When he divulged top secret information to the Russians, the U.S. president did not break the law. But he created a climate of insurrection in Washington. Many people see Donald Trump as incompetent and compromised.
A few days before meeting with political leaders in the Middle East, attending the meeting of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations in Italy and participating in a NATO summit in Brussels, Donald Trump begins his first trip abroad very weakened. The proliferation of crises resulting from his presidency is causing a rarely seen instability in Washington.
In transmitting top secret information to Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov, the U.S. president has probably not violated the Constitution. But he has betrayed a Middle Eastern ally (probably Israel) that gave the U.S. administration very sensitive information about the Islamic State. The New York billionaire sabotaged a fundamental intelligence principle: trust. American officials have already advised their Israeli counterparts to use caution in sharing information with the Trump administration. So, how can Angela Merkel or Emmanuel Macron confide in the U.S. president without fear of seeing the contents of their conversations shared with other powers, including Russia?
The Role of the Media
Did he act out of gross incompetence or was he compromised by the Kremlin? After the sacking of FBI Director James Comey, whose organization is investigating links between several of Trump’s close associates and Russian officials, the issue is explosive. The affair reveals the incredible chaos that reigns in the White House. Erratic Trump never hesitates to get in the way of his communications team. On Tuesday, he discredited his national security adviser, Gen. McMaster, who had tried to deny the presence of any scandal a day earlier. There are also questions about the president’s credibility with respect to appointing a new FBI director.
Two factors can interrupt this trend: the media, especially The Washington Post, which seems to be doing its job. And elected Republicans, who, for the moment, are content to acquiesce to their president’s uncontrollable actions. In putting party over country, they could pay a steep price in the 2018 midterm elections.