I’m not going to lie.  I’m very leery about posting on this story, considering the Washington Post’s history of running with unverified fake news.  So I waited a bit to see if Trump would immediately start firing off tweets.  He didn’t.

To me, that’s reason enough to discuss it.  That’s a tell of damage control mode.

So why I am I questioning the report?  There’s one aspect that seems ludicrous to me.  Somebody with a sufficiently high security clearance–the unnamed source–was apparently aware of this information, somehow learned that it was divulged, and then himself/herself divulged it to the Washington Post.  This person was so outraged about intelligence being leaked by Trump that he/she….leaked it and then had to beg the Washington Post not to publish it.

Huh?  That would be a bit like one of my kids catching me smoking in the house and setting the carpet on fire to draw attention to what I did.

Some of our readers will make this observation: “There you go again.  Defending Trump by making it all about the leakers and not the damning information that they’re providing to the public.  You asshole.”

Fine.  Let’s assume that this story is accurate.

If so, it’s Trump’s most colossal fuck-up to date.  If there was any information that he gave to Lavrov and Kislayek that wasn’t already publicly known, it may not have been illegal but it was outrageously stupid.

The nation that provided the intelligence is going to raise a shit-fit and it only worsens the perception that Trump is in the tank for the Russians at the exact moment when he shouldn’t have been feeding that perception in any way.

Do you want a special prosecutor sniffing around for the next four years, Mr. President?  Because that is how you get a special prosecutor.  For Trump’s sake, I would hope that this was an effort to bust a leaker, but I doubt it.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if we see someone get fired shortly to try to make that point.

Let’s watch how this develops and talk about it in the comments.  You might get to see me go from skeptical to credulous in real time!

67 comments

  1. White House denies it.

    Russia denies it.

    At least two people in the room publicly deny it.

    Trump Tweets that he had “right” to share information…but doesn’t specifically say he did what the WaPo accused him of. Several media sources are using that as confirmation that he did what the WaPo accused him of.

    Two things:

    1. The media has collectively lost it’s mind in regard to Trump. It is impossible for 90% of them to look at anything that he does rationally, and they take anonymous sources as gospel despite being burned several times already, because hey, he’s got orange skin, or money, or something clearly nefarious going on. I think he’s the secret love-child of Putin.

    2. Please, someone, for the love of God, change his F’ing Twitter Password.

  2. No he didn’t. Saying you have the right to share information does not identify what information was shared. Several other sources, including the White House have denied what was reported in the WaPo.

  3. He didn’t just say he had the right. He said ‘I wanted to do it’ for ‘humanitarian reasons.’
    The only way to interpret ‘I wanted to do it and had every right to do it’ as anything other than an admission is if you really, really don’t want it to be true.

  4. The only way to interpret ‘I wanted to do it and had every right to do it’ as anything other than an admission is if you really, really don’t want it to be true.

    “I wanted to do it and had every right to do it” is referencing the first part of his tweet/statement, which is what that refers to. “do it” does not necessarily equal what the WaPo accused him of. Considering the denial from the White House, Russia, and people actually in the room, the only way you can interpret that tweet to mean that he was agreeing with what the WaPo accused him of is if you really, really want it to be true.

  5. That would be a bit like one of my kids catching me smoking in the house and setting the carpet on fire to draw attention to what I did.

    Oooh, an analogy. Does that mean you already lost the argument?

  6. I suppose it does, but since I’m mostly arguing with myself over whether or not to take this story at face value, uh, I win?

  7. As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining…….to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.

    Saying that tweet is “admitting” to what the WaPo accused him of is asinine, mashav. Especially when the other denials are taken into account. Shame on the media that are reporting his admitting to it.

    Now if he or the WH comes out and says, yup, he did what the WaPo accused him of, I’ll be right in line to condemn him for such stupidity…not calling for his impeachment as a lot of leftist idiots are doing (and have been doing for months) as he has the right as POTUS to declassify things, but certainly a stupid, potentially dangerous thing to do.

  8. I wonder if there’s a meme of a self serving, orange, and wealthy president with transparent business ties to Russian oligarchs and luxury real estate in New York that freely gives national intelligence away to said oligarchs to protect his nest egg?

    Or how about one where a CIA operative’s cover is blown, or many CIA operatives and they are killed in the field because Russia only now has to back track to the source of the intelligence?

