Shia Altman

Loose lips AND leaks sink ships

I am so distressed by everything going on in Washington lately, and for more than the obvious reason, which would be the carelessness of one President Donald Trump. Even if we were not to believe the New York Times or the Washington Post about Comey memos and classified information slip-ups, it has been one self-inflicted mess after another.

Before I go on, let me say the following so that people understand, because there seem to be automatic assumptions about who a person may have supported or liked either by word or vote. If you have been reading my columns going back to 2015, you will know I was not a fan of Donald Trump and I bluntly explained why again and again. I did not vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton, instead writing in my choice and I said as much in my column before Election Day.

It shouldn’t matter anyway if we in the United States care enough about where we are going as a country, but I don’t like people thinking they know something about me when they don’t.

Having said all that, once the election was decided, I hoped President Trump would be better than candidate Trump, and I wanted to give him a chance, especially on foreign policy. I also excoriated the unhinged left for their reactions and “resistance” which included and still includes calling Trump and those in his cabinet, along with most any Republican, Hitlers and Nazis.

Heaven forbid the left could put country ahead of ideology. For a change. Sure, Republicans have acted the same way but what has been happening, including the threats to “primary” (in a primary, field a further left Democrat to oppose) any Democratic incumbent having the gall to work with Republicans for the betterment of all, is disgusting and shameful.

There was supposed to be a “pivot.” President Trump was supposed to act, well, presidential, after the primary season, and with that failing, after the general election. When he was a candidate, with all the crazy talk and insults, early on, I actually felt Trump never really wanted to be president and was trying to sabotage his own campaign, or would pull out.

I still think Trump wanted to win more than govern, but there is no question he just can’t help himself with his ridiculous continuous tweeting along with his thin skin and bravado, that he is who he is, and will act a certain way even when any other person would know that particular words or actions would be ill-advised in the least and incendiary at best.

Now to make a few points.

I never thought there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and I still don’t. Were there those in Trump’s circle that were too cozy with Putin and his gang? For sure. Did the Russians meddle in our election? Yes. But did the Trump campaign have any connection to the hack of the Democratic National Committee or John Podesta’s email account? No.

This Russian business is just whiny haters hating and trying to hurt. Both sides have them. In any event, a special prosecutor, trusted by both sides, former FBI director Robert Mueller under Presidents Obama and Bush, has been named to investigate the Russian connection, or lack thereof.

Did Trump try to have former FBI Director James Comey drop his investigation of the very poorly vetted former national security adviser Michael Flynn, what could be an attempt at obstruction of justice, which could be an impeachable offense depending on legalities? We will see.

The thing about special prosecutors and the worry for the subject about having one, is that the investigator has wide latitude and can follow leads that branch out almost anywhere, opening up cans of worms not even remotely related to the original allegation. In the 1990’s, Kenneth Starr investigated President Bill Clinton about a shady land deal and before you knew it, Clinton was impeached because of his lies about what he did with a young intern in the Oval Office.

A special counsel investigation can also take forever, staying in the news, eroding a presidency, guilty or not.

Trump and his campaign may in the end be exonerated about any Russian collusion, but the president could be found liable in some way for what he said to James Comey about Michael Flynn, or about something else. This is what many Democrats secretly desire, maybe even some Republicans.

Trump now knows he should have fired Comey right after the inauguration and that might have saved the new leader a lot of aggravation, but once kept, Comey should not have been forced out till after the Russian probe. And the way the firing was done was terrible.

Now to Israel. Trump has now officially backed away from moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, Israel. And although some of his people have made geographical description errors (the use of the word “Palestine” and not Palestinian territories), although Trump people hemmed and hawed about the Western Wall being part of Israel, and although Trump is too afraid to be seen with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Western Wall next week, I do believe Trump is pro-Israel.

Obama holdovers and novice administration diplomats have added to misperceptions. Also, sometimes Trump is a bull in a china shop – more than sometimes, and other times he is too careful, especially when he thinks he can make a deal in a delicate place, and that is no good. Sloppy stuff here as with other issues.

Knowing what I know now, I still would have written in my choice and not voted for Hillary Clinton. To this day, I don’t trust her for a minute and she would have been as have been as hostile to Israel as Obama had been, maybe more so because of how her party has gone so Bernie.

Trump has more pro-Israel people around him than did Obama. Genuinely pro-Israel. Not “John Kerry” fake pro-Israel. Case in point, US United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, who within only a few short months has performed head and shoulders above her predecessor, Obama’s Samantha Power.

After the Western Wall logistics brouhaha by an Obama holdover, Haley said the Western Wall was indeed part of Israel, and she has been strong and steadfast at the UN. In a recent interview, when asked if Trump told her to back off her Russia bashing, she said he hasn’t told her what to say about anything. Haley has been gutsy enough and independent enough to say what she pleases.

I am not excusing Trump for whatever he did or didn’t do, and I want all the facts, not some partisan joyride over the chaos. But in addition, we need to remember that sensitive information has been leaked again and again. If all the latest news is true, and it seem it is, then leaking what happened with the Israeli intelligence blabbered out in the Oval Office, was horrible, whether it was by Obama holdovers or new Trump people.

Israel risks so much with its brave operatives, infiltrating even ISIS of all groups, to help protect not just Israel but all of us here in the US and around the world, as all can now see. As bad as any stupidity on Trump’s part, and as bad as people want to hurt him, we must remember there are other players in this, as well as national security concerns.

I think many of those on the left all of a sudden so concerned about Israel never really cared for the Jewish state aside from how it supported their own ideology. Not all, but many.

Regardless of what people feel about Trump and Israel, etc., those on the left and in the mainstream media who full of breathless histrionics, are gleefully sharpening their impeachment knives, need to step back and look at the damage being caused not just by Trump, but by those who are undermining him and his administration. Because this was not just another embarrassing leak.

Now I would never agree with any leaking of private talk especially that of classified information, but I understand there are those unhinged enough who feel they have a duty to rid us of Trump even if they break the law as they attempt to do so. And incredibly, unhinged “resistors” support this. I get the anger, but the leakers are selfish and wrong and should be found, prosecuted, and put in jail.

The leak about Trump giving Israeli intel to the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador was quite serious, life and death serious. And it tells me this; there are people in our government who hate Donald Trump more than they love their own country. And this leaking was not just reckless, criminal and traitorous, it was very depressing.

The country needs to focus on health care and tax reform and terrorism and so much more, not be lunging from one political crisis to another.

Today, I am very sad.

About the Author
Shia Altman who hails from Baltimore, MD, now lives in Los Angeles. His Jewish studies, aerospace, and business and marketing background includes a BA from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Baltimore. When not dabbling in Internet Marketing, Shia tutors Bar and Bat Mitzvah, and Judaic and Biblical Studies to both young and old.
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