Donald Trump says no big deal, but Russia leak is a big deal

While the media loves to blow things out of proportion for ratings, here's the top 5 reasons why you should pay attention to them.

donald trumps russia chat not good for us

One would think that eventually, politicians would begin to choose American patriotism over politics, but with Donald Trump, he seems to have cast a fog over the minds of seemingly rational Republicans.

We all know that politicians aren’t the most trustworthy, but as history shows, they’ve woken up when they realize that remaining silent when you see something bad happening makes you just as guilty as doing the act. By remaining silent bystanders, conservatives have enabled the president to feel like he can do anything and just flip his middle finger up to our country and the Constitution.

I personally was saddened to see him speak to a graduating college class as he’s the worst type of example for any student. All he has shown our next generation is that you can lie, disrespect women, channel your inner racist and trade out your country for money, AND you can get away with it. No repercussions as long as you bully and ignore the law.

You can be sure that we will encounter a generation that begins saying “If Donald Trump can get away with it…”

When people like Mitch McConnell continue to give Trump free passes just so he can screw over what’s left of the middle class with his tax reform wish, you know that something has to give. Our Constitution and democracy truly have been put to the test, but it will take the actions of we citizens to make things right again.

The one good thing that Trump has done is united many people who normally wouldn’t bother speaking to one another for many reasons, but when our country is under attack, Americans have that common trait of banding together to salvage it. If you still don’t believe that there is an attack from within, continue keeping your head in the sand.

For those of you that can now see (or have seen it since Jan 20), we can’t become normalized to all the lies, deceptions, and distractions. Having worked on a fundraiser that Donald Trump held for Chuck Schumer at his 5th Avenue home in the late 90’s, I got to see firsthand that he has always won because he knows how to wear people down until they say “screw it, it’s too much work.”

I worked for a pr/lobbying firm that learned the hard way of how Trump loved to let the bills pile up while demanding more work from people and then walk out on the check. He’s left a huge trail of those throughout his career, and the biggest pile of bills that he’s accruing right now will wind up getting dumped all over the American people.

We can’t allow him to do that to us, and I know how hard it is as I’ve felt the frustration of seeing him do things that would have gotten Barack Obama hauled off without any repercussions. This was the attitude of the 1980’s and that wound up heading us off the cliff with the 2008 giant recession.

All we can ask Republicans is to imagine that it was a Democrat in the White House and what they would be doing if they were doing the same thing as Donald Trump.

Below is the Indivisible Guide for Activism that can be a great guide for those wanting to do something other than just protesting. I did the whole protest activism back in the 90’s, and it wasn’t until I jumped in doing more of what’s in this guide that I realized true change could be made.

So that’s my rant, but do check out this guide, download it and share it as it will surely inspire you to realize that we are Donald Trump and all those Republicans bosses, not the other way around. They should be terrified of us.

Nothing is more terrifying to a politician than a well-informed pissed off American.

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”indivisible guide for donald trump activism 2017″]

Below are the top 5 reasons why Donald Trump’s actions this past week are such a huge deal for the future of our country. While the media does love to blow things up for ratings, this is one time to actually take them seriously as a crisis is not coming; it’s already here.

donald trump says no big deal but his russia leak is a big deal 2017 images

1. The competence question

There are few commodities as important to presidents as a reputation for competence. Once public confidence in a commander-in-chief’s capacity to do his job wanes, their political decline can be brutally swift, as President George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter could attest.

That’s why this story may end up being so damaging to Trump.

Earlier uproars that buffeted the White House, over the President’s inflammatory tweets and a litany of falsehoods over his inaugural crowd size, could be put down to Trump’s idiosyncratic freewheeling style. Critics saw his firing of FBI Director James Comey as evidence of more worrying autocratic instincts.

But the report that Trump shared top secret information about an ISIS terror plot with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office last Wednesday — the morning after the Comey firing — poses a more searching question about whether the President can be trusted with the gravest responsibilities that come with his office and whether he understands the implications of discussing America’s most carefully guarded secrets with a US adversary.

As those questions rattled through Washington Monday night, the White House was in a bunker mentality. And even allies who have been supportive of the administration so far are now casting huge doubt on its credibility.

“They are in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening,” said Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who is viewed as a sober and restrained influencer on Capitol Hill.

“The chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think — it creates a worrisome environment,” Corker said.

There is not much doubt that of all the dramas that have battered this administration, the new Russia intelligence saga is the most dramatic.

Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard University, said Trump is safe from criminal prosecution or impeachment because a President has the power to declassify intelligence.

But he offered a stunning assessment of the gravity of the situation.

“This is the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president of the United States. Let’s not underestimate it,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

But Trump hit back early Tuesday, implicitly dismissing arguments about his competence by arguing that he had made a strategic decision to share intelligence with his Oval Office guests.