    It doesn’t matter, I suppose because in your myopic world trump does no wrong and everyone just has it out for him because he’s making America great or something like that.

  9. “As president I owe Russia big time, YUGE even, for putting me in the car bird seat, so it’s obligatory I help them to serve myself even though American lives are at stake.”

    FIFY

  10. Not to worry, to him those weapons of mass destruction are still out there. CNN dug them up and they’re buried under the headquarters in Los Angeles so they could hang it over bush’s head.

    Rationality and self awareness be damned when his home team is compromised.

  11. Ok, I’ll play. What does ‘do it’ refer to here, if not ‘share with the Russians some stuff about ISIS?’ Because that’s exactly what WaPo is accusing him of, sharing with the Russians some stuff about ISIS, which, if you are not an drooling moron, tells the Russian where and how we gather intelligence.
    For the record, it’s totally legal for him to do it. It just proves yet again how unfit he is for this job.

  12. Ok, I’ll play. What does ‘do it’ refer to here, if not ‘share with the Russians some stuff about ISIS?

    If you want to play, I would suggest you start by reading his entire tweet (conveniently provided for you above), and point out ‘do it’. It’s not there. So how can “do it” refer to anything when he didn’t say, “do it”?

    Because that’s exactly what WaPo is accusing him of, sharing with the Russians some stuff about ISIS,

    The WaPo accused him of sharing some very specific information that multiple sources, including the White House itself, have denied he shared. You would have to be a “drooling moron” to think his tweet somehow supersedes those denials, and equals the President allowing his Secretary of State to deny the story as outlined in the WaPo TWICE, while admitting it himself.

  13. Dude,you seriously don’t see the word ‘do’ in his tweet? That explain quite a bit.

  14. Wow. It’s truly party before country with you. I guess this is still better than Benghazi bungling Hillary huh?

    A strained relationship with Israel, possibly endangering the lives of the people who confided this information to orange julius isn’t even beyond the pale for you.

    I truly understand how the Republican Party stands idle while trump tramples on this nation’s pecker as they represent you as a constituent.

  15. Dude,you seriously don’t see the word ‘do’ in his tweet? That explain quite a bit.

    Well, that’s not even close to what you said or I was responding to, as anyone can see in the exchange above. If you’re going to attempt to be disingenuous, you should at least try harder.

    You claimed he admitted to what the WaPo accused him of.

    You then made up the term “do it” in your followup response:

    He didn’t just say he had the right. He said ‘I wanted to do it’ for ‘humanitarian reasons.’
    The only way to interpret ‘I wanted to do it and had every right to do it’ as anything other than an admission is if you really, really don’t want it to be true.

    Trump didn’t say “do it”. And he certainly didn’t say he did what the WaPo accused him of, while the White House, Russians, and two people actually in the meeting said what the WaPo accused him of didn’t happened (one of them twice, the second time after Trump’s tweet).

    You have a serious case of TDS if you can’t see or acknowledge that.

  16. McMaster is one of the adults at the WH, so I put a little more stock in what he says.
    Yesterday he very specifically denied only that Trump shared “sources or methods” which is mostly interesting because the WaPo story did not say he shared those, only that they could be derived from what he did share. That’s a smart way to issue a denial without actually lying.
    Today McMaster said. “It is wholly appropriate for the president to share whatever information he thinks is necessary to advance the security of the American people. That’s what he did.” And “the president wasn’t even aware of where this information came from.” Also, tellingly, “He made the decision in the context of the conversation.” Which basically means he decided to brag about his awesome intel without consulting with his advisers.
    To my ear, that’s as close to an admission as you can get.
    Again, I don’t think anyone is arguing that this is illegal. It’s just dangerous and stupid. The Europeans are already making threats not to share intel with us going forward. And foreign leaders are clamoring for a sit down with Trump since you can get him to tell you stuff and change his mind on any number of strongly held beliefs after a short chat (NAFTA, currency manipulation, etc.)

  17. McMaster is one of the adults at the WH, so I put a little more stock in what he says.

    “What I’m saying is really the premise of that (Washington Post) article was false, that in anyway the president had a conversation that was inappropriate or resulted in any kind of lapse in national security,” McMaster said.

    Case closed then.

  18. You should smell your upper lip because I don’t think that’s chocolate ganache fox and the fridge report are feeding you.

  19. This seems to be a cross between Trump’s own mistakes and the media desperately looking for an impeachable moment. Somewhere in between is the truth, but I doubt you’d get it from either.

