Now that it's been revealed that President Trump congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on his sham election victory despite being warned by advisors not to do so, the White House is now madly looking for whoever leaked that warning and is ready to send him -- or her -- packing.
“If this story is accurate, that means someone leaked the President’s briefing papers. Leaking such information is a fireable offense and likely illegal,” a senior White House official said in a statement as reported by The Hill.
The Washington Post reported late Tuesday that a section of Trump’s briefing materials for his call with Putin read “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” in all-capital letters. Trump, himself, told reporters yesterday that he had congratulated Putin in a phone call and that he told the Russian dictator the two would be meeting soon.
Trump also did not follow instructions to condemn Putin over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in the U.K., according to The Washington Post. The White House has not confirmed the report, but multiple news outlets followed with similar stories. The person or people responsible for the leak have not been publicly identified.
Trump's congratulatory message has been met with a flurry of criticism, including from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,”McCain said in a statement.
"And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country's future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin's regime," McCain added.
First, I join many other of my fellow citizens who appreciate the fact that at least one White House staff member was willing to risk being fired by sharing with the American people the fact that the President once again cozied up to Putin in this way. That individual should be commended, not fired.
The fact that Trump did that further raises questions about his relationship with Putin and what leverage he has over the U.S. President. It also demonstrates, once again, the lack of judgement on the part of Trump -- judgement that could ultimately prove to be his undoing as the Robert Mueller Russia investigation unfolds.