“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta, however, told CNN’s “New Day” that a lack of discipline by the President was causing him to make rash decisions.

“The President of the United States cannot just do or say or speak whatever the hell he wants. That’s just irresponsible. So you need to have some people that sit down with the President before he goes into a meeting and say these are the lines you cannot cross because it relates to the security of our country,” Panetta said.

2. The Intelligence angle

There have already been several reports that allied intelligence agencies, fearful of the administration’s capacity to guard the most sensitive secrets, have been wary about sharing top secret information with the United States.

Those concerns are now likely to multiply.

The Washington Post said in its report, major details of which were confirmed by CNN, that Trump had told the Russians about information provided by a US partner agency in an intelligence-sharing agreement that was so sensitive details were withheld from allies and restricted even within the US government. The consequences of that could hardly be more serious, former CIA case officer Bob Baer told Burnett.

“The President, by revealing this to the Russians, has lost control of this information. It’s going to go to the Syrians, It’s going to go to the Iranians — Russian allies,” Baer said.

“The ability to protect that source whoever he is, wherever he is has been seriously undermined … If a CIA officer had revealed this information to the Russians, he would be fired instantly.”

The White House on Monday blasted the reports as “false.” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that Trump did not compromise any sources and methods.

But while the identity of the country that provided the US with the information is not publicly known, it is unlikely to be too hard for the Russians, with their highly sophisticated intelligence agencies, to work out where it came from. That leaves open the possibility that vital intelligence, key to protecting American lives, may not be available to US clandestine services in future.

Lawmakers and intelligence officials are already warning that disclosing this type of information could harm US efforts to counter an ISIS plot to place explosives in laptops and other electronic devices to evade airport security.

3. The political hit

One reason why Trump is so politically vulnerable to Monday’s reports is that he anchored much of his campaign on lambasting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over her handling of classified information.

But now he appears to have acted in way that is just as much, if not more, injurious to American secrets as Clinton’s private email scheme, exposing him to accusations of hypocrisy.

Republicans meanwhile are getting strung out by the constant chaos raging around the Trump presidency — and that they are constantly forced to address, to the detriment of their once-in-a-generation chance to use Republican majorities on Capitol Hill to enact a conservative agenda.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said sardonically Monday: “Can we have a crisis-free day? That’s all I’m asking.”

The big unknown for the White House is whether the latest Trump-triggered crisis is so significant that it wreaks political damage of greater magnitude than he has so far experienced.

It could be that the latest drama is so explosive that it opens up space between the administration and Republican leaders who have so far stood firm behind Trump. House Speaker Paul Ryan notably put out a statement seeking more information on Monday’s development, but did not rush to back the President. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kept his own counsel.

It’s probably still too early to assess how the constant controversies impact Republican prospects heading into the 2018 midterm elections. But as the political calendar grinds through summer, vulnerable lawmakers may begin thinking of their own skins more than the fate of the Trump administration.

That point may not be here yet, but it will not be far off if things keep going badly for the White House.

The fast moving developments of Monday night into Tuesday also again called into question the credibility of the White House — which was already compromised by its shifting explanations for the firing of Comey. Both McMaster and his deputy, Dina Powell, used the word “false” to describe the Post’s reporting. Yet Trump’s tweets appeared to validate at least parts of the story.

4. The Russia question

If suspicion was rampant in Washington about the President’s links to Russia before, it is going to go into overdrive now.

Already the pictures of Lavrov and Kislyak yukking it up with Trump pointed to a political gaffe by the White House. Now, Democrats are using Trump’s apparent intelligence lapse to renew calls for a special prosecutor to probe allegations of Russian election-meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign — and to hike pressure on Republicans on the issue.

“What we know is that it is a very, very serious threat to our national security and safety, and that’s why my hope is that Republicans and Democrats will come together in favor of an independent investigation through a special prosecutor and through an independent commission,” Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Monday on CNN.

“Make no mistake: this kind of serious grave threat really requires a national response, putting country above politics.”

At the very least, Monday’s bombshell will renew intense curiosity about why Trump, unlike almost everyone else in Washington, does not seem to be as wary of Russia and its motives.

“It’s the Russians — we have been going through all this stuff,” CNN senior political analyst David Gergen said. “Why is he giving information to the Russians of all people?”

donald trump russia oval office meeting

5. The international angle

Monday’s explosive disclosures erupted at a time when the President is preparing to take his first steps on the world stage. He will leave Friday for a trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium.

That was always going to be an onerous test to such an inexperienced commander-in-chief. Now, Trump will be under even more intense pressure to counter perceptions abroad that he is out of his depth in the Oval Office and to reassure foreign leaders that America remains a force in the world under his leadership and can be relied upon to keep allies’ secrets.

