Timothy Snyder Speaks, ep. 10: Pompeo or Pompeii? Climate Security is National Security

Mike
05:12
Pompeo is an interesting figure here
because Mike Pompeo who as I’m sure you
know has been the head of the CIA and is
now going to be confirmed probably to be
Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo comes into existence as part
of the energy industry when he becomes a
politician when he runs for office as a
congressman from Kansas his campaign is
funded by the Koch brothers and by other
energy lobbies to the tune of 1.1
million dollars and duly elected he
proposes that climate change is not real
when he’s confirmed as CIA director he
says that it’s a terrible mistake to say
that climate change is a problem for the
national security of the United States
however if we just look at his career a
little bit and if we look at the actual
challenges that he’ll have to confront
were the challenges that are in front of
us now we can see at a deeper level
how-how-how his his his own life shows
how false the position is so Lebanon for
example Mike Pompeo made his name by
criticizing Hillary Clinton on Lebanon
why was there a crisis in Lebanon why
was there an Arab Spring in the first
place because of the droughts because of
the droughts which created the bread
lines which created the riots
why were there droughts because of
climate change
Syria is a problem which mr. Trump can’t
wish away and which mr. Pompeo can’t
wish away why is there a problem in
Syria there are many reasons one of them
a horrifying dictator one of them is the
presence of the Russian army but one of
the root causes is that drought in Syria
destroyed what was once called the
Fertile Crescent leading to mass
migration to cities leading to civil
unrest which was one of the conditions
of the Civil War now why does this
matter because Libya and Syria are the
kinds of things which mr. Trump and mr.
Pompeo talk about and we’ll have to talk
about and the main way that US policy
could actually make a difference in
these parts of the world and in the
Muslim world generally is by having a
policy on climate change you see there’s
this odd coincidence which is that the
crescent of the world where more than a
billion Muslims live is also the place
where climate change is having the
greatest effect the fastest if one were
serious about unrest in the Muslim world
if one were really worried about
terrorism coming from the Muslim world
one would then then one would then
insist on having a policy about climate
change
if you think about foreign policy
as entertainment you’ll just let the
individual crises come you’ll drop a
bomb you’ll launch a missile you move on
to the next thing if you’re really
thinking about the Muslim world if
you’re really thinking about Muslim
terrorism as a growing threat then you
would think about climate change
the thing is climate change makes fake
problems real your your little
entertainment number becomes the real
world if you don’t address climate
change with policy Mexico is another
example right now it’s entirely
entertainment but if we continue to
desertified Mexico with climate change
there really will be waves of migrants
from the south if we continue to
desertified Mexico
Mexico City can
collapse as groundwater reserves are
taken out from under it and then there
really will be mass migration from
Mexico
to the United States do you want
to head that off if you do then you have
to be in favor of a serious policy on
climate change now the relationship
between climate change and national
security is actually even more direct
than that so who are our rivals in the
08:50
world now who are the countries that are
08:51
in the headlines
08:52
Russia in China let’s imagine that you
08:56
think that Russia is an adversary
08:58
what’s imagine that you think that
08:59
Russia does things that are not in the
09:00
national security interest the United
09:02
States what’s the most effective policy
09:04
the most effective policy would be to
09:07
develop renewable energies because the
09:09
Russian regime and every regime like it
09:12
depends precisely on the world being in
09:14
a carbon economy you get past the carbon
09:16
economy there will not be a Putin led
09:19
oligarchy or regime in Russia China the
09:23
Chinese like everybody else know that
climate change is real the Chinese
unlike us are devoting a great deal of
state investment to renewable energy
precisely with the goal of being the
people who developed the technology
which get us around this Bend into a new
energy economy is that a technological
competition that we want to lose the
only way to maintain some kind of parity
technological parity with China is to
acknowledge a real problem and then to
invest in the real solutions but it gets
09:54
even more direct than that so let’s say
09:57
you’re not concerned about these
09:58
long-term things but say you just think
10:00
are our armed forces can run out to
10:02
various spots in the world and solve
10:04
whatever problem arises okay if you want
10:06
to send the US Armed Forces out to the
10:08
world to solve various problems where do
10:10
they leave from they leave from a naval
10:12
base in Norfolk Virginia what’s the
10:14
problem with the Naval Base in Norfolk
10:15
Virginia
10:16
the rising tides the rise of sea level
10:20
because of global warming and the
10:22
melting of ice and the north and south
10:25
poles
10:25
our own major Naval Base in Norfolk
10:28
Virginia will soon not be functional who
10:32
is saying that the United States Navy is
10:36
saying that right so even if you think
10:38
that these long-term things don’t matter
10:39
and the national security is just a
10:41
matter of sending soldiers and sailors
10:43
out to hot spots in the world we’re not
10:46
going to be able to do that unless we
10:48
get our minds around climate change so
10:51
in all these ways real national security
10:54
the things that we should really be
10:56
afraid of as opposed to the
10:58
entertainment industry around national
11:00
injustice national security the things
11:02
that were made to be anxious about day
11:03
after day real national security depends
11:06
upon
11:06
thinking about everybody in the country
11:07
the country is a whole the country’s
11:09
future and that means caring about
11:11
climate change so if we if this whole
11:14
thing isn’t just a joke right this whole
11:16
thing isn’t just a performance by paid
11:18
lobbyists if the next Secretary of State
11:21
is really going to be someone who cares
11:22
about national security which one would
11:24
think would be the basic Job Description
11:26
it has to start with climate change
11:28
that’s that’s what the real national
11:30
security interest the United States are
11:31
going to have to do with thanks

