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Monday, May 15, 2017

The Daily Combover - May 15, 2017

Last week the world discovered that Trump's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov was a little more than meets the eye in that there was apparently a B1G1 sale on Russian diplomats.

"Hey Lavrov, how'd you fit Kislyak in your pocket? That was a great trick!"
What we knew at the time was:
1. US media was not allowed into the meeting, but Russian state media was allowed.
2. Trump, Lavrov, and Kislyak were very happy to see each other.

What we didn't know at the time was what they discussed. Until now. The Washington Post broke the story (and was corroborated by the NY Times and Reuters) on Trump sharing classified information with the Russian agents:
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.
“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
The White House hit back, sending National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster to dispute the story by saying the story was "false. . .as reported," and that Trump did not disclose, "intelligence sources or methods."

But the Washington Post story doesn't allege the latter at all!

The GOP should really have one legitimate action right now -- impeach Trump and hope everyone forgets that Pence, Ryan, and McConnell down the line were complicit in #TrumpRussia. But obviously they selected to rally around Trump:
“We are in a downward spiral right now, and we’ve got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening,” Corker told reporters. The shame of it is that we have a really good national security team in place and there are productive things underway through them. The chaos being created by the lack of discipline is creating a worrisome environment.”
Corker's critique is that Trump just isn't disciplined enough. Not that Trump may have compromised the US and its allies, just that Trump needs to learn the rules a little better. And it gets worse from there.
But other Republican lawmakers, including Sen. James Risch (R-ID), shrugged off concerns about divulging sensitive intelligence and offered a full-throated defense of Trump, telling reporters: “He has the ability to declassify anything at any time without any process. So it’s no longer classified the minute he utters it.”
Many Republican senators were hesitant to respond to the news, saying they had only just heard the story and had yet to verify if it was true. But pressed by reporters, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) agreed with Risch that “the president does have the right to do that, because he’s the commander in chief.” McCain added as he stepped into an elevator in the Capitol’s basement that “any president needs to be careful.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who sits on the Judiciary Committee, offered a similar hedge, saying of the news: “If it’s true, it’d be troubling.”

Miss Lindsey's right. This would be quite troubling if true because the net continues to widen. Now McMaster would be complicit in the cover-up as well. And as my friends in the military remind me every time I speak to them about their jobs, McMaster calls all of the shots now for military actions. That has meant more drone strikes and less regard for civilian casualties.  If McMaster is compromised, does that imply we may be eliminating Russian-selected targets in Syria and Yemen, effectively helping further Russian interests in the region?

This really could become the Sum of All Fears.

Catch you on the flip side.

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