We need to take a step back and cool off regarding the President Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia.
The latest controversy is that Trump allegedly shared top-secret intelligence (specifically information about the Islamic State) with Russia. Did he break the law? Probably not. The President has authority to share intelligence and he promised during the campaign he would work with Russia to help defeat the Islamic State. No one should be surprised he is doing exactly what he said he would do.
Plus, this is just good policy. Of course we should work with Russia to defeat the Islamic State. Russia has a vested interest in defeating ISIS just as we do, and if they are willing to do some of the work it would be helpful to both nations. Our problem is that we do not realize how much Bashir Assad is a bulwark against the Islamic State.
My worry is not whether Trump has the authority to do this. My worry is that Trump is a pop-off.
Sharing intelligence that has been properly vetted and cleared by professional intelligence agents is good policy, and we should do this in our fights against a common enemy – while recognizing that Vladimir Putin is not a friend of these United States and we should be more careful in sharing intelligence with Russia than we would be with Great Britain or Israel.
However, a President who does not know when to shut his mouth and who is prone to blabbing inappropriately (especially when he is bragging to stroke, soothe and boost his fragile ego) is a serious concern for national security. As during the campaign, the concern is with President Trump’s temperament. High level advisors need to privately admonish him to be mindful of what he says, even if it puts their jobs at risk. This is where Vice President Mike Pence is valuable, because Trump cannot fire him.
I have been generally pleased with President Trump, but it is a problem that he is a pop-off.