What can you say about a president who commits a new impeachable offense almost every day? I'm thinking about last week, when on three separate days President Trump took actions that at the very least called for an investigation into possible obstruction of justice.
There was Tuesday when he abruptly fired FBI director James Comey, whose agents were overseeing a probe into possible collusion between the president's campaign and Russia on election hacking. Then there was Thursday when he told NBC's Lester Holt that he was thinking about the Russia probe when he fired Comey. Then there was Friday when he tweeted that Comey had better hope there are no tapes of their White House conversations -- which many saw as possible witness intimidation.
Ahhh, but what about Wednesday? You can't say that Trump did anything bad on Wednesday...right?
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.
The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.
Kudos to the two Washington Post reporters, Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe, who broke this important story. Before tonight's report, the Trump-Russia meeting was getting media attention mainly for the bizarre fact that U.S. media was barred from the room while the Russia news agency Tass -- a glorified spy shop -- was let in the front door to take pictures. Some asked, what if the Russians photographed something classified? Why worry when we have Trump to give up our secrets for free?
The news here is so bizarre that it's easy to joke about, and also to compare and contrast what just happened with the Hillary Clinton "but her emails" mess that put Trump in the Oval Office in the first place. But really it's no laughing matter. I did note during the 2016 election and the Hillary server flap that as a journalist I believe the government classifies far too much information, but reports are that the intelligence involved here, about a terrorist threat involving ISIS, is exactly the kind of secret that our leaders need to keep.
Not that any of this should be a shock. Trump is a vainglorious yet utterly insecure narcissist, in way over his head as 45th president of the United States -- so of course he was going to show off to his Moscow fraternity brothers about all the crazy national secrets he now has double-secret access to. Heck, it wouldn't surprise me if he blurted out the nuclear codes while standing at the urinal next to George Norcross at Mar-a-Lago on a Saturday night.
So the only real question is what are the congressional Republicans -- the ones who were horrified about Hillary's private email server, the ones who launched nine or 37 or whatever-many investigations into Benghazi -- going to do about this? Is Sen. Pat Toomey going to say that leaking intel to the Russians isn't so bad but the timing was "unfortunate." Are we seriously going to use the Nixon defense, that when the president does it, that means it is not illegal?
Or are we going to finally going to take a long and sober look at what it means to have such a dangerous, unqualified and possibly unstable man in possession of the nuclear codes that could destroy the planet several times over...and work together on a rational end to this national nightmare? Because America is swimming in completely uncharted waters right now, desperately in need of a lifeguard.
But I'm not very optimistic that it's going to be that last, wise choice. My fear is that the Republicans on Capitol Hill -- even the allegedly "free-thinking" ones like Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Ben Sasse -- are going to continue full steam ahead with what I now call the Michael Che approach to running this country.
Nothing matters anymore.
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