Sen. Risch Defends Trump’s Disclosure of Classified Information To The Russians and Demands The Prosecution of “The Traitor” Who Leaked The Information

images-1440px-Jim_Risch_official_portraitOne of the most conspicuous aspects of the controversy over President Donald Trump’s sharing information with the Russians was the virtually complete silence of defenders on the Hill.  Faced with yet another scandal GOP members distanced themselves from Trump.  Most senators declined to support Trump’s disclosure of high sensitive Israeli intelligence.  The one exception was Idaho Sen. Jim Risch.  Risch made headlines in not only supporting the widely denounced disclosure of the intelligence but he called on the government to find and prosecute the person who disclosed the information.

The disclosure of Trump to the Russians has been criticized as likely jeopardizing the very life of the spy inside of the Islamic State.  Yet when asked by Wolf Blitzer if it was “right thing to do,” Risch responded “Yes, Presidents have done this regularly.”  That is true, presidents do declassify information when they deem it in the nation’s interest. However, the concern described in the article was that Trump was boasting and that the disclosure of the specific intelligence was not necessary to discuss the general threat of computer bombs on airlines.  Indeed, the White House indicated that Trump was unaware of the source of the intelligence. Of course, one of the precepts of dealing with classified information is not to make assumptions on sources and proceed cautiously before making disclosures for this very reason. Usually a president will raise his intention to disclose classified information with his staff and particularly the country that shared the information.

While completely exonerating Trump for the disclosure, Risch called for the head of the person who caused the embarrassment: “There’s a weasel here and the weasel is not the president of the United States. It’s the traitor who disclosed these facts to the Washington Post. I wish you’d go out and interview the Washington Post and ask ‘em to disclose who that is.”

While national security employees are largely unprotected as whistleblowers, many view the leaker as exposing a serious breach in both protocol and intelligence.  The casual disclosure of highly classified information can itself be a threat to national security.  As noted above, the disclosure was reportedly made as part of a boast by Trump about the great intelligence that he receives.  Risch later added on the PBS New Hour:

“The real story here is there’s a weasel here. They betrayed their own country, they betrayed their families and their neighbors, and when you disclose classified information … it is an act of treason. It’s unfortunate we can’t get that person identified, but he or she should be identified and treated as any treasonous person would be.”

Risch blamed “this anti-Trump fervor that the national media has, to try to make him look bad every time he turns around. This was a good act that he did, not a bad act. But there was a bad act here. Tell us who did this so we can put him in jail.”

I do not believe that this controversy is simply a result of anti-Trump forces.  Experts from across the political spectrum expressed shocked over Trump’s disclosure to the Russians.  Having said that, Trump has clearly alienating many in the intelligence community and the Justice Department.

Whistleblower protection laws exempt many people who work in the national security area.  Nevertheless, many believe that this leaker exposed a President who was portrayed as impulsive and dangerous in his handling of intelligence.  People tend to despise or lionize leakers based on their agreement with the purpose of the leak.  All leakers tend to violate disclosure or classification laws.  The leaker of the Pentagon Papers would also presumably be viewed as a “traitor” by Risch even though that leak is celebrated as disclosing false information on the Vietnam War.

For years, many have argued for protections to be extended to intelligence official. If this leaker believed that Trump could not be trusted with national security information, the disclosure was justified in the eyes of many.

What do you think?

 

 

178 thoughts on “Sen. Risch Defends Trump’s Disclosure of Classified Information To The Russians and Demands The Prosecution of “The Traitor” Who Leaked The Information

  1. This is diversionary rhetoric to show our poor, poor President’s a victim of a vast [pick your flavor of the day]-wing conspiracy.

    This and the Special Counsel appointment are an effort to quell impeachment rumblings of a Republican Congress. Apart from the question of the scope of the investigation of Trump’s ties to Russian influence, you can’t have an investigation of Trump and his cronies when Special Counsel serves at the pleasure of Trump. There’s no real independence. Right pick for the job – Robert Mueller; wrong vehicle.

