Trump reveals U.S. secrets to Russians, and other news

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My blog was shut down most of the day. There was a server out of action somewhere, and it took a long time to fix, according to my host. I’m still fuzzy on the details. But here are some topics:

  1. Trump revealed highly classified information to RussiansBREAKING… This was just last week, on the day after he fired Comey for, you know, investigating the possibility of collusion with… let’s see… what country was that?
  2. G.O.P. Senators Begin Edging Away From the President — “And they all started moving away from me on the Group W bench there…” This story actually predates the breaking one above.
  3. Richland Library wins nation’s highest honor — Don’t tell me I never give you any good news. Access freely (a tagline, by the way, created by ADCO when we rebranded the library awhile back). I prefer this kind of “access freely” to the way Trump uses it with regard to the Russians.
  4. McMaster won’t use Richard Quinn for 2018 re-election bid — This is from the Post and Courier over the weekend, but I just learned about it this morning. Looks like there’s some “edging away” going on here in SC as well.
  5. Secret Republican Senate Talks Are Shaping Health Care Legislation — Just in case you got up this morning wondering, “What fresh hell will Washington send my way next?”

75 thoughts on “Trump reveals U.S. secrets to Russians, and other news

  1. Karen Pearson

    When are we going to impeach Trump? The behavior described in the WaPo article is completely unacceptable in a president. If it weren’t for the fact that he can declassify info as he pleases, this would be treason.

    Reply
    1. Bart

      After this one, I cannot disagree, Trump should be impeached or at the very least, if Congress can do it, censure Trump and have his security clearance revoked. This is totally unacceptable at any level. I don’t believe for one micro-second Trump has any idea of where he is and the position he holds as POTUS. I truly believe it completely escapes his narcissistic and ego driven mind and personality. George Will is right, Trump is one more sick puppy, not meaning to insult sick puppies.

      He needs to be removed as soon as possible and any Republican giving him cover on this one should be voted out of office over the next two election cycles if they are up for re-election.

      One I would like to see removed immediately is Mick Mulvaney. This guy will end up along with Ryan being the end of the Republican Party and insuring a one party government at the federal level for decades to come. Once he and Ryan finish screwing over Medicare and Social Security, they will have antagonized more older citizens than imaginable.

      Not much more can be said after this one. It is too far over the top even for Trump’s most ardent supporters and defenders. Yes, drain the swamp but make sure Trump goes down the drain first.

      Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yes, I do expect “the hysteria,” as you put it, to abate under a President Pence.

          You can’t hold me responsible for what Democrats will do — they’ll still be ticked that a Republican is president, and you can expect the usual partisan stuff about “tax breaks for the rich” and the “war on Women,” yadda-yadda. That’s how the parties pay their bills, by keeping their base whipped up.

          But I’m sure you’ll hear a sigh of relief from the independents and Republicans who are in a state of extreme alarm because this dangerous ignoramus is our president.

          But “vow of silence?” No, I do not plan to shut down my blog. Pence will receive the same scrutiny that Presidents Bush and Obama received from this blog over the years. When he screws up, I’ll say so, and when he does good things, I’ll applaud…

          Reply
        2. bud

          Not hysteria, but legitimate concern that this man is unfit to handle a crisis. Seems like the prudent course of action is impeachment. Not sure how you can look at this man’s behavior and be so cavalier. Totally irrational.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            Because all I have seen or heard is rumors so far. No evidence. Everything is speculation, unnamed sources, etc.

            I would think if Trump was revealing information that put the U.S. at risk, the unnamed sources would have the guts (nevermind the absolute DUTY) to make their claims publicly. I’ll wait for the first person with actual information to step forward.

            Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              “The anonymous officials told the Post that the information Trump relayed during the May 10 meeting had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement. They said it was considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government.

              “I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, told reporters outside the White House late Monday.”

              So one guy who was there said it didn’t happen (putting his credibility at risk) while an unnamed source claims it happened. Yeah, I should start getting hysterical now like the rest of you.