  20. it seem that all this “intel” is something something abut the laptop bombs that i chided the adm about yesterday.

    From what i heard, Trump was talking about this and some non specific issues about that. The source, was pissed off about trump telling the russians. but the stories about eh laptop bombs have been circulating for a while now, and the Adm is gonna be speaking with the European security and airlines soon abut this, and their desire to expand the restriction on laptops. not exactly top secret stuff there. Russia is fighting ISIS we are fighting isis, we have common ground on this issue. a great way to get some cooperation. The Russians have a a reson to be worried about bombs on planes,. Saving lives, even russinas one is a plus.
    From all this it seems to be to be overblown. just another case of the media wanting to go ape shit on trump.

    Now, if he did give up details of operations or intel sources. then his ass is in a sling, legally, yes he can do this, but ethically not fucking wise. it give Russia a intel advantage, pisses on Israel, the source, and exposes our operation to Russian counter moves.
    any damage to field operation from ISIS, is soly on the Media, whom seemed worried about running details, and the leaker, whom know this was classified dangerous intel but still spilled it to the media, just to burn trump.

    id say its a 60% likely hood, that this is a big Bullshit storm.

  21. then why isnthte media prying into his loans and dealing with Russian banks. When he started running i noted that he was rumored to be in debt to russian banks…? but i havnet seen shit about that. Tehre got to be something there if he is crooked, wait, he is, if they got thier hooks in him, that would be a obvious path?

  22. if our agents inthe field get smoked by the russians, … there no way that could be hidden, and why would they do that?
    if it is isis? ,, …. if nothing happens?.

  23. Very well said. So far, my doubts about this story are confirmed only insofar as I think it’s been overblown.

  24. So you’re also saying you can see the emporer’s new clothes? Really?

    You can’t honestly believe for a minute that Israel is doing anything more than trying their best to do damage control on our behalf right now, right?

  25. The issue is not the laptop thing in general, buy mentioning the specific city that the Intel came from, in particular.
    If there is nothing there, why did they all scramble to warn the CIA right after leaving the meeting?

  26. got me? but i cant see how mentioning a specific city would tip the Russians off that easily. and if this is he fuck up it pales to things Obama and Clinton did… and once again over blown.
    unless there is something specific that we have not heard yet? Something that ties all this together.

  27. and hell, the Russian intel spooks probably knew before hand any how. If this is from that raid in Yemen, then im sure they know, though channels with the Iranians .
    Oh this can still be a goatfuck, but im not seeing this as big as the media ” frothing at the mouth class” is making it.

  28. What am I looking for in that article? This is about the only thing that says what the Israelis think, aside from the diplomatic statement:

    Several former Israeli officials earlier on Tuesday refrained from commenting, explaining that the picture was unclear or that they expected Israel was not the country in question and, therefore, wanted to stay out of the sensitive issue.

    Anybody making noise over this incident is relying on a traitorous anonymous source or two. Everybody who has gone on the record says Trump had the authority to do what he did.

    Additionally, cooperating with Russia on ISIS is something he’s always been clear about doing.

    Sorry, guys, but this one isn’t swaying me. It’s Trump being Trump and being an ignorant blabbermouth, but this is not the impeachment bait you’re looking for.

  29. So Comey supposedly had the President try to obstruct justice right to his face and he just…wrote it down and forgot about it? Then left it to a former subordinate to dig it up out of a drawer or something later? He didn’t tell Congress, didn’t tell McCabe, didn’t even tell the press after getting fired?

    Weird.

  30. It is weird. You know what I would have done? I’d have refused to pledge loyalty to the president, requested more resources for the investigation, started getting daily briefings instead of weekly ones, and generally doubled down on the investigation into the matter at hand.

  31. He didn’t request additional resources. That’s been debunked plenty.

    In any event, Flynn was cleared in January by the FBI. The memo was from February. What was Trump ostensibly trying to get Comey to back off from?

  32. How is it not ok for Trump to share intelligence (not sources and methods) with Russia as part of an effort to gain their cooperation, but it is ok for anonymous bureaucrats to leak not only the occurrence of this disclosure, but details regarding sources and methods, in an effort to discredit and attack the President?

  33. I have said several times by now that this is stupid, not illegal. I am not sure why you are ascribing the impeachment argument to me.

