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MSNBC Frets Trump Will Be National Security Threat as Ex-President



On Tuesday’s Deadline: White House, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace and MSNBC national security analyst Frank Figliuzzi engaged in wild speculation about the possibility that, as a former President, Donald Trump might betray the country by divulging national security secrets for financial gain. 

This included Figliuzzi insisting that the FBI should “restart their counterintelligence assessment of the President.”

Picking up on a Washington Post article, Wallace set up the segment:

 

 

While President Trump still has 71 days left in his term, there are already concerns that he will pose a national security threat once he’s out of office. Washington Post reports not only does Trump have a history of disclosures, he checks the box of a classic intelligence risk. He’s deeply in debt and angry at the U.S. government, “particularly what he describes as the ‘deep state’ conspiracy that he believes tried to stop him from winning the White House in 2016 and what he falsely claims is an illegal effort to rob him of reelection.”

She then turned to Figliuzzi and posed:

[T]his is a conversation that you and I had after the big Times reporting about his financial vulnerabilities, his — his — all that he owes to the IRS, how leveraged his company is came out, and — and you agreed with Pete Strzok — who also felt that Trump was a serious counterintelligence threat just with that financial picture revealed by the Times — but you add to that the combustion in which he’s refusing to accept the result of the 2020 election and it seems to compound that dynamic.

Figliuzzi likened Trump to a disgruntled ex-employee of a business leaving with trade secrets who also owes a great deal of money, and then speculated about how he might exploit his knowledge of classified information:

So imagine someone coming along — and this is how I would do it if I were a foreign intelligence service — someone coming along through cut-out companies and coopted companies and saying, “We’ll buy that debt. We’ll — we’ll take that loan,” and then later finding out in an approach to Trump that, “You know, sir, we just bought your debt, we happen to be a foreign intelligence power or state-run power. You need to do the following for us.”

After listing several types of important information a former President might have (such as which ambassadors or foreign leaders have bugs in their office), the MSNBC analyst added: “All of that’s in his head — all of that could be for sale — and that’s why I assert that he continues to be a national security threat even after he leaves and that the FBI should continue and, in fact, restart their counterintelligence assessment of the President of the United States.”

This episode of MSNBC’s Deadline: White House was sponsored in part by Lincoln. Their contact information is linked.

To see the full November 10 transcript, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Deadline: White House
November 10, 2020
4:52 p.m. Eastern

NICOLLE WALLACE: While President Trump still has 71 days left in his term, there are already concerns that he will pose a national security threat once he’s out of office. Washington Post reports not only does Trump have a history of disclosures, he checks the box of a classic intelligence risk. He’s deeply in debt and angry at the U.S. government, “particularly what he describes as the ‘deep state’ conspiracy that he believes tried to stop him from winning the White House in 2016 and what he falsely claims is an illegal effort to rob him of reelection.” We are back with Frank Figliuzzi. Frank, this is a conversation that you and I had after the big Times reporting about his financial vulnerabilities, his — his — all that he owes to the IRS, how leveraged his company is came out, and — and you agreed with Pete Strzok — who also felt that Trump was a serious counterintelligence threat just with that financial picture revealed by the Times — but you add to that the combustion in which he’s refusing to accept the result of the 2020 election and it seems to compound that dynamic.

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yeah, Nicolle. We — we need to ask corporate security directors of major companies around the country about the threat they face from ex-employees — fired employees, disgruntled employees, retirees who walk out of the door with the intellectual property in their head — the secrets of the company, the trade secret, the secret formula, the business strategy and the sales plan, whatever it is. And I’m telling you that it’s a growing threat to corporate America. Now, imagine a President who essentially is fired and disgruntled and walked out with those crown jewels and in great debt — debt estimated anywhere personally from $421 million to up to a $1 billion. And what do we learn just prior to the election? We saw reports that Deutsche Bank that holds most or much of the President’s debt is trying desperately to sell his loans, get rid of them — they’re — they’re too high risk. So imagine someone coming along — and this is how I would do it if I were a foreign intelligence service — someone coming along through cut-out companies and coopted companies and saying, “We’ll buy that debt. We’ll — we’ll take that loan,” and then later finding out in an approach to Trump that, “You know, sir, we just bought your debt, we happen to be a foreign intelligence power or state-run power. You need to do the following for us.” You might ask, “What does the President know that’s of value that he would trade for bailing him out financially?” A lot. The answer is a lot. Now, I may be glad that we have a President that doesn’t read his daily briefing every day when it comes to this, but he understands things like this: The CIA recruited a source inside some prime minister’s office; there’s a bug planted inside some ambassador’s office; he may understand how fast or slow it could take us to respond to incoming missiles; what our defense plan is to defend Taiwan if China invades. All of that’s in his head — all of that could be for sale — and that’s why I assert that he continues to be a national security threat even after he leaves and that the FBI should continue and, in fact, restart their counterintelligence assessment of the President of the United States.

WALLACE: John Bolton wrote in his book that he thought the President’s interactions with Turkey and China were infected or contaminated or influenced by his businesses and his financial interest. How much more dangerous is he untethered from any even sort of, you know, fiction that he’s trying to lead the country at the same time?

FIGLIUZZI: Well, we’ve talked about the guardrails and the lack of guardrails around this President, but imagine now that he’s essentially on that steep mountain road with absolutely no guardrails. And he could go off at any time — right off the side — and so he’s open to recruitment, coopting — won’t understand this is classified — he seems not to have any understanding of what’s top secret, what’s not, who should get a clearance and who should not. So you could argue he poses an even greater chance and even greater threat of compromise when he leaves office. So I think we’re looking at really a question of whether or not we need to continue to investigate and determine whether he has ever posed a threat and poses a continuing threat.



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