On Monday, the Washington Post reported that President Trump shared “highly classified information” with Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week. The fact that the words “Trump,” “Russian” and “classified information” are featured in the same sentence seems like cause for concern all by itself. But don’t worry: It gets worse and more complicated. Here are a few reasons why.
1. The intelligence shared in the meeting was highly sensitive.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) May 16, 2017
It was so sensitive, in fact, that the White House asked CNN’s Jake Tapper not to report all of the details because doing so could endanger lives. Trump nevertheless seemed cool just throwing ’em out there.
2. It’s entirely possible that the intelligence could wind up in the wrong hands.
The information Trump shared with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister was obtained by Israeli intelligence and apparently pertained to an ISIS plot. To make this web even messier, one of Russia’s closest allies is Iran. Iran and Israel are not friends, and the fact that this intel may now be shared between them will probably make things awkward for everyone during Trump’s upcoming visit.
3. The situation threatens the reputation of one of the few relatively non-controversial figures in the Trump administration.
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster continues to defend Trump’s decision, which many view as reckless, inappropriate and dangerous. McMaster was painted by many as a rare reassuring presence within Trump’s inner circle for people concerned about the president’s other confidantes. Whether his integrity has been compromised is now in question (but it sure seems like it has been).
4. Our allies may think twice before sharing intelligence with us in the future.
BREAKING: European official to AP: Country might stop sharing intel with US if Trump gave classified info to Russian diplomats.
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 16, 2017
If the president can’t be trusted with sensitive information (which it seems like he definitely cannot), there’s a chance that friendly nations in Europe and elsewhere will cut off their flow of secrets to the United States. That’s bad news any way you slice it.