In the past few hours – and in a move which could change everything – Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed he is more than happy to provide the transcript of Donald Trump’s conversation with Sergey Lavrov to the U.S. senate and congress.
President Trump met with foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and ambassador Sergey Kislyak last week and it was reported across the media that Trump had shared top secret information with the pair of them – information dealing with national security and terrorism.
In the immediate aftermath of the claims, Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, adamantly told reports that it didn’t happen.
More specifically, he said:
I was in the room, it didn’t happen. At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.
However it wasn’t long at all before the president took to Twitter (because that’s what politics is all about nowadays) and revealed that he had told the two Sergey’s classified information.
But he remained as stubborn as ever claiming he had the ‘absolute right’.
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….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2017
…to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2017
Now whether Trump had the nation’s best interests at heart or not is a different matter – what is fact is that it was a very dumb move.
One of the more stupid things Trump explained in the meeting was revealing the so-called Islamic State held city where U.S. intelligence officers are working. Said information could lead to the intelligence workers being identified by the Islamic State.
According to The Washington Post, the information Trump told the Russians is so sensitive that numerous U.S. allies don’t know about it and only a select few members of the U.S. government.
It is widely thought that Trump only told the Russians such information because he was bragging and he allegedly said: ‘I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day’.
Jesus, the revelation to Russia even caused leading legal scholar Alan Dershowitz to say on CNN:
Let’s not minimize it. Everything else is off the table. This is the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president of the United States. Let’s not underestimate it.
Despite only being POTUS for less than five months, Trump’s time in office hasn’t been the glamorous road to national eminence that he promised throughout the entirety of the campaign trail. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.
The past five months in the U.S. have been little more than riot, protest, and political scandal – aside from the occasional Middle Eastern bombing to drive attention away from the chaos and disarray back stateside.
In his first 100 days The Donald failed to do pretty much the bulk of what he promised. He didn’t destroy ISIS, his border wall between the U.S. and Mexico has been kept incredibly quiet, and his ban on immigrants coming from Muslim countries failed dismally.
But they’re nothing compared to the scandals.
On February 13 of this year, National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign from his post after it was revealed he had been speaking with Sergey Kislyak (the same guy Trump was chatting to last week) behind Mike Pence’s back. It sure seems like Sergey is draining the swamp more than The Donald is.
Flynn’s resignation was smeared in suspicion and controversy from the very minute it occured – however Trump’s actions in the aftermath made the whole thing a helluva lot darker.
From September 2013 James Comey served as Director of the FBI – and a highly respected one at that – however just last week, Donald Trump fired Comey in a move that shocked the world.
At the time of his sacking, Comey was leading the investigation into a Russian interference with the presidential election and also into Flynn’s ties with Russia. Hell, even President Trump admitted that he was thinking about the ‘Russia thing with Trump and Russia’ when he decided to dismiss Comey.
Was it an unlawful thing to do? A lot of people think so – calling for his impeachment due to an ‘obstruction of justice’.
According to Comey’s notes shortly before he was dimissed, Trump advised him to drop the investigation into Flynn, saying:
I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.
Shortly after refusing Comey was gone.
Now tell me if I’m wrong but firing one of the most well respected FBI directors in history, with Russia on your mind, when they are leading an investigation into Russia’s ties to the election and your disgraced National Security Advisor – that seems seriously dictatorial.
Not only dictatorial, but also the stuff impeachments are born from.
So much so that if Trump has to testify at some point about any of the above (ANY), he could face a Clinton-style perjury charge for abuse of power and/or obstruction of justice?
In the past only two presidents have been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998 and Andrew Johnson in 1868. Nixon was also close to being impeached but he resigned before he could be removed.
According to the constitution a president can be impeached for ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors’, but those terms are all pretty vague.
What isn’t so vague is that dozens of politicians – Democrats and Republicans are calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Texas Congressman, Al Green, tweeted earlier today:
Today on the floor of the Congress of the United States of America, I will call for the Impeachment of the President between 9am & 10am CST.
— Congressman Al Green (@RepAlGreen) May 17, 2017
He explained at a press conference yesterday, according to The Guardian:
These acts, when combined, amount to intimidation and obstruction. If the president is not above the law he should be charged by way of impeachment by the US House of Representatives.
Our country is in a state of crisis. Every day Donald Trump remains president puts our democracy at risk. It’s time to take drastic, yet necessary action.
But it’s not only Al Green who doesn’t want to stay together (sorry), Chuck Schumer, Democrat leader of the Senate, said:
Our country is being tested in unprecedented ways.
While Erwin Chereminsky, a constitutional law professor and dean of University of California, Irvine School of Law said:
This is what caused President Nixon to resign from office. For the president to tell the FBI to end a potential criminal investigation, that’s obstruction of justice.
Now whether Trump will or will not be impeached is another matter – but judging from the above, there’s more than a fair share of folk who want him out of office.
But say he is impeached – how long could it be before America is welcoming a new president into the White House? Technically it could be just three months away; at least that’s how long it took for Clinton to get out of the Oval Office following the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
So will Trump get impeached? Probably not, but in reality who knows? Stranger things have happened. Hell, stranger things have happened in Trump’s career as President of the United States.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.