U.S. national security depends upon our allies’ ability to trust us with intelligence. Mar-a-Lago was no place to keep top-secret documents.
French President Emmanuel Macron has to be wondering why former President Donald Trump retained, of all things, information about him. I certainly am; aren’t you? According to an inventory of what the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago during last week’s search and recovery of materials from Trump’s home, the French dossier, so to speak, stood out. Why Macron? Lest we forget, France is a friend and partner to the U.S., most notably in the unified response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
For now, we’re stuck with a maddening uncertainty about the true stakes of the matter: If Trump was holding on to personal information—perhaps mere tittle-tattle—about the leader of an allied nation, as well, reportedly, as top-secret intelligence about nuclear capabilities, then why? We swing between gossip and fear, the scurrilous and the deadly serious, The Real Housewives and The Walking Dead. We parse the judicial warrant, including an Espionage Act charge, for clues. The temptation to indulge in overheated speculation, particularly for some of Trump’s more partisan critics, is irresistible—but irresponsible, as The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols has warned.