  34. This has nothing to do with Yemen. Telling Russia that Mossad has assets in a specific Syrian city is not some that will insure better cooperation from our allies going forward.

  35. If it’s true, and Comey thought it was worthy of being potential Obstruction, then he broke the law by not reporting it – 18 USC 4.

  36. No, what he’s saying is that intel about laptop bombs originally came from the Yemen raid that went south. For all we know, all Trump told the Russians was what was gleaned from that.

    The only ones saying otherwise are anonymous sources with a political axe to grind. I’m not sure how you can authoritatively say “this has nothing to do with Yemen”.

  37. Well, I can’t say what arguments you are and aren’t making. You make a statement and then drop a link that says the opposite of what you indicated it would say.

    Seriously, guys, don’t just drop links on me. I don’t even click on them half the time. Just say what you have to say. If I think you’re wrong, I’ll respectfully ask for a link only after I fail to find anything to back it up myself.

  38. You have McMaster on the record saying that Trump didn’t know where the Intel came from. The Israelis are saying they know it was their Intel. How invested are you in this Presidency not to see that this is no longer an anonymous source story. The WH is no longer denying it, they are just saying he had the right to share (which we all agree he had.) You and Zurvan are the only one left trying to parse the word ‘do’ to get out of admitting that you voted for an intemperate braggart.

  39. Neither is ok and the former necessitates​ the latter. The man won’t listen to his advisers and the only way to get his attention is to leak to the media.
    I am not making the argument that it’s legal. It’s no more legal than what Deep Throat did… Remember when you guys were totally fine with whistleblowers as long as they were hacking the DNC and Hillary?

  40. I’ve never condoned any criminal activity against Hillary, the DNC, or anyone else the way you are right now with regard to Trump.

    That you can support the weaponization of the bureaucracy for political purposes is exactly why your candidate needed to lose in 2016 and why I’d vote for Trump all over again.

  41. There’s a world of difference between your made up quote “do it”, and everything else you just bloviated.

    And in case it isn’t clear, I think Trump is an intemperate braggart, that was never in doubt for me, so I fail to see what you think I’m trying “to get out of”.

  42. The man won’t listen to his advisers and the only way to get his attention is to leak to the media.

    Does leaking to the media really get his attention in a good way? That’s like making chocolate chip cookies as a gift to help someone lose weight.

  43. You’re justifying anonymous bureaucrats leaking classified information about sources and methods of intelligence because Trump is childish and won’t listen?

    Hackers from other countries are one thing–hackers gonna hack, after all. Employees of the Government of the United States of America who have been entrusted by the public to protect the nation’s secrets? That’s a whole ‘nother ball game.

  44. I disagree that the purposes are political. The reason to stop Trump is not just because people dislike him (which people do) but because what he is doing is detrimental to the future of the country. The Yemen raid, the Syria bombing, this sharing of info, these things are bad ideas and I would feel the same way if Hillary did it.
    I have no interest in getting him impeached because Pence would be worse for my side, politically. But right now, Trump is putting all of us in actual danger because of his inexperience and temperament.
    This has nothing to do with politics, the way Deep Throat had nothing to do with politics.
    The fact that you can only see politics here and are still on a ‘side’ even though Syria was definitely not something you voted for, is telling. You are right, you putting party before country is exactly why Hillary lost and why you would vote for Trump again, no matter what he does between now and then.

  45. They leaked after he did. At some point, a secret is not longer a secret, like when you’ve already told it to your enemy.
    The Russians knew, which means the Syrians knew, so who is left to hide the Intel from?

  46. No, it is political. This statement in particular is crap:

    The man won’t listen to his advisers and the only way to get his attention is to leak to the media.

    The issue is that there are officials who disagree with his pro-Russia policy. They’re leaking to undermine that. That’s not something they have the right to do. It’s not about ignoring their advice, it’s that he’s not doing what they want him to do with regard to policy.

    And I’m not putting party over country. I’m opposed to those who are holding an unaccountable bureaucracy over our form of government. You’re supporting that. You’re supporting anti-democratic criminality that endangers national security.

  47. The reason to stop Trump is not just because people dislike him (which people do) but because what he is doing is detrimental to the future of the country.

    I don’t recall many on the left trying to stop Obama and the Democrats from taking our slowly worsening healthcare situation and blowing it straight to hell.

