A story from the Civil War that I am too attached to to fact-check is that the Union General John Pope used to say he kept his headquarters in the saddle. His critics quipped that the trouble with him was that he kept his headquarters where his hindquarters ought to be. He appears not to be the only one who has these two areas mixed up.

I regret to announce that Rudy Giuliani’s butt has inserted itself into the discourse. On not one but two occasions, the rogue attorney’s posterior managed to telephone a journalist (NBC’s Rich Schapiro) and leave a long, unintentional recording of him railing against the Bidens (the first) or telling an unidentified figure about the need to get thousands of dollars from Bahrain (the second).

I understand that those in Trump World are eager to put journalists out of business, but I think this is taking it a little far. Really? You’re going to accidentally call and send a shady recording to a journalist who did not even have the courtesy to answer his phone? Here I thought you had to work and toil and keep longhand notebooks in order to really get dirt, and it turns out that all you really have to do is not pick up your phone when Rudy Giuliani calls. I could do that! I hate picking up my phone.

This is doing for the art of investigative journalism what those self-checkout machines do for the art of checking people out. Instead of having someone do this for us, competently, now people are just doing it for themselves, incompetently. What happened to the chase?

I guess I am a little insulted, just on behalf of journalism. For Pete’s sake, Richard Nixon also recorded himself ill-advisedly, but he did not then mail the recordings to the people trying to investigate whether he was wrong-doing or not. At least Anthony Scaramucci knew he was on the phone with a journalist when he, er, Scaramuccied. Next Donald Trump will accidentally FaceTime into “Fox & Friends,” and we will hear a loud thump and then his voice distinctly saying, “To be very clear, this is a quid pro quo, no matter what anyone says to the contrary, and it’s the bad kind.”

A theory I have also seen floating around on Twitter is that part of the president’s lawyer is trying to set itself up as a leaker (better than other ways this might happen) so it can get sympathy from the public generally, perhaps preparatory to seceding. I, for one, would buy a book by this anonymous source. It is silent but deadly. How would you feel after being sat on by Rudy Giuliani for all these years?

These are the masterminds of the Trump administration. These are the Best People, about whom we have heard so much. This is their brilliant strategy from the seat of power. They are incapable of sitting on a story, although they are capable of sitting on other things.

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