Two reactions, two parties, two ways of governing

rooz Two reactions, two parties, two ways of governing image

May 16 at 12:30 PM Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). (Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency) A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former prosecutor, Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) , speaking at a Center for American Progress policy conference, responded to the latest debacle involving President Trump. Calmly, without invective, she told the audience that if there is a transcript then there likely is a tape. “We need to get a hold of that,” she said. “Our job is oversight.” She explained the risks to our intelligence gathering, our alliances and our sources (“It’s putting people in danger”) caused by Trump’s disclosure. She called for that tape to be made available and then reiterated her call for a special prosecutor and independent commission. Citing former director of national intelligence James Clapper, she said, we are “simply emboldening Russia” when we don’t take these events seriously.
Meanwhile on the floor of the Senate, Minority Leader Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said of The Post’s report:
First, if accurate, a disclosure of this type could threaten the United States’ relationships with allies who provide us with vital intelligence and could result in the loss of this specific intelligence source. . . . Second, if accurate, such a disclosure could damage our interests in the Middle East. We do not collaborate with Russia in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East for the simple fact that we have diverging interests. . . . And third, if the report is true, the president’s alleged carelessness with classified information will further damage the relationship between the White House and the Intelligence Community – an essential relationship to the security of America. The Intelligence Community needs to be able to trust the president, trust that he will treat classified information with caution, with care.
He concluded that “in one fell swoop the president could have unsettled our allies, emboldened our adversaries, endangered our military and intelligence officers the world over, and exposed our nation to greater risk.” He called for a transcript of Trump’s meeting with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador available to go to the House and Senate intelligence committees. He concluded that “there is a crisis of credibility in this administration which will hurt us in ways almost too numerous to elaborate. At the top of the list are an erosion of trust in the presidency, and trust in America by our friends and allies. The president owes the Intelligence community, the American people and the Congress a full explanation. The transcripts, in my view, are a necessary first step.”
The White House and lawmakers reacted May 15 to Washington Post revelations that President Trump disclosed classified information during a meeting with Russian officials. (Bastien Inzaurralde,Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was more direct at her appearance at the CAP conference. The disclosure of intelligence to Russia, she described as “Totally outrageous. Totally outrageous.” She continued, “If unwittingly, that would be pathetic and dangerous. If it was intentional, it would be . . . worse.” She argued, “Here he is putting Putin on a pedestal, undermining NATO, questioning whether we should even have sanctions . . . That is not in our national interest.”
Meanwhile, several Republicans proclaimed themselves “worried” or “concerned.” Some even called for answers or a transcript. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) played down the importance of the issue. “I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda, which is deregulations, tax reform and repealing and replacing Obamacare.” That in a nutshell is the problem with the GOP these days — a glaring lack of leadership on the most fundamental issue (the president’s fitness and attempt to interfere with the FBI investigation) so it can advance discrete policy issues. The latter is increasingly unlikely to occur given the chaotic, untrustworthy president and the widespread opposition to the party’s health-care bill. But more important, are they really so partisan and so small-minded as to refuse to defend the country from enemies foreign and domestic? It seems so.