It is not just the reputation of the President himself that is on the line. The credibility of the United States, the most powerful nation in the world and the guarantor of Western security, is being publicly eroded.

Ultimately, it comes down to Trump himself and his attitude toward his job.

“He is very inexperienced, this is an absolutely new world to him,” Hayden said. “If I fault him for anything, it’s not that he’s inexperienced — he doesn’t have humility in the face of his inexperience.”

donald trumps biggest credibility damaging lies 2017 images

The White House on Tuesday defended President Donald Trump’s disclosure of classified information to senior Russian officials as “wholly appropriate,” as Trump tried to beat back criticism from fellow Republicans and calm international allies increasingly wary about sharing their secrets with the new president.

The highly classified information about an Islamic State plot was collected by Israel, a crucial source of intelligence and close partner in the fight against some of the America’s fiercest threats in the Middle East. Trump’s disclosure of the information threatened to fray that partnership and piled pressure on the White House to explain the apparently on-the-spot decision to reveal the information to Russian diplomats in a meeting last week.

In a series of morning tweets, Trump declared he has “an absolute right” as president to share “facts pertaining to terrorism” and airline safety with Russia. Although top aides on Monday had declared reports about Trump’s discussions false, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Tuesday sought instead to downplay the significance of the information Trump revealed. The president had been engaging in “routine sharing” with foreign leaders, he said, arguing that some of the information was publicly available.

Still, the revelations sent a White House accustomed to chaos reeling anew. It is extraordinary for a president to share such information without consent of the country that collected it, apparently violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with Israel. It was, perhaps, even more remarkable that Trump chose to confide in representatives of an adversary, who could use the information to find its source.

A U.S. official who confirmed the disclosure to media outlets said the revelation potentially put the source at risk.

The U.S. official told media outlets that Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. The official said the disclosure came as Trump boasted about his access to classified intelligence. An excerpt from an official transcript of the meeting reveals that Trump told them, “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.”

The extraordinary leak of Trump’s private conversations in the Oval Office appeared to be a direct consequence of the president’s combative relationship with the U.S. spy agencies. The White House vowed to track down those who disclosed the information.

The president’s action drew rare criticism from some Republicans, who are desperate to get the White House refocused on health care and tax changes. Coming days before Trump’s first trip abroad, it also raised questions about his standing with world leaders and led some countries to start second-guessing their own intelligence-sharing agreements with the U.S.

In a statement, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said the partnership between the U.S and Israel was solid. The New York Times first reported that Israel was the source of the information.

“Israel has full confidence in our intelligence sharing relationship with the United States and looks forward to deepening that relationship in the years ahead under President Trump,” Dermer said.

But other nations appeared to be reconsidering. A senior European intelligence official told media outlets his country might stop sharing information with the United States if it confirms that Trump shared classified details with Russian officials. Such sharing “could be a risk for our sources,” the official said. The official spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The revelation was first reported by the Washington Post.

After he spoke with the Russians, Trump was informed that he had broken protocol and White House officials placed calls to the National Security Agency and the CIA looking to minimize any damage. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly, would not say which country’s intelligence was divulged, but the New York Times and other outlets reported Tuesday that Israel was the source.

On Tuesday, McMaster, in a White House briefing, cast some of Trump’s revelations as information that was available from publicly available “open-source reporting” and added that the president did not know the precise source of the intelligence he had shared. He appeared to be suggesting that Trump had not knowingly compromised a confidential source, but the statement also indicated that the president had not asked his advisers for detailed information about the intelligence report he’d received.

“In the context of that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he is engaged,” McMaster said.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans alike expressed concern. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the reports “deeply disturbing” and said they could affect the willingness of U.S. allies and partners to share intelligence with the U.S.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for Congress to have immediate access to a transcript of Trump’s meeting with the Russians, saying that if Trump refuses, Americans will doubt that their president is capable of safeguarding critical secrets.

Trump ignored reporters’ questions about whether he disclosed classified information. Following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump said only that his meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was “very, very successful.”

CIA Director Mike Pompeo was to brief members of the House intelligence committee late Tuesday.

The new controversy left White House staffers, already under siege following last week’s botched handling of FBI Director James Comey’s firing, on edge. The communications team, in particular, has come in for sharp criticism from the president, as well as his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Trump has told advisers he’s aware of a need to make changes to his White House team, though it was unclear what those moves might be or whether any were imminent.

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Curt Johnson is an award-winning filmmaker and movie reviewer/writer on all aspects of entertainment. He co-founded Movie TV Tech Geeks in 2008, the news site that has won numerous awards for journalism. You can reach him on Twitter: