The President’s Flank Is Failing

“Protect your flank” is a saying that stems from military strategy based on the necessity that a command officer hold troops back from the front line in order to protect from attacks from the side. It is these attacks to the flanks which are most dangerous and ultimately can lead to defeat. Having their flank protected allows soldiers to focus solely on the fight in front of them, which mean they and their officers knew the importance of utilizing superior trained and highly mobile troops for this effort. The saying now refers to being able to trust that you are protected in the areas where you are most vulnerable.

An astonishing, frustrating, infuriating, treacherously treasonous act occurred within the White House within the past few days. Transcripts from the President’s phone calls with leaders of other countries were leaked to the Washington Post (WaPo)

The Post has obtained transcripts of Trump’s talks with Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Produced by White House staffers, the documents provide an unfiltered glimpse of Trump’s approach to the diplomatic aspect of his job, subjecting even a close neighbor and long-standing ally to streams of threats and invective as if aimed at U.S. adversaries.

Have no doubt, this act of shameful betrayal was also criminal: (WaPo)

The transcripts were based on records kept by White House note-takers who monitored Trump’s calls. Known as a “memorandum of conversation,” such documents are commonly circulated to White House staffers and senior policymakers. Both documents obtained by The Post contain notes indicating that they were reviewed and classified by retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg Jr., who serves as chief of staff on the National Security Council.

Not only is it a betrayal, not only is it criminal, it is also highly detrimental to foreign policy: (Fox News)

“The unauthorized release of these documents to the press is a crime,” Joe diGenova, the former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, told Fox News. “The series of acts involving release of notes of the president’s conversations with foreign leaders, and these transcripts, are a serious threat to national security.” Doug Burns, a former federal prosecutor in New York, said this in a phone interview. “There is a federal statute that makes it a crime, a federal crime, to disseminate classified information to an unauthorized person,”

Just as in every situation, there are known-knowns and known unknowns. By now, the President knows who his enemies are. Consisting of the Congressional Democrats, the Progressive Socialist Left, the DNC and the MSM, they don’t even try to hide it, their ad-hoc name is “The Resistance”.  An early known-unknown was the President’s support on Capitol Hill. Those who hate the President and all he stands for have by now been exposed, and are actively working to subvert he and his agenda.

But, the true known-unknown is which White House employees are actively and criminally committing treason by betraying the President and the country. This situation must be rectified immediately. This leak was a national embarrassment and has the capability of being a cloud over future phone conversations with other foreign leaders. This situation is so serious, even David From of the Atlantic sounded the alarm (The Atlantic)

Leaking the transcript of a presidential call to a foreign leader is unprecedented, shocking, and dangerous. It is vitally important that a president be able to speak confidentially—and perhaps even more important that foreign leaders understand that they can reply in confidence. Thursday’s leak to The Washington Post of President Trump’s calls with the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Australia will reverberate around the world. No leader will again speak candidly on the phone to Washington, D.C.—at least for the duration of this presidency, and perhaps for longer. If these calls can be leaked, any call can be leaked—and no leader dare say anything to the president of the United States that he or she would not wish to read in the news at home.

He continues with a dire warning:

In March, I warned about the risk of judicial overreach: In response to the danger posed by Trump, other American power holders will be tempted to jettison their historic role too, and use any tool at hand—no matter how doubtfully legitimate—to stop him. Those alternative power holders may even ultimately win. But in winning, they may discover themselves in the same tragic position as that Vietnam-era army officer who supposedly said “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”  Trump’s violation of basic norms of government has driven people who would otherwise uphold those norms unto death to violate them in their turn. Contempt for Trump’s misconduct inspires counter-misconduct.

As much as Mr. Frum and others can decry this act, one must admit the blame for this ultimately lies within the Oval Office. While Mr. Trump can’t control Congress, nor can he control the MSM,  or the senior Republican bulls and cows who are resolutely mutinous; Mr. Trump can control his own house.

Control must be taken back immediately. Not tomorrow, not next week, today. Shockingly, the People’s House still has Obama loyalist employed in key positions. This is untenable, but even more disturbing are the leadership factions vying for voice and control within those advisors and staffers chosen by the President. This chaotic governance has a miasma which is reaching truly noxious levels.

The individuals leaking classified material from the White House must be found and prosecuted. But, the President also must take responsibility, the buck stops at his desk, and it is high time he cleans out his own house.

About the author

Wm. P. Fitzhenry

5th generation Texan, 2nd generation reformed Presbyterian, a twin and a serial entrepreneur.

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