Friday, September 9, 2016

Chris Christie the Voice of Reason?

We seem to have the background on Trump's strange talk about 'body language' when he received his intel briefings. He seems to be talking about the 'body language' of General Michael Flynn. It got so bad Chris Christie-of all people-had to shush him.

Trump's intel briefing seemed to go as well as his meeting with the Mexican President; this week the finance minister who set up the meeting was forced to resign.

"As U.S. officials cast doubt on Donald Trump's claim he read the "body language" of intelligence officials at a recent briefing, NBC News has learned exclusive details of what unfolded in the room — and of reported tension between one of Trump's advisers and the briefers."

"Six current and former senior officials said they were aware of friction between retired Gen. Michael Flynn, one of the advisers Trump brought to the briefing, and the officials who conducted the briefing. Four sources with knowledge of the briefing — including two intelligence officials who spoke to people in the room — said Flynn repeatedly interrupted the briefers until New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie intervened."

"Both Christie and Flynn denied the officials' version of events, with Flynn calling the report "total b__s___" and Christie calling it "a complete work of fiction."

"The Aug. 17 briefing is attracting fresh scrutiny after Trump said at NBC's Commander-in-Chief Forum that he divined that intelligence officials were "not happy" with President Obama.

"What I did learn," Trump said, "is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow ... what our experts said to do ... And I was very, very surprised.

"I could tell — I'm pretty good with body language — I could tell they were not happy."

"Timothy Barrett, a spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence, declined to comment Thursday on Trump's characterization."

"However, a U.S. official pointed out that intelligence officers don't give policy advice, so it would be inaccurate to say that Obama failed to follow the advice of the intelligence community. A second U.S. official said analysts are trained not to allow their body language to betray their thinking."

But you know, Trump hires only the best people.

"Meanwhile, four people with knowledge of the matter told NBC News that one of the advisers Trump brought to the briefing, retired general Mike Flynn, repeatedly interrupted the briefing with pointed questions."

"Two sources said Christie, the New Jersey governor and Trump adviser, verbally restrained Flynn -- one saying Christie told Flynn to shut up, the other reporting he said, "Calm down." Two other sources said Christie touched Flynn's arm in an effort get him to calm down and let the officials continue."

"Christie denied that he had silenced or restrained Flynn. "The comments and actions attributed to me in this story about General Flynn are categorically untrue. I did not make the statements alleged nor did I touch General Flynn's arm for any reason during the briefing. The report is a complete work of fiction."

Flynn told NBC News the report was "total b__s___" and added, "These are anonymous sources. They're lying."

So now not only is Trump claiming to know more than our generals-and is promising to purge their ranks so as to fill up on political appointees-but that they are liars.

Meanwhile Chuck Todd and Mark Halperin talk about how both candidates had equally bad nights on Tuesday.

As Brad Delong often puts it 'Why, oh, why can't we have a better press corps?'

Let's hope some journalists read this good piece by Charles Blow calling out the appalling false equivalence of this campaign.

"This is not an honest man. This is not a trustworthy man. The fact that people believe he’s honest is a result of a failed media that aims its sincerest critique at Clinton’s deficiencies with the truth, but applies an entertainment standard to Trump that corrects falsehoods but doesn’t castigate him for them."

"There is no reasonable explanation or salable excuse for the media’s behavior this presidential cycle. History will look back at this period and it will not be kind to the Fourth Estate. We will all have to one day ask ourselves, “Where was I on Trump and the truth?” Far too many of us will be found wanting."

In other news: Trump attacks US foreign policy and the press on state Kremlin tv.

The media might want to think about this now and not after their stilted coverage gives us a President Trump. Then they will want to talk about his attack on press freedom.

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