After the Democratic National Convention (DNC) finishes on Thursday, Republican nominee Donald Trump and his Democratic counterpart will begin to receive intelligence briefings to inform the policies that they develop during their campaigns. However, the intelligence community is questioning whether Trump is qualified to receive these briefings.
He has often lauded Russian autocrat President Vladimir Putin and his oppressive policies. He is not committed to NATO, the cornerstone of western foreign policy and the most important counterweight to Russian influence in the world.
His campaign director Paul Manafort has close ties with Russia and has previously been sued for intervening in Ukrainian politics on behalf of Russian policies. Most worryingly, it seems likely that the Kremlin commissioned the hacking of DNC emails to damage the Democratic Party and improve Trump’s chances at winning the presidency.
Members of the intelligence community are worried that Donald Trump ― who has deep ties to Russia and is apparently the preferred presidential candidate of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin ― could have access to highly classified national security briefings as early as Friday.
Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will begin receiving the briefings after the Democratic National Convention ends on Thursday, ABC Newsreported Monday. As the Republican nominee for president, Trump is now among a handful of people who do not hold a security clearance but have the potential to get these briefings. But he also has closer ties to a foreign government than perhaps any presidential candidate in recent history.
Trump has called for following Moscow’s lead on various global issues and questioned whether it’s necessary for the U.S. to always defend other members of NATO, the alliance created during the Cold War to protect American partners from an expansionist Soviet Union. His rhetoric about foreign policy neatly matches the message coming out of Moscow: that America has little need for its long-time partners in Europe ― particularly in NATO ― or elsewhere, and that the U.S. should have less influence internationally. Trump has extensive business and financial ties to Russia.
According to a former senior intelligence officer,
“Never have we had a candidate so tied to a foreign power, especially one that is so hostile to the U.S. in many ways, and one that is actively messing with our election. Many [in the intelligence community] don’t care about U.S. politics and pride themselves on being nonpartisan, but the ties to Russia are deeply disturbing.”
The Huffington Post continues,
Former intelligence officials say that Trump would not be briefed on covert actions or learn about sensitive sources or methods of collecting intelligence, but he could have access to information that would be highly valuable to Putin.
That could include briefings on U.S. strategy in Syria or Ukraine; the CIA’s assessment of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad or the Russian leadership; or U.S. spy agencies’ knowledge of Russian military movements.
One year ago we thought Trump’s presidential bid was an absurd joke. Now, things are serious and increasingly terrifying. No one is sure what Trump’s true motivation is for his presidential run; and while he probably did not enter the race intending to pass on information to Russia, his possible ties to the Kremlin are concerning.
We need to stop the madness and abandon Trump. We’re with her.