Showing posts with label Trump despot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trump despot. Show all posts

December 27, 2018

Trumps' Lies Upon Lies is Disgraceful For the Legacies of Washington, Lincoln

It is hard to imagine that there is a line from George Washington to Donald Trump, that we could have so squandered the legacies of past generations.

By David Rothkopf
A corrupt and fraudulent family foundation. Hush money to mistresses to help swing an election — felony violations of campaign finance laws. Seeking and embracing the help of an enemy to win an election. Repeatedly obstructing justice to cover up those crimes.
Selling out American interests to patrons overseas. Profiting from the presidency. Helping foreign murderers cover up the murder of an American permanent resident. Attacking our allies. Destroying the international architecture that has been the foundation of our strength.
Lying to or misleading the American people on average 10 times a day. Celebrating Nazis as very fine people. Building detention camps for children on our borders. Racist policies that turn away good people from our shores. Serial misogyny. Upwards of 20 allegations of sexual harassment.
At least one accusation of rape from an underage minor. A massive, decades-long record of income tax fraudSeventeen investigations into his activities. Virtually every major organization he has run for two decades under investigation. 
An international record of celebrating despots and autocrats and kleptocrats and brutal totalitarians and enemies. Unprecedented isolation from America's friends and a repeated record of insults of them and international rejection of him as a trusted leader.
Attacking America's law enforcement institutions. Attacking America's intelligence institutions. Collaborating with fellow travelers in Congress to circumvent the laws and to undermine decades and decades of regulation. Irreversible damage was done to the environment.
A campaign to take health care away from the neediest Americans. A systematic effort to deport productive contributors to our society who have lived and worked here for decades. Hypocrisy. Vulgarity. Deceit. Mounting evidence of criminal behavior. Serial violation of his oath of office. Serial betrayal of his country.
This is our president. This is the heir to Washington and Lincoln. He stole the office with the aid of our enemies, and he has done grievous damage to this country ever since.
Sometimes I walk through Alexandria, Virginia, where I live, past the places Washington walked, and I have to admit it, it makes me physically ill. It is hard to imagine that there is a line from George Washington to Donald Trump, that we could have so squandered the legacies of past generations.

What would Washington and Lincoln say about Trump?  

Read this list of wrongs and crimes and missteps and compound it with the ignorance and the incompetence and the absence of principles and the deficiency of character of this man. Think how each and any of them might have disqualified past leaders.
Think how you wouldn't allow such a man into your home or contact with your children and then of the power and prestige he has been given, the precious gifts of heritage that have been placed in his hands.
It is easy to grow numb to this. It is possible to become distracted by rage. But remember what is at stake, we must focus on undoing this great wrong that took place in 2016 and seeking justice for the crimes that contributed to that and have unfolded since.
Imagine what Washington or Lincoln would say were they to see this. Worse still, imagine what our grandchildren and generations to come will say. This is the history we bequeath to them. Let it, in the end, be an affirmation of our institutions and our ability to repel the danger.
Let it, in the end, be worthy of the best of the legacy that came before. We're an imperfect society, but we should not elevate the worst among us as we have done with this man Trump and the corrupt crowd of enablers surrounding him.
David Rothkopf is CEO of the Rothkopf Group and host of Deep State Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @djrothkopf. This column was adapted from a Twitter thread.  

