Imagine that your life depended on Donald Trump passing up an opportunity to brag. Never mind insurance, it would be far too late for that, start writing your will. And make it fast.
Apparently Donald Trump’s pathological need for incessant braggadocio has, yet again, jeopardized America’s national security. Three guests at Mar-a-Lago now report that, prior to the drone strike on Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, Trump bragged to his guests that “big” action would be coming “soon” in “Iran” [sic]. When pressed for details Trump said, “you’ll see.” At least he didn’t give away that it would be happening in Iraq. It had, of course, significant repercussions for Iran. Trump also, apparently, told idiot son number 2, Eric Trump.
Never mind that Trump tweets and makes phone calls from an unsecured phone all the time. Trump’s cavalier largesse with state secrets not infrequently puts lives in danger and potentially compromises America’s intelligence operations worldwide. These breaches of national security aren’t just mere indiscretions, but serious violations of federal law. The statute specifies: “10 years [imprisonment] for disclosure of national defence information, with particular provisions for public servants. Offence requires the disclosure to be prejudicial to the safety or interests of the United States or to the benefit of any foreign government, and to the detriment of the United States.”
Trump has violated this statute at least six times. Included with the brag to his Mar-a-Lago guests was the Oval Office meeting on May 10, 2017, where he discussed classified information provided by a U.S. ally regarding a planned Islamic State operation with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Then there was the time when in an April 29, 2017, phone call, Trump told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that the U.S. had positioned two nuclear submarines off the coast of North Korea. Then there’s the time recently when Trump tweeted a reportedly classified image of recent damage to an Iranian missile site that supposedly occurred as the result of an explosion during testing.
It’s starting to look like maybe Republicans weren’t really quite as worried about Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecured email server from home, from which she occasionally sent unclassified emails, as they so often and vociferously claimed. Is it possible that their outrage was a little insincere?
Trump is driven to give away top secret national security information because it demonstrates just how important he is and that he knows things others don’t. You’d think that, I dunno, being president of the United States would be enough, or something. I guess not. It almost makes me feel sorry for those conspiracy theorists who insist that the key to their theory is known only to the president and a few others, like what “really” goes on at Area 51, and the like. Notice I say “almost.”
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.