Monday, February 12, 2018

But Those Emails!

Donald Trump infamously remarked of his departed staff secretary, Rob Porter

Well, we wish him well. He worked very hard. I found out about it recently and I was suprised by it But we certainly wish him well. It's obviously a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House and we hope he has a wonderful career and hopefully he will have a gret career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it and certainly he's also very sad. 

Now he also as you probably know,  he says he's innocent and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent. So you you'll have to talk to him about that. But we absolutely wish him well. He did a very good job while he was at the White House.

Joe Scarborough found "two or three phrases" which "stand out" to be "shocking" and "unbelievable." It would be far more shocking were Donald Trump to string together 10-11 sentences about some random matter and it were not unbelievable. If remarks of similar length about sexual abuse or harassment or domestic violence were not unbelievable, it would be an upset of epic proportions.

Still, Scarborough's comments made more sense than of emerging sidekick Katty Kay, who contended "and the thing you noticed about that first comment- those remarks that the President made in the Oval- absolutely no mention of the women, let alone a word of sympathy for them."

He may be ill-informed, uncurious, ruthless, dishonest, racist, misogynistic, manipulative, egotistical, and deviously patronizing.  But he's not much of a hypocrite. And if Donald Trump were to utter one word of sympathy for a woman who as a woman had been mistreated by a man, he would be a raging hypocrite. So give him his due- he was in character.

Further, Donald Trump is not a pastor, a therapist, a social psychologist, or journalist. He has never even met the women who have reported domestic abuse.. However, he is President of the USA- and was the employer of Rob Porter. He saw him frequently and spoke to him often.  Porter had access to the most powerful individual in the world, the man holding the position that once was leader of the free world.

While he awaited permanent security clearance, Rob Porter had access to classified documents. NPR's Brian Naylor reports

... national-security experts warn that that person (with the such a background) could be subject to blackmail by a foreignor domestic adversary. That's especially true when it comes to a person with close access to the president, like one responsible for putting the papers the president reads in front of him.

Naylor adds "700,000 people are waiting to have clearances processed, according to a report issued last week by the U.S. Comptroller's office." That's a serious long-term problem, one media will continue to ignore because it's tied up in the underfunding of government began decades ago by Saint Reagan.

Nevertheless, there is an immediate short-term problem which is understated, underreported, and potentially calamitous.  Slate's Jeremy Stahl notes "the ultimate arbiter of who in the executive branch is able to handle this country's most sensitive secrets is one man. That man is Donald Trump."

That's Donald T-r-u-m-p, as in Vladimir Putin's man in the West. Stahl explains

There is nothing preventing Trump from giving top security clearance access to whoever he wants, professional agency adjudication of the normal security-clearance process be damned. Furthermore, there is nobody—aside, perhaps, from Congress—who has oversight over how Trump can issue security clearances. And because this particular Republican Congress has been fully pliant to Trump’s will on all issues surrounding ethical norms, that basically means Trump has untrammeled say over all such clearances.

Porter is not an isolated incident. Stahl continues

In the cases of (Trump son-in-law Jared) Kushner and Porter, it appears that he has all but broken long-standing norms around clearances in a way that seems to have rendered the entire point of the clearance process at the highest levels of government moot. Another example? Former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who ultimately pled guilty to lying to the FBI, was allowed to remain in his job even after the Trump administration had been informed that he might be compromised because of such lies. He resigned only after the lies came to public light.

Individuals such as Rob Porter will come and go, especially in this Administration.  Aside from him, there have been tens (hundreds?) of millions of instances of domestic abuse, and probably more than a few occurring at the precise moment that his resignation was reported.  This incident will pass from the national consciousness and there still will be widespread physical abuse of persons by persons living in the same household.

There will be several- albeit too few- first-hand testimonials from victims, and the American people will not want for awareness of the problem. However, this is the moment, and journalists are the medium, in which the nation can learn about the threat to national security because individuals without proper security clearance may have access to information they shouldn't.

The danger has been largely ignored and may continue... unless the word "Hillary" can be somewhere inserted.

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