As the news cycle remains dominated by the fallout of a Washington Post report claiming that President Donald Trump revealed classified intel to Russian officials in the Oval Office last week, a team of legal experts have released a scary analysis of what the revelation could mean.
The end of a Lawfare Blog analysis of the bombshell report offers one terrifying prospect: that the president may have violated the constitution.
“This may well be a violation of the President’s oath of office,” reads the fifth point in the post co-authored by six legal experts. “Questions of criminality aside, we turn to the far more significant issues: If the President gave this information away through carelessness or neglect, he has arguably breached his oath of office.”
The analysis calls a potential “loose lips” situation in which the president bragged about intel he’d received a “grotesque violation of the President’s oath” that could operate “as a standalone basis for impeachment”.
“In taking the oath President Trump swore to ‘faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States’ and to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States’ to the best of his ability,” it reads. “It’s very hard to argue that carelessly giving away highly sensitive material to an adversary foreign power constitutes a faithful execution of the office of President.”
According to the analysis, “violating the oath of office does not require violating a criminal statute” — and all three presidents who’ve been tried or considered for impeachment (Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton) have been investigated for violating their oath.
Along with claims that the president may indeed have breached his own oath of office, the analysis also raises the question of whether or not Trump, like Nixon before him, believes that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” The writers of the analysis state that in certain cases, this can be true because “the President gets to disclose what he wants”.
You can read the entire report via Lawfare Blog.