11:06 AM 12/15/2017 – “It’s a shame what’s happened with the F.B.I.,” – President Trump Escalates Criticism of FBI Role in Russia Inquiry – New York Times

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Federal Bureau of Investigation

President Trump Escalates Criticism of F.B.I. Role in Russia Inquiry By MICHAEL TACKETT

Federal Bureau of Investigation

President Trump Escalates Criticism of F.B.I. Role in Russia Inquiry

President Trump spoke to reporters on Friday before departing for an event at the F.B.I. Academy in Quantico, Va.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump escalated his criticism of the F.B.I. on Friday over its investigation of possible links between Russia and his campaign, calling the inquiry a “very sad thing to watch.”

“It’s a shame what’s happened with the F.B.I.,”

the president told reporters before departing for an event at the F.B.I. Academy in Quantico, Va. “It’s a very sad thing to watch.”

Without citing specifics,

Mr. Trump said there was an extraordinary “level of anger” at the F.B.I. over the investigation.

He labeled “disgraceful” recently released text messages between one of the agents on the investigation and a lawyer for the bureau who were critical of him. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, removed the agent from the investigation as soon as he learned of the texts.

The president also said it was premature to discuss whether he would pardon Michael T. Flynn, his former national security adviser who pleaded guilty this month to lying to the F.B.I. in connection with the investigation.

Mr. Trump has shown open disdain for the F.B.I., saying that the standing of the nation’s premier law enforcement agency was the “worst in history” and its reputation was in “tatters.”

Last week, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said that the president supported the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, and rank-and-file agents — but that

he had issues with top brass who served under the previous F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, whom the president fired in May.

She also said that the president’s characterization of the bureau “in tatters” would not undermine people’s faith in the institution.

Mr. Wray, in testimony to Congress recently, strongly defended the F.B.I., telling its 35,000 agents and support staff that he was “inspired by example after example of professionalism and dedication to justice demonstrated around the bureau.”

But the president’s criticism was notable because of his long-stated belief that the Justice Department investigation into links between his campaign and Russia was a “witch hunt.”

He was to speak later Friday morning to the F.B.I. National Academy, a bureau program that offers advanced training for American and foreign law enforcement officers who have been recognized for their leadership potential.

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How Arthur Sulzberger Outwitted Don Graham
 

For the sixth time in the last 121 years, the New York Times has a new publisher: Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, son of Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., grandson of Arthur O. (Punch) Sulzberger, great-grandson of Arthur well, you get the idea. Its a family business.

So, once, were the other two crown jewels of the American newspaper industry, the Wall Street Journaland the Washington Post. The Bancroft family, which owned the Journal, was never really emotionally vested in the paper; until it was sold to Rupert Murdoch in 2007, the Bancrofts generally treated it as an investment. But Donald Graham of the Post, and Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., who announced his retirement as publisher of the Times today, were a neatly matched pair: the energetic scions of two great newspaper dynasties, the anointed heirs of legendary parents (Katharine Graham, Punch Sulzberger). Both of the sons did their time climbing the ladder at their respective papers, even if with the assistance of equerries, retainers and an intimate connection to the boss. Both worked on the business side, both worked as reporters, they touched the bases. Then they took over.

And throughout the period that they ran their respective papers, Graham was generally celebrated, and Sulzberger often derided. Don (as everyone called him, intimately, except for those who went one step further to Donnie) was approachable and humble, comfortable in any circumstances. He wore down jackets to the office, knew the names of every reporter, receptionist, press operator. He knew their wives names and their childrens names. He didnt draw attention to himself. Hed pick a chief editor and stay with him forever.

Arthur was never blessed with the halo of reputation bestowed on Don. He tried too hard. He bristled when people called him Pinch, as detractors often did. He affected approachability, but wouldnt allow himself to get close to staff members. In expensively tailored shirts and suits, he was formally informal, trying (despite the evidence) to be the man of the people he never was. He could make public statements that would cause his staff to wince. He hired editors too soon, fired them too late. Or vice versa.

But when there were long-term decisions to be made decisions that would shape each papers future for years to come Arthur was right, and Don was wrong. Don took his paper small, abjuring nationwide circulation, and focusing instead (hed like to say) on serving our community, as if Washington were Wichita. He bet on local ads at the last moment before classifieds disappeared and retail began to dry up. His faith in the future of the internet was so minimal that he set up washingtonpost.com in an entirely separate office, across the river in Virginia consigning it to the crippling perception, among most of the papers journalists, that it was minor league (sorry, Virginians). He kept the companys stock price afloat (as well as the newspaper itself) with the cash generated by the Washington Post Companys most profitable division, the three-card-monte game better known as Kaplan, Inc., a specialist in test prep, diploma mills and federally guaranteed loan scams. And in the end economic realities compelled him to sell the paper to Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos in journalism terms, doubtless the best decision Donald Graham ever made.

During roughly the same span of years, Arthur took his paper national. Today, barely one-third of the Timess print circulation comes from outside of the tri-state region that had long been its focused market. He made deals with publishers across the country to print and distribute the paper, in a way helping their businesses as well as his own. He invested early and determinedly in the internet, and now has the most successful English-language news-site on the planet, with a staggering 2.5 million digital-only subscribers.

There are several things about Arthur Sulzberger that you could criticize, or at least find uncomfortable: His eccentric sense of humor, which could lead him to make the wrong jokes at the wrong times in various public venues. An editorial page that was, until recently, as exciting as a meditation seminar, and that remains as predictable as a Senate Republican (not to mention a collection of op-ed columnists who run the ideological spectrum from A to, oh, slightly this side of G). His selection in 2005 of a questionable horse (the discredited reporter Judith Miller) to ride in a dangerous press freedom case involving the protection of anonymous sources. At the time, it appeared as if he were trying to become a hero like his father, who famously stood up to Richard Nixon by publishing the Pentagon Papers. Judy Miller wasnt the Pentagon Papers.

Its also true that the one time they went toe-to-toe, Donnie outmaneuvered Arthur: Their two companies shared ownership of the International Herald Tribune until 2003, when Arthur insisted on taking over the whole thing and got his way a victory he may, and from a financial standpoint definitely should, regret today. But as 2017 comes to an end, the Graham family is divorced from the industry that sustained it for decades. And at the Times, the Sulzberger family, in its fifth generation of intense involvement with what they have always considered a public trust, is still in charge a gift to its readers, hand-delivered by Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr.

For A.G. Sulzberger, Arthurs son and successor, there could be no better place to start.

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