The Republican National Committee is reportedly planning to counterattack journalists critical of Donald Trump, according to sources familiar with “internal discussions” at the organization, reports The Atlantic.
The report suggests that Republicans are gearing up to use Attorney General William Barr’s memo on the Mueller investigation as leverage against Trump’s Democratic rivals on the campaign trail for the 2020 elections. To this end, the RNC, along with pro-Trump PAC America First, is documenting tweets and articles by reporters who have accused the president of collusion or obstruction charges.
Washington has witnessed a turbulent week after AG Barr summarized the 300-page Mueller report in a brief letter he wrote to the Congress, leading Trump and his aides to announce “total exoneration” from collusion and obstruction charges. But the special counsel himself didn’t exonerate the president of obstruction charges, leading congressional Democrats to warn of consequences unless the full report becomes accessible to the general public.
But that appears unlikely with Barr determined to hold on to the report, and on Thursday, it was reported that the RNC would go so far as to attack journalists who are still not done accusing the president of criminal wrongdoing. The White House has already written to TV networks following the release of Barr’s memo, accusing them of promoting guests who have accused Trump of wrongdoing in the past.
The Trump campaign is sending this memo to TV producers: pic.twitter.com/yhr03LAI7N
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) March 25, 2019
A source familiar with “internal discussions” both at RNC and America First told The Atlantic that “any reporter who tries that will be hit with 30-second spots of all their ridiculous claims about collusion. Their tweets have all been screen-capped. It’s all ready to go.”
Source says RNC and America First are prepared to attack reporters. “Any reporter who tries [to attack Trump] will be hit with 30-second spots of all their ridiculous claims about collusion. Their tweets have all been screencapped. It’s all ready to go.” https://t.co/qbSijmXztA
— Elaina Plott (@elainaplott) March 28, 2019
This is not the first sign of hostility between Trump and the press. The president has been on a warpath against multiple media networks and newspapers for being critical of him in the past, constantly accusing them of giving credibility to a “hoax” investigation. In 2016, his then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was arrested after battering a reporter. Then, last year, Trump was severely criticized for praising Rep. Greg Gianforte for body-slamming a Guardian journalist, saying anyone who does that is “my guy.”
There has been no official confirmation on the plan the RNC intends to adopt to counterattack journalists, and there likely won’t be, but if the sources are to be believed, any reporter who is critical of the president can expect a lot of blowback from the White House itself — all the way to the 2020 elections.