    Congress, where’s the beef? Legislate, appoint an independent prosecutor, and limit the scope of the investigation to something more than character assassination through stained blue dresses from the closet because each and every one of us has a skeleton there.

    • Steve,….
      That is a farfetched claim….that somehow the appointment of a special counsel was some clever ploy, as “an effort to quell impeachment rumblings of a Republican Congress”.
      “Impeachment rumblings” seem to have started on Nov. 8th.
      Evidence of an impeachable offense may, or may not surface, depending on the findings of DOJ/Special Counsel investigations and the parallel Congressional investigations.
      The few members of Congress who have called for impeachement will continue to spout off whether there’s evidence for impeachment or not.

      • tnash – Maxine “The Mouth” Waters has possible impeachment problems, too. There are people picketing her home and offices. 🙂

      • tnash,
        What if an individual ran for President and won after running a campaign unlike any seen before? Does that speak volumes about the candidate, or the voters that chose that candidate over all others? It tells me the candidate connected with the voters where it mattered the most. Now this President is performing in exactly the same manner as he did in the campaign; completely unconventional and alienating the entire political establishment and the press.

        The oath of office says he will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” How do you measure faithfully? How do you know what the best of his ability before he even takes office? Has he violated the constitution?

        So far, the only thing I have seen that Trump has violated is the expectation that he will conduct himself in office no different than every President that came before him. Did this President campaign as a political conformist? What good has political conformity done for this country? Does our massive federal bureaucracy represent a good? Does the weakening of federalism represent a good? Does $20 trillion in national debt represent a good? Does non-stop wars represent a good? Is it a good that lawfare is used against our own citizens?

        We should be asking ourselves who is complaining the loudest and why? The people who expected this President to do the things he promised during the campaign, or the people that have enriched themselves with power and money by maintaining the political status quo?

        • Olly, I’ll tell you who is getting everything they wanted from Trump. The banking industry. The war machine. The IC. People who hate actual journalists and whistleblowers. Apparently, those are Trump’s actual constituents and he serves them very well.

          Don’t be fooled by optics. Look at what he’s done. Optics are for Obamabots.

  2. What’s so secret about the fact ( that everyone already knows) that computers can trigger or contain bombs?

  3. The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.

    Eric Schmidt

  4. Absent from this polemic is the Israeli Ambassador said they have no problem w/ what happened. All these Israel hating, Comey hating, Dems are now lovers of both. But, JT smells blood in the water.

  5. For what it’s worth: Last June when Obama was president, the Washington post had a headline:
    US offers to share intelligence on Syria with Russia.

    Search for “Washington Post US offers to share intelligence on Syria with Russia” Published 6/30/16
    “The offer early this week of what one administration official called “enhanced information sharing” does not include joint military planning, targeting or coordination with U.S. airstrikes or other operations in Syria.”

    Remember the special prosecutor then? Me neither.

    • Ah yes, when you have no argument change what were arguing about. No one is saying trump cant declassify information or share sensitive information. The outrage here is that the president shared information that we received from an intelligence partner without discussing the disclosure with that partner or even his own inteligence services… and he did it with an adversary who just tried to influence our elections. Just a demonstration of all kinds of bad judgment.

    • Me either, though I voiced similar concerns at the time, and ditto over Hillary’s email debacle. Not a peep from anyone. This is getting ludicrous.

