The Wrong Leaks

Jeff Sessions just announced that he will redouble retriple his efforts to stop government leaks after pressure public humiliation by Donald Trump. That may probably won’t have an effect on the flow of harmful information about the Trump administration to the media, but that’s beside the point.

The leaks that the media should be really going after are ones about Trump’s business. For all of the media’s investigative prowess, no one has been able to create a score card detailing how much Trump is profiting from his presidency.

Sure, there have been articles exposing conflicts of interest. However, the detailed financial statements are missing. One would think that Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Economist, etc. would be able to put these together. They have the skills, but they are missing the data.

What they need are leakers. They know how to get people in government to talk – let’s see if they are any good at cultivating business people.

The fact that Trump is making millions or more off the presidency probably won’t bother his core supporters. But it could make a bunch of congressmen jealous and even more resentful of him.

The Art Of The Naked Deal

Donald Trump attributes his success in the business world to his prowess in deal making. He even wrote a book about it. Now that he is president, he has to cut lots of deals. There is one main difference though. The deals he cuts as president are much more visible than the ones he cut as a businessman.

Any time Trump – or any president – cuts a deal it is immediately dissected by the Washington establishment. Any possible flaw will be exposed. It doesn’t really matter if it was the best deal he could have gotten or if he is playing a long game in his negotiating strategy. Someone will find a good reason to criticize the deal.

For weeks after the deal is done, the media will continue to investigate it. More of the deal’s apparent flaws will be revealed. And the whole country will know about them.

This is not something Donald Trump is used to. It cannot be pleasant for him to have one of his key skills constantly questioned in the most public way, and all of his deals stripped bare.

At first, he will try to stop the leaks that are frustrating his ability to cut secret deals. He will retaliate against leakers and those in the press that publicize the leaks. Courts permitting, he may even try some very draconian retaliation.

But stopping leaks in Washington is a hopeless cause and the information will eventually get out. Will Trump’s deal-making reputation take a hit among his supporters or will he continue to be able to explain any flaws away?