The fact that President Donald Trump either didn’t read or ignored a warning in his briefing papers not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on a phone call between the two men Tuesday is a sexy story. But, it is not the real story here.
That real story is that mere hours after Trump held a call with a foreign leader, the fact that he had gone against the advice of his national security team and congratulated Putin was leaked to the press.
The reporting in The Washington Post, which broke the story Tuesday evening, makes clear that the sourcing comes from people who were intimately familiar with the call between Trump and Putin. The sources knew that:
a) Trump had congratulated Putin on his “win”;
b) Trump’s briefing papers had contained the phrase “DO NOT CONGRATULATE”;
c) Trump didn’t broach the subject of the poisoning of a former Russia spy and his daughter on British soil;
d) Trump was urged via talking points to bring up the poisoning.