Former intelligence community leaders blasted Donald Trump over reports the president revealed highly classified information to the Russian ambassador and Russian foreign minister during a meeting last week, with one Bush-era official calling it potential “treason.”
Monday night, the Washington Post reported that Trump divulged classified intelligence during an Oval Office meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The information reportedly pertained to the Islamic State, and included identifying details, including the territory in which the intel was collected.
Despite a series of denials from the White House Monday about that Washington Post report, the president on Tuesday all-but-verified that he divulged information to those Russian officials, insisting in a tweet that he wanted “to share with Russia… facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.”
Eliot Cohen, who worked in the State Department under George Bush, called the report “appalling,” insisting “it would be a firing offense for anyone else” besides Trump.
“If deliberate, it would be treason,” Cohen added.
Wayne White, a senior Bush-era intelligence officer, argued the president crossed a “red line” with his disclosure.
“There are red lines that even presidents are not supposed to be crossing,” White told Politico. “He has to be protecting his own assets. It is really frightening for our people, especially the people who managed the relationship in getting the information.”
“It is another indication that you cannot possibly control this guy,” White noted.
Steve Aftergood, who works for the Federation of American Scientists, called the president’s behavior “reckless and thoughtless.”
“It is not a legal issue. It is a question of competence and national security awareness. If the story is accurate the president fell short in those vital areas,” Aftergood said.
Trump personally asked what ‘tanks’ could be used to break up George Floyd protests
On Tuesday, The Daily Beast detailed how President Donald Trump himself has been behind the push to use the military to control the protests against the police killing of George Floyd — to the extent that he actually asked about specific military equipment that would be available for that purpose.
"[Defense Secretary Mark] Esper, along with other cabinet secretaries, stood next to the president during the remarks in the park after participating in an hour-long call with governors in which he said they needed to 'dominate the battlespace' to quell the protests," reported Erin Banco, Spencer Ackerman, and Asawin Suebsaeng. "But three senior Pentagon officials who spoke with The Daily Beast said they viewed the secretary’s comments on the call as a way to publicly show support for the president. They did not expect the department to actually implement a plan that would reflect the president’s rhetoric and force additional troops upon the states."
FBI has ‘no intelligence’ Antifa was involved in Sunday’s violence at DC protests: report
Attorney General Bill Barr and President Donald Trump have tried to blame Antifa -- or anti-fascists -- for violence in the protests against police injustice. But the public data has backed up their case, and even their on intel disputes the argument.
"he FBI’s Washington Field Office “has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the violence that occurred on May 31, according to an internal FBI situation report obtained exclusively by The Nation. That same day, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would designate Antifa a terrorist organization, even though the government has no existing authority to declare a domestic group a terrorist organization," Ken Klippenstein reported for the magazine.
NYC protesters defy curfew — with a profane message for Mayor Bill de Blasio
Protesters in New York City continued to march after 8 p.m. on Tuesday -- in open defiance of a curfew order from Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Jan Ransom, who covers courts and jails for The New York Times, posted video of protesters chanting, "f*ck your curfew."
Wonder what protesters think about @NYCMayor’s 8 pm curfew?
Just listen. pic.twitter.com/8H38XNGfQt
— Jan Ransom (@Jan_Ransom) June 2, 2020