One was about former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warning the Trump administration that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail by Russia.
The second was about classified information on Flynn's conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak leaking to The Washington Post.
If you watched the evening newscasts or CNN or MSNBC, the focus was almost all on the first story. It was all about Yates, Flynn and the 18 days that elapsed between Yates warning the White House and Flynn's termination.
But that doesn't mean the second story, about information on a private citizen(s) obtained via government surveillance leaking for political purposes, should be glossed over.
Biggest story today between Clapper & Yates is on surveillance. Why doesn't the media report on this? #FakeNews!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017
To any objective observer, and there are very few left in the polarized media bubble, it should be quite easy to separate the evidence-free Trump Tower tweet from what happened with Flynn and 1,933 other private U.S. citizens in 2016 alone, per James Clapper's count during testimony Monday.
The stories are mutually exclusive. Apples and oranges. One doesn't cancel out the other. Improper surveillance, or "unmasking," and unauthorized, criminal leaks absolutely warrant investigation.
“[Unmasking] is a crime. And so ... is taking classified information, unclassifying it, and leaking it out. That is something somebody in the Obama administration decided to do,” Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE said on Fox News early Tuesday.
Of course, leaks are something journalists can benefit from — and some have even encouraged.
Take veteran New York Times Pulitzer-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof, who urged IRS employees in March to leak Donald Trump’s tax returns to his publication.
“If you’re in IRS and have a certain president’s tax return that you’d like to leak, my address is: NYT, 620 Eighth Ave, NY NY 10018,” Kristof wrote on Twitter to two million followers.
But if you're in IRS and have a certain president's tax return that you'd like to leak, my address is: NYT, 620 Eighth Ave, NY NY 10018. https://t.co/ujYe100Tn9— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) March 6, 2017
"It shall be unlawful for any person to whom any return or return information (as defined in section 6103(b)) is disclosed in a manner unauthorized by this title thereafter willfully to print or publish in any manner not provided by law any such return or return information," according to the U.S. code on unauthorized disclosure of information.
"Any violation of this paragraph shall be a felony punishable by a fine in any amount not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution," the law reads.
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