              It’s called confirmation bias. If you look hard enough, you’ll find whatever you want to find.

              Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  You don’t go this big with a story like this unless the sourcing is solid. Too much at stake. Screw up, and Bezos might rethink giving the newsroom those additional resources…

                2. bud

                  Since only Russian media allowed in we can’t confirm it. Given Trump’s radical behavior and McMasters word parsing I strongly suspect WAPOs version. It’s also possible that McMaster didn’t hear the critical exchange.

                1. Doug Ross

                  It’s amazing how many people allow their lives to be consumed by every scrap of information and rumor about Trump.

                  Do people actually spend time talking about this too? To what end?

        3. Bart

          If Trump is impeached, I will keep silent on Pence for 90 days. If this was another occupant of the White House, I would have doubts about the veracity of the news but since it is Trump and considering his behavior to date, I do place more credence to the story than I normally would.

          Trump played his hand when he used MAR-A-LAGO as the setting for a signing. It was a circus and Trump treated it like a grand photo-op with him as the center piece.

          I don’t hate Trump, as a matter of fact, I don’t hate anyone, the use of the word “hate” is overblown and eventually it loses any impact it once had. I simply don’t like the way he is handling his office and his characteristic traits that are totally unsuitable to be POTUS. Being a “businessman” is not a sufficient qualification to be POTUS as so many have stated, “we need a businessman in the White House.” If this is the way he normally conducts business, I am surprised he still has his billions. That is if he is actually worth billions.

          Reply
            1. bud

              Actually Forbes has him at 3.5 billion. Since we don’t have any idea what he owes foreign banks his debt likely cancels out much of this. But it doesn’t matter to me since wealth has a zero relationship to presidential ability.

              Reply
  2. Karen Pearson

    Re: health talks. I’ve come to believe that unless it is in the area of national security secret talks mean they’re trying to pull a fast one motivated only by partisanship. Meanwhile, what is McConnell doing? Taking the boy scout oath?

    Reply
  3. Doug Ross

    How about the news that Microsoft claims the massive cyber attack that hit hospitals over the weekend was a result of an NSA created hack that the NSA didn’t reveal to Microsoft?

    Reply
    1. Scout

      I heard a version of this story on NPR. The part the NSA supposedly created was the ability to infiltrate computers through this vulneribility they discovered in Windows. They did not create the ransomware part – Hackers married those two parts after they got the way in from the NSA – How it got out of the NSA is unknown. Windows subsequently discovered the door and patched it – so if your computer is up to date on Windows updates, you should be alright. Apparently the places hardest hit are places with pirated copies of windows that don’t get updates.

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Right. The NSA discovered the backdoor and but held onto that information most likely so they could exploit it themselves. Surely only for absolutely legal purposes… and only with official warrants. Surely.

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          Head of Microsoft legal:

          “He also said that the attack highlights “why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem”.

          “We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world.”

          He likened the most recent cyber attack to “the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen” and said that it “represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today”, namely nation-state action and organised criminal action.

          Governments, he said, must treat the attack as a wake-up call.

          “They need to take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world,” Mr Smith said.”

          Reply
        2. Brad Warthen

          Yes, Doug — surely. You say it sarcastically, but I’m dead serious.

          I can think of plenty of scenarios in which national security, even national survival, might depend on being able to crack into the world’s most popular operating system, right away…

          Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              And if you have a scenario, it has to start with the terrorists using Microsoft Windows computers, not cellphones or Linux-based computers. Because they’re dumb terrorists with all their nefarious plans stored in a spreadsheet titled “Terrorist Plans (Updated).xls”.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Yes, in this case it does. Sure, it would be smarter for the terrorists to use an Apple device, since it is Apple policy to shield their communications from law enforcement.

                But how smart do you think terrorists are? Where, for instance, would you put the underwear bomber on the IQ scale?

