Donald Trump has confirmed that he has shared classified information with Russian officials. The Washington Post initially reported on Monday that Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week. This meeting took place a day after firing then-FBI Director James Comey. Strangely, no US media were allowed in to take photographs of Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, but Russian media was allowed in to take photos.
After the Post reported on this story, the White House went into damage control, with National Securtiy Advisor H.R. McMaster issuing an issuing an evasive statement claiming that no “sources or methods” were compromised, but the Ars Technica article linked above indicates that sources could have been implicitly exposed. Trump has defended his sharing of information with the Russians, citing his authority as President to classify or declassify information.
So, is this what the Russians were wanting? Throughout his presidential campaign and extending into his presidency, Trump has been accused of being too cozy with the Russians, with some speculating a “Machurian candidate” scenario, with Trump as a Russian puppet. I’ve wondered what the Russians could gain by installing Trump as president. Lifting the US sanctions against Russia is an obvious motivation, but intelligence is also a valuable prize. Then comes the question of how to inconspicuously relay that information. Remember, earlier this year some Trump officials have come under fire for their communications with Russian officials.
It seems Trump has gotten around that tedious aspect by reporting to the Russians in person. And, being the President and ultimate classifier of information, he is perfectly within his legal boundaries to say whatever he wants.
Of course, I’m being a little bit facetious here, but, taking in account the totality of the facts, this is concerning. After the US missile strike against Syria, media outlets reported that US-Russia relations has soured, with Russia being an ally with Syria, but I didn’t think so. Looks to me like I was right about that. It looks to me that Putin’s master plan is going as expected. Even if Trump is not an agent of Russia and is only an unwitting pawn of Putin, that’s no comfort.
Of course, Occam’s razor insists that the most likely answer is the simplest one, and that would be that Trump is not a Russian agent or pawn and is simply a buffoon doing his typical buffoonery. Nevertheless, his buffoonery, I’m sure, is very pleasing to Putin.