Here’s Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III trying to get off the boss’s shit list by tripling the number of leak investigations and “reviewing policies” for issuing subpoenas to reporters:
The excuse, as always, is that the leaks “place lives at risk.” Refresh my memory, y’all: Have any leaks from the Trump White House endangered troops or imperiled U.S. citizens or foreign assets — aside from when Trump opened his big fat yap and bragged to the Russians about intelligence on ISIS, torching an Israeli asset?
Anyhoo, the leak of the transcript of Trump’s conversations with the Australian PM and Mexican president is intolerable to the administration. Not because any valuable intelligence was exposed, but rather because a staggering LACK of intelligence was revealed: The president is a blithering idiot, a liar and a shitty negotiator.
David Frum wrote a piece in The Atlantic about the dangers of these leaks. Frum, a former Bushie who is fiercely anti-Trump, contends the leaks will harm the office long after Trump is toast:
But if no high national-security secret has been betrayed in these transcripts, the workings of the U.S. government have been gravely compromised, and in ways that will be very difficult to repair even after Trump leaves office. Trump’s violation of basic norms of government has driven people who would otherwise uphold those norms unto death to violate them in their turn. Contempt for Trump’s misconduct inspires counter-misconduct.
Nor is that the end. The less Trump can trust the regularly constituted government, the more justified he will feel in working irregularly. His irregular actions then justify more counter-irregularity from the rest of the government.
Donald Trump has launched the executive branch into a cycle of self-destruction for which he bears ultimate blame—but whose ultimate cost will be borne by his successors and the American nation.
Maybe. But writing in the New Republic, Brian Beutler takes the opposite view:
Many have been quick to assume that this leak will have a chilling effect on U.S. relations with other countries, without stopping to ponder the likelihood that some foreign leaders might be relieved to learn that factions within the U.S. government are taking extraordinary steps to weaken this particular president.
If there are norms worth fretting over here, they aren’t the ones that govern whistleblowing, but the ones that should govern what U.S. political leaders do when the president is too incompetent to serve. It is because of their cowardice—their refusal to uphold norms they were elected and appointed to guard—that these transcripts leaked in the first place.
Beutler makes a good point. Outside of the deplorable bubble, the majority of the country and the rest of the world know Trump isn’t up to the job. Personally, I’m unnerved by how comforting I now find the presence of institutions and people I once (and still) regard with healthy suspicion, including the intelligence community and Republican special prosecutors.
Beutler also brings up the three generals who are charged with babysitting Trump: McMaster, Mattis and Kelly. There’s another unnerving specter — unelected generals running the show behind the scenes. Some of y’all have expressed similar misgivings, while others have noted that at least McMaster and Mattis are intelligent, competent men who aren’t given to rash action, unlike their boss.
So, the leaks will likely continue, no matter how hard the KKKeebler Elf stamps his widdle feet and wiggles his oddly angled ears. Trump and his flunkies will continue to fume about it, and even people who don’t support Trump will wring their hands. But I think Beutler is right: We should blame the craven shits in Congress who not only have the power but the duty to protect us from an incompetent executive and are refusing to do their jobs.