                Reply
              2. Mark Stewart

                It seems as though North Korea had an unending run of failed missile launches; until someone thought it a “good” idea to publish NSA material and people came to the conclusion that this might have been a software hack. Now, North Korea has successfully tested a nuclear capable missile that could soon be capable of reaching the West Coast. That’s not a crazy inference to connect those dots…

                It’s a complicated world out there.

                Reply
  4. bud

    The Richland County teenager who died as a result of excess caffeine consumption is getting national coverage.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      Stuff happens when kids do stupid things. Tragic but what are you going to do? (please don’t say “make a law”… please don’t say “make a law”)

      Reply
      1. bud

        No law but some attention to this threat, by the government, is justified. This kid was aware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol but not caffeine. When the government calls attention to potential threats positive outcomes follow. That’s why our vehicles are safer and our air cleaner.

        The opposite can also occur. Trump signed an executive order reversing Obama’s ban on a deadly chemical used in pesticides. This was at the behest of DOW chemical, manufacturer of the poison and big Trump supporter. The result is the poisoning of 50+ farm workers in CA. Yet another example of the damage unregulated capitalism can cause.

        Reply
      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Speaking of “stupid things,” what the boy did doesn’t sound that extreme to me. He had three doses of caffeine in a couple of hours.

        I suppose it was other ingredients in that “energy drink,” combined with the caffeine, that led to his death. I don’t know.

        I’m working on my third big coffee within two hours right now. I feel very slightly wired, but nothing alarming is happening.

        What’s IN those “energy drinks?”

        Reply
  5. Bryan Caskey

    As has become a pattern, lots of people in the Trump administration are being undermined by Trump.

    My five year old son kept the secret of our surprise Mother’s Day Meal longer than Trump can keep sensitive NatSec info from the Russians.

    Not a legal problem for Trump, but it’s certainly a massive lapse in judgment. For Trump, saying something inappropriate to impress someone seems like his signature move.

    Reply
    1. Bryan Caskey

      Somewhere in the Official Rules for being President is:

      Don’t tell the Ruskies the secret stuff.

      I mean, I’m no political expert, and being President is something I’m wildly unqualified for, but I think even I could handle this rule.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I could meet that requirement without breaking a sweat.

        But like you, I don’t see myself as qualified for the job by a long shot.

        That’s one of the things that has gotten me since Trump first had the effrontery to run: How does a guy like him, who obviously knows less than I do about the world, and understands far less than that, get it into his head that he should be president.

        That was bad enough. The REALLY bad thing is that millions of people agreed with him. It’s not unusual for unqualified people to get crazy ideas about being president. But normally the voters give them the heave-ho.

        I still don’t see how someone so obviously unfit fooled so many people…

        Reply
        1. Claus2

          “How does a guy like him, who obviously knows less than I do about the world, and understands far less than that, get it into his head that he should be president.”

          If you’re so smart, why don’t you run for office? You seem to hold all the answers. I doubt you know more about the world than a guy who runs a global empire. You don’t learn to swim by reading a book.

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            You seem to have misread what I said.

            What I said was this: I am not qualified for the job. The amazing thing here is that someone so obviously less qualified than I am would presume to run. And no, I’m not a bit impressed by his “global empire” of tacky hotels and casinos, and can’t imagine how you think the skills needed to do that translate to the duties of POTUS.

            It’s no big deal for me to be better qualified than Trump. Pretty much anyone I know would be — at the very least, in terms of temperament and basic honesty.

            Reply
            1. Claus2

              So you’re not qualified for the job, yet you believe you’re qualified to critique the person doing the job. Sounds like you are upper-management material.

              Reply
        2. bud

          The VOTERS, by nearly 3 million, DID give him the heave ho. So don’t blame this man on the voters. That is a demonstrably false statement. You will be reminded of that whenever you make that false charge.

