The reeling Trump administration, hoping to stop the bleeding in the wake of Monday’s bombshell story in The Washington Post that reported Trump leaked classified intel to the Russians, responded to the damning news using clever wordplay.
The White House chose to wheel out the one figure in the Trump universe who is seen as having some shred of credibility, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who issued what could only be described as a non-denial denial.
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) May 15, 2017
“There’s nothing that the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people,” McMaster said, with a straight face, before continuing, “At no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed, and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”
McMaster called the story “false” and said he knows that because he was in the room.
The only problem with McMaster’s phony denial was that he was refuting something not even asserted by The Washington Post, as several reporters pointed out after his statement.
McMaster saying “sources and methods” is a red herring. Article doesnt say Trump revealed sources and methods to Russians.
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) May 15, 2017
McMaster statement fundamentally insufficient. WaPo reported POTUS revealed Intel from secret source, not that POTUS revealed the source
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) May 15, 2017
The fact that the administration rushed to respond to the Post‘s report indicates they know just how damaging it has the potential to be. But their attempt to use wordplay to provide cover isn’t fooling anyone.
If they really wanted the public to know what went on in Trump’s meeting with the Russians, they would have invited the American press into the room, not just the Russian media.