The fact that Donald Trump was shaking down a foreign power to get election dirt on Joe Biden is bad enough.
But according to The Washington Post on Thursday, it’s possible that Russia was able to listen in on phone calls related to the president’s Ukraine extortion scheme.
The report notes, “President Trump has routinely communicated with his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and other individuals speaking on cellphones vulnerable to monitoring by Russian and other foreign intelligence services, current and former U.S. officials said.”
In other words, not only was Trump conducting a scheme that directly benefitted Russia, but there’s a good possibility that the Kremlin was able to listen in on it in real-time.
More from The Washington Post:
Phone records released this week by the House Intelligence Committee revealed extensive communications between Giuliani, unidentified people at the White House and others involved in the campaign to pressure Ukraine, with no indication that those calls were encrypted or otherwise shielded from foreign surveillance.
The revelations raise the possibility that Moscow was able to learn about aspects of Trump’s attempt to get Ukraine to investigate a political rival months before that effort was exposed by a whistleblower report and the impeachment inquiry, officials said.
Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as “-1” in the files. And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines.
“It happened all the time,” said one former senior aide, who noted that Giuliani had a range of foreign clients.
Trump is a national security threat
Even setting aside Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanors related to the Ukraine shakedown, it should be disturbing to all Americans that the commander-in-chief is knowingly communicating in a way that is vulnerable to foreign surveillance.
As The Washington Post also pointed out on Thursday, “The disclosures provide fresh evidence suggesting that the president continues to defy the security guidance urged by his aides and followed by previous incumbents — a stance that is particularly remarkable given Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign for her use of a private email account while serving as secretary of state.”
After spending an entire election cycle attacking Hillary Clinton for using a private email, Donald Trump puts American national security at risk every day by refusing to communicate on secure lines.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.