Trump leaks state secrets and self-incriminating boasts

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(David Horsey / Los Angeles Times)

The old phrase “never a dull moment” should be inscribed on whatever marble monument is erected to commemorate the Trump administration for a mystified posterity (“Trump? President? What in God’s name were they thinking?” posterity will ask). Or perhaps the words should be painted in gold over the entrance to the future Trump Presidential Library (which won’t actually be a library, just a warehouse filled with TV screens playing reruns of “Hannity” and “The Apprentice”).

The onslaught of far-from-dull moments has been unrelenting since Jan. 20, when Donald Trump took the oath of office before a modestly-sized crowd that he saw as epically huge. Not only has the cascade of craziness not let up, it has intensified.

Just in the last few days, America has been whipsawed from former-Deputy Atty. Gen. Sally Yates’ testimony about Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn’s vulnerability to Russian blackmail to Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey to Trump’s televised admission that the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election played a part in his decision to dump Comey.


But wait, there’s more! There was also the weird scene of chief White House spokesman Sean Spicer hiding in the bushes outside the executive mansion, avoiding cameras on the night the official story about Comey’s dismissal was blown apart by Trump’s self-incriminating chatter. There was Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and the resulting photograph (taken by a Russian cameraman since no American media were allowed in the room) that showed Trump looking exceedingly gleeful in the company of Vladimir Putin’s men. There was the subsequent revelation that the loose-lipped Trump shared intelligence secrets with those two Russian diplomats, thereby endangering a sensitive spy operation being run by Israel. And then came the bombshell New York Times story that revealed that Comey had kept notes detailing a meeting in which Trump urged Comey to desist from his investigation of Flynn.

Before all of this, the idea that Trump might be forced from office prematurely seemed like desperate wishful thinking on the part of Democrats and the establishment conservatives who loathe the man. This week, that changed. Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, told a dinner gathering on Tuesday that Trump’s scandals were “reaching Watergate size and scale.” Few other Republicans were going nearly that far, but neither were they rising to Trump’s defense. It is still hard to believe the GOP-run Congress will decide to impeach their own president, but it is no longer unimaginable.

Trump is a loose cannon on the deck of a creaky ship in a howling gale, and every shot from his muzzle blasts a new hole in the deck. For months, Trump has complained about leaks emanating from the intelligence agencies and from his own staff, but, in an odd way, he is the ultimate leaker. He shares secrets with Lavrov and Kislyak. He sends out tweets that expose his own communications staff as prevaricating shills. He gives interviews in which he cannot resist taking credit for actions that cross the line into obstruction of justice. He seems unable to control his own mouth and ends up leaking like a rotting roof in a downpour.

Trump’s enormous self-regard will not allow him to entertain the thought that his attempts to manage the crisis consuming his presidency are only making things worse. He is his own worst enemy, and that is giving a weary citizenry a glimmer of hope that this bizarre spectacle might actually be brought to an end.

Follow me at @davidhorsey on Twitter