We’ve seen it on TV in “24” and in movies like “Air Force One.” A President is forced to make a decision that pits his official responsibility against his family interests. In both 24 and AF1, the safety of the president’s kidnapped wife and children is at risk. Will he (in both cases it was a male president) do what is right for the country, or will he do what is best for his family? Ultimately, the President makes the decision that’s best for the country and magically his wife and daughter are saved.
So here’s a question for electors in the Electoral College: Are you confident Donald Trump will always make the decision that favors America, and not one that promotes or protects his personal, family or business interests?
Terrorism is basically extortion against a government to persuade it to act in a certain way through violence or the threat of violence against its people or institutions. Coercion, extortion and blackmail are related concepts. Within the context of the presidency, they can be considered political blackmail.
A Trump presidency expands the reach of terrorism to include as potential targets the President’s personal, family or worldwide business interests. The extent of Trump’s connections makes him vulnerable to this political blackmail by foreign actors, foreign governments and terrorists.
Terrorists will effectively blackmail the president -not for money -but to force him to do what they want, or fail to do what he should.
Blackmail is more effective than bribery. ~~ John le Carre
Donald Trump would be the most blackmailable president, ever. This fact should give electors pause as they contemplate their electoral college vote on Dec. 19th.
POTENTIAL BLACKMAIL OVER FOREIGN ASSETS AND FOREIGN BUSINESS PARTNERS
The Trump Empire does business in at least 16 foreign countries, including Turkey, Korea, India, Saudi Arabia and Russia. Each is a target for a potential terrorist attack.
Our strategy in combating terrorism after 911 was to fortify the Homeland so we fight the terrorists overseas rather than on US soil.
That broke down in Benghazi, when the American diplomatic compound was attacked with devastating results. Because of a lack of congressional funding, the compound was too soft a target, not sufficiently hardened, and death and destruction were the result.
Trump Hotels and Resorts are similar soft targets that are virtually impossible to defend. Because they represent an outpost of the United States to locals, they are irresistible to terrorists – especially when they are emblazoned with the name of the President. TheSE properties cater to wealthy US business people, monied tourists, visiting dignitaries and government leaders: in short the most desirable terrorist targets for extortion, injury or kidnapping.
None of the Trump properties around the world has presidential or embassy level security or the employee screening necessary to keep guests and staff safe from attack. In the ransom business, you don’t need an actual attack to sow terror. All you need is the credible threat of an attack to focus the world’s attention.
Since Trump is a self-described shrewd negotiator, how will we know he is operating in the pure American interest when he seeks personal or business favors from a foreign government?
Trump already has established business contacts in foreign lands… not just with heads of state, but with lower level officials as well. For example, in the Philippines, he is a business partner with the special envoy of the new, dictatorial Philippine President Duterte. If we need to pressure Dutarte to stop his alleged illegal killing of persons he suspects of involvement in the drug trade, how far is Trump willing to jeopardize his business relationship to be strong in his governmental duties?
Trump will be President for a limited time, and then its over. His accumulated wealth will be passed on for generations. When it comes to making a political decision which could cost his family millions, are you confident he’ll make it?
Any business requires periodic assistance from the local government for business licenses and permits and must pay taxes. Trump’s distaste for paying any taxes means he will be seeking favorable rulings from local and country-level sources. Each interaction is a potential conflict.
If our national security requires that we bomb Turkey, will Trump spare his own hotels there? If not, terrorists could find safe havens in Trump properties.
POTENTIAL BLACKMAIL OVER US-BASED ASSETS
Every government building in America is a potential target and most major ones are hardened with outside crash barriers, metal detectors, interior and exterior cameras and security staff.
Every Trump property is as desirable a target as a government building since they are intrinsically identified with Donald Trump, and the President is the embodiment of the government.
A threat to any Trump property could affect the President’s decision-making and thus makes him more blackmailable, and us less secure.
Donald Trump is a “national security nightmare“.
A threat to Trump Tower would rival the movie “Die Hard” in complexity. Terrorists could easily amplify the threat, clouding the President’s thinking, and complicating a response.
Trump Tower is located on prestigious Fifth Avenue south of Central Park, on one of the most important thoroughfares in Manhattan.
Trump Tower, New York
The fully-occupied mixed residential/commercial building anchors a major high-end shopping and commercial district. To secure the building will be a monumental task. The building, packed in a dense mixed-use area, must be as secure as the relatively secluded White House, surrounded by gates, great lawns and parkland.
