And it’s only going to get worse. We’ll get to that in a minute. Il Trumpe just did this (boldface mine):
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.
The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.
“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
…In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.
Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat…
At a more fundamental level, the information wasn’t the United States’ to provide to others. Under the rules of espionage, governments — and even individual agencies — are given significant control over whether and how the information they gather is disseminated, even after it has been shared. Violating that practice undercuts trust considered essential to sharing secrets.
The officials declined to identify the ally but said it has previously voiced frustration with Washington’s inability to safeguard sensitive information related to Iraq and Syria.
“If that partner learned we’d given this to Russia without their knowledge or asking first, that is a blow to that relationship,” the U.S. official said…
“I’m sure Kislyak was able to fire off a good cable back to the Kremlin with all the details” he gleaned from Trump, said the former U.S. official who handled intelligence on Russia.
It goes without saying that if a Democrat had done this, we would be having special counsels up the wazoo, if not impeachment hearings.
What is insane–and that is the word to use here–is that Trump didn’t do this to improve his standing in public opinion polls (which would be bad). He did this to gratify his own ego: narcissists are gonna narcissist.
Here are two things that are very likely to happen. First, Trump will do this again in a perverse effort to prove that it doesn’t really matter. Keep in mind, “it doesn’t really matter” isn’t about policy outcomes, but whether he is directly punished for his behavior, either by restricting his actions or massive unpopularity. As long as these things don’t happen, he’ll conclude it’s no big deal, and do it again, but this time, he’ll do it intentionally. That’s how narcissists roll.
Second, the deep-seated feelings of inadequacy that always lurk under the surface of the narcissist’s psyche, well, they’re gonna surface. He is going to find someone, probably multiple someones, to blame for this. No, that doesn’t make sense, but Trump is unwell. He’ll do this.
But the emails!