This article appeared in the March 01, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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An unprecedented look through the walls of the White House

Evan Vucci/AP/File
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens as President Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington Nov. 1, 2017.
Peter Grier
Washington editor

Last year, President Trump ordered his staff to grant son-in-law Jared Kushner a top-secret security clearance. That’s perfectly legal – presidents are the top rung of the classified-information ladder.

But some top White House officials were very concerned about the president’s move. That’s because the CIA was worried that Mr. Kushner’s business ties to foreign governments and leaders might make him vulnerable to manipulation.

How do we know this? The short answer is that first The New York Times, and then The Washington Post, reported the story. But the longer answer is that someone from Mr. Trump’s inner circle probably wanted us to know. It’s no accident the Times and Post produced similar pieces. And behind that is a larger point that bears repeating: The sheer amount of stuff we’ve learned about the workings of the Trump administration is extraordinary. Journalists and historians will mine this record for decades to come.

Add it up. First, it’s the daily reporting from a White House that leaks like an aged FIAT’s water pump. Then there are all those tell-all books, from journalists and former White House officials. Finally, there are the investigations. This week’s public testimony from Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, is but a taste of what empowered House Democrats aim to produce.

Nixon’s Watergate tapes were a granular record that is still producing bestsellers. Similarly, a vast archive of Trump material will be a gift to political scientists and historians into the next century. Which college will first offer a major in “Trump studies”? It’s coming, sometime soon.

Now on to our five stories for the day.

This article appeared in the March 01, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 03/01 edition
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