Trump Squanders al-Baghdadi Moment as the Evidence for Impeachment Mounts
Donald Trump could have used his Sunday announcement of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death to show that he could live up to the dignity of the office, reset his presidency and slow the momentum of the House's impeachment inquiry. But, instead he treated it, like everything else, as an opportunity to boast and feed his vanity.
After announcing that American forces had killed al-Baghdadi, Trump opened the floor to questions for 40 minutes of cringe-worthy self-aggrandizement, peppered with what appear to be some outright lies about the mission.
Vox: During his question-and-answer session, Trump divulged multiple sensitive details about the raid in Syria that could possibly give US enemies intelligence advantages; admitted to keeping Congress in the dark about the operation; openly mocked the terrorist leader; praised his controversial travel ban; and insinuated the September 11 attacks might not have happened had Washington heeded his advice.
And blurting out sensitive intelligence information has been a problem for the President since he took office.
NBC: ... "But current and former senior U.S. officials said from the earliest days of his presidency that Trump consistently wants to make public more than his advisers think is legally sound or wise for U.S national security."
"We agonized over what we would put in his briefings," one former senior White House official said, "because who knows if and when he's going to say something about it."
"He has no filter," the official added. "But also if he knows something, and he thinks it's going to be good to say or make him appear smarter or stronger, he'll just blurt it out."
So, in effect, the President made a hash of what might be his sole foreign policy victory. He may wish that he made more of the moment because the impeachment investigation is gaining steam.
Nancy Pelosi is calling the President's bluff by holding a vote to formalize the impeachment process, and an Army officer attached to the National Security Council will testify today that he has direct knowledge of Trump's campaign to get Ukraine's President to find dirt on Hunter and Joe Biden.
New York Times: "A White House national security official who is a decorated Iraq war veteran plans to tell House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he heard President Trump appeal to Ukraine’s president to investigate one of his leading political rivals, a request the aide considered so damaging to American interests that he reported it to a superior."
"Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were treating Ukraine, out of what he called a “sense of duty,” he plans to tell the inquiry, according to a draft of his opening statement obtained by The New York Times."
Republicans in the Senate and Fox News will find it more difficult to argue that a decorated Army Colonel is part of some "deep state" cabal trying to undermine the President. But they will try.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content