Did he, or didn’t he? The Washington Post and the New York Times both say President Trump revealed “highly classified information” during a meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak whose name you may recall being mentioned many times before and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov last week.
Since the release of the original story by the New York Times, the media and much of America have been ablaze with talking heads pointing out different ways President Trump screwed the pooch. On Monday, the White House released a statement by both H.R. McMaster, Trump’s National Security Adviser and his deputy, Dina Powell, stating that “the story is false. The President only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.”
After the incident, the President jumped on Twitter and made his own “official statements” saying: “As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining…….to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.” These tweets appear to contradict the statements made by his national security adviser but was this gaffe just that or was it more sinister in nature?
Trying to view this from a perspective that leaves out my political leanings, as hard as that may be, I don’t think that President Trump intentionally leaked information to the Russians as part of some wide-ranging conspiracy to sell America out to our long-standing adversary. To be blunt and in agreement with a few of the pundits, I think Trump was simply bragging about his own knowledge and it just slipped out much to the chagrin of the intelligence community.
Was it criminal? Not even close, but it was a prime example of our President’s ego clashing with the interests of national security, something I believe will continue for at least four years, potentially even eight. It appears President Trump doesn’t quite have a handle on how to lead a country. As much as he and the Republican party have protested, running a country is not like running a business and there are intricacies that seem to bewilder him.
If the president did in fact let the proverbial cat out of the bag, the consequential ripples can have lasting effects as this administration is running low in the trust department. Despite what his supporters say, President Trump has damaged the reputation of America in certain diplomatic circles and our intelligence community relies on the collective cooperation from nations that share our interest in spreading worldwide democracy (though perhaps not always our methods).
If this “slip” did compromise certain sources within the intelligence community, then moving forward we are going to be less likely to be on the receiving end of this much-needed intel and no matter how you look at it, well, that dog don’t hunt. Trump is our president, no changing that for four years, but here’s hoping that his advisers will take a more heavy-handed approach to furthering Trump’s “education” in the coming weeks and months, the fate of the nation depends on it. So, have at it McMaster and be that blunt-speaking bulldog this country (and her president) so desperately needs.
Featured image courtesy of Twitter.