Mon, May

Can America Trust Trump With Classified Information?



ACCORDING TO LIZ - All the news that’s fit to print and most that’s not paint a pretty picture of the ex-prez as a man incapable of good judgment, not trustworthy at any speed.  

Yet, once Trump is officially nominated as the Republican candidate for President, the country’s intelligence agencies plan to read him in on all sorts of classified materials. 

Not only is he facing multiple trials and has surrounded himself with others who display a total disregard for the rule of law, Trump has told allies he wants Paul Manafort, the architect of his 2016 win, back at his side. 

Manafort, the convicted fraudster who should still be serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for financial crimes – bank and tax fraud, illegal foreign lobbying (including financial connections to pro-Russia Ukrainian politicians), witness tampering and conspiracies – except, oops that’s right, Trump pardoned him along with other criminals shortly after the ex became the ex. 

And Manafort is far from the only miscreant the ex-Prez has been in bed with over the years. Even excluding the likes of Stormy Daniels. 

John Bolton, former national security adviser, advises: “No prior presidential candidate has ever been under indictment for compromising classified information. That alone is reason to withhold intelligence briefings. There is no legitimate argument that denying the briefings would impair Trump’s campaign — he doesn’t understand what they would brief anyway.” 

This is the man who, if not leading the charge on the Capitol on January 6th, certainly fomented the infuriation that drove it. 

This is the man who illegally removed and stored classified documents on his unsecured estate, and is facing federal criminal charges for mishandling them. 

This is the man who accidentally-on-purpose divulged state secrets to feed his ego. 

This is the man who leaned on officials across the country to conspire to rig the 2020 federal election in his favor, and for which he faces charges in Georgia. 

This is the man who packed a Supreme Court with less-than-qualified jurists who would support his plutocrat buddies over the American populace – the folks that the Court was sworn to serve. 

This is the man who aspires again to be the leader of the free world, someone to respect and emulate, now on trial for paying off a porn star. 

This is the man who is currently caught up in multiple felony and civil lawsuits, draining his focus and energy, whose litigious life may become even more convoluted with revelations in a Guardian exposé documenting billions in loans from an offshore account to save Trump Media. 

An account controlled by Anton Postolnikov, nephew of Aleksandr Smirnov, Putin ally and former first deputy justice minister of Russia. And now part of a “joint FBI-Department of Homeland Security investigation that encompasses multiple FBI field officers, the El Dorado task force that looks at money laundering in Miami, and multiple US attorneys’ offices.” 

His business acumen, or lack thereof over the years, barely qualifies him to be a first-to-be-fired contestant on “The Apprentice.” 

What kind of Kool-Aid have his financial backers been drinking? 

On top of his individual inadequacies, a recent study showed that second Trump term would bring policy changes that would release 4 billion more tons of CO2 into our atmosphere every year by 2030, generating almost a billion dollars in climate damage. 

And that’s just from rolling back existing regulations (which he-who-was-and-wants-to-be-again has already promised his corporate funders). 

If Trump adopts Palin’s previous pledge to “Drill, baby, drill” thus raising atmospheric emissions both from amplified extraction and the subsequent burning of oil, gas, and coal... we could be looking at a global temperature increase ballooning beyond the hard red line of 2°C. 

And then there is the personal responsibility the bloviating one bears for the hundreds of thousands of American lives lost during the pandemic. 

Despite access to unlimited amounts of qualified (and sometimes not-so-qualified) advice. 

Among high-income countries, the U.S. has had one of the highest Covid death tolls. The excess-death rate here has been astronomically higher than in Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, South Korea or Australia. 

Despite vast quantities of cash poured into the American medical system to find a miracle cure, too much was siphoned off at the source for corporate profits. Personal wealth of Trump acolytes got in the way of smoothing the supply chain. Covid tests were hard to find. 

People didn’t seek immediate medical care because they were afraid of the debt that would follow. The virus ran rampant through the warehoused poor, not only in understaffed and overwhelmed medical, nursing, and retirement facilities but also in low-rent housing. 

And the more people who got sick, who couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t quarantine, the faster Covid spread. And mutated. And multiplied. 

It wasn’t until the Biden administration took over in 2021 that the racial and economic disparities started to be addressed. 

And under Trump’s irrational leadership, he consistently enabled a dangerous form of skepticism justifying avoidance of vaccines as well as basic health procedures such as social distancing and masks to keep others safe. 

To this day, over thirty percent of Republicans have not received a Covid vaccine shot; the comparable figure for Democrats is under ten percent. 

Nineteen out of every twenty recent hospitalizations for Covid are of those who have refused to be vaccinated. 

If it wasn’t so macabre, the Democratic political machine could rely on time to boost their share of voters since the more people in a county voted for Trump, the more who died... 

So, the real question is how can any Americans trust Trump? 

Believing in Trump has become the act of a true believer, a mark of faith in the apostle. Attending his revival meetings and sporting his merch. Buying his Bibles and playing golf on his links. 

But can they count on a wanna-be to pay the bills and educate their children? To wave his magic wand to cure sickness, pollution, and end global warming? To reduce taxes and at the same time improve quality of life for all? 

To keep state secrets safe? 

Trump would like more millions of Americans to buy into the Church of Trump. And that is precisely why this country must keep church and state clearly separate. 

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. And that includes an appropriate pound of flesh for every law the Egg-McMuffin man has broken... the ultimate Trump diet.

(Liz Amsden is a contributor to CityWatch and an activist from Northeast Los Angeles with opinions on much of what goes on in our lives. She has written extensively on the City's budget and services as well as her many other interests and passions.  In her real life she works on budgets for film and television where fiction can rarely be as strange as the truth of living in today's world.)