Beware the leaks and spin ahead of next week's IG report

Things are reaching a boil in our nation's capitol as Democrats move towards impeachment of President Trump and the Department of Justice Inspector General readies his final report on the FBI investigation into Trump's campaign.

My standard caveat applies here: virtually everyone is trying to spin us.

So, let's start with the story that was spoon fed to the Daily Beast via the Trump-hating, red-diaper-baby contributing writer named Molly Jong-Fast. Former DOJ lawyer Lisa Page sat for an interview, we are told, because she was so mad to hear President Trump mock her at an October rally.

Specifically, in this way:

I'm sorry, but I find it hard to believe that Page decided to come forward for her hagiography because of this Presidential performance... from a month prior.

"I asked her why she was willing to talk now. “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she says. The president called out her name as he acted out an orgasm in front of thousands of people at a Minneapolis rally on Oct. 11.

Wait! What?!

THAT'S what she thinks Trump was pretending to do?

Don't get me wrong, Trump is definitely conjuring an amorous, swooning exchange. But I took it as a more generalized Romeo-and-Juliet-I-can't-live-without-you kind of an impression. Trump gets a big laugh from the crowd when he does his first impression, "She's going to win, Peter! Oh, I love you so much!"

He knows he hit a crowd-pleaser, so he runs with it.

But, hey... maybe he was doing some orgasm joke. I don't know what was in the man's mind.

Regardless, I still don't buy the notion that it took Page a month to decide that she was so mad about it that she was going to "break her silence."

I suspect it has more to do with the impending release of the IG report:

She is also about to be back in the news cycle in a big way. On Dec. 9, the Justice Department inspector general report into Trump’s charges that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign will come out. Leaked press accounts indicate the report will exonerate Page of the allegation that she acted unprofessionally or showed bias against Trump.
How does it feel after all this time to finally have the IG apparently affirm what she’s been saying all along? She said she wouldn’t discuss the findings until they were officially public, but she did note: “While it would be nice to have the IG confirm publicly that my personal opinions had absolutely no bearing on the course of the Russia investigations, I don’t kid myself that the fact will matter very much for a lot of people. The president has a very loud megaphone.”

Which brings me to my next point: I don't trust any of the leaks.

It's pretty noticeable that all of the leaks tend towards one direction: exoneration of the people who targeted the Trump campaign. The reason to leak ahead of the report is to help harden a narrative, so media people approach their first reading with a calcified impression of what is true.

Here's Sen. Lindsey Graham warning about exactly this kind of pre-release operation:

Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, responded to that report in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, warning that the findings in the watchdog investigation into alleged surveillance abuses against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page are being minimized by the media outlets getting the leaks.
"Be wary of the Washington Post and the New York Times reporting on what is coming up with Horowitz. They have been trying overtime to spin this thing to diminish its effect, to downplay it," the South Carolina Republican said.

So, let's be wary of the spin and the leaks this week, while we await the publication of the report next week - and we learn what it actually says.

Finally, here is former congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who said he doesn't need to hear any more attempts by Lisa Page to provide "context" for her text messages. Because the context is self-evident.

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