Now even Trump’s own close advisors are giving up on him

CNN’s Gloria Borger on Wednesday said that President Donald Trump’s erratic behavior and his penchant for generating self-inflicted scandals have sapped morale from even his top supporters in the White House.

“I think these people have sort of given up on Donald Trump, to be honest with you,” she said. “Let me read to you what this one Trump loyalist said to me, and he does speak with Donald Trump quite frequently, he said, ‘I always thought that once he understood the weight of the office, he would rise to the occasion, now I don’t.’”

Borger then described how another source told her Trump loyalists in the White House were “disconsolate” about recent events, as they no longer feel they’re in control of their own political futures.

“At this juncture, they have no idea what’s going to come next and how the president is going to get out of this,” she said.

Borger isn’t the only person in recent days claiming Trump loyalists are losing faith in the president.

Conservative Erick Erickson on Tuesday said that one of the people who leaked the story about Trump giving Russian officials classified information was a longtime loyalist who simply had no other way to convince Trump that giving sensitive information to an adversarial government was a mistake.

Trump: “. . . contemptuous of the Constitution, compromised by Putin, willing to lie to hold onto power . . . “

Investigative reporter — and author of the 2016 exposé The Making of Donald Trump — David Cay Johnston penned a scathing editorial published Wednesday at The Daily Beast in which he called the former reality TV game show host a “clear and present danger” to the United States who is “contemptuous of the Constitution, compromised by the Russians and willing to try any lie to hang onto power.”

“Recklessly firing FBI Director Jim Comey eliminated any remaining doubt: Donald Trump and his administration cannot be trusted to have any role in investigating his and his entourage’s relationship with Russia and Russians. Yet he is about to seize control of that probe, while the Republican-controlled Congress acts less like a coequal branch of government and more like a White House subsidiary,” Johnston wrote.

He continued, “Compounding this, the White House’s efforts Monday to deceive the American public about the president giving Russia super-secret intelligence only add to the reasons to distrust his competence, integrity and, indeed, suspect his loyalty.”

The past week has seen the White House plunged into chaos as Trump systematically undercut his subordinates’ messaging only to have Comey announce on Tuesday that he has kept detailed records of his and Trump’s conversations, particularly when the ousted FBI director believed he was being pushed into a politically compromising position.

Johnston wrote that the week’s mistakes are compounded by Trump’s leaking of classified Israeli intelligence information to the Russian delegation, which will have far-reaching repercussions.

“You can be sure that many foreign governments will share less with American intelligence agencies, thanks to Trump’s betrayal,” he said. “And you can be equally sure that the ruthless leaders of ISIS have been rounding up those with knowledge of these secrets for summary execution if their fealty is in doubt. That means less information will flow about terrorist plots, making it less likely they will be detected and thwarted.”

Johnston pointed out that Trump railed against his presidential opponent Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State, saying, “We can’t have someone in the Oval Office who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘confidential’ and “classified.’”

“Yet that is precisely what Donald Trump did last week. And he did so after allowing a Russian government photographer in the Oval Office with a bag full of who knows what kind of electronics gear, while no American journalists were allowed in,” Johnston said.

Johnston also noted Trump only fired Mike Flynn — who he knew was a paid agent of Russia and Turkey — after Flynn’s duplicity was exposed by the Washington Post.

“Take a moment to let that sink in: Donald Trump’s national security adviser was a paid agent of a foreign government. And while that government was Turkey, the money came from a Russian oligarch, who like all the Russian oligarchs keeps his fortune and his life only so long as Vladimir Putin does not want him robbed or whacked. Putin’s Russia Today propaganda television operation also paid Flynn handsomely,” he said.

He then asked readers to “imagine how Congressional Republicans would have reacted had Hillary Clinton won and her national security adviser held so much as held a single unauthorized conversation with Ambassador Kislyak.”

“Trump, keep in mind, has pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars from real estate deals with Russians. Yet he insists any mention of him and Russia is fake news,” wrote Johnston.

“Sometimes presidents and their advisers must lie. That is a reality in our world. But Trump and his seconds — including Spicer, Sanders and now McMaster — all told gratuitous lies that can serve only one purpose: to cover up the indefensible conduct of the president in obstructing the FBI counterintelligence investigation and his reckless disclosure of super-secret information to the hostile government in Moscow,” he said.

It’s clear, he wrote, that “America has a president who is contemptuous of the Constitution, compromised by the Russians and willing to try any lie to hang onto power.”

