The ledes in news reports, like pocket change, are sometimes found much further down than was hoped. In two recent stories of national import, the ledes weren’t buried; they were deposited at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
Let’s survey the inhospitable depths.
Story One: Four top law firms turned down requests to represent Trump by Michael Isikoff for Yahoo News.
The opening paragraph:
Top lawyers with at least four major law firms rebuffed White House overtures to represent President Trump in the Russia investigations, in part over concerns that the president would be unwilling to listen to their advice, according to five sources familiar with discussions about the matter.
Others mentioned potential conflicts with clients of their firms, such as financial institutions that have already received subpoenas relating to potential money-laundering issues that are part of the investigation.
State or federal investigations into Trump-connected money laundering have entered the subpoena stage. But let’s talk about how the president is high-price lawyer kryptonite. Good plan.
Intelligence Contractor Is Charged In First Leak Case by Charlie Savage for The New York Times.
The opening paragraph:
An intelligence contractor was charged with sending a classified report about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election to the news media, the Justice Department announced Monday, the first criminal leak case under President Trump.
The lede: A staggering 15 paragraphs in, it’s confirmed
The American intelligence community has concluded that Russia conducted a broad influence campaign for the purpose of undermining Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and sowing doubts about the democratic process if she had won.
In October, when the Obama administration accused Russia of stealing and releasing Democratic emails, it also said there was a pattern of probing of voter registration-related systems that was traceable to Russian servers but stopped short of saying the Russian government was behind it. The intelligence report, citing unspecified information the N.S.A. obtained in April, suggests the government is now satisfied that Moscow was the culprit.
The leaked report shows Russian interference with the 2016 election extended to hacking voting machine software, so you’ll excuse me if I forego the obvious “Reality Winner” jokes.
One shouldn’t stay in the Mariana Trench too long. The pressure is immense. The human body is not designed to withstand it for too long. Remember to take your time returning to the surface, as you most certainly don’t want to get the bends.
(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Thirty-Eight)