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Actually, it is not in any way false. Millions upon millions of people voted for him. And each and every one of those votes is a national tragedy, a painful rip in the fabric that holds this nation together. There is no excuse for ANYONE to have voted for someone so obviously unfit. That people did so is indicative to a deep, profound pathology in the electorate….

            Reply
            1. Mark Stewart

              They voted for the bamboozling “successful” white guy… It really wasn’t anything other than that.

              Trump’s “base” has been played at every turn so far, and yet still they persist in believing in this “populism.” Trump has sold out the country for his personal quest for fame and fortune; nothing else matters to him. He doesn’t think in terms of historical legacy, he can only conceive of his lifetime’s rewards.

              Reply
      2. Doug Ross

        You’re forgetting the number one rule of being President: YOU get to decide what is secret stuff.

        Reply
        1. Bryan Caskey

          It’s certainly true that the President has broad declassification authority. However, in this specific instance it appears that because this information was obtained from a foreign ally, even the President didn’t have authority to share it without first obtaining the consent of the country that obtained the information.

          But in general, with regard to information generated/collected by the US, yes, the President can share it with whomever he likes. I don’t believe any serious person is arguing the President is in legal trouble. However, the defense of “it’s legal, so it’s okay” leaves a lot of room for bad judgment that may not rise to the level of criminal. And that’s exactly the problem that we have; the current POTUS does not have enough self-discipline to make good decisions about what “the secret stuff” is.

          Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. (It’s the core theme from Jurassic Park.)

          And at this point, Trump has admitted to the core of the WaPo story: “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.”

          I think the “openly scheduled” line is my favorite part of this statement. It’s like he’s implying “Hey, at least I didn’t give the Russians this info in some clandestine way. I openly gave them this sensitive information.”

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            As Bugs would say, what a maroon.

            Doug, the president has the power to make the final decision on whether to declassify something — a thing he should only do after extensive thought and consultation with expert advisers, considering every potential ramification.

            Or, he can just decide, in the middle of a conversation with the Russians, “Hey, I think I’ll tell these guys so they’ll see how much I know and be impressed!”

            He has a legal right to do it either way. But if he does it the second way, he is obviously grossly unfit to hold such responsibility…

            … and more than that… Have you noticed how, over the last 18 hours or so, speculation about the 25th Amendment has started to accompany discussions about impeachment? I’ve heard or read it mentioned several times in recent hours…

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              We have such a legalistic society. People defend the president’s actions by protesting that they weren’t illegal.

              When I look at a person’s suitability for office, I’m mostly concerned about the stupid, irresponsible, bad things he or she might do that are perfectly legal.

              It’s not that complicated: This is why you don’t give such power to someone like Donald Trump. This is why the awesome power of the ballot is something we must wield with the greatest of care — not use it capriciously as a way of telling the world you don’t like Hillary Clinton.

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                I mean, come on — practically none of us like Hillary Clinton. She’s not all that likable. But you don’t express it by handing the most powerful job in the world to someone as supremely clueless and temperamentally unfit as THIS guy…

                Reply
  6. JesseS

    RE #1. So in the betting pool who is the leaker? Safe money is on McMasters or his staffer, since he specifically denied that he was the leaker and offered more info in his denial than there was in the WAPO article. The Vegas utra long-shot is that it was somehow Henry Kissinger, something I desperately want to be true.

    Side bet: Will Trump’s twitter response come from Fox News or Alex Jones?

    Reply
  7. Brad Warthen

    I’m watching an episode of “Madam Secretary.” It’s painful watching a show that ASSUMES that national policy will be directed by serious people who know what they are doing…

    … as it always was until now…

    Reply
    1. Burl Burlingame

      “Madame Secretary” is right down your alley. It didn’t hit its stride until about halfway through the first season.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        That’s about where I am — in the second half of the first season. They just dealt with the Greek debt crisis in a meeting in Europe, while the president’s son was overdosing back home.

        And they decided to sell the farm, which I think is a TERRIBLE idea. I mean, if heating the horse barn costs so much, sell the horses.

