Trump – intel chump

Donald Trump has created another crisis for the White House, aided by what appears to be more leaks, claiming that Trump passed on highly confidential information to the Russian ambassador and also the Russian foreign minister when they met in the White House last week.

Fox News reports: Another crisis hits the White House after Post story

Closed-door emergency meetings. Hallways packed with reporters. Statements rushed out, but few questions answered.

It’s become a familiar scenario in the crisis-prone Trump White House, where big news breaks fast and the aides paid to respond seem perpetually caught off-guard.

The Washington Post report Monday led to the latest feeding frenzy. The news that Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials in a meeting last week prompted another round of bizarre scenes, just days after Trump’s decision to fire FBI director James Comey sent his communications team into a tizzy.

The WaPo story was quickly corroborated by CNN, Buzzfeed and Reuters, all citing multiple sources.

Denials from the White House followed, but they denied things that hadn’t been claimed and no details were given as to what was supposedly ‘fake’.

White House officials denied the story in several statements, including a 45-second on-camera statement delivered by Trump’s national security adviser. But officials refused to answer specific questions, including what precisely the report had gotten wrong, ensuring it would dominate a week that White House officials hoped would be quiet in advance of the president’s first foreign trip.

“I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” McMaster told reporters after emerging.

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation,” McMaster said. “At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

But what, precisely, had been misreported?

The Post cited current and former U.S. officials who said Trump had shared classified details with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. They said the information, which had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement, was considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government.

The Post story did not claim that Trump revealed any specific information about how the intelligence was gathered, as McMaster’s denial suggested.

Trump, who seems to have an obsession  with how he is reported in media, is likely to have been a very unhappy chap.

There’s still some people who defend Trump but his credibility is diminishing.

The Hill: GOP senator: White House in ‘downward spiral’

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) says President Trump’s White House must reverse the “downward spiral” it finds itself in.

“The White House has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and in order,” he said Monday, according to Bloomberg. “It’s got to happen.”

Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made his remarks following a Washington Post report that Trump revealed highly classified intelligence information in a meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador.

“Obviously they’re in a downward spiral right now and they’ve got to figure out a way to come to grips [with] all that’s happening,” Corker said.

And conservative commentator David Brooks: When the World Is Led by a Child

At certain times Donald Trump has seemed like a budding authoritarian, a corrupt Nixon, a rabble-rousing populist or a big business corporatist.

But as Trump has settled into his White House role, he has given a series of long interviews, and when you study the transcripts it becomes clear that fundamentally he is none of these things.

At base, Trump is an infantalist. There are three tasks that most mature adults have sort of figured out by the time they hit 25. Trump has mastered none of them. Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency, lack of self-control his leitmotif.

The Russian leak story reveals one other thing, the dangerousness of a hollow man.

Our institutions depend on people who have enough engraved character traits to fulfill their assigned duties. But there is perpetually less to Trump than it appears. When we analyze a president’s utterances we tend to assume that there is some substantive process behind the words, that it’s part of some strategic intent.

But Trump’s statements don’t necessarily come from anywhere, lead anywhere or have a permanent reality beyond his wish to be liked at any given instant.

We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.

‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’ has been used to try to dismiss any critics of Trump, but it looks very much like it is should be applied to the president himself.

I think there’s a high chance this is going to get very messy. How long can Trump survive? Some talk of impeachment but even if justified that process would take a long time.

Trump seems likely to self destruct a lot sooner.

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70 Comments

  1. Conspiratoor

     /  May 16, 2017

    More anonymous sources corroborated by other anonymous sources. How long can these idiots keep this charade up before they lose all credibility

    Reply
    • How long will it take to realise that Trump may be the idiot – or at least is way out of his depth – and is losing credibility fast.

      Even Ann Coulter trashes Trump: ‘This is the great negotiator?’

      Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  May 16, 2017

        where does the burden of proof lie?

        Reply
        • I think there’s ample evidence that Trump is too easily distracted by ego driven media mania.

          End the proof will be in how long he survives, and the good and/or damage he does to the US in the meantime.

          Reply
        • This is the key part of the WaPo article:

          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.”

          If this is false then Trump just has a different problem – officials fabricating serious claims to discredit him.

          Neither are a good look for his presidency or the US.

          Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  May 16, 2017

        I wonder if he will be the last president with no political experience.I cannot understand why anyone would vote for someone who’s never even been a city councillor for this position.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  May 16, 2017

          It’s an interesting mental exercise to consider what would Trump supporters be saying if they put Clinton or Sanders in the job in place of Trumpy & they were going about doing & tweeting & announcing things & giving press coferences after meeting dignitaries exactly the way he is.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  May 16, 2017

            It would only be a mental exercise, because they wouldn’t be that stupid or arrogant. Mrs T doesn’t seem to be much in evidence-I can’t imagine why 🙂

            Reply
  2. Conspiratoor

     /  May 16, 2017

    The greatest political predictor in the history of the world asks “Can you see the pattern?”

