Lavrov (left), Trump (center), Kislyak (right)
National security officials were frenzied in the immediate aftermath of President Trump's meeting with Russian diplomats in which he disclosed classified information.
Russian Ambassador to the U.S.Sergey Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with President Donald Trump Monday in an oval office meeting that was closed specifically to American media.
Experts have spent copious hours since mulling over the ramifications of Trump's casual disclosure from a national security standpoint.
"This story is nauseating," tweeted Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution.The tweet included a link to The Washington Post's initial reporting of the story.
He continued, "You might have to work with [national security] people to understand how bad it is, but it's horrible.Really really bad."
The Post reported that the disclosure compromised a vital intelligence source cooperating with the United States in the fight against ISIS.
It also explained that the source was a U.S.partner in terms of mutual intelligence arrangements of such highly classified status that foreign allies and even U.S.government officials were unaware.
Since the story broke, many have questioned whether or not presidential authority absolves him of any criminal offense, which it does inasmuch as simply by divulging the information as president, Trump auto-declassified the details discussed.
Eliot Cohen, Johns Hopkins professor of Advanced International Studies and ex-counsel to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, called the disclosure "appalling."
"If accidental, it would be a firing offense for anyone else.If deliberate, it would be treason." President George W.Bush's undersecretary of defense, Eric Edelman, said, "It's so mind-boggling, I don't even know what to say.I'm completely gobsmacked.It's jeopardizing a human source.It's the one thing you're trained to never do.If what Post is reporting is true, it's a stunning indication of his unfitness for office."
Despite the understanding that Trump automatically declassified the information he divulged, Lawfare, a website run by national security pundits and intelligence community members, addressed slightly different issues.
"He has arguably breached his oath of office," Lawfare authors began, "President Trump swore to 'faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States' and to 'preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States' to the best of his ability.It's very hard to argue that carelessly giving away highly sensitive material to an adversary foreign power constitutes a faithful execution of the office of President."