Trump humiliates his own administration for the second time in a week


After the White House so carefully tried to deny the outrageous story that Donald Trump gave top secrets to Russia, he threw every member of his administration — as well as the Republicans who tried to spin for him — right under the bus. Again.

After several members of the Trump administration carefully denied the explosive story that Donald Trump had revealed highly classified information from a close ally to Russia, Donald Trump took to Twitter to tell the real story.

And the real story, according to the president, is that he certainly did do the things his defenders said he did not do, but he had an "absolute right" to do it. And it was for "humanitarian reasons."

Whether the president has a technical "right" to release classified information is hardly the issue. Far more concerning is Trump's judgment to share with Russia information given to us by an ally, who did not grant him permission to share it. That decision threatens not only our relationship with that ally, but with all of our allies.

This is the second time in a week that several members of the Trump administration have scrambled to provide cover for the president, only to have him then undermine their efforts.

It was only a week ago that Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, which the White House said was based solely on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That story was widely rejected by the public and the media for a number of reasons, including the simple fact that in the now-infamous Rosenstein letter, he never recommended that Comey be fired.

After days of White House staffers — as well as Vice President Mike Pence — attempting to spin Trump's decision to fire Comey, Trump himself admitted that Comey's investigation into his campaign relationship with Russia was on Trump's mind. He also said that his own spokespeople could not be relied upon to deliver accurate statements and that perhaps he would end White House press briefings entirely.

A week later, the nation has learned that in a meeting with Russian officials, Trump revealed information shared with the United States by an unidentified ally. That information was so sensitive that it had not even been shared with other U.S. allies.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster gave a very brief statement on Monday night in which he said the story from the Washington Post, "as reported," was false. Other members of the administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, also issued denials.

Less than 12 hours later, however, the president threw his own defenders under the bus, declared that the story is in fact true, but that he had a very good reason for his actions. He also suggested, as he has done many times before, that the real concern is not his leaking of classified information to Russia, but rather, leakers in the intelligence community.

When the story broke Monday night, congressional Republicans were incredibly reluctant to condemn the president's actions. Several, including Arizona Sen. John McCain and Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, said that the president has a right to reveal classified information — a spin the president has now personally adopted.

Others, like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, simply called the story "troubling." The general consensus among Republicans seemed to be that if the story was true, it might be problematic. Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said, "There’s lots we don’t know."

What we do know now, however, is that according to the president, he did give classified information to Russia. In so doing, he jeopardized our national security and our relationship with the ally who gave us the information.

Trump also endangered America's relationship with all of its allies, who will certainly be even more cautious about sharing information so long as Trump is in the Oval Office, "boasting" about the "great intel" he gets to impress those who threaten global security, like Russia.