    Things That Are Positive

    The economy
    Trade deals
    China relations
    Russia (our frenemy) is working with the U.S. on Syria, North Korea
    China is putting pressure on North Korea
    Jobs
    Healthcare progress (more to do)
    Supreme Court nominee confirmed
    Tax reform maybe
    Optimism for an Israeli-Palestinian “deal”
    Safe Zones coming along for Syrian refugees
    Illegal immigration down over 70% because of Trump’s persuasion alone.
    Business confidence high.

    Things that are Negative

    Unproven allegations of Russian collusion with Trump campaign.
    Trump claims he invented the phrase “prime the pump.”
    Trump tweeted a warning that Comey better be careful what he says because he might have been taped in the White House. But such recordings haven’t been confirmed. Or denied.
    Critics say Trump is crazy.
    Trump claimed his campaign had been “wiretapped” by Obama, but it might have been only incidental surveillance. Or not. We’ll probably never know.
    Critics say Trump is a loose cannon.
    Critics say “words matter” and Trump is careless with words.
    Trump’s approval rating is abysmal.
    There is “chaos” in the White House
    Trump doesn’t study topics in detail.
    Trump might fire people on his staff for various reasons.
    There is in-fighting with Trump’s staff.
    Trump got two scoops of ice cream when others got one.
    Trump threatened to end press briefings but probably didn’t mean it.
    Trump is influenced by whoever gives him the latest article that is sometimes fake news.
    Trump calls the mainstream media fake news.
    Trump has criticized the courts, judges, and anyone else you are not supposed to criticize as a president.
    Health care didn’t get passed on the first try. And still needs work.
    Trump will be impeached or jailed any day now for whatever.
    Trump keeps relying on trusted family advisors such as Jared Kushner and Ivanka.
    Trump fired Comey as both sides wanted, but his timing raised suspicions, and he talked about it wrong in an interview. Also didn’t coordinate with his communication staff.
    Trump says things that do not pass the fact-checking.
    Trump doesn’t realize that his business skills don’t translate into government. (This was the same reason people said he couldn’t win the election.)

    Things that Might Be Good or Bad (Depending on your Point of View)

    Trump is prioritizing jobs over climate risks in the near term.
    Trump is reducing government regulations.
    Trump is moving responsibility for several topics to states, per the Constitution.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 16, 2017

      Trump is a crybaby. This is the biggest problem.

      Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  May 16, 2017

        Yes, and he gets two scoops of icecream when the others get one. This is shocking stuff. I agree with pg …Impeach the bastard!

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-two-icecream-scoops-guests-get-one-time-magazine-diet-coke-thousand-island-dressing-a7732101.html

        Reply
      • That’s one way of putting it.

        I have no idea what sort of president he could be if he didn’t care what media said and what disapproval polls said and concentrated on getting done what he said he would do.

        He seems far too easily distracted by his ego and his insecurity.

        As Brooks says:
        Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency, lack of self-control his leitmotif.

        Trump seems to need perpetual outside approval to stabilize his sense of self, so he is perpetually desperate for approval, telling heroic fabulist tales about himself.

        He is thus the all-time record-holder of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the phenomenon in which the incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence.

        When we analyze a president’s utterances we tend to assume that there is some substantive process behind the words, that it’s part of some strategic intent.

        But Trump’s statements don’t necessarily come from anywhere, lead anywhere or have a permanent reality beyond his wish to be liked at any given instant.

        Reply
        • Conspiratoor

           /  May 16, 2017

          “I have no idea what sort of president he could be if he didn’t care what media said and what disapproval polls said and concentrated on getting done what he said he would do”

          Allow me to paraphrase the above…

          You might have an idea if you didn’t care what media said and what disapproval polls said and concentrated on what he is doing

          Reply
          • I don’t know any better what he is actually achieving than you, I presume you are informed by others of your choosing.

            Reply
        • Pete your picture of Trump being easily distracted and should focus on getting things done is not what I see. He is actually achieving quite a lot with the constant clamour from the MSM and Democrats making so much noise that they are dominating the narrative. I note our main media in NZ are following the WaPo and New York Times theories of what is going on instead of sitting back and looking at the whole picture. At present the MSM and the Democrats are being unbalanced and totally negative about Trump’s administration to the detriment of all of us.

          Reply
  3. Pete, I do believe the WAPO article is bullshit. I will rely on the truth to vindicate my assessment. Too many are being captured by prejudice or partisanship, I do believe the whole thing was created by Mc Master et al in order to avoid his replacement by Trump. We are so naive here in our belief of the MSM’s agenda. They are the opposition to truth.

