As the media continued its blistering assault on President Trump for allegedly spilling classified information to the Russians, at least a few pundits with a sense of history have been able to (barely) reel in the worst of the hysteria. While the leftist anchors have been clutching their pearls and falling onto their fainting couches, their invited guests have gently reminded them and the rest of the country that previous presidents – including their hero, Barack Obama – have done the exact same thing. And with the exact same adversaries! Imagine that.
On MSNBC, David Priess, a former intelligence official and the author of The President’s Book of Secrets, joined the chorus of voices condemning Trump for the alleged leaks. But in his interview with Rachel Maddow, even he admitted that such things had been done before. In the early 2000s, Russia and Putin were every bit the American adversaries they are today, but Priess explained that President George W. Bush invited the Russian leader to Crawford, Texas, where he sat in on a full intelligence briefing.
Priess told the story to ostensibly demonstrate the difference between a calculated reveal and Trump’s bombastic recklessness, but what he really did was reveal that this was not THAT far out of the ordinary way of things. And we’re just taking the media’s word for it that Trump revealed the info or that he did so without proper forethought, and the media has made its agenda clear for a while now.
Priess wasn’t the only NBC guest to give some historical context to the story. On the Today show, security analyst Juan Zarate reminded the hosts that President Obama handed the Russians classified information as well. And this didn’t happen in the early 2000s; this happened last year!
“Back in the summer of 2016, the Obama administration provided some information to the Russians about some of the things happening on the ground [in Syria]. Guess what happened?” Zarate said. “The Russians then attacked some of those sites of our allies, our proxies that we were working with. And that’s a problem.”
Once again, Zarate wasn’t trying to make excuses for Trump by any means, but he provided some much-needed, reasonable prudence.
Perhaps what Trump did was foolish, perhaps not. But for the media to be screaming about this story like our country is on the verge of collapse because Trump talked airline security with the Russian foreign minister…it just boggles the mind.