Investigative reporter — and author of the 2016 exposé The Making of Donald Trump — David Cay Johnston penned a scathing editorial published Wednesday at The Daily Beast in which he called the former reality TV game show host a “clear and present danger” to the United States who is “contemptuous of the Constitution, compromised by the Russians and willing to try any lie to hang onto power.”
“Recklessly firing FBI Director Jim Comey eliminated any remaining doubt: Donald Trump and his administration cannot be trusted to have any role in investigating his and his entourage’s relationship with Russia and Russians. Yet he is about to seize control of that probe, while the Republican-controlled Congress acts less like a coequal branch of government and more like a White House subsidiary,” Johnston wrote.
He continued, “Compounding this, the White House’s efforts Monday to deceive the American public about the president giving Russia super-secret intelligence only add to the reasons to distrust his competence, integrity and, indeed, suspect his loyalty.”
The past week has seen the White House plunged into chaos as Trump systematically undercut his subordinates’ messaging only to have Comey announce on Tuesday that he has kept detailed records of his and Trump’s conversations, particularly when the ousted FBI director believed he was being pushed into a politically compromising position.
Johnston wrote that the week’s mistakes are compounded by Trump’s leaking of classified Israeli intelligence information to the Russian delegation, which will have far-reaching repercussions.
“You can be sure that many foreign governments will share less with American intelligence agencies, thanks to Trump’s betrayal,” he said. “And you can be equally sure that the ruthless leaders of ISIS have been rounding up those with knowledge of these secrets for summary execution if their fealty is in doubt. That means less information will flow about terrorist plots, making it less likely they will be detected and thwarted.”
Johnston pointed out that Trump railed against his presidential opponent Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State, saying, “We can’t have someone in the Oval Office who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘confidential’ and “classified.'”
“Yet that is precisely what Donald Trump did last week. And he did so after allowing a Russian government photographer in the Oval Office with a bag full of who knows what kind of electronics gear, while no American journalists were allowed in,” Johnston said.
Johnston also noted Trump only fired Mike Flynn — who he knew was a paid agent of Russia and Turkey — after Flynn’s duplicity was exposed by the Washington Post.
“Take a moment to let that sink in: Donald Trump’s national security adviser was a paid agent of a foreign government. And while that government was Turkey, the money came from a Russian oligarch, who like all the Russian oligarchs keeps his fortune and his life only so long as Vladimir Putin does not want him robbed or whacked. Putin’s Russia Today propaganda television operation also paid Flynn handsomely,” he said.
He then asked readers to “imagine how Congressional Republicans would have reacted had Hillary Clinton won and her national security adviser held so much as held a single unauthorized conversation with Ambassador Kislyak.”
“Trump, keep in mind, has pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars from real estate deals with Russians. Yet he insists any mention of him and Russia is fake news,” wrote Johnston.
“Sometimes presidents and their advisers must lie. That is a reality in our world. But Trump and his seconds — including Spicer, Sanders and now McMaster — all told gratuitous lies that can serve only one purpose: to cover up the indefensible conduct of the president in obstructing the FBI counterintelligence investigation and his reckless disclosure of super-secret information to the hostile government in Moscow,” he said.
It’s clear, he wrote, that “America has a president who is contemptuous of the Constitution, compromised by the Russians and willing to try any lie to hang onto power.”
“The next encyclopedia should include a photo of Trump,” Johnston concluded. “It should go next to the entry on ‘clear and present danger.’”