U.S. Sen. Howard Baker asked what has become the centerpiece question of the Senate Watergate hearings of 1973: What did the president know and when did he know it?
The late great Tennessee Republican sought to get to the root of what President Nixon knew of the Watergate break-in at the Democratic National Committee office and whether he sought to cover it up.
Sen. Baker’s legacy comes to mind as the nation ponders whether Donald J. Trump received a briefing about a hostile power offering to pay bounties on the deaths of American service personnel.
In other words, what did the president know and when did he know it?
The New York Times initially reported that intelligence officers had the information. Trump, as is his style, denigrated the Times reporting, calling it “fake news.” Then came more reporting from the Wall Street Journal, from The Associated Press that Trump received briefings in written form.
Trump says he never was briefed. Oh, but the AP reports that John Bolton, the former national security adviser, told Trump — to his face — about the intelligence he had received as early as March 2019.
Trump says he didn’t know about it. Others offer much different pictures of what he knew and when he knew it.
As has been mentioned before on this blog, Trump’s credibility on every issue on Earth is suspect. He cannot tell the truth. He is unwilling or unable to speak truthfully … about anything. Thus, I am one American who doesn’t believe a single thing we hear from this presidential imposter.
We are faced with at least two terrible prospects.
- One is that the president knew about the intelligence reports and did nothing to stop a hostile foreign power from paying terrorists when they kill our service personnel.
- The other is that he received the briefings on his desk, but didn’t look at them. He didn’t bother to read the important material that had been brought to him by the intelligence experts who spend their careers working to protect U.S. interests from hostile acts.
If he knew about it and did nothing to stop this hideous activity, then we have a president who — in my mind — has committed a treasonous act.
What did Donald Trump know and when did he know it? We need a full accounting of the wreckage this imbecile has done to the nation’s highest office.
Oh, how we need a dose of the courage that Howard Baker exhibited during that earlier intense crisis.