- A top US diplomat revealed this week that his staffer overheard a loud phone conversation between Gordon Sondland, the US’s ambassador to the EU, and President Donald Trump at a restaurant in Kyiv.
- Sondland was almost certainly spied on while talking to the president at the restaurant.
- But that incident is just one out of many in which Trump or the people around him have compromised national security since he took office.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Bill Taylor, the US’s chief envoy in Ukraine, revealed on Wednesday that a member of his staff overheard a conversation in Ukraine between President Donald Trump and Gordon Sondland, the US’s ambassador to the EU.
During that conversation, which took place on the phone, Taylor testified that his staffer heard Trump and Sondland discussing the politically motivated investigations Trump wanted the Ukrainian government to launch in order to aid his 2020 reelection effort.
According to Taylor, the conversation happened at a restaurant in Kyiv and the volume was apparently loud enough that they were overheard.
Sondland was almost certainly spied on while talking to the president in that restaurant, Politico reported. But this incident is just one out of many in which Trump or the people around him have compromised US national security.
Here are 8 other times Trump and his associates have risked national security
- Trump’s broader efforts to conduct a “shadow” policy campaign in Ukraine – conditioning vital military aid and a White House meeting on the Ukrainian president publicly committing to the investigations Trump wanted – made him vulnerable to foreign intelligence services. Specifically, spy agencies could try to figure out if there are other shadow policies under Trump and seek to exploit them.
- The decision to withhold military aid itself threatened US security. The Washington Post reported that the Ukrainian military used some of that aid to beef up its communication systems and prevent the Russians from jamming them up. Freezing the aid meant Ukraine, a critical and strategic ally, didn’t have access to a secure system Congress approved to help fighters in Ukraine maintain contact in the face of Russian aggression.
- Trump famously didn’t use a secure phone to tweet until months into his presidency.
- His primary residence, the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, has lax security that makes it a prime target for hackers and digital snooping. In one instance, a paying member of the club took a photo of Trump being briefed on North Korea and posted it to Facebook.
- Trump tweeted out a photo from a classified briefing in August that likely created a goldmine for foreign intelligence looking to gauge the US’s satellite capabilities.
- During a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office, Trump divulged classified information the US received from Israel to two senior Russian officials.
- Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, frequently butt-dials journalists – including this reporter – and has been overheard discussing everything from where to have lunch, to needing more money and his overseas dealings.
Trump’s affinity for the Russians and other US adversaries, and his abandonment of key US allies, has led to widespread discontent within the intelligence and law enforcement community. Glenn Carle, a former CIA covert operative, told Insider in an earlier interview that could make US officials vulnerable targets for foreign recruitment efforts.
- “Getting foreign officials to work for us was my entire job,” Carle said. “Right now, it’s not looking good for Americans.”
- Read more of Insider’s impeachment coverage:
- Think Trump will get impeached? Gambling sites say the odds are in your favour
- Trump could be impeached, removed from office, and still win re-election in 2020
- Over half of the House of Representatives support the impeachment inquiry against Trump – see all of them here
- Everything you need to know about Trump’s impeachment process: what’s happened, who the players are, and what comes next
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