The first rumors that Russian intelligence services had compromising information about Donald Trump began trickling out back in October, but on Tuesday the drips and drops became a veritable torrent, and Trump’s No. 1 adviser, former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, was discharged to Late Night With Seth Meyers to try to stem the flow. The show posted an advance clip of the interview on Twitter:
Conway took direct aim at what she sees as the source of Trump’s problem: leaking. “I have to say, as an American citizen, regardless of your party … we should be concerned that intelligence officials leaked to the press,” she told Meyers. This response is practically soaking in Trump campaign themes: emphasizing American citizens rather than coastal Europhiles while taking the piss out of the media at every opportunity. But boil it down, and her answer turns out to be mostly untrue.
Conway’s flood of misinformation no doubt left a familiar taste in viewer’s mouths, and for good reason. Her general tactic during the campaign was exactly the same: spray half-truths like a fire hose, let fact-checkers clean up the mess afterward. At one point she claimed that the intelligence memo originated in Russia (it came from a former MI6 agent); later, she told Meyers that the intelligence community had not briefed Trump on the allegations, when the point of the story was that they’d briefed him.
It wasn’t exactly a watertight defense, and Meyers could barely hold in his disbelief, squirming in his seat before crossing conversational streams with Conway, blurting out, “I believe it said they did brief him on it.” It’s unclear from the short clip if Meyers was able to successfully wade through the obfuscations and half-truths or if he drowned in them. The full interview will air Tuesday night on Late Night With Seth Meyers and will no doubt be streaming all over the internet by Wednesday.