This is fine.
On Monday evening, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell of a story: "Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador." And depending on where you get your news, it's either an overhyped #FakeNews nothingburger or a confirmation of your worst Trump-based fears. Fun times, indeed!
While running for president (and even before), Trump made protecting classified info a priority. If there's one man who'd be less careless in these situations, he told crowds of his supporters, it's Donald J. Trump!
Seriously, check out all the times he tweeted as much:
1. Investigations need to be independent when they involve the president.
The Justice Department's investigation into the national security leaks is not independent. This is a very grave situation.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1339445186.0
2. It's a bad idea for the president to get too chummy with the Russians, as that might compromise our national security.
He @BarackObama is caught on tape making election promises to @MedvedevRussiaE on missile defense and national security http://t.co/I6mCEnUn— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1332780222.0
3. Leaking intelligence is no joke. (Fun fact: One of the authors of the article cited in this tweet co-wrote Monday's Post article about Trump's leak to the Russians.)
Yesterday there was yet another massive intelligence leak by the @BarackObama administration. http://t.co/3xYbmuyx— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1340221943.0
4. We must have zero tolerance for a president involved in cover-ups.
CORRUPT--with the national security leaks and Fast & Furious, there are clearly at least two cover ups in @BarackObama's White House.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1340222162.0
5. Want accountability? Then investigations must be independent.
It is terrible that @BarackObama did not appoint an independent counsel to investigate the national security leaks. No accountability.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1340825089.0
6. Seriously, independent investigations rule.
Just as I predicted, @BarackObama has not allowed an independent investigation into the national security leaks from his cabinet.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1343420674.0
7. There should be outrage when a president leaks national security information.
All the national security leaks coming from @BarackObama's @whitehouse were clearly made for political gain. Where's the outrage!?— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1343421019.0
8. And the media shouldn't let up one bit.
Whatever happened to Obama's 'independent investigation' into national security leaks from his administration? Where's the media?— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1347387620.0
9. Records were made to be broken, I guess?
Between Libya, the national security leaks and Fast & Furious, Obama has had more national security scandals than any other President.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1350411635.0
10. If a president has no problem leaking national security secrets, why can't he release his records — such as his birth certificate? (Or his tax returns?) What's he hiding?
Obama has no problem leaking national security secrets. Why can't he release his records? Especially when $5M is going to charity.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1351115052.0
11. We really need to be more careful about who has access to classified information.
How did Snowden, with not even a high school education, get access to top secret U.S. records. He then gave, or sold, those records-traitor!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1372425048.0
12. We shouldn't stand for our "weak leaders who are threatening national security."
China, Russia and Iran are laughing at us. We have weak leaders who are threatening our national security. Dangerous times.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1379013544.0
13. He even proposed some very ... unconventional solutions.
We will never have great national security in the age of computers - too many brilliant nerds can break codes (the old days were better).— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1399467326.0
14. But unfortunately, if you just say the classified info out loud — say, to the Russian ambassador — having it written down doesn't really do much.
I am starting to think that TOP SECRET information should be done with pen to paper and locked in a safe. Too many can break into computers.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1401231585.0
15. Our leaders must be careful with classified info. "This is a very big deal."
150 Clinton E-mails still contain classified information. More sensitive when she was Sec.of State. This is a very big deal.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1441068226.0
16. And being careless with that info makes one "not presidential material."
Hillary Clinton is a major national security risk. Not presidential material!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1454125969.0
17. If someone compromises our national security and doesn't face criminal charges, it's evidence of a "rigged system."
FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1467733146.0
18. And people who are careless with "highly classified information" are "not fit!"
Crooked Hillary Clinton and her team "were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information." Not fit!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1467803565.0
19. So it's probably best if we don't let those people have access to national security information, according to Trump.
Hillary Clinton should not be given national security briefings in that she is a lose cannon with extraordinarily bad judgement & insticts.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1469840277.0
20. Here, Trump is worried about leaks of top-secret reports again, even though it turned out that NBC was referring to a declassified version of a report related to an ongoing investigation into Russian hacking and the release of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton adviser John Podesta.
How did NBC get "an exclusive look into the top secret report he (Obama) was presented?" Who gave them this report and why? Politics!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1483662274.0
21. Having accused Obama's administration of what he perceived to be corruption for leaking to NBC, Trump tweeted that it's imperative we investigate the leaks — with no mention of the corruption.
I am asking the chairs of the House and Senate committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1483721497.0
22. This is serious, guys.
Before I, or anyone, saw the classified and/or highly confidential hacking intelligence report, it was leaked out to @NBCNews. So serious!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1483901780.0
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1484138932.0
24. Nothing is more un-American than giving out classified info "like candy."
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1487164390.0
25. Leaking "has been a big problem in Washington for years."
Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologize!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1487246323.0
26. Seriously, it's a priority to find the leakers.
The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1487246579.0
27. & 28. The FBI needs to track down the leakers. "FIND NOW."
find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1487939794.0
29. & 30. Again, Trump tweets that the real story is the leaks and not the corruption. But why not both?
The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1490007777.0
The real story turns out to be SURVEILLANCE and LEAKING! Find the leakers.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1491140056.0
32. And so on.
Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1494254615.0
33. And, uh, so forth.
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1494591975.0
Which brings us to today.
After initially denying the Post report about giving classified info to the Russians, Trump seemed to confirm it on Twitter Tuesday morning, saying that he has the "absolute right" to share whatever info he wants with whomever he wants. He's right, too! As president, it's within his power to declassify whatever material he wants.
So yes, what he did is likely 100% legal. But what he did doesn't mesh with what he's said in the past about being vigilant when it comes to national security, leaks, and classified information.
In tweets 34., 35., and 36., he offered a defense of his actions, appearing to confirm the Post's story in the process:
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 (@Donald J. Trump) 1494932616.0
...to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1494933180.0
I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community.....— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1494936629.0
And no, it doesn't seem he ever quite finished that last thought. Maybe a staffer intervened to stop ... the leak?
Trump, who built his reputation on being tough on national security and able to protect classified info, appears to be doing everything he once railed against.
The hypocrisy between Trump's words and Trump's actions is clear; it might even seem funny if it wasn't our national security he was putting at risk. His reported carelessness with national security makes him, in his own words, "NOT FIT!" to keep America and its allies safe.
If this bothers you (it probably should), now's a pretty great time to reach out to your member of Congress and ask that they hold the president accountable.