        Remember, Katie Scarlett, ’tis the LAND that matters…

        Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Much, much better.

        I didn’t even watch the last season released of “House of Cards.” I think I tried watching the first episode while I was giving platelets at the Red Cross, and the language used in the opening scene was so gross that I switched it off. Yeah, I was using earbuds, but I always have subtitles running (on account of my hearing problem), and was afraid someone would see it over my shoulder and wonder why I was watching porn at the Red Cross.

        I liked the British version that it’s based on better, although I only watched one season of it. I watched more of the American one just to try to keep up with something lots of people were talking about it, but I’ve never enjoyed it.

        “Madame Secretary” actually has characters you can care about…

        Reply
  8. Dave

    I do enjoy every time something like this happens, reading a few people on this blog denying what the Trump administration has done when it’s clear to anyone with a brain what the Trump administration has done. H.R. McMaster’s statement last night was a classic non-denial denial. Denying actions that weren’t even suggested in the Washington Post’s story. So, particularly nice to see Trump himself admit what’s in the Washington Post story on Twitter this morning despite his supporters’ protestations to the contrary.

    When will Trump’s supporters learn to stop debasing themselves for him?

    Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Actually, they’re not. I mean, who would have to look?

        What they’re doing is covering Trump, covering the things he does day in and day out. And of course, that means there will be shocking stories. Lots of them.

        What would be really, really bad is if we got to the point where we weren’t shocked any more…

        Reply
  9. Harry Harris

    This stuff, serious as it may be, provides cover for the Republicans to meet (plot) behind closed doors to put together a health care replacement that will with little doubt: cut health insurance affordability for lower income people, give states like SC more medicaid discretion, allow insurers more control over what’s covered, make it harder to compare policies, and, above all, eliminate the taxes on upper-income investment income. 3.8% on investment income and .9% on income above 200K is a big deal for the super wealthy who enjoy being exempt from the 6.2%1 FICA and 1.9% medicare tax the middle-income folks pay while their capital gains rate is 20%. This is a huge part of the deal for those who fund the campaigns of Republican congressmen and campaign for them through shadow groups.
    Imagine what they will use for cover while working on their tax schemes (“reform”).

    Reply
    1. Bart

      “This is a huge part of the deal for those who fund the campaigns of Republican congressmen and campaign for them through shadow groups.”

      Let’s be fair, Democrats do the same thing and use shadow groups to fund campaigns for candidates they support. We cannot indict one without indicting the other. There as many extremely wealthy Democrats using their great wealth to support and impact elections as there are Republicans.

      The ideology may be different but the same tactics are used by both sides. Each side plays on the fears of their supporters and use questionable ads to do as much damage to the other as possible.

      When it finally blows up in our faces, maybe we will learn a valuable lesson if it is not too late. Most Republicans elected to Congress who are hell bent on repealing ACA are not doing it for the sake of the public, they are doing it because of their intense resistance to anything Obama. And likewise, during GWB’s second term, Democrats resisted anything Bush. This has been the drama house play going on in DC for well over 3 decades and is only getting worse.

      The result? Donald Trump is the POTUS and he won against Clinton who by all reckoning should have won in a landslide. It is time for us to stop looking at everything through our particular political prism and start looking at what is actually going on around us. Some think it a waste of time to read reader’s comments on issues of the day but during the campaign, I did read as many as possible and it became obvious Trump actually had a chance to win. True the odds were against him but the undercurrent was there. The anger and discontent was more palpable this time than when Obama ran the first and second time.

      And please, no one come back with the Clinton winning the popular vote meme’, it is not working. If not for California, the popular vote would have been a minimal margin for Clinton and it is likely Trump would have taken the popular vote.

      We have Trump because a very large segment of the country was totally ignored by Clinton and Democrats. Instead of addressing the concerns of Main Street America, Clinton went after special interest groups and major contributors on Wall Street. She sought the votes in safe states and ignored the once impenetrable Blue Wall and it cost her the election. Her “deplorables” comment was as big a blunder as Romney’s 47% comment.