“The next encyclopedia should include a photo of Trump,” Johnston concluded. “It should go next to the entry on ‘clear and present danger.’”

We tried to warn you. Would you listen? Oh, no . . . all you wanted to hear was “Benghazi!” “Email!” “Lock her up!”

Like water, people seek their own level. Many who have known Trump for years knew who he was and what he was. He was known to be a con-artist, dishonest, greedy, arrogant, intellectually shallow and thuggish. Nothing about the degenerate behavior of Donald in previous years has changed, if anything it has gotten bigger and dirtier.

We tried to warn you.  Would you listen?  Oh, no . . . all you wanted to hear was “Benghazi!”  “Email!”  “Lock her up!”

Trump doesn’t know the basics of being President, doesn’t care, doesn’t want to learn

You didn’t have to be a political genius—or a genius of any kind, really—to see that Donald Trump was going to be a disaster at being president. He clearly has no interest in politics or policy and doesn’t understand, or care to understand, the basics of the job. The Trump platform consisted of unbelievable and unconstitutional lies all bound up with racist pipe dreams about how to Make America 1952 Again. To call Trump a con man is to insult hardworking, skilled con men and women the world over. Trump just recognized easy marks when he saw them, and he told them what they wanted to hear, which is that someone else’s suffering would help them get ahead.

That’s how we got here: 63 million ignorant, desperate and delusional Americans voted for a man uniquely unqualified to be president. Predictably, Trump has mucked up the task at every turn. On the rare occasions he shows up to work instead of golfing, Trump screws up with a frequency that can’t be measured by any currently available metric.

In just this last week (and we’re only three days in, mind you) Trump has spilled intelligence to the Russians, proved he’s a real-life Ron Burgundy and generally made the lives of White House staffers miserable. (Although, how much sympathy can you have for someone whose dream is to work in the Trump White House?)

Here are five examples of news tidbits from the last 72 hours proving Trump is a danger to us all.

1. Intelligence officials have to warn other countries not to tell him secrets.

According to the New York Times, Israeli newspapers “reported in January that American officials warned their… counterparts to be careful about what they told the Trump administration because it could be leaked to the Russians.”

As has been reported pretty much everywhere, Israeli officials decided to take their chances and share some intel with Trump. In his defense, national security adviser Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster told media that Trump made a hasty decision to “tell the Russians what he knew.”

2. NATO officials have to dumb down everything for him.

Foreign Policy reports that NATO, aware of Trump’s reputation for being distracted by shiny objects, is doing its best to keep him entertained:

“NATO is scrambling to tailor its upcoming meeting to avoid taxing President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention span. The alliance is telling heads of state to limit talks to two to four minutes at a time during the discussion… And the alliance scrapped plans to publish the traditional full post-meeting statement meant to crystallize NATO’s latest strategic stance.”

“‘It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump,’ said one source briefed extensively on the meeting’s preparations. ‘It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing,’ said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ‘They’re freaking out.’”

3. His staff is afraid he’ll blab stuff unless someone keeps an eye on him.

In a report from the New York Times by Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman, this details stands out: “There is a fear among some of Mr. Trump’s senior advisers about leaving him alone in meetings with foreign leaders out of concern he might speak out of turn.”

You know how when little kids can’t do stuff on their own, they get mad when you try to help them? Same with Trump. The Times article goes on to note that “General McMaster… has tried to insert caveats or gentle corrections into conversations” when Trump is proving his ignorance or losing the thread. Instead of being thankful he has someone to do what he hired him for, Trump gets defensive.

Trump has reportedly “groused that General McMaster talks too much in meetings, and the president has referred to him as ‘a pain.’”

4. He is easily fooled.

According to a report by Politico, Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus has to tell staffers to stop giving Trump things to read, because he’ll believe anything that’s put in front of him. In one example, deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland gave Trump printouts purportedly depicting two Time magazine covers. The first was dated to the 1970s and “warned of a coming ice age,” while the second from 2008 offered advice on “surviving global warming”:

“Trump quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy. But there was a problem. The 1970s cover was fake, part of an internet hoax that’s circulated for years. Staff chased down the truth and intervened before Trump tweeted or talked publicly about it.”

In another case, Trump was slipped a story by notorious right-wing internet troll Charles C. Johnson. The piece, which accused deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh of leaking information to the press, made Trump suspicious of his hire based on the flimsiest of evidence. Walsh has since moved on to a new job, but Trump continues to be duped by fake news printouts, which staffers use to get a leg up on each other.

