Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued what may be the most bizarre statement many reporters have ever seen.
What an odd statement – that feels consistent with the White House's recent war on leaks pic.twitter.com/Ci1CZ3uE7I
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) June 16, 2017
The statement reads:
Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials,’ particularly when they do not identify the country — let alone the branch or agency of government — with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated. Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations.
On first glance, this seems to be about leaks. But between the lines, it gives President Trump lots of wiggle room to make his own “anonymous” leaks to reporters through himself or White House sources. The DOJ just gave a hall pass for them to say whatever they want, names withheld.
Were I in the main stream media I’d see this as a pre-emptive move ordered by Trump himself. Maggie Haberman of the New York Times tweeted that she’d never seen anything like this.
Have literally never seen a statement like this https://t.co/94zbnIqsVc
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 16, 2017
Look at the language used: “officials” in scare-quotes, “alleged sources,” “supposedly are affiliated,” and “Americans should be skeptical.” Rosenstein used weasel-words to at the same time acknowledge that some anonymous sources may be real, while cautioning that many are real people saying false things.
It could be a warning: that the White House is about to extrude a tube of lies, false flags, and deceptive stories to deflect news from the real investigation. These might include so-called bombshells for the press to report only to have Trump show them to be false.
Other administrations have taken spin to the maximum, but never in the plain, open warfare executed by Trump’s White House. It’s truly unprecedented.