During yesterday’s impeachment hearing, acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor dropped a big bombshell, testifying that one of his staffers had overheard an extremely incriminating call between Pr*sident Trump and U.S. ambassador to the UN Gordon Sondland on July 26:
“[I]n the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigations.’ Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.
“Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.”
Of course, in a world without Fox News and the fat manila envelope full of oppo research Trump has on Lindsey Graham and the rest of the congressional Republicans (come on, you know it exists), that would likely be the icing on the cake of this impeachment.
But, alas, we live in the upside-down now, so we’re gonna need a much bigger scandal than that. Like, say … uh … you know, I can’t even imagine what that could be. Exhuming Ronald Reagan’s body, making a headdress out of his bones, and declaring himself emperor-for-life of Oceania?
Maybe that would do it?
Okay, probably not.
Still, that call between Trump and Sondland is even more troubling than it initially appears because, according to experts, it was a huge breach of national security.
“The security ramifications are insane — using an open cellphone to communicate with the president of the United States,” said Larry Pfeiffer, a former senior director of the White House Situation Room and a former chief of staff to the CIA director. “In a country that is so wired with Russian intelligence, you can almost take it to the bank that the Russians were listening in on the call.”
In other words, there doesn’t even need to be a pee tape. The Russians are collecting kompromat on Trump pretty much every day.
Calling a president from a cellphone violates protocols set up to protect senior administration officials’ communications. “It’s indicative of a lack of concern for operational security,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being accused of making statements motivated by political bias. Senior officials, he said, “are routinely briefed on the threats to their communications. You could assume that talking on an unencrypted line from a foreign country would be on that list.”
This is not the first time questions have arisen over Trump’s unorthodox phone use. He has been known to give his personal cellphone number to other world leaders, despite aides’ warnings that his cellphone calls are not secure. Russia and China in particular have targeted his personal cellphone calls, the New York Times reported.
Gee, thank God we didn’t elect Hillary Clinton. Really dodged a bullet there, eh?