5. Officials say he’s too incompetent and uninterested to give away any important details.

Maybe the most frightening and obvious bit of information to emerge from the latest Trump-Russia intel scandal is this:

“In private, three administration officials conceded that they could not publicly articulate their most compelling—and honest—defense of the president: that Mr. Trump, a hasty and indifferent reader of printed briefing materials, simply did not possess the interest or knowledge of the granular details of intelligence gathering to leak specific sources and methods of intelligence gathering that would do harm to United States allies.”

In other words, the president doesn’t know, understand or care about one of his primary functions as president.

Trump asked Comey to lock up reporters.

President Trump has called reporters dishonest, said the media is “the enemy of the American people,” and mused about making it easier to sue journalists. And, according to a new report, he has gone even further than that in private, telling then-FBI Director James Comey that Comey should consider locking reporters up.

Trump said this to Comey during a meeting in the Oval Office in February, according to a New York Times report Tuesday. The request came during the same meeting in which Trump is said to have asked Comey to drop the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, potentially interfering with the investigation into alleged ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials.

Read more: http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/16/media/trump-imprison-reporters/

Trump wanted Comey to put reporters in jail

The New York Times delivered a bombshell report — also confirmed by NBC News — on Tuesday evening that revealed that former FBI director James Comey wrote in a memo that President Donald Trump asked him to drop the bureau’s investigation into former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Buried in the Times report is a note that Trump asked Comey to consider imprisoning reporters for publishing classified information.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/16/trump-allegedly-asked-comey-to-consider-imprisoning-members-of-the-press.html

No one wants to be the new FBI Director

The Trump administration’s search for a new FBI director hit roadblocks on Tuesday when two high-profile potential candidates, a moderate judge and a conservative senator, signaled they did not want the job.

Advisers to Judge Merrick Garland and U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas told Reuters they discouraged them from leading the Federal Bureau of Investigation, cautioning that they would be leaving important, secure jobs for one fraught with politics and controversy.

The advisers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the new FBI director would have little job security and heightened scrutiny by political observers following President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of James Comey on May 9.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-fbi-idUSKCN18C2PI

US allies backing away from sharing intell with us following Trump revealing highly classified info to Russians

It’s been less than a full day since reports of Donald Trump casually blabbing code-word level intelligence to visiting Russian dignitaries, but the first signs of damage are already becoming apparent. The intelligence he shared was apparently obtained from a source so secret that we haven’t even told our allies about it; the effects of burning such a sensitive source are, obviously, that nations are going to have to step back and reevaluate whether they turn over such information at all.

A senior European intelligence official tells The Associated Press that his country might stop sharing information with the United States if it confirms President Donald Trump shared classified details with Russian officials.The official said Tuesday that doing so “could be a risk for our sources.”

We don’t know which nation shared their source’s information with us, but Trump’s spur-of-the-moment brag has alarmed even our closest allies.

[Burkhard Lischka], who sits on the German parliament’s intelligence oversight committee, noted that Trump has access to “exclusive and highly sensitive information including in the area of combating terrorism.”The Social Democratic Party lawmaker said that if the U.S. president “passes this information to other governments at will, then Trump becomes a security risk for the entire western world.”

This is not a matter of mere pique, on the part of the nations cooperating with us; the damage that can be done by revealing key intelligence discoveries is, intelligence officials have been warning, far more severe than Trump’s self-centered pouting acknowledges.

Simply revealing that we know it risks unmasking the information’s source. Ex-Information Security Oversight Office head Bill Leonard, to Politico:

“It may not be readily apparent to people not familiar with intelligence. But the mere concept of the information may be revealing.”For example, “If someone revealed that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin had eggs and bacon for breakfast, that seems innocuous. How the heck do we know what he had for breakfast? It is potentially source revealing.”

In short, revealing information that could only have come from a bare handful of sources paints a target on those sources. It may be enough to expose them; it may be enough to get them killed. That, and not the specific information itself, is reason for a top-level classification of the sort that Donald Trump so casually invalidated.

The specific source of the information he shared is likely, as of this morning, no longer an operative source. The nation that told us such sensitive information, only to be repaid in this fashion, will likely not share similar information in the future. And that likely means we’re not going to get information about some newly planned terrorist attacks that we would otherwise have obtained; Trump’s self-centered bluster has made America markedly less safe. He either does not understand that or does not care.