November 13, 2018

CNN Brings Suit Against Trump and Top WH House Aides For Barring Jim Acosta

CNN has filed a lawsuit against President Trump and several of his aides, seeking the immediate restoration of chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta's access to the White House.
The lawsuit is a response to the White House's suspension of Acosta's press pass, known as a Secret Service "hard pass," last week. The suit alleges that Acosta and CNN's First and Fifth Amendment rights are being violated by the ban.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning.
Both CNN and Acosta are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. There are six defendants: Trump, chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Sanders, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, Secret Service director Randolph Alles, and the Secret Service officer who took Acosta's hard pass away last Wednesday.
    The six defendants are all named because of their roles in enforcing and announcing Acosta's suspension. 
    Sanders responded to the suit by saying that CNN is "grandstanding" by suing. She said the administration will "vigorously defend" itself.
    Last Wednesday, shortly after Acosta was denied entry to the White House grounds, Sanders defended the unprecedented step by claiming that he had behaved inappropriately at a presidential news conference. CNN and numerous journalism advocacy groups rejected that assertion and said his past should be reinstated.
    On Friday, CNN sent a letter to the White House formally requesting the immediate reinstatement of Acosta's pass and warning of a possible lawsuit, the network confirmed.
    In a statement on Tuesday morning, CNN said it is seeking a preliminary injunction as soon as possible so that Acosta can return to the White House right away, and a ruling from the court preventing the White House from revoking Acosta's pass in the future.
    "CNN filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration this morning in DC District Court," the statement read. "It demands the return of the White House credentials of CNN's Chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta's First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process. We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process."
    The White House Correspondents' Association said it "strongly supports CNN's goal of seeing their correspondent regain a US Secret Service security credential that the White House should not have taken away in the first place."
    CNN also asserted that other news organizations could have been targeted by the Trump administration this way, and could be in the future.
    "While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone," the network said. "If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials."
    CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker reiterated that in an internal memo to staff. "This is not a step we have taken lightly. But the White House action is unprecedented," Zucker said.
    During his presidential campaign, Trump told CNN that, if elected, he would not kick reporters out of the White House. But since moving into the White House, he has mused privately about taking away credentials, CNN reported earlier this year. He brought it up publicly on Twitter in May, tweeting "take away credentials?" as a question.
    And he said it again on Friday, two days after blacklisting Acosta. "It could be others also," he said, suggesting he may strip press passes from other reporters. Unprompted, he then named and insulted April Ryan, a CNN analyst, and veteran radio correspondent.
    Trump's threats fly in the face of decades of tradition and precedent. Republican and Democratic administrations alike have had a permissive approach toward press passes, erring on the side of greater access, even for obscure, partisan or fringe outlets.
    That is one of the reasons why First Amendment attorneys say CNN and Acosta have a strong case.
    As the prospect of a lawsuit loomed on Sunday, attorney Floyd Abrams, one of the country's most respected First Amendment lawyers, said the relevant precedent is a 1977 ruling in favor of Robert Sherrill, a muckraking journalist who was denied access to the White House in 1966.
    Eleven years later, a D.C. Court of Appeals judge ruled that the Secret Service had to establish "narrow and specific" standards for judging applicants. In practice, the key question is whether the applicant would pose a threat to the president.
    The code of federal regulations states that "in granting or denying a request for a security clearance made in response to an application for a White House press pass, officials of the Secret Service will be guided solely by the principle of whether the applicant presents a potential source of physical danger to the President and/or the family of the President so serious as to justify his or her exclusion from White House press privileges."
    There are other guidelines as well. Abrams said the case law specifies that before a press pass is denied, "you have to have notice, you have to have a chance to respond, and you have to have a written opinion by the White House as to what it's doing and why, so the courts can examine it."
    "We've had none of those things here," Abrams said.
    That's why the lawsuit is alleging a violation of the Fifth Amendment right to due process.
    Acosta found out about his suspension when he walked up to the northwest gate of the White House, as usual, for a Wednesday night live shot. He was abruptly told to turn in his "hard pass," which speeds up entry and exit from the grounds.
    "I was just told to do it," the Secret Service officer said.
    Other CNN reporters and producers continue to work from the White House grounds, but not Acosta.
    "Relevant precedent says that a journalist has a First Amendment right of access to places closed to the public but open generally to the press. That includes press rooms and news conferences," Jonathan Peters, a media law professor at the University of Georgia, told CNN last week. "In those places, if access is generally inclusive of the press, then access can't be denied arbitrarily or absent compelling reasons. And the reasons that the White House gave were wholly unconvincing and uncompelling."
    The White House accused Acosta of placing his hands on an intern who was trying to take a microphone away from him during a press conference. Sanders shared a distorted video clip of the press conference as evidence. The White House's rationale has been widely mocked and dismissed by journalists across the political spectrum as an excuse to blacklist an aggressive reporter. And Trump himself has cast doubt on the rationale: He said on Friday that Acosta was "not nice to that young woman," but then he said, "I don't hold him for that because it wasn't over, you know, horrible."
    Acosta has continued to do part of his job, contacting sources and filing stories, but he has been unable to attend White House events or ask questions in person -- a basic part of any White House correspondent's role.
    Acosta is on a previously scheduled vacation this week. He declined to comment on the lawsuit.
    On CNN's side, CNN Worldwide chief counsel David Vigilante is joined by two prominent attorneys, Ted Boutrous and Theodore Olson. Both men are partners at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
    Last week, before he was retained by CNN, Boutrous tweeted that the action against Acosta "clearly violates the First Amendment." He cited the Sherrill case.
    "This sort of angry, irrational, false, arbitrary, capricious content-based discrimination regarding a White House press credential against a journalist quite clearly violates the First Amendment," he wrote.
    David McCraw, the top newsroom lawyer at The New York Times, said instances of news organizations suing a president are extremely rare.
    Past examples are The New York Times v. the U.S., the famous Supreme Court case involving the Pentagon Papers in 1971; and CNN's 1981 case against the White House and the broadcast networks, when CNN sued to be included in the White House press pool.
    The backdrop to this new suit, of course, is Trump's antipathy for CNN and other news outlets. He regularly derides reporters from CNN and the network as a whole.
    Abrams posited on "Reliable Sources" on Sunday that CNN might be reluctant to sue because the president already likes to portray the network as his enemy. Now there will be a legal case titled CNN Inc. versus President Trump.
    But, Abrams said, "this is going to happen again," meaning other reporters may be banned too.
      "Whether it's CNN suing or the next company suing, someone's going to have to bring a lawsuit," he said, "and whoever does is going to win unless there's some sort of reason."

