“I DON’T THINK THEY WILL BE DISAPPOINTED…”
by Sharon Rondeau
Early Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted that he would not attend the meeting because of differences over “ground rules,” but according to The Times, following that decision, the meeting was “quickly rescheduled.”
According to The Times, Trump personnel had attempted to “change” the nature of the meeting, a request The Times reportedly declined. A spokeswoman for the newspaper claimed that Trump’s pick for chief of staff, Reince Preibus, “had been among those urging the president-elect to cancel it, because he would face questions he might not be prepared to answer. It was Mr. Priebus who relayed to Mr. Trump, erroneously, that The Times had changed the conditions of the meeting, believing it would result in a cancellation.”
On Monday, Trump met with CEOs, managers and writers of major television networks including CNN, NBC, and ABC in an “off-the-record” session at Trump Tower. Despite the meeting’s designation, The Times and other outlets reported that they were told by sources who attended that “the president-elect delivered a defiant message: You got it all wrong,” referring to their coverage of his campaign.
The Times characterized Trump’s dialog with the media on Monday as “an attack.”
During the campaign, Trump and many of his supporters complained that the mainstream media showed a bias against Trump and in favor of Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Polls constantly showed Clinton ahead, while the results from the November 8 election told a different story.
It is well-established that most journalists are left-leaning.
On Tuesday morning, former Trump campaign manager and soon-to-be White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told NBC’s “Morning Joe” hosts that Trump no longer has an interest in prosecuting Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. As a result of the meeting with The Times today, a reporter present tweeted that Trump did not openly advocate “taking investigations off the table for Clintons but adds he doesn’t want to ‘hurt the Clintons.'”
Several responders to NYT reporter Maggie Haberman’s tweets from the meeting observed that the president does not routinely order prosecutions of anyone.
It is the function of the U.S. attorney general to launch federal prosecutions based on evidence collected by law enforcement, including the FBI.
A complete Twitter timeline from Haberman reflecting topics discussed during the meeting can be found here. According to Haberman, in response to his altered stance on prosecuting Clinton, Trump said of his supporters, “I don’t think they will be disappointed…”
In WikiLeaks emails released over at least a month, Haberman, then at Politico, had been identified as a reporter the Democrats appeared to favor. In a January 14, 2015 email among Clinton strategists, future Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill wrote, “We have has a very good relationship with Maggie Haberman of Politico over the last year. We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed. While we should have a larger conversation in the near future about a broader strategy for reengaging the beat press that covers HRC, for this we think we can achieve our objective and do the most shaping by going to Maggie.”
Following reports of Conway’s NBC interview on Tuesday, former Trump campaign adviser, author and political commentator Roger Stone tweeted:
Dinesh D’Souza, producer of the film “Hillary’s America,” tweeted:
Also on Tuesday, Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, formerly of The Guardian, wrote a column titled, “Media Stars Agree to Off-the-Record Meeting with Trump, Break Agreement, Whine About Treatment.” Greenwald, far from being a Trump supporter by his own admission, wrote of the media reports of Monday’s “off-the-record” meeting:
To begin with, why would journalistic organizations agree to keep their meeting with Donald Trump off the record? If you’re a journalist, what is the point of speaking with a powerful politician if you agree in advance that it’s all going to be kept secret? Do they not care what appearance this creates: the most powerful media organizations meeting high atop Trump Tower with the country’s most powerful political official, with everyone agreeing to keep it all a big secret from the public? Whether or not it actually is collusion, whether or not it actually is subservient ring-kissing in exchange for access, it certainly appears to be that.
In April of this year, an AP report published at U.S. News & World Report found that “just 6 percent of people say they trust the media, putting the news industry on about the same par as Congress and well below the public’s view of other institutions.”
Trump does not appear to have tweeted about his meeting with The Times.
Thus far in the transition, Trump has personally addressed the American people by stating his plans for enforcing immigration laws, removing obstacles to the production of domestic energy sources, and canceling the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in order to put Americans back to work.