You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

In Latest Trump Administration Drama, News Media Finds Its Focus

The chaos of the early days of the Trump administration gave way on Tuesday to a Watergate-era query of an unfolding Washington scandal: What did the president know, and when did he know it?

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, already a familiar daytime figure and instant “Saturday Night Live” classic, tried to put that question to rest at the outset of his briefing, the first since the resignation of President Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Spicer told reporters that Trump was informed on Jan. 26 that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and others about the nature of his pre-inauguration conversation with the Russian ambassador, failing to disclose that they had talked about sanctions imposed by the Obama administration. But Trump waited until Monday to ask for Flynn’s resignation because an “evolving and eroding level of trust.”

Spicer insisted that they “got to a point not based on a legal issue, but a trust issue,” an effort to dismiss concerns that Flynn’s conversations with a Russian representative may have violated the law — as well as wonderment at why Trump didn’t act sooner to dismiss him.

At the press briefing, Spicer got a few non-Flynn questions from Skype callers. He denied that the White House was keeping a dossier on reporters, despite claims that Omarosa Manigault said that there was such file-keeping. He brought in Steven Mnuchin, the new treasury secretary to talk about Venezuelan drug smuggling.

But the reason that all three cable networks covered the briefing was for the unfolding story of the Flynn resignation — one that isn’t going away anytime soon. Democrats and even some Republicans on Capitol Hill are calling for further investigation.

As insistent as Spicer was that Flynn’s dismissal was a “matter of trust,” it’s hardly resolved lingering questions from the news media, in an event that seems to have been triggered because of dogged reporting from the Washington Post other outlets.

On Friday, Trump was questioned about those reports that Flynn had, indeed, had conversations with the Russians about the sanctions despite denying it earlier.

“I don’t know about it. I haven’t seen it,” he said.

In fact, according to Spicer’s account, Trump may not have been aware of the Washington Post report, but he was aware of issues with Flynn and what he discussed with the Russian ambassador.

There is also the role of Kellyanne Conway, one of the most visible of all administration officials on TV, and why she would say that Flynn had Trump’s full support on Monday afternoon, only to lose it just hours later.

And Conway and other unnamed White House officials had said that Flynn made the decision to resign on his own, but Spicer said on Tuesday that it was Trump who made the call, “You’re fired.”

Spicer insisted that there was an “exhaustive review” of Flynn’s conversations. Quoting Charles Krauthammer, the columnist and Fox News contributor, he contended that White House Counsel Don McGahn rather quickly concluded that there were no legal issues at stake — just the trust ones.

There has been a dizzying and even disorienting array of stories to chew on in the 25 days since Trump was sworn in, but the Flynn resignation and its aftermath has given the media a focus. All it needs now is a name.

More Biz

  • Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018 Compensation Soar to $129.4 Million

    Discovery Inc. president-CEO David Zaslav is once again making headlines for an enormous compensation package. Zaslav’s 2018 compensation soared to $129.44 million in 2018, fueled by stock options and grants awarded as the longtime Discovery chief signed a new employment contract last July that takes him through 2023 at the cable programming group. Zaslav received [...]

  • Jonathan Lamy RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy Stepping Down From RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy, the Recording Industry Association of America’s longtime executive VP of communications and marketing, is stepping down from his post after 17 years, he announced today. As he put it in an email to Variety, “I started back in 2002, which means it’s been 17+ years, four different RIAA CEOs, three format changes and [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Disney-21st Fox Layoffs: TV Divisions Brace for Deep Cuts

    A second day of layoffs has begun on the Fox lot in the wake of Disney completing its acquisition of 21st Century Fox on Wednesday. Longtime 20th Century Fox Television Distribution president Mark Kaner is among the senior executives who were formally notified with severance details on Friday morning. 21st Century Fox’s international TV sales [...]

  • anthony pellicano

    Hollywood Fixer Anthony Pellicano Released From Federal Prison

    Anthony Pellicano, the Hollywood private eye whose wiretapping case riveted the industry a decade ago, was released from a federal prison on Friday, a prison spokeswoman confirmed. Pellicano was sentenced in 2008 to 15 years, following his conviction on 78 charges of wiretapping, racketeering, conspiracy and wire fraud. He had been in custody since 2003, [...]

  • This image taken from the Twitter

    HBO’s Reaction to Trump’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Campaign

    Everyone wants a piece of the “Game of Thrones” lemon cake. From Bud Light to Red Bull the world of Westeros is open to a lot of brand partnerships, unless you’re using that iconic typeface to push a political agenda. In November of 2018 President Donald Trump unveiled a “Thrones” inspired poster with the words [...]

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    'Leaving Neverland' Lawsuit Proves to Be a Judicial Hot Potato

    The Michael Jackson estate sued HBO last month for airing the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which accuses the late King of Pop of serial child sexual abuse. Since then, the case has had a difficult time finding a judge to handle it. Three federal judges have recused themselves in the last week, citing potential financial conflicts [...]

  • Members of the public mourn at

    Guy Oseary’s New Zealand Fundraiser Nears $150,000, Continues Raising Money

    In the wake of the horrific shootings at New Zealand mosques last week that killed some 49 people, Maverick chief Guy Oseary launched a GoFundMe campaign to “support those affected by this tragedy at this very difficult time,” and began it with an $18,000 donation. Boosted by donations from many celebrities — including Amy Schumer, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content