Already, it’s costing the Secret Service millions to secure the building with personnel, electronics, a possible helipad and anti-aircraft installation on the roof and crash and sand truck barriers at the entrance. If there is a small Presidential helicopter, how does one secure that emergency flight plan in a dense urban area?
Not secured are adjacent buildings or the sewers, vaults and tunnels underneath the Tower or restaurants inside the Tower. Tens of thousands of vehicles are to be rerouted each day around and off Fifth Avenue, causing a traffic nightmare.
This lack of access will cause traffic gridlock, making it impossible for fire, security or the military to reach the building on a Thursday at 2, much less in the middle of a terrorist attack or an international crisis. The skies will be crowded as news helicopters and drones will compete for access with police, the secret service and the military.
And exactly how does one guard against a weaponized low-flying drone in Manhattan?
POTENTIAL BLACKMAIL OVER FOREIGN BUSINESS DEALINGS
Russia. Putin. The Great Unknowns. Every step is a minefield.
Trump believes that business partners will not go to war against each other. But what if they must? Will Donald Trump jeopardize his business interests in order to carry out America’s foreign policy?
It is widely reported that Russia hacked the Clinton campaign and the DNC, and provided the information to wiki leaks. Somehow not only did WikiLeaks release the emails to the media, it appeared that the Trump campaign had advance copies.
If this is accurate, Trump is subject to potential blackmail over the possible release of this damaging information. If the public was to learn that a foreign power conspired with one presidential campaign to the detriment of the other, even diehard Republicans would be hard-pressed to not cry foul, no matter what diversionary tweet would come from his Motorola V3 flip-phone.
What would Trump do, or agree to, to make sure his incriminating emails were not hacked and released?
It is also reported that Donald Trump Jr. had contacts with the Russians during the campaign. If this is true, these meetings are possible violations of the Logan Act, and potentially subjects for extortion against the President.
POTENTIAL BLACKMAIL BY THE FBI
FBI director James Comey’s interference in the election may have been a deciding factor leading to Hillary Clinton’s apparent loss. His July 5th announcement that she had been “extremely careless” in her email handling, even though she would not be prosecuted, brought the wrath of Congress and the media upon him.
Comey’s announcement 11 days before the election of some potential new evidence in the case re-inspired a lagging Trump campaign. His third announcement just two days before the election, that nothing new was found, sealed Clinton’s fate by again energizing trump voters.
Any coordination between the Trump campaign and the FBI agents which influenced Comey’s decision to make any one of the three improvident and utterly unprecedented statements could make Trump subject to blackmail by his own investigative sources. There are obviously stresses and rivalries between agencies within the FBI and our intelligence community. Those rivalries can lead to unpredictable and dangerous results.
Think that an FBI Director would never blackmail a President? Of course they would; at least one did. According to this new documentary and numerous other sources, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover blackmailed Attorney General Robert Kennedy over allegations his then-deceased brother President John F. Kennedy had carried on an affair with Marilyn Monroe.
Edward Burns in Fail-Safe
In the Cold War movie “Fail Safe,” a President was faced with a desperate situation. A US nuclear bomber was mistakenly sent on a mission to destroy Moscow. All the “fail-safe” mechanisms designed to prevent an unintended nuclear war failed. There was no way to communicate with the pilot, shoot down the plane or deter it from its mission. The Russians demanded eye-for-an-eye retribution, fearing it was a trap. The President decided to sacrifice New York City, knowing that his wife was in The City, shopping. This deadly gesture was designed to save the world from an even greater conflagration that could result in the total destruction of life, not merely two major metropolitan areas.
Donald Trump is subject to political blackmail on any number of fronts. No other candidate in American history has faced the same challenges and temptations.
Electors: are you absolutely, positively certain that Donald Trump would make the correct decision, time after time after time, free of any personal, family or business concerns?
If the existence of these personal, political, and business interests makes Donald Trump an unwise choice for president, electors should vote their conscience and select someone other than Donald Trump when the Electoral College meets.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the fate of mankind can rest on your decision. You are our Fail-Safe.
Photo credits: Cover image: Donald Trump 2 March 2015 By Michael Vadon via Wikimedia Commons
Edward_Binns_in_Fail-Safe_trailer By trailer screenshot (Columbia Pictures) (Fail-Safe trailer) via Wikimedia Commons
Trump Tower New York By Arthur Caranta via Wikimedia Commons
Other articles by Marty Rudoy