So this is why Trump doesn’t want officials to testify

Now we see why the Trump administration doesn’t want officials to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) released the first batch of transcripts Monday from the closed-door depositions, including that of Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine removed from her post by President Trump at the urging of his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

If this is a sign of what’s to come, Republicans will soon regret forcing Democrats to make impeachment proceedings public. Over 10 hours, the transcript shows, they stumbled about in search of a counter-narrative to her damning account.

Yovanovitch detailed a Hollywood-ready tale about how Giuliani and two of his now-indicted goons hijacked U.S. foreign policy as part of a clownish consortium that also included Sean Hannity and a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor. Their mission: to oust the tough-on-corruption U.S. ambassador who threatened to frustrate Giuliani’s plans to get Ukraine to come up with compromising material on Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.

Mike Pompeo has a cameo as the feckless secretary of state who refuses to stand up for his diplomat out of fear of setting off an unstable Trump. It all culminated in a 1 a.m. call from State’s personnel director telling Yovanovitch to get on the next flight out of Kyiv. Why? “She said, ‘I don’t know, but this is about your security. You need to come home immediately.’ ”

Yovanovitch, overcome with emotion at one point in her testimony, said she later learned that the threat to her security was from none other than Trump, who, State officials feared, would attack her on Twitter if she didn’t flee Ukraine quickly.

Confronted with this Keystone Kops way of governing, Republicans didn’t really attempt to defend Trump’s actions. Instead, they pursued one conspiracy theory after another involving the Bidens, George Soros, the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration, deep state social-media “tracking” and mishandling classified information. They ate up a good chunk of time merely complaining that Yovanovitch’s opening statement had been made public (which under the rules was allowed).

“Ambassador,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) interjected, “are you aware of anyone connected to you that might have given that to The Washington Post?”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) interjected: “Did you talk to the State Department about the possibility of releasing your opening statement to the press?”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) jumped in: “Ambassador Yovanovitch, do you believe that it is appropriate for your opening statement to be provided to The Washington Post?”

But Trump will need more than complaints about leaks to counter the narrative that Yovanovitch — and others — have documented.

Ukrainian officials had told her to “watch [her] back” because Yuri Lutsenko, a Ukrainian prosecutor with an unsavory reputation, was “looking to hurt” her and had several meetings with Giuliani toward that end. Lutsenko “was not pleased” that she continued to push for cleaning up Lutsenko’s office, and he tried to meet with Trump’s Justice Department to spread misinformation about her — including the now-recanted falsehood that she had given him a “do-not-prosecute list.”

She testified that wary Ukrainian officials knew as early as January or February that Giuliani was seeking damaging information on the Bidens and the Democrats — perhaps in exchange for Trump’s endorsement of the then-president’s reelection.

When Yovanovitch was attacked by Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr., among others, she asked for Pompeo to make a statement supporting her, but he didn’t do it because it might be “undermined” by a presidential tweet. (Pompeo did, apparently, have a private conversation asking Hannity to cease his attack on her.) Instead of support, she got career advice: Tweet nice things about Trump.