    Reply
    • I have my doubts, but as i said, if this is all being fabricated Trump and the White House still have massive problems that they don’t seem to know how to deal with.

      Reply
    • MaureenW

       /  May 16, 2017

      Here’s a story that’s had some legs for a while – and recently retweeted by Julian Assange. IMO this could have some people shouting up the fake Russia conspiracy.
      http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/05/15/report-investigator-says-evidence-showing-deceased-dnc-staffer-seth-rich-emailing-wikileaks/

      Reply
      • I’m not sure you can blame trump for unrelated things claimed by Breitbart.

        You’re not angling at…

        While it’s true police maintain an open investigation into Seth Rich’s death, the claim connecting him to Hillary Clinton was the third of its sort to emerge from the same conspiracy-monger in mid-2016. All those rumors were variations on the long-circulating (and false) “body bags” claims that the Clintons habitually do away with once-loyal associates turned political liabilities.

        http://www.snopes.com/seth-conrad-rich/

        …are you? It has more legs than a centipede, none of which would hold up more than an insect.

        Reply
        • MaureenW

           /  May 16, 2017

          Julian Assange isn’t known for tweeting conspiracies, and he would certainly know whether Rich had contacted Wikileaks.
          Using your reasoning you don’t know that it isn’t true, any more than I know that it is.
          It’s apparent that something is batshit crazy with US politics at the moment, and I don’t think this is just down to Trumps presidency.

          Reply
        • MaureenW

           /  May 16, 2017

          “I’m not sure you can blame trump for unrelated things claimed by Breitbart”, and yet you are quite happy to blame him on the word of WAPO, CNN, Buzzfeed, et al?

          Reply
        • The Seth Rich case has actually got a huge background to it. Julian Assange has hinted that Rich was the source of the DNC leaks and has posted a reward for information leading to his murder last July. Rich’s laptop that is in the hands of NYPolice or the FBI reportedly shows some 44k of emails from Rich to Wikileaks. There is also a John Podesta email in his Wikileaks database that suggests he would be happy to see a leaker being made “an example of even if we don’t have direct evidence”. His family have retained an investigator who claims that a NY Police contact looked him in the eye and said that they had been instructed to drop the case and thus he could not share any information with the investigator.
          I am neither a believer in conspiracy nor of coincidence, but this story has a peculiar smell to it and will not go away. It is interesting to note that the WAPO article about Trump and classified material sharing with Russia broke 57 minutes after the news about Seth Rich had become shock news. Cynics suggest this was deliberate smokescreen from WAPO!

          Reply
          • Anonymous Coward

             /  May 17, 2017

            Is that 44k supposed to be 44 000 emails, or 44kb of emails – which would be about 11 emails?

            Reply
            • From the text, it was 44 thousand Emails. I initially thought it meant 44kb but the report continued to say 44 thousand emails.

            • MaureenW

               /  May 17, 2017

              44,000 emails

    • Gezza

       /  May 16, 2017

      I wouldn’t be completely surprised if the sources are the Trump administration.
      1. I don’t think Trump would have done this with his security officials & their chief there.
      2. Notice how Comey has fallen off the front pages already?

      Reply
      • Whether they are trying to divert (with unintended consequences) or destabilise and discredit if true then as I say, Trump still has major problems.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  May 16, 2017

          I’d be interested to know if the psychiatric profession over there is having a boom in new patients presenting with symptoms of trying to keep up with it all & feeling like they’re losing their grip on reality.

          Reply
        • Yes Pete, I agree, however I do think he should cultivate an enigmatic smile to use at hard questions and redirect attention to the appropriate Cabinet member to answer. Its called a Key approach for leaders!

          Reply
  4. Pete, the Democrats have just launched another attack on Trump, claiming he is suffereing alzheimers disease. They have lined up 200 psychiatrists to support their claim. Not one of whom has actually checked him personally and had a consultation with him.
    Imagine if I said you were suffering from dementia, and went public with that opinion or for that matter Gezza and the others who contribute sensible comments. We used to say something about giving a dog a bad name?
    There is a total stupidity about the attack on the legitimately elected leader of the Free World?

    Reply
    • I hadn’t heard of that one and it does seem bizarre and I wouldn’t put any weight on that.

      But a growing number of examples of bizarre behaviour from Trump is a legitimate issue given the responsibilities he has.

      Just because there are some extreme claims it doesn’t mean all other criticisms and concerns should be discounted.

      Reply
    • Trump says he will bypass media problems by going straight to the people using Twitter.

      Trump unfiltered looks a real worry to me.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 16, 2017

        140 characters a time means stream of consciousness crap.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  May 16, 2017

          No, a sound bite. Ever read Virginia Wolf? You couldn’t get it into 140 chars. Not that it was crap either.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  May 16, 2017

            I don’t much Al. I can barely write. Is there a video?

