An Unfathomable Press Failure

Just before today's White House press briefing, the New York Times' published a report that two White House officials helped give House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes intelligence reports that revealed Donald Trump and his associates "were incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies."
The revelation that White House officials assisted in the disclosure of the intelligence reports — which Mr. Nunes then discussed with [Donald] Trump — is likely to fuel criticism that the intelligence chairman has been too eager to do the bidding of the Trump administration while his committee is supposed to be conducting an independent investigation of Russia’s meddling in the last presidential election.

...Several current American officials identified the White House officials as Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, a lawyer who works on national security issues at the White House Counsel's Office and formerly worked on the staff of the House Intelligence Committee.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment.
I'll bet they did. Naturally, questions about this report featured prominently during the daily press briefing. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer continually dodged answering those questions by repeatedly insisting that the White House isn't concerned with the "process" of the Russia investigations, but with the "substance" of them.

Leaving aside that the process became the substance once Nunes decided to run interference for the administration while they were being investigated, Spicer's contention that the White House cares about the substance of the investigations is itself evident garbage, given Trump's very public expressions of contempt for the investigations.

Further, Spicer asserted that Congressional investigations are the correct venue to determine whether Nunes' behavior, and the behavior of the two White House officials who assisted him, is a problem. (And, presumably, important enough for the White House to care about it.) He said this multiple times during the presser.

What he did not mention is that Nunes himself is the chair of the House committee doing the investigation!

Spicer stood at his podium and insisted that the best place to investigate Nunes is the committee which he chairs. And not a single member of the White House Press Corps questioned that glaring impropriety.

An incredible failure, truly. Please do better, press corps. Cripes.

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