As the Trump administration moves aggressively to stop White House leaks, a former aide told Fox News they’ll likely impanel a grand jury.
On Friday morning, Robert Charles, a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer and White House staffer for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, joined Stuart Varney on Varney & Co to share his perspectives. When Varney asked whether Donald Trump’s leaked phone calls pose a “direct national security threat,” Charles replied they’re not only a national security threat, they’re a “layered national security threat.”
He then made his case for why he believes U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions should impanel a grand jury. For starters, he sees the leaks as major felonies.
“I think from a legal perspective, felonies have been committed. And frankly, they’ve also been committed if you put the cumulative effect of these leaks together…It betrays something deeper legally. It betrays an internal disrespect for the rule of law.”
Second, Robert Charles insists the White House leaks pose a threat to our national security.
“If I were the president, I’d be livid right now,” he declared, referring to the Washington Post’s published transcripts of President Donald Trump’s phone calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.
“What you’ve done is, you undermine people, sources, methods, and confidence…The doubt now exists in the minds of everybody in the State Department and in the intelligence community and probably in the wider national security community that something they say may wind up in the front page of the Washington Post. What that does is it crimps conversations with foreign leaders all the way down the chain.”
Robert Charles added that while the media has behaved irresponsibly, they’re covered by the First Amendment. Should Jeff Sessions forward to impanel a grand jury, he believes they should focus on staffers responsible for the leaks.
“You know, I think the media has to remember that they are also American and they need to have a degree of responsibility in this process. I really hold first accountable the government officials…There’s no reason these transcripts should have been out there, they compromise the ability of the president, and frankly the confidence of foreign leaders in the United States. It looks like we’re dysfunctional.”
Charles closed by predicting that Jeff Sessions’ Friday afternoon press conference would send a “very clear signal” that “those involved in this kind of activity will be prosecuted” and he’d likely impanel a grand jury.
Sure enough, the New York Times reports Sessions blasted the White House leaks and declared the culture of leaking “must stop.”
“I strongly agree with the president and condemn in the strongest terms the staggering number of leaks undermining the ability of our government to protect this country.”
He then announced the U.S. Justice Department has tripled the number of investigations and more ominously added he may send out subpoenas to journalists.
“We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited…They cannot place lives at risk with impunity.”
What neither Robert Charles nor Stuart Varney mention is that the president himself has already done a great deal to undermine confidence at home and abroad. As the Inquisitr reported back in February, White House leaks have run rampant since the early days of the Trump administration.
“An unprecedented series of leaks coming out of the Donald Trump White House signal a chaotic situation inside the new administration just two weeks after Trump’s inauguration. Top Trump staffers are backstabbing each other and their boss, experts say — while the president himself is helpless to do anything but throw temper tantrums like ‘a child who badly needs to be managed,’ according to one political expert writing for the Washington Post.”
As managing staffers is among the core functions of an executive’s job, this doesn’t reflect well on Donald Trump. Some hoped Anthony Scaramucci, the already-former new White House communications director, would shake things up. He certainly did with his bizarre behavior and lurid telephone conversation with the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza. As Reuters reported last week, “the Mooch” was forced to resign less than two weeks after he started.
Trump removes Scaramucci as communications director: NYT https://t.co/wvVt5ECKgQ
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 31, 2017
Furthermore, Donald Trump has sowed distrust by telling lies so often that the New York Times feels obligated to maintain an all-too-frequently updated list. On Wednesday, CNN reported the president’s approval ratings had plummeted to an all-time low of 33 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll. Nor does he inspire confidence around the world. Pew Research announced a poll of 37 countries from August 1 reveals only 22 percent have confidence in Trump’s handling of global affairs.
[Featured Image by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images]