance battles in the media by revealing sensitive government information.”

Even Sessions’ thinly veiled threat toward the press seemed intended to curry favor with the occupant of the Oval Office, who regularly castigates the news media on Twitter over “FAKE NEWS.” [Continue reading…]

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