  48. Trump endangers national security, even if he is within his rights to do so, I don’t agree that everyone should just sit back and let him keep doing it. And I bet you anything, you agree if Hillary was in office making the decisions he is making. I know I would.
    This has nothing to do with Russia specifically, I mentioned other decisions, like the Yemen raid or the Syrian bombing, which Russia actively opposed as other Trump blunders which got leaked.
    You are so motivated by partisanship that you cannot imagine that others have different drives.

  49. They leaked after he did. At some point, a secret is not longer a secret, like when you’ve already told it to your enemy.

    (Wo)Man that is some twisted logic. I’ll give you a hint – one is authorized to do it per his position, the other is committing a federal crime.

  50. Such a bullshit argument, and it’s not really true anyway. EVEN IF he disclosed the sensitive information, the only people who knew were those in the room. Yes, the Russians could have disclosed certain secrets, but maybe they would have kept it secret too. The assumption that anything disclosed in confidence to the Russians is equivalent to disclosing to the public is unfounded.

    The trusted, cleared individuals who leaked all this to the press, disclosed not only that a disclosure occurred, not only the general content of it, but also the source of the information. That is a much bigger problem.

  51. Small point, they didn’t leak classified information. They leaked the fact that classified information was shared. Will be important going forward I think.

  52. No, they leaked classified information. WaPo even mentioned that the leaker asked them not to publish some of the information they were given. The leaker absolutely did leak classified information. WaPo just didn’t publish it.

  53. You are missing the point. Once the information is disclosed, the source is obvious (maybe not to Trump, but to everyone else.) The fact that Trump didn’t state the source outright, doesn’t mean that the Russians didn’t know it.
    Once the Russians know it, the Syrians know it. There is zero reason for Russia to protect Israel over Syria. Once the Syrians know that Israel has sources in a specific Syrian city, it doesn’t matter if it’s in WaPo, the source is blown. Who are you hiding in intel from at point? The French?
    I know that the Russians would tell something like that to the Syrians because we know they warned them about the strike on the airbase a while back.
    It might not have been trusted individuals in the room during the meeting that leaked. As soon as the meeting was over, they ran back to their desks to call the CIA to get them to warn the Israelies. At that point, tons of lower level bureaucrats find out that happened in the meeting.

  54. Probably because we don’t think the ACA is detrimental to the future of our country?

  55. I have said several times now that Trump is fully within his right to declassify information and share with whoever he wants to. Ironically, that argument didn’t work for Hillary, the State Dept and her emails for you, but lets set that aside for now.
    The fact that he is legally ok to do it doesn’t mean it’s not a really bad idea with far reaching negative consequences.

  56. Yeah, that’s how I read it, too.
    And, again, I agree that’s illegal. Just like Deep Throat and Snowden, I am of two minds about how to feel about it. I get why they did it, but there has to be some sort of punishment.
    We disagree only over what’s the bigger story, Trump’s blabbing or the leaks.

  57. Why are we still arguing about this?

    Did Trump break the law? No.

    Is Trump allowed to share intelligence with foreign countries that he wishes to improve cooperation with? Yes.

    Do we know specifically what intelligence the Russians were given or what the specific source of it was from what we can all consider a reliable source–not Trump, a political appointee of Trump’s, or an anonymous leaker? No.

    Did the leakers break the law? Yes.

    That is pretty much it.

    I stand by my assertion that if Trump gave away detailed information, then it’s a fuckup. However, I have no idea what he said and neither do you. You have what the anonymous leaker said.

    The leaker says it was “granular.” McMaster, who was in the room and you said you trust, says, “No, it wasn’t.”

    For all we know, Trump discussed absolutely nothing that could have helped pinpoint the source and the spy had to be withdrawn ONLY because of the leak.

    Again: the motivation for the leak was opposition to Trump’s policy toward Russia. They had absolutely no right to do it.

  58. I keep missing things. That’s what I get for trying to run three separate but related threads at once.

    No, the big story is still the blabbing. I’m not questioning that. Even though I touched on the leaks in the post, I still focused on the blabbing.

    It’s a reversal of the DNC/Podesta hacks in which the leaks became the bigger story than the election fixing and incestuous media relationship with the Democratic establishment.

    Kind of interesting how the media decides what “the bigger story” should be on any topic.

  59. We have three active, related threads going now on a similar topic. It’s gotten difficult for me to keep up. Please continue the conversation on the “Trump Goes Full Special” thread. Thanks!

    Comments locked for this thread.

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