Notably, Republicans didn’t respond to her testimony by trying to make Trump’s behavior look good; they probed for ways to make Yovanovitch look bad.

They suggested she was part of a diplomatic conspiracy to monitor Trump allies such as Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs and Sebastian Gorka. They probed for damaging details on the Bidens (“Were you aware of just how much money Hunter Biden was getting paid by Burisma?”) and for ways to damage her credibility (“What was the closest that you’ve worked with Vice President Biden?”). Maybe Ukraine really did try to help Hillary Clinton in 2016, they posited. Maybe Ukrainian officials were “trying to sabotage Trump.” They asked if she ever said anything that might have led somebody to “infer a negative connotation regarding” Trump.

Meadows, struggling mightily to prove some wrongdoing by Yovanovitch, found he couldn’t pronounce the names he had been given — so he spelled them out. “I’m sorry, I’m not Ukrainian,” he said.

“Neither am I,” she replied.

No, she’s what threatens Trump most: an honest American.

 

Mike Pompeo Refuses to Answer Questions for Local Nashville Reporters

12:23
THAT AT LEAST SHOULD BE SAFE. HE CLEARLY DID NOT EXPECT TO RUN
HE CLEARLY DID NOT EXPECT TO RUN INTO LOCAL REPORTERS WHO KNEW
INTO LOCAL REPORTERS WHO KNEW EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE TALKING
EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT WHO WERE ABSOLUTELY RED IN
ABOUT WHO WERE ABSOLUTELY RED IN ON THIS SUBJECT, WHO KNEW WHAT
ON THIS SUBJECT, WHO KNEW WHAT TO ASK, WHO WOULDN’T BACK DOWN
TO ASK, WHO WOULDN’T BACK DOWN AND WERE READY TO — READY TO
AND WERE READY TO — READY TO ADVANCE THIS STORY EVEN WHEN HE
ADVANCE THIS STORY EVEN WHEN HE WOULD NOT ANSWER.
WOULD NOT ANSWER. WATCH THIS FROM NASHVILLE.
WATCH THIS FROM NASHVILLE. >> THE ANNOUNCEMENT YESTERDAY,
>> THE ANNOUNCEMENT YESTERDAY, ONE OF YOUR MOST TRUSTED SENIOR
ONE OF YOUR MOST TRUSTED SENIOR ADVISERS RESIGNED.
ADVISERS RESIGNED. HE IS ADDING HIS VOICE TO A
HE IS ADDING HIS VOICE TO A NUMBER OF CAREER DIPLOMATS WHO
NUMBER OF CAREER DIPLOMATS WHO EXPRESSED FRUSTRATION OVER WHAT
EXPRESSED FRUSTRATION OVER WHAT THEY SEE AS YOUR FAILURE TO
THEY SEE AS YOUR FAILURE TO STAND UP FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICE
STAND UP FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICE AND FOR SERVANTS LIKE AMBASSADOR
AND FOR SERVANTS LIKE AMBASSADOR YOVANOVITCH CAUGHT UP IN THE
YOVANOVITCH CAUGHT UP IN THE UKRAINE CONTROVERSY.
UKRAINE CONTROVERSY. DID YOU DO ENOUGH TO DEFEND THE
DID YOU DO ENOUGH TO DEFEND THE AMBASSADOR PRIVATELY AND
AMBASSADOR PRIVATELY AND PUBLICALLY AGAINST THE SMEAR
PUBLICALLY AGAINST THE SMEAR CAMPAIGN BEING WAGED AGAINST
CAMPAIGN BEING WAGED AGAINST HER?
HER? AND WILL YOU SPEAK TO THAT NOW?
AND WILL YOU SPEAK TO THAT NOW? >> MAYBE YOU HAVE SOME OF YOUR
>> MAYBE YOU HAVE SOME OF YOUR FACTS WRONG, SO YOU SHOULD BE
FACTS WRONG, SO YOU SHOULD BE CAREFUL ABOUT THINGS YOU ASSERT
CAREFUL ABOUT THINGS YOU ASSERT AS FACTS BEFORE YOU STATE THEM.
AS FACTS BEFORE YOU STATE THEM. >> CAN YOU SPEAK TO MICHAEL
>> CAN YOU SPEAK TO MICHAEL McKINLEY’S RESIGNATION?