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  May 16, 2017

            Probably many, G, but I don’t watch them you know.

            Reply
    • duperez

       /  May 16, 2017

      Well, well, well. Do I recall doctors who had never checked H Clinton being quoted with summaries of what was wrong (healthwise) with her in the election campaign? Though they hadn’t checked her personally or had consultations with her? If that strategy had validity then surely it has validity now.😊

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  May 16, 2017

        It didn’t then and it doesn’t now, D. It does suggest that the doctors involved need some verification of their own soundness of mind.

        Reply
      • It is not a strategy! Its just totally illogical and speculative to diagnose a person without actually interviewing them face to face. All you can do is speculate, and that is what it is!

        Reply
    • MaureenW

       /  May 17, 2017

      @BJ There was certainly no hint of alzheimers during debates, Trump left his opponents in the dust, was quick-witted and talking off the bat.

      Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 16, 2017
    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 16, 2017

      Bugger: there

      Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  May 16, 2017

      I’m as bemused by the breathless repeating as you are Al. For the record…

      At no time, at no time, where intelligent sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of the State, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on the record accounts should outweigh anonymous sources. I was in the room. It didn’t happen

      Reply
    • McMaster didn’t address any of the specific claims made by WaPo, frrom what I’ve read he denied things that weren’t claimed.

      Reply
    • This is in my post (from Fox):

      But what, precisely, had been misreported?

      The Post cited current and former U.S. officials who said Trump had shared classified details with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. They said the information, which had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement, was considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government.

      The Post story did not claim that Trump revealed any specific information about how the intelligence was gathered, as McMaster’s denial suggested.

      So McMaster was not very authoritative.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  May 16, 2017

        Pathetic twaddle, PG. McMaster is the National Security Advisor and is certainly going to be aware of any unwise revelations. Honestly, you are getting worse and worse.

        Reply
        • So why didn’t he specifically refute what was claimed by WaPo then?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  May 16, 2017

            How can you specifically refute hopelessly vague anonymous allegations? He specifically and explicitly said the WaPo allegations were false. What more do you want (apart from evidently Trump’s head at any cost)?

            Reply
            • No he didn’t.

              “The story that came out tonight as reported is false”.

              All that means is he claims it wasn’t completely true as reported. That leaves quite a range of possibilities.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  May 16, 2017

              “I was there. It didn’t happen.”

              If that’s not a denial to you then I don’t think anyone can help you.

      • Conspiratoor

         /  May 16, 2017

        “current and former U.S. officials who said Trump had shared classified details with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak'”

        Unless the “former officials” are telepathic we have to assume the pres allows them to eavesdrop on his meetings with top ranking Russian politicians. Possible but more likely to be passed third hand from one of these mysterious anonisources

        “Trump had shared classified details”. This was directly refuted by McMaster “the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known”. Information cannot be both classified and publicly known so regardless of the information there is the denial right there.

        Unless you prefer the word of an anonisource over a highly regarded military man the only story here is the source of the leaks …if in fact they are leaks and not more fake news

        Reply
  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 16, 2017

    Meanwhile, did the Democrats kill their inside leaker?:

    http://www.fox5dc.com/news/local-news/254852337-story

    Reply
  7. David

     /  May 16, 2017

    “The Post cited current and former U.S. officials who said Trump had shared classified details with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. They said the information, which had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement, was considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government.”

    How would “former US officials” have access to either what was discussed in this private meeting, or ‘tightly restricted’ intelligence?

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 16, 2017

      Quite. Perhaps even more to the point, how could WaPo verify it was true and so worthy of publication?

      Reply
  8. WaPo checking its facts? Don’t make me laugh Al! The claim was that Trump had shared CODEWORD material with the Russians. He clearly did discuss the laptop bomb case linking it to Al Quaeda and ISIS aircraft bombing plans, but did not reveal the source of the information or the nature of the intercept. The information about the laptop bombs had been published widely by all MSM including WaPo in March and April so it was in the public domain anyway, and no doubt the Russian Ambassador’s staff had already cut and pasted the news back to the Russian intelligence agencies. Thats what embassy’s do as a matter of course they read the papers. So by talking to the Russians, Trump merely confirmed the accuracy of the information. The really reprehensible person guilty of significant breaches of security was the leaker who said the information originated from codeword information from Israel as well as the WaPo editor who did not redact the information to avoid a breach of national security. Maybe the FBI should be looking at that?

    Reply
  9. I am getting signals that indicate that the material was seized by SDF (Syrian Democratic Force) militia during the battle for Tabqa on the way to Raqa and was shared with probably Israeli intelligence resources and US special forces operating with SDF. Its speculative but believable maybe C4 intel.

    Reply

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