      Reply
      1. Harry Harris

        “Let’s be fair, Democrats do the same thing and use shadow groups to fund campaigns for candidates they support. We cannot indict one without indicting the other. There as many extremely wealthy Democrats using their great wealth to support and impact elections as there are Republicans.”

        Let’s be truthful. Though I publicly and often criticize Democratic-leaning groups that use stealth funding (“bundlers”) and stealth campaigning, there’s nothing near equivalence. Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity, at least 2 Dick Armey groups, a Karl Rove group (Crossroads), countless Koch-funded groups, several sham funding networks (checkout Haley and Sanford’s donor lists) campaign on your dime if you pay taxes. They take a tax deduction by claiming to be “charitable or educational” organizations. Your taxes subsidize their political agenda and campaigning. Do the large Democratic-leaning groups even apply for 501c status? Not Move-On or OFA. Move-On does now have a smaller group that’s a 501c, but it is tiny compared to the Armey/Koch/Rove groups. Do the union funds used for political activity get tax exemptions for anonymous donors? Not usually. Why do Republicans fight so hard for unrestricted political donations? Is it because the Democrats can out-raise them? Simply, no. They like being able to buy elections and candidates. Oh, yeah, they are committed to free speech, especially when they can buy more of it – without their names being disclosed.

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          Democrats have union funds to back them. Are their member lists revealed? I don’t know but I suspect not.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            And let’s not forget, Hillary outspent Trump by a wide margin. Once you reach a certain level of spending, the marginal return on each dollar is minimal.

            Reply
            1. Bart

              And let’s not forget the “truth” on your comment. Hillary had a campaign chest that made Trump’s look like a small piggy bank half full of pennies. So, where did all of the money come from? How many 501c groups form to support Clinton?

              I could care less about the numbers, my point is that both sides use the same tax advantages for their own purposes.

              Reply
        2. Bart

          Harry,

          I could care less about the number, my point is that both sides take advantage of the tax law. If that is not clear, let me reiterate. BOTH sides form 501c’s and use them to hide the names of contributors. How many groups does George Soros support vs. the Koch brothers? Does it really matter how many or is the issue greater than the number? I believe the issue is greater because it allows both sides to bundle greater contributions to their candidate or candidate support groups.

          If Democrats, progressives, and liberals are so dissatisfied with the law, then do something about it by refusing to form one or contribute to one supporting the issues they support. Form another 501c specifically for challenging the law in front of the Supreme Court. I didn’t agree with the law when it was passed and if I could change it today, I would. If you form a 501c specifically intended to repeal the law, I will contribute. Ball is in your court.

          Reply
    2. bud

      Harry I’ve often wondered if all this nefarious stuff coming out of the Trump administration is cover somehow for pushing their diabolical agenda out of sight of the press. If so Trump is really, really smart, cunning and utterly ruthless. The only problem with that is that little has actually been passed. One third of year in and nothing on the wall, healthcare or taxes.

      Reply
  10. Dave

    Power corrupts. And Trump’s absolute power in a Republican Party that refuses to hold him accountable corrupts his lackeys absolutely.

    Reply
  11. Karen Pearson

    I just read an article in Politico (see “How Trump gets his Fake News” dated 5/15) that says that Trumps aides get articles to him that are either slanted or, in some cases, just plain fake. Mr. Priebus has tried to instituted rules to stop them from doing so, but has apparently been unsuccessful. Has anyone seen corroboration of this story? If it’s true, you’d think Trump woulld take steps to stop it. But perhaps he believes they are true. Or maybe he just likes to get mad.

    Reply
  12. Phillip

    Re #3: After some of the rumors I was hearing, it came as a relief to read in the State that only 10% of the books are disappearing from the Richland Library main branch. That doesn’t seem as dire as what I’d heard through the grapevine.

    Reply

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