McKINLEY’S RESIGNATION? >> I DON’T TALK ABOUT PERSONNEL
>> I DON’T TALK ABOUT PERSONNEL MATTERS.
MATTERS. >> DID YOU SUPPORT AMBASSADOR —
>> DID YOU SUPPORT AMBASSADOR — THE AMBASSADOR BEING RECALLED
THE AMBASSADOR BEING RECALLED MONTHS BEFORE HER TENURE WAS UP?
MONTHS BEFORE HER TENURE WAS UP? >> I SUPPORTED EVERY MISSION
>> I SUPPORTED EVERY MISSION THAT THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAS
THAT THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN ENGAGED IN.
BEEN ENGAGED IN. >> IN MID-FEBRUARY YOU WERE IN
>> IN MID-FEBRUARY YOU WERE IN WARSAW.
WARSAW. DURING YOUR TIME THERE, DID YOU
DURING YOUR TIME THERE, DID YOU MEET WITH GIULIANI?
MEET WITH GIULIANI? >> YOU KNOW, I DON’T TALK ABOUT
>> YOU KNOW, I DON’T TALK ABOUT WHO I MEET WITH.
WHO I MEET WITH. I WENT TO WARSAW FOR A
I WENT TO WARSAW FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
PARTICULAR PURPOSE. >> SO YOU’RE NOT GOING TO SAY
>> SO YOU’RE NOT GOING TO SAY WHETHER YOU MET WITH HIM?
WHETHER YOU MET WITH HIM? >> SO WHEN I WAS IN WARSAW, I
>> SO WHEN I WAS IN WARSAW, I HAD A SINGULAR FOCUS.
HAD A SINGULAR FOCUS. MY FOCUS WAS ON THE WORK WE HAVE
MY FOCUS WAS ON THE WORK WE HAVE DONE.
DONE. >> IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE NOT
>> IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE NOT GOING TO SAY.
GOING TO SAY. >> WHEN I WAS IN WARSAW, WE WERE
>> WHEN I WAS IN WARSAW, WE WERE WORKING DILIGENTLY TO ACCOMPLISH
WORKING DILIGENTLY TO ACCOMPLISH THE MISSION.
THE MISSION. >> TEXT MESSAGES SHOW THAT
>> TEXT MESSAGES SHOW THAT DIPLOMATS UNDER YOUR AUTHORITY
DIPLOMATS UNDER YOUR AUTHORITY TOLD THE UKRAINIANS THAT THE
TOLD THE UKRAINIANS THAT THE GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH PRESIDENT
GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP WAS ONLY POSSIBLE IF THEY
TRUMP WAS ONLY POSSIBLE IF THEY INVESTIGATED HIS POLITICAL
INVESTIGATED HIS POLITICAL OPPONENTS AND THEORIES ABOUT
OPPONENTS AND THEORIES ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED IN 2016.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2016. WERE YOU AWARE THAT THIS WAS
WERE YOU AWARE THAT THIS WAS HAPPENING?
HAPPENING? >> AGAIN, YOU HAVE GOT YOUR
>> AGAIN, YOU HAVE GOT YOUR FACTS WRONG.
FACTS WRONG. SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE WORKING AT
SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE WORKING AT LEAST IN PART FOR THE DEMOCRATIC
LEAST IN PART FOR THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE WHEN YOU
NATIONAL COMMITTEE WHEN YOU PHRASE THAT PREDICATE OF A
PHRASE THAT PREDICATE OF A QUESTION IN THAT WAY.
QUESTION IN THAT WAY. TUS
TUS IT IS UNFORTUNATE.
IT IS UNFORTUNATE. >> THE REPORTER ASKING THOSE
>> THE REPORTER ASKING THOSE QUESTIONS WAS NANCY AMENS, WHICH
QUESTIONS WAS NANCY AMENS, WHICH IS A LOCAL NBC AFFILIATE IN
IS A LOCAL NBC AFFILIATE IN NASHVILLE.
NASHVILLE. WOW DID SHE DO A GOOD JOB THERE.
WOW DID SHE DO A GOOD JOB THERE. SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO,
SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO, LISTEN, CAN’T ANSWER QUESTIONS
LISTEN, CAN’T ANSWER QUESTIONS FROM LOCAL REPORTERS, NOT WHEN