  6. Finally, someone who is not McCain, speaks up. A non-RINO has come out of the closet. Let the games begin.

  7. I would assume that it is quite common for allies–especially when those same allies are waging war against the insanity that is Islamic terrorism–to share such highly beneficial and crucial intelligence with one another. Actually, I don’t have to assume it. I know it for a fact. The Russians warned us about those crazy brothers, who were ultimately involved in the Boston bombings. The fact that our government did nothing to protect its own people is irrelevant. Information–yes, intelligence–was passed between allies. The passing of such intelligence is not something new or, for that matter, something that merits the hysterics that we are all, unfortunately, being forced, to witness. If Trump is going to be grilled about his decision to pass along intelligence, which could, allegedly, save the lives of citizens in another country, by allowing said country to prevent the calamity, altogether, then let’s make a real show of thing, shall we? I want to see the call for Obama and Clinton, both former Presidents, to be grilled, while both are, simultaneously, wired up to a truth detector, and asked when and if they ever passed along intelligence to any other country?

  8. “Former FBI Director Mueller Appointed Special Counsel Of Russia Probe”

    Ok, JT didn’t get the memo of what amounts to the opening shot in this latest USA Civil War.

    I’ll try to help his poor soul with what little Humor I have left today.

    1977, Not to age myself, but I’ve been peacefully at trying to fix this Bull S-Crap since before then.

    Maybe I just saw a possible landslide victory for Freedom today?

    Things I know are so sick the only cure is to try & laugh at it in it’s failure.

    “Former FBI Director Mueller Appointed Special Counsel Of Russia Probe”

  9. HA Ha, it’s so funny, NOT, Civil War in the USA, 100 Million Died maybe! Hey, my family history in the military, Phk’in right, I’ll be sure to send you a picture of you loved one’s head, shot & parted like a canoe. Suck it up Puzzies as I’ve already seen, it’s just like a Lib gun free funny Camp! Not! Phk’in Morons, Jeeesus please save them from themselves!

    Former FBI Director Mueller Appointed Special Counsel Of Russia Probe

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-17/former-fbi-director-mueller-appointed-special-prosecutor-russia-probe

  10. Thank goodness there is one man with honor in the Republican Party. Cummins and Waters are planning an impeachment. How many man hours have been wasted that should have been in working for the American people. I think Press Briefings shouldn’t be every day. A press release every day. The chaos of reporters crawling all over each other to ask a question is disgusting. All Republicans should support the President. He won the House and Senate for them.

  11. I think its time for Machiavellian logic to be applied – mass firings at one time. Its better than a death from a thousand cuts that his opponents have in mind for him
    Its nice for the Prince to look moral, but here a liability. The presidents legislative agenda is being crippled. This is the bigger fish.

  12. Most people would have taken the problem to their superior and filed a complaint But loose cannons do what they want to. Remmber ‘intent ‘ is not a factor in national security convictions but why the foot dragging and so forth A felony is a felony is a felony but for some they have get out of jail free cards. Not available to the average citizen.

    Two wrongs do not make a right they just make two wrongs and leave the wrong doers to continue doing wrong.

    Treating one class of citizens with contempt and turning the other into heros for doing the exact same thing is a third wrong. which indicates their are many more wrong doers behind those moves.

    • You have got to be kidding! A traitor gives secrets to the enemy and that traitor runs the entire show. The underling who finds out about it is supposed to go to his or her superior who is controlled by the traitor. We have a traitor. In fact we have a number of them. The list begins with Trump and continues through the list of Republican members of congress who have decided that their oath of office means nothing.

      • Those who disobey the duely, and Constitionally elected President is the ‘traitor’. First loyalty is to the office (even Obama) – not a friendly foreign government or their asset. You don’t jump the chain of command.

        • Read the oath of all federal officials. The first duty and only duty is to the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES! The president has no right to loyalty legal or therwise. We are not a feudal system or a monarchy. The leaker complied with his or her duty.

          • Does the President have the Constitutional authority to share the information with the Russians? Was the subordinate (leaker) privy to the context of the release of the information?

        • So what should be done to Mitch McConnell whose goal was to make sure President Obama failed by obstructing all of his proposals?

    • You are correct “intent” is not a factor in national security convictions . But that lack of intent is exactly what the former FBI director used as an excuse to not pursue charges against Hillery. We have very short memories.

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