      October 4, 2018

      Trump and The Self Made Sham- A Life Full of Lies

      If you missed this posting from the New York Times I would like you not to miss it because it should open the eyes to some who did not see behind his mind and did not understood that even with out the miles of paperwork so many knew he has been a fraud but willing to accept a fraud  so they could a man wiht a drinking problem, temperement as judge problem and abuser of women problem., a life time judge because they hate What? Sin? Commit a sin to save you from sin...nope it doesnt work that way. May be is time we get 4 or 5 bad men from the political life of this country. 🦊Adam

      “I built what I built myself.”

      This boast has long been at the core of the mythology of Donald Trump, Self-Made Billionaire. As the oft-told story goes, young Mr. Trump accepted a modest $1 million loan from his father, Fred, a moderately successful real estate developer from Queens, and — through smarts, hard work and sheer force of will — parlayed that loan into a multibillion-dollar global empire.

      It’s a classic American tale of ambition and self-determination. Not Horatio Alger, exactly, but appealing, and impressive, nonetheless.

      Except that, like so much of what Mr. Trump has been selling the American public in recent years, this origin story was a sham — a version of reality so elaborately embellished that it qualifies as fan fiction more than biography. Also, as we’ve come to expect from Mr. Trump, the creation of this myth involved a big dose of ethically sketchy, possibly even illegal activity.

      As an in-depth investigation by The Times has revealed, Mr. Trump is only self-made if you don’t count the massive financial rewards he received from his father’s business beginning as a toddler. (By age 3, little Donald was reportedly pulling in an annual income of what today would be $200,000 a year.) These benefits included not only the usual perks of hailing from a rich, well-connected family — the connections, the access to credit, the built-in safety net. For the Trumps, it also involved direct cash gifts and tens of millions in “loans” that never charged interest or had to be repaid. Fred Trump even purchased several properties and business ventures, putting ownership either fully or partly in the names of his children, who reaped the profits.

      As Donald Trump emerged as the favorite son, Fred made special deals and arrangements to increase Donald’s fortunes in particular. The Times found that, before Donald had turned 30, he had received close to $9 million from his father. Over the longer haul, he received upward of what, in today’s dollars, would be $413 million.

      Along the way, it seems that certain liberties were taken with tax laws. The Times found that concocting elaborate schemes to avoid paying taxes on their father’s estate, including greatly understating the value of the family business, became an important pastime for Fred’s children, with Donald taking an active role in the effort. According to tax experts, the activities in question show a pattern of deception, a deliberate muddying of the financial waters. Asked for comment on The Times’s findings, a lawyer for the president provided a written statement denying any wrongdoing and asserting that, in fact, Mr. Trump had little to do with the dizzying transactions involving his family’s wealth.

