Interesting exchange with Mike Allen this AM. The Washington Post’s Greg Miller has a new book coming out; “The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, And The Subversion of American Democracy.” In an article about the book, Miller declares: ““His odd relationship to Putin and the way he seems so subservient at times has an apprentice-like aspect to it as well.”
Kudos to Miller for actually saying what so many in the media imply: That the president is somehow controlled by Putin –works for Putin. That’s the innuendo, and its constant, low-level repetition is what is driving the country to distraction. I think it is an absurd assertion, and there is no public evidence of this, not a scintilla of evidence. But when I tweeted after the chat with Mike –“Does anyone really –really– believe this? That
@POTUS works for Putin?”– the estimable John Podhoretz replied “Have you been living under a rock? Millions of people believe this.”
Here’s the exchange with Mike Allen:
HH: Now let’s talk about the President. Let’s make a clean break here, because your first story at The Big Thing – Historic Trump Tell All. I was at a wedding in Oregon, so I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to this tweet, but I’ve been reading about it this morning. My question, Mike Allen, you know more, people in Washington, D.C., you talk to both sides, you do your reporting. Does any serious public official believe that the Russians control the President?
MA: I can’t speak for all serious officials. I think that it’s a pretty extreme thing for you to say, Hugh, and would caution you against making that declaration.
HH: I don’t believe it. But I wonder does anyone believe it?
MA: You are, Hugh. You are. You are introducing an idea that no one talks about, that people don’t believe, and you’re trying to like put that idea out there. And I would caution you about that.
HH: I am suggesting the innuendo in the media is that the President is controlled by the Russians. That, to me, is the clear innuendo of people who talk about collusion. I mean, explain how it isn’t.
MA: Hugh, no, like this is so it’s obvious what you’re doing, like you’re trying to, like set the bar. You’re trying to move the goalposts. You’re trying to distract from the facts that are out there to say something that no one’s saying. And it’s fine for you to do that, but I just want to be clear what you’re doing.
HH: I’m trying to actually cut through the innuendo and the noise to what drives the President crazy, is the idea that ‘kompromat’ is being used to control the President. And I think it’s absurd, and I think you think it’s absurd. And I think when people…
MA: You don’t think it’s absurd, Hugh, because you keep putting that idea out there that this an idea that you’re introducing, that you’re putting in people’s minds. And I would just caution your listeners to stick to facts, not to stick to…
HH: You know, but this is important, Mike. I believe the whole media narrative is designed to create a murmur about the President that he is a Manchurian president, that the Russians have kompromat, that he’s too easy on Vladimir Putin, and that he is somehow controlled by the Russians, that there were Russians involved in his campaign. And so when I hear yesterday all this talk about one tweet, he knew about the meeting, what are we supposed to draw from that if he knew about the meeting? What’s the innuendo, Mike?
MA: Well, all the things that you just said, all those phrases and terms that you used to describe, how about running those by your frequent guest, Senator Cotton. See if he agrees with all those characterizations that you just threw out there, put in people’s minds.
HH: I’m not following you, Mike, because I’m saying they don’t exist, but that the media is using innuendo to suggest to people that this president is compromised, and I think it’s absurd.
MA: All right, let’s talk about reality, and the reality is that the President yesterday in the tweet that you’re talking about made the point that this Trump Tower meeting was about political oppo, and this was something that all the president’s people had denied at first, and so this is a consequential change, a consequential admission. And what’s interesting about this, Hugh, is it makes it harder for the President’s attorneys to argue that he doesn’t know anything about this. Now he says in the tweets he didn’t know before, but if you’re a Trump lawyer, like you’re a good lawyer, Hugh, like you’ve never invited a client to go out and say this. A funny tweet from Michael Barbaro, New York Times’ The Daily, he said that this president just says things that could get out of another president would be a lot of work. So what’s interesting, Hugh, our beast, Mark, in Axios this morning, is the people close to the President think that he will wind up doing an interview with Mueller. They think that he wants to. He thinks he makes the best case for himself. And as one associate said to me, he just can’t help himself.
HH: And I think that that’s crazy for him to do. But I want to go back. Why is that tweet consequential? That’s what I’m driving at. I think it got so much play not because of what it said, but because everybody knew, everybody knows that that meeting was about opposition research. I mean, there isn’t anyone who follows this story doesn’t realize, who had read the Don, Jr. email trail that was put out, he met with the Russians because he thought they had dirt. It was an oppo dump collect. It turned out to be a false flag, a head fake. They wanted to try to get the Magnitsky Act repealed. Everybody knows that. So why is it consequential when the President states what everybody knows?
MA: Well, Hugh, if everybody knows that, that certainly is not what “everybody” was saying. You remind me of my mother when we’d say everybody’s going to Mexico for spring break, why can’t we go. Hugh, I think that if you look at statements that were made by the administration, if you look at the statements that were made by the President from day one, this is not what they said.
HH: All right. Let me try one more time. The Washington Post is publishing a book today by Greg Miller – The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy. That’s today. That goes to my first question. It is exactly what the media narrative is. Greg’s on Morning Joe right now. You can’t put out a book that says The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy and pretend that the left is not trying to suggest that the President is run by Russia.
MA: I will mark down this day as the day that Hugh Hewitt said that the Washington Post, like whatever they say, he agrees with, and that the Washington Post is his exhibit A.
HH: But I don’t agree with it. I just, I’m pointing out a concerted effort. I mean it’s truly mind-boggling that anyone would believe this, much less put out a book, The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy. Do you believe he’s subverting American democracy?
MA: Hugh, I’m here to report. I’m not here to engage in your fantasies. Let’s report about something else, a fascinating report that Jonathan Swan had yesterday in his Sneak Peek. He calls it the Tivo President. We knew, Hugh, that on the campaign plane, the President used to enjoy watching videos of his rally, TV of his rally as he was flying home from them. So a great scoop by Axios is that the President in his dining room next to the Oval Office now has a Tivo preloaded with his favorite moments of himself at rallies and so the President can tee up and entertain visitors with his own personal highlights. And he does it like an NFL coach looking at game film. He’ll say wait for it before a big moment, wait for it, or he’ll say you see what I’m doing here. So it’s a way for the President to, as Swan put it with the perfect word, luxuriate in what he sees as his best Trump.
HH: We see what the Post is doing there. Mike Allen, thank you from Axios AM.
End of interview.