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Opinion: Trump, the chatterbox?

Did the US president share classified information? If he did, as reports suggest, confidence in Donald Trump would be shaken even more than it already is, says DW's Miodrag Soric.

We do not yet possess all the facts: It is still too early to say with certainty that Donald Trump shared confidential information with - of all people - Russian government representatives. His surrogates and spokespeople have painted a picture of closed-door meetings in which the US commander-in-chief consciously shared intelligence relevant to joint pursuits. Trump, for his part, insists he had the "absolute right" to share the intel; National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster claims it was "wholly appropriate."

There are many arguable issues here, but the whole debate is doing considerable harm to the American president all the same. You simply can't shake the suspicion that Trump has secretly been cooperating with the Kremlin, first during his election campaign and now in the White House.

One of the consequences will be that Trump will find it more difficult to find a successor for the recently fired FBI director, James Comey, because both friends and foes in Congress are watching this president now with even more distrust. And the Senate must of course confirm any new FBI chief Trump appoints.

Increasing mistrust

There is another possible consequence: America's allies could be more reticent in passing on classified material to Washington. Who knows what else this president might share? Passing on findings by the intelligence services can be a grave threat to security in the US. And it causes mistrust among the country's allies.

Miodrag Soric

Miodrag Soric is DW's Washington correspondent

Bearing these implications in mind, Trump's advisers and political staff are making a dash to refute all accusations - unsuccessfully so far. A growing number of Americans believe there is little this president is not capable of - this 70-year-old man who acts like a child, who has so little self-control and whose vanity and craving for admiration are disastrous time and again.

Increasing security risk

Even if the suspicion is unfounded, it says a lot that Americans and their allies believe this president is capable of doing just that: sharing classified information with the enemy in order to show off, make himself look important, garner attention.

Congressmen and -women harbor the worst fears in view of Trump's mistakes. The Democrats consider this president a security risk, while Republicans are increasingly hushed in their defense of him, as they also ask themselves: What should we do? Impeaching him can take a long time and as things stand now, the outcome would be completely uncertain.

So the Republicans are frozen in place like deer in the headlights, and resort to doing nothing at all for the time being. Until the next scandal, which is likely around the corner with this president.

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