      Everyone can understand the impulse to polish one’s background in order to make a good impression. For Mr. Trump, whose entire life has been about branding and selling a certain type of gaudy glamour, this image-polishing has been all the more vital to his success. And he has pursued it with a shameless, at times giddy, abandon.

      Veterans of New York news media still laugh to recall how Mr. Trump would call them up, pretending to be a publicist named John Barron, or sometimes John Miller, in order to regale them with tales of Mr. Trump’s glamorous personal life — how many models he was dating, which actresses were pursuing him, which celebrities he was hanging out with. As gross and tacky and bizarre as this all seemed, it was aimed squarely at fostering the image of Donald Trump as a master of the universe who, as the cliché goes, women wanted and men wanted to be.

      This mythos was burnished and expanded by Mr. Trump’s years on “The Apprentice,” where he played the role of an all-powerful, all-knowing business god who could make or break the fortunes of those who clamored for his favor. Occasionally he could be harsh or even insulting, but it was always in the context of delivering the tough love that the contestants so needed to hear. And who was more qualified to deliver those lessons than Donald Trump? As with all reality TV, it was total bunk. But it promoted precisely the golden image that Mr. Trump — with a multimillion-dollar assist from his father — had carefully cultivated for his entire life.

      With this glimpse into the inner workings of the Trump family finances, some of the grimier, ethically suspect aspects of Mr. Trump’s mythmaking begin to emerge — and with them, many questions about all that we still do not know about the man and his business empire. Seeing as how that empire and his role in building it are so central to who Mr. Trump claims to be — the defining feature of his heroic narrative — the American public has a right to some answers. For starters, now would be an excellent time for Mr. Trump to hand over those tax returns on which he has thus far kept a death grip.

      In his 1987 memoir “The Art of the Deal,” Mr. Trump famously offered his take on the origins of his success: “I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”

      But increasingly, Mr. Trump’s willingness to bend the truth — and the rules — in the service of his myth looks less like innocent exaggeration than malicious deception, with a dollop of corruption tossed in for good measure. It’s not the golden, glittering success story he has been peddling. It’s shaping up to be something far darker. 

      Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTOpinion).

      September 26, 2018

      If Rod Bernstein Goes The Russia Probe Could Be in Jeopardy. Showdown Thursday

      Rod Rosenstein, the US deputy attorney general, is set for crunch talks with Donald Trump on Thursday, amid doubts over his future in the job.
      The two already spoke on Monday to discuss reports that Mr Rosenstein had talked last year about ousting the president and secretly taping him.
      Mr Rosenstein oversees the inquiry into alleged collusion by the Trump team with Russia during the 2016 election.
      The president said Thursday's meeting would be "determining what's going on".
      "We want to have transparency, we want to have openness and I look forward to meeting with Rod at that time," he added, speaking in New York where he is attending the annual UN General Assembly. 
      White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein seen after meetingImage copyright
      Image captionChief of Staff John Kelly (left) and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (right) had a previously scheduled meeting at the White House on Monday

      What happened on Monday?

      America's second most senior law official was summoned to the White House on Monday amid a report that he had verbally resigned to the president's chief of staff in the expectation that he was going to be fired.
      But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said afterwards: "At the request of the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories.
      "Because the President is at the United Nations General Assembly and has a full schedule with leaders from around the world, they will meet on Thursday when the President returns to Washington DC."
      Monday's meeting between Chief of Staff John Kelly and Mr Rosenstein had been previously scheduled, US media later reported.

      What happens if Rosenstein leaves?

