Somebody on the inside of the Trump administration is leaking information harmful to the man/baby president. In a White House fractured into warring camps it could be anyone save, perhaps, for Trump's immediate family members.
Donald Trump is ultimately to blame. He sets the cat among the pigeons. He seems to enjoy the discord, the animosity. Scaramucci's flameout was a stark example. Mooch tore into Bannon and Priebus in a rage of vulgarity only to get the boot with less than two weeks on the job.
In repeated public statements, Trump has relentlessly maligned his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who, for reasons still unknown has refused to resign. Lately he's been going after his in-house generals, Mattis and McMaster, the latter of whom may be looking at his next posting - Afghanistan.
Trump knows there's a mole, at least one. Somebody leaked Trump Jr's emails to The New York Times adding fuel to the fire of the Russian investigation.
Now more leaks. This time it's The Washington Post that has its hands on transcripts of early telephone conversations between Trump and Mexico's Enrique Nieto and Australia's Malcolm Turnbull.
Those transcripts are really embarrassing. Trump is uncovered literally begging Nieto to stop making public statements that Mexico won't pay for Trump's border wall.
Trump - They are going to say, “who is going to pay for the wall, Mr. President?” to both of us, and we should both say, “we will work it out.” It will work out in the formula somehow. As opposed to you saying, “we will not pay” and me saying, “we will not pay.”
Because you and I are both at a point now where we are both saying we are not to pay for the wall. From a political standpoint, that is what we will say. We cannot say that anymore because if you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that. I am willing to say that we will work it out, but that means it will come out in the wash and that is okay. But you cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall. I am just going to say that we are working it out.
Nieto - You have a very big mark on our back, Mr. President, regarding who pays for the wall. This is what I suggest, Mr. President – let us stop talking about the wall. I have recognized the right of any government to protect its borders as it deems necessary and convenient. But my position has been and will continue to be very firm saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall.
Trump - But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that. You cannot say that to the press because I cannot negotiate under those circumstances.
Trump's conversation with the Australian prime minister was no less whinging and the leak will be embarrassing. Who can tell what else is coming.
The big question, however, is who may benefit from embarrassing and undermining Donald Trump? Steve Bannon, hardly. Reince Priebus? He's gone. Mike Flynn? Revenge, possibly. Jeff Sessions, unlikely. McMaster? Still a serving officer. No. Mattis? A straight shooter. No. Someone from the Talking Shop, Spicer? I doubt it.
There is one person. Mike Pence. Trump didn't appoint him. Pence was co-elected with Trump on that dreadful night last November. Trump can't fire him. From Foreign Policy:
You occupy an unusual position in our constitutional structure. Because you, like the president himself, were elected by the people, you are the only member of the executive branch whom Donald Trump cannot fire. This gives you unusual power in a White House more closely modeled on Lord of the Flies than Abraham Lincoln’s team of rivals. You do not, as White House staffers are so fond of reminding one another, serve at the pleasure of the president. He’s stuck with you. He can marginalize you, but he can’t get rid of you entirely.
It is critical that you recognize the distinction between yourself and the courtiers who jockey for his favor. You do not merely serve Donald Trump. You have an independent relationship with the American people, and Trump’s fall — whenever it eventually comes to pass — will be your rise. It’s time for you to stop acting like one of the courtiers and start acting like a potential successor, a viable one. The strength and nature of your independent relationship with the people may well have profound consequences for a post-Trump America. So risk his displeasure and start cultivating that relationship now.
Being Donald Trump's sock puppet can't be a lot of fun. Maybe Mike Pence sees the writing on the wall for Donald Trump and who would blame him for wanting to speed up the process?