Senator Al Franken (D-MN) warned early Tuesday afternoon that President Trump is endangering U.S. national security.
“Let me be clear: President Trump is endangering our national security,” the Democratic Senator said in a statement sent to PoliticusUSA in response to Trump’s actions disclosing highly classified information about an ISIS plot to the Russians.
After a report published in the Washington Post and then corroborated by multiple outlets and seemingly confirmed by President Trump that he shared information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office during a meeting to which the U.S. press was denied access, Franken drew the connection between the timing of this meeting the day after Trump fired the FBI Director who was investigating Trump’s connections to Russia.
“I’m profoundly disturbed by the reports that President Trump shared highly classified information with Russian officials in the Oval Office a day after he fired FBI Director James Comey, the man in charge of investigating the President’s ties to Russia,” the Democrat said.
“Let me be clear: President Trump is endangering our national security. By revealing highly classified material to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador about the fight against ISIS, he is eroding the intelligence-gathering and -sharing relationship between the U.S. and our allies, who may now be far more hesitant to share that intelligence with us in the future. All of this means that President Trump likely weakened our ability to effectively fight against ISIS.”
The threat to national security is not just a Democratic talking point, but possibly an understatement of the threat Trump is posing. (Democrats don’t seem capable of the hysteria Republicans can lather over the style of Obama’s jeans and mustard choices.)
Republican and Independent 2016 presidential candidate Evan McMullin observed that President Trump’s “lack of competency as president…is becoming a national security vulnerability in and of itself.”
McMullin is also a former CIA operations officer.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 16, 2017
The Financial Times quoted Naveed Jamali explaining the risk Trump’s disclosure poses to the spies and the mission, “This is a betrayal of the case worker/agent relationship and unless there’s an exfiltration plan anyone connected to this plot is dead,” said Naveed Jamali, whose book Catch a Russian Spy profiles his secret life working as a double agent for the FBI. “Human assets are the crown jewels of any intelligence service; it takes years to convince someone to spy on Isis and in one simple swoop the president has violated that trust.”
Jason Leopold reported in Buzzfeed that people who brag about what they know might be an “insider threat”, according to FBI training material obtained by the publisher:
“According to the training material, potential insider threats include federal employees who brag about what they know, work odd hours, travel overseas without a good reason, or ask their co-workers about classified information without a ‘need to know.’ Workers who consume alcohol, use drugs or have ‘psychological conditions’ may also be insider threats, as are those facing disciplinary action or job termination.”
“I believe President Trump needs to take several steps to begin fixing this,” Franken concluded.
“First, the White House needs to turn over any transcripts of last week’s meeting with the Russians to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Second, more than ever we need an independent, special prosecutor who can get to the bottom of the Trump team’s ties to Russia. And finally, President Trump needs to explain to the American people in a clear and honest way why he revealed highly classified intelligence to the Russians.”
Franken is right. But the problem is that Republicans are not on board with defending the U.S. in this way. Currently Republicans are pushing the boundaries for new ways to suggest they are super concerned without actually taking any action on said concern.