FROM LOCAL REPORTERS, NOT WHEN EVERYBODY CAN FOLLOW THIS VERY
EVERYBODY CAN FOLLOW THIS VERY STRAIGHTFORWARD STORY.
STRAIGHTFORWARD STORY. SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO
SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO MAY FIND HIMSELF GETTING
MAY FIND HIMSELF GETTING IMPEACHED HERE FOR HOW HE HAS
IMPEACHED HERE FOR HOW HE HAS TRIED TO COVER IT UP SINCE.
TRIED TO COVER IT UP SINCE. MIKE POMPEO TRIED TO HIDE THE
MIKE POMPEO TRIED TO HIDE THE FACT HE WAS ON THE CALL.
FACT HE WAS ON THE CALL. HE APPEARS CLEARLY NOW IN AN
HE APPEARS CLEARLY NOW IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NBC’S AFFILIATE
INTERVIEW WITH NBC’S AFFILIATE IN NASHVILLE TENNESSEE, HE
IN NASHVILLE TENNESSEE, HE APPEARS CLEARLY NOW TO BE TRYING
APPEARS CLEARLY NOW TO BE TRYING TO HIDE SOMETHING ABOUT WHEN AND
TO HIDE SOMETHING ABOUT WHEN AND WHERE HE WAS MEETING WITH RUDY
WHERE HE WAS MEETING WITH RUDY GIULIANI WHEN THE SCHEME WAS
GIULIANI WHEN THE SCHEME WAS BEING HATCHED.
BEING HATCHED. DID YOU IN FACT MEET WITH RUDY
DID YOU IN FACT MEET WITH RUDY GIULIANI IN WARSAW EARLIER THIS
GIULIANI IN WARSAW EARLIER THIS YEAR BEFORE WE ALL KNEW THIS
YEAR BEFORE WE ALL KNEW THIS SCHEME WAS UNDERWAY?
AND EVERYBODY IS TRYING TO GET AS FAR AWAY AS THEY CAN FROM
AS FAR AWAY AS THEY CAN FROM THIS, RIGHT?
THIS, RIGHT? BUT WITH THE FIRST ARRESTS, WITH
BUT WITH THE FIRST ARRESTS, WITH NOT JUST ONE BUT MULTIPLE PHOTOS
NOT JUST ONE BUT MULTIPLE PHOTOS OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE VICE
OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE VICE PRESIDENT WITH THESE MEN WHO
PRESIDENT WITH THESE MEN WHO WERE JUST ARRESTED AND THE
WERE JUST ARRESTED AND THE PRESIDENT’S ELDEST SON WITH
PRESIDENT’S ELDEST SON WITH THESE MEN WHO WERE JUST
THESE MEN WHO WERE JUST ARRESTED, WITH NEWS ABOUT THE
ARRESTED, WITH NEWS ABOUT THE WHITE HOUSE DINNER THAT
WHITE HOUSE DINNER THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP INVITED THESE
PRESIDENT TRUMP INVITED THESE MEN WHO WERE JUST ARRESTED TO
MEN WHO WERE JUST ARRESTED TO JUST LAST YEAR.
JUST LAST YEAR. THAT’S HIM INVITING THEM TO THE
THAT’S HIM INVITING THEM TO THE WHITE HOUSE FOR A MEETING, FOR A
WHITE HOUSE FOR A MEETING, FOR A DINNER MEETING, RIGHT?
DINNER MEETING, RIGHT? I MEAN, THIS IS A DOWNWARD
I MEAN, THIS IS A DOWNWARD SPIRAL AT THIS POINT.
SPIRAL AT THIS POINT. THE HOMELAND SECURITY SECONDARY
THE HOMELAND SECURITY SECONDARY RESIGNED TONIGHT.
RESIGNED TONIGHT. THE ENERGY SECRETARY RECK PERRY
THE ENERGY SECRETARY RECK PERRY IS FACING A SUBPOENA FOR HIS
IS FACING A SUBPOENA FOR HIS INVOLVEMENT IN THIS.
INVOLVEMENT IN THIS. THE SECRETARY OF STATE APPEARS
THE SECRETARY OF STATE APPEARS TO BE AT RISK OF IMPEACHMENT
TO BE AT RISK OF IMPEACHMENT HIMSELF AS HE IS MULTIPLY
HIMSELF AS HE IS MULTIPLY IMPLICATED IN THE PRESIDENT’S
IMPLICATED IN THE PRESIDENT’S SCHEME THAT NOW APPEARS TO HAVE
SCHEME THAT NOW APPEARS TO HAVE TURNED ROUNDLY AGAINST HIM,
TURNED ROUNDLY AGAINST HIM, INCLUDING THE RESIGNATION IN
INCLUDING THE RESIGNATION IN PROTEST OF HIS NUMBER TWO LAST
PROTEST OF HIS NUMBER TWO LAST NIGHT.
NIGHT. BUCKLE UP.

