Written by Steven Spear, Jr.
Edited by Cassidy Connell and Morgan DeLisle
Editor’s Note: Steven Spear, Jr. is not a member of the Trump Administration
Dear Mr. President,
Thank you for the appointment as your Senior Advisor. I look forward to explaining situations from my perspective and presenting my recommendations to you. Read my thoughts on the “Russia problem” below.
The issue most threatening to your presidency and damaging to your legacy is the allegation of collusion between the Russian government and your presidential campaign. I believe that your reaction to the allegation and the subsequent investigation by the FBI have caused much more attention than there would have been otherwise on the situation. Let’s look at a few instances:
Making Statements through Twitter
I understand that the collusion allegation, which causes some to question the legitimacy of your presidency, are frustrating, but you must stop making public statements about the FBI’s investigation. It is true that your campaign had an unusually large amount of communication with the Russian government, and if it is also true that there was no collusion, then you should have released a statement to reassure the American people that your administration would fully cooperate with the investigation. Instead of an official statement, you have used Twitter to defend potential targets and criticize the very existence of the investigation: You’ve called the investigation a “tax-payer funded charade.” Going forward, you cannot make public comments about the investigation: People will think that you are working behind the scenes to ensure the results are in your favor.
Firing James Comey
Because your opinions are public, 1) the memo stating that you tried to convince James Comey to drop the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn seems plausible, and 2) firing James Comey looks like you are trying to slow down or stop the investigation—both actions which, as you know, could be obstruction of justice. Additionally, it was reported that in your meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador, you said, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off [since firing Comey].” This looks bad. This looks like you fired him because he was investigating your campaign—which again, is obstruction of justice. Knowing how sensitive the Russia problem is becoming, you should refrain from making comments like this or doing anything that even appears to interfere with the work of the FBI.
Sharing Classified Intelligence with Russia
It was leaked that you shared classified Israeli intelligence on ISIS with the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador. Yes, as Commander-in-Chief, you have broad authority to declassify things, but you must consider the consequences of this decision. Russia may be our “friend” in fighting ISIS, but Russia is certainly not our “friend” in the Syrian Civil War—a conflict closely related to ISIS where Russia and the United States support opposing sides. You must also consider with whom Russia may share this intelligence: Russia and Iran are close allies (and likely share intelligence), but Iran and Israel are enemies. If Israel believes intelligence they share with the U.S. will ultimately be shared with Iran, Israel will be hesitant to share with the U.S. in the future. Going forward, you need to make sure the national security team briefs you on intelligence before sharing it with our allies.
Prioritizing Defending your Presidency
Had you made your legislative agenda a priority ahead of defending your campaign from the collusion allegation, you could have laid the groundwork for accomplishing a significant part of your agenda despite the investigation. Because you did not make your legislative agenda the top priority, you are unable to point to any major accomplishments up until this point. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been appointed as special counsel for the investigation into your campaign, and you have officially lost control of the narrative surrounding this situation. Now, you can only wait until Mueller finishes his investigation.
Up until this point, your focus has been in the past. Your public statements and your tweets have perpetuated the Russia narrative at the expense of your legislative goals. Going forward, you need to focus on accomplishing the promises made during the campaign and allow the FBI’s investigation to move forward without comment or interference.
In Seminole Spirit,
Steven Spear, Jr.
Senior Advisor to the President of the United States
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