      If Mr Rosenstein did lose his job, another Department of Justice official, the solicitor general, would be in line to take over supervision of the Russia investigation.
      Mr Rosenstein assumed oversight of the inquiry after his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, recused himself when it emerged he had been in contact with Russia's ambassador to Washington while serving as a Trump campaign adviser.
      The furore around Mr Rosenstein's position comes as mid-term elections are looming on 6 November, when the president's party will try to keep control of the US Congress. 
      What did the report on Rosenstein say?
      Mr Rosenstein and Mr Trump are believed to have discussed Friday's report in the New York Times that the deputy attorney general had discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke a US constitutional clause that provides for the removal of a president if deemed unfit for office. 
      According to the newspaper, Mr Rosenstein had also suggested surreptitiously recording the president in order to expose the chaos in the White House.
      He denied the claims, and a Department of Justice spokesperson told the BBC the secret recording remark was just a joke.
      The deputy attorney general was said to have made the comments after Mr Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. 
      Without Rosenstein, Russia inquiry in doubt
      Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC Washington
      If Rod Rosenstein goes, by resignation or firing, the future of Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation would be very much in doubt. 
      Mr Rosenstein is the reason there is a special counsel investigation, and he has given Mr Mueller a wide mandate to pursue that inquiry wherever it may lead. 
      It has resulted, for instance, in the successful prosecution of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and a plea deal from Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen - both for activities tangential to the Russia probe.
      A different person in charge might have nipped those moves in the bud.
      Whoever took over if Mr Rosenstein departed - at the moment, Solicitor General Noel Francisco - could decide to curtail the scope of the investigation or push for a speedy resolution. 
      At the very least, Mr Francisco would assume the oversight duties knowing full well the president is watching very closely and has no hesitation going on the attack - even against members of his own administration - if he feels in any way slighted or wronged.
      As Mr Rosenstein will surely attest, it is an unenviable position. 

      From left: Mr Rosenstein, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Mr McCabeImage copyright

      Image captionFrom left: Mr Rosenstein, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Mr McCabe

      What's the reaction?

      Mr Trump said over the weekend he had not made up his mind whether to fire the deputy attorney general in the wake of the New York Times report.
      "We will make a determination," the Republican president told Fox News in the radio interview, which aired on Monday. "It's certainly a very sad story.
      "I haven't gotten all the facts, but certainly it's being looked at in terms of what took place - If anything took place." 
      Sean Hannity, a Fox News host and friend of Mr Trump, has urged him to not fire Mr Rosenstein, warning he would fall into a trap laid by his political enemies.
      Mr Trump has repeatedly referred to the special counsel's Russia investigation as a political witch hunt.
      Andrew McCabe, the former acting director of the FBI who was fired by Mr Trump in March, said on Monday that he was "deeply concerned" about rumours of Mr Rosenstein's departure as it would put the Russia investigation "at risk".

      September 22, 2018

      Trump Takes The Gloves Off His Little Hands and Goes After The Victim! He could Not Wait Any longer

      President Trump on Friday questioned the credibility of the woman who has said Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were both teenagers. The president said that if the attack “was as bad as she says,” it would have been reported to the authorities.
      Attacking the woman, Christine Blasey Ford, directly for the first time after days of atypical restraint, the president challenged her to produce contemporaneous law enforcement reports “so that we can learn date, time, and place!”

       Dr. Blasey, who was around 15 at the time of the alleged assault, has said publicly that she did not report the episode to the authorities, and that she does not recall exactly when it took place. Many women are reluctant to come forward and report sexual assaults, in part because they fear they will not be believed.

      In taking to Twitter, Mr. Trump did what his aides had feared for a week: He questioned, before hearing a full account, the veracity of a woman who had alleged a sexual assault. In doing so, he risked further inflaming the bitter divisions between Democrats and Republicans over Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, as well as further energizing female voters in the midterm elections against the Republican Party.

      Until Friday, Mr. Trump — who himself has faced sexual misconduct allegations — had largely left it to senators on the Judiciary Committee to handle Dr. Blasey’s allegations. She has said that at a high school party in the early 1980s, Mr. Kavanaugh pushed her onto a bed, groped her, tried to take off her clothes and covered her mouth to prevent her from crying for help. Judge Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the accusations.

      [Experts say long delays in reporting or a foggy recall are hallmarks of sexual assault.]
      Both Dr. Blasey and Judge Kavanaugh have said they are willing to provide sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Dr. Blasey was in negotiations on Friday over the conditions for any appearance by her.

      But before she had provided any testimony, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, assured an audience of conservative Christians on Friday that Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation would go through.

      “Keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all of this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job,” Mr. McConnell said at the Values Voter Summit. “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.” 

      “I hope this woman is not being used by the Democrats,” Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said in an interview with CNN on Friday.

      The Senate had planned to vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Sept. 20, but the Judiciary Committee agreed to delay the vote until Dr. Blasey and Judge Kavanaugh could testify.

