Tuesday, May 16, 2017

TOP STORY >> Administration finds itself in bunker mode

Leader executive editor

Bombshells at the beleaguered White House keep going off about every hour, which now include allegations of obstructing FBI investigations to spilling top-secret intelligence to the Russians.

President Trump’s troubles worsened last week when he fired FBI director James Comey for continuing his investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, who were cordially invited to the White House last Wednesday, the day after Comey’s dismissal.

Trump wanted to stop the FBI investigation of Gen. Michael Flynn, the fired national security adviser who was suspected of being a Russian asset.

“I hope you can let this go,” Trump ominously told Comey during a meeting.

Comey wrote two pages of notes of their conversation after he returned to his office, which he had done before involving sensitive investigations. He is said to be ready to testify before Congress.

Trump says he might have tapes of their conversation. If true, Congress needs to subpoena them.

More troubling revelations involve Trump discussing top-secret intelligence about ISIS threats with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. The Russians were gleeful during their visit and must have forwarded the information to Vladimir Putin as soon as they returned to the Russian Embassy.

Trump carelessly gave the Russians pieces of intelligence that Israel shared with us after their agents infiltrated ISIS in Syria. Why pass the information to the Russians, who are aligned with Assad, Hezbollah and Iran in Syria and the Taliban in Afghanistan?

Why were the Russians allowed into the White House with cameras and listening devices when the U.S. media were kept out of the Oval Office? Did they hope for an update on the FBI investigation into the collusion with the Russians?

The Russians, who know nothing about our system of checks and balances, must be disappointed as the FBI continues to investigate the White House. The Russians wouldn’t allow that in their country, where the regime’s enemies wind up dead with alarming regularity.

Our congressional delegation remains silent on the latest revelations, leaving it to former Gov. Mike Huckabee to defend Trump on the pro-Russian Fox News channel. His daughter, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is also a staunch defender, although her job may be the most difficult in the administration after press secretary Sean Spicer, who appears to be on his way out.

Sanders and Spicer, along with several other aides, turned up the volume on their TV Monday night while they screamed at each other as they fought over Trump’s intelligence leak.

The White House gets smaller as a shell-shocked staff tries to contain the damage. The stunning revelations are bound to get worse as a determined press pursues leaks and tips from the White House, the FBI and others.

I said press and not high-falutin’ media because 95 percent of the stories that have rocked the White House were first reported in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press and others.

Trump also discussed jailing reporters when he met with Comey. As an experienced law-enforcement official, Comey took the notes for his own protection and to document the assault on our democracy. He will speak out against foreign and domestic subversion.

Trump’s troubles mean his legislative agenda is now doomed. Health-care reform is stalled in the Senate. There is no budget or a border wall.

We are in the middle of a constitutional crisis, the worst since Watergate, but the Founding Fathers knew that without eternal vigilance, our democracy would come under fire.

We are being tested, but thanks to our Constitution, the people will prevail.