If we legitimize Trump’s behavior, it’ll be open season on our politics

Our nation’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, does not seem to know what’s wrong with asking another government to conduct an investigation of an American politician who happens to be a political opponent of the U.S. president. Here’s what’s wrong.

Start with the basic problem of asking another country to conduct an investigation of one of our political candidates, or of any U.S. citizen, for that matter. Setting aside for a moment the propriety of using U.S. power and influence to serve a president’s narrow political purposes, how could we ever be sure such an investigation was conducted fairly? Or whether it was conducted at all? We have no control over the manner of another nation’s investigation, no way of monitoring the behavior of another country’s law enforcement officials, no control or insight into what standards they might apply and what investigative methods they might use. We would have to accept the word of another government without having any assurance the finding was valid. It’s a safe bet that many would not trust even Britain or France to investigate a U.S. citizen’s behavior — though they would have every reason to. After all, millions of Americans don’t even trust the FBI. But Ukraine?

With all due respect to Ukraine’s struggling democracy, would Pompeo place his own fate in the hands of the Ukrainian justice system? If not, why would he trust the results of any investigation the Ukrainians might conduct?

Only certain kinds of countries would even accede to the kind of request President Trump and his lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani made, and they are precisely the countries whose judicial systems are least trustworthy. No U.S. president could ever ask Britain or France or Japan or any other deeply rooted democracy with an impartial justice system to investigate an American whom those governments had not already decided on their own to investigate. Much less would such governments be willing to investigate a U.S. president’s political opponents at the president’s behest. The only kinds of countries that would conceivably succumb to such pressure — and it is to this Ukrainian president’s great credit that he did not — are precisely those whose judicial systems were already corrupt and easily manipulated for political purposes. Again, how reliable could such an investigation be? Why would we not expect it to produce whatever answer was most conducive to that government’s interests? The U.S. president wants an investigation to prove that his opponent is dirty. Okay. Done. He’s dirty. Now release the aid.

But that is just part of the problem. Consider what it will mean if we decide that what Trump and Giuliani have already acknowledged doing in Ukraine becomes an acceptable practice for all future presidents. Sending the signal that other governments can curry favor with a U.S. president by helping to dig up dirt on his or her political opponents would open our political system and foreign policy to intervention and manipulation on a global scale. Every government in the world wishing to influence U.S. foreign policy will have an incentive to come to a sitting president with information on his or her potential political opponents.

That information might be related to investments or other financial dealings in a particular country, as in Ukraine. Or it might have to do with the behavior of a particular individual while traveling abroad — who he or she sees and what he or she does. Other governments will therefore have an incentive to conduct surveillance of political figures traveling through their countries on the off chance of gleaning some bit of information that could be traded in Washington for some favor. Nor would other governments be limited to what they can see in their own countries. They would have an incentive to dig into the lives of potential opposition politicians in the United States, through monitoring their social media and other Internet presences, their bank accounts and other personal information — as already happened in 2016, and which Trump openly welcomed then, too.

Today, foreign leaders come calling with golf clubs and promises of greater market access to win a U.S. president’s favor. What if they came with secret transcripts and videos, or promises of investigations? In the high-stakes game of national security, if other governments discover that one of the currencies of relations with the United States is dirt on opponents, they will do their best to arm themselves. If we legitimize this kind of behavior by a U.S. president, if no price is paid for this kind of conduct, it will be open season on the American political system.