      Dr. Blasey declined an invitation to testify this coming Monday, but through her lawyer, she said she was open to testifying later under several conditions. She said she would be willing to speak with senators on the committee later next week as long as she is questioned by lawmakers — not outside counsel — and as long as Judge Kavanaugh is not in the hearing room while she speaks. She also asked for steps to be taken to ensure her safety — she has received death threats.

      Ms. Conway called her requests a “laundry list of demands.”
      Dr. Blasey was to meet with the F.B.I. in San Francisco on Friday afternoon about the online and phone death threats against her, according to her lawyer, Lisa Banks.
      Ms. Banks declined to address Mr. Trump’s tweets, or the negotiations over Dr. Blasey’s offer to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

      This Story posted on the New York Times
      Jeremy W. Peters and Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting.

      September 12, 2018

      The Book on Trump and His White House- Explained

       How did Woodward report this book? And which Trump aides talked to him?
      The headline revelations from Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, which was released Tuesday, are troubling ones. The book describes disturbing behavior by the president of the United States and claims that many of his aides actively work to counter what they see as his most destructive instructions.
      But though the book contains many new, never-before-reported details — Woodward reports that Trump wanted to assassinate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and considered sending a tweet his aides worried could cause war with North Korea — the book is unmistakably the product of the sources who talked the most to the Washington Post reporter, sources who have their own agendas. 
      It’s barely a stretch to say Fear reads as Rob Porter, Gary Cohn, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Lindsey Graham, and John Dowd’s account of the Trump administration. Woodward doesn’t explicitly identify any of these six people as his sources, but he provides pages and pages of their thoughts and motivations.
      So yes, Fear offers insight into a dysfunctional policy process, with new details of President Trump ranting, raving, and clashing with aides behind the scenes. But it also tells the particular story that Woodward’s major sources have chosen to tell him, and reflects their points of view and priorities. 

      Bob Woodward, from Watergate scandal reporter to chronicler of the US government

      Woodward rose to prominence as half of the Washington Post’s “Woodward and Bernstein” reporting duo that helped expose the Nixon administration’s Watergate cover-up, with the crucial help of an anonymous source famously dubbed “Deep Throat.” The scandal led to Nixon’s resignation; it also made Woodward one of the most famous reporters in the country. 
      Since then, Woodward’s primary aim hasn’t really been to expose deeply hidden scandals (it’s tough to top Watergate, after all). Instead, he’s used his fame and decades of Washington connections to report and write books about what’s going on in the highest levels of the US government.  
      His past political books have covered the Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve, and several previous presidencies. The books have tried to put readers “in the room,” depicting what happens behind closed doors at these institutions. To do that, Woodward relies on the cooperation and anonymized accounts of top-level government officials — who speak under the shield of “deep background.” 

      Deep background, explained

      A “background” interview is in the middle of the spectrum ranging from on the record, where a reporter’s source is identified, and off the record, where the information from the source can’t be printed. In a background interview, the reporter agrees not to give the source’s name but can use their information and attribute it somehow — such as by saying it’s according to “a senior administration official.” 
      “Deep background,” however, is even vaguer than that. Essentially, Woodward can use the information he gets from his interviews — but he won’t attribute it at all. Instead, he will just write that it happened in a voice-of-God style, without explaining where it’s coming from. (The source notes at the end of Fear say that every chapter’s information “comes primarily from multiple deep background interviews with firsthand sources.”)
      Deep background serves several purposes. Stylistically, it allows for a more readable narrative — because, unlike traditional reported works, Woodward doesn’t have to keep slowing down to attribute his information to sources. The critique here is that also can produce a misleading narrative that reads more authoritatively than it should.
      The more noble-sounding motivation is that deep background better protects sources’ identities and allows them to speak more freely, by obscuring which information is coming from where, and even how many people it’s coming from. 
      The flip side of this is, of course, that anonymous sources may feel freer to lie or mislead if shielded from accountability. The practice also can shield the reporter from some accountability, as we don’t know whether any particular salacious anecdote is coming from one source or several.

      Inside the alleged private thoughts of top US government officials

      Yet one somewhat paradoxical feature of the way Woodward uses deep background is that it’s often quite obvious who appears to have talked to him. 
      That’s because Woodward chooses to write, often at great length, about the supposed “thoughts” and motivations of certain government officials — but not others. Take, for instance, the opening of Chapter 10 of Fear.
      As reported on Vox

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