The Slatest

Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: When You Really Want to Be President but Don’t Get the Internet

Donald Trump preps for Wrestlemania 23 on March 28, 2007.

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

The Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative daily estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump leaves office before his term ends, whether by being impeached (and convicted) or by resigning under threat of same.

There are some things it’s not OK to not know—or know how to do—if you want to be president. You wouldn’t, say, elect a president that didn’t know what a doorknob was or how to use one. While unrelated to the literal functioning of the office of the president—other than awkward bathroom scenarios requiring Secret Service assistance—having a worldview that didn’t factor in the existence of knob technology would be, you know, problematic.

Knowledge of how the internet functions is not as fundamental as believing in doorknobs, but having a basic awareness of both is a deal breaker for presidents. Two news reports Wednesday called into question, once again, whether the President of the United States has “the cyber” basics down.

Exhibit A: A Mother Jones report Wednesday found that the Trump Organization— run by you know who— was hacked in 2013 with many signs pointing towards it being a Russian intrusion. Perhaps not the end of the world, but anytime there’s a cyber-breach, it is, of course, worrisome for companies, governments, and individuals. What MoJo described as a “major security breach” could have “allowed the perpetrator (or perpetrators) to mount malware attacks from the company’s web domains and may have enabled the intruders to gain access to the company’s computer network.” What did the Trump Organization do to protect itself? Nothing. Four years later, up until literally this week, Trump World appeared oblivious to the hack, according to several internet security researchers.

How do they know that? From Mother Jones:

In 2013, a hacker (or hackers) apparently obtained access to the Trump Organization’s domain registration account and created at least 250 website subdomains that cybersecurity experts refer to as “shadow” subdomains. Each one of these shadow Trump subdomains pointed to a Russian IP address, meaning that they were hosted at these Russian addresses…

The creation of these shadow subdomains within the Trump Organization network was visible in the publicly available records of the company’s domains… The vast majority of the shadow subdomains remained active until this week, indicating that the Trump Organization had taken no steps to disable them.

No steps to disable them. Imagine someone closing a door behind Donald Trump and the Donald, stuck, staring at the doorknob and taking no steps to disable it.

How bad is this sort of lapse? “With an organization of this size, and with the added security concerns and scrutiny that a presidential campaign and victory would entail, it would be inexcusable for this to not have been discovered by their IT department,” researcher C. Shawn Eib wrote in a recent blog bost. “This is sloppy at best, and potentially criminally negligent at worst, depending on the traffic that is being run through these servers.”

Criminally negligent, you say?

Exhibit B: The Daily Beast gave us another tidbit Wednesday that showed how unsmooth and unsophisticated Trump World is online. This time, it involves Twitter. When Congress released election propaganda generated by Russia-linked social media accounts, including thousands of Kremlin-linked troll Twitter accounts, the Daily Beast discovered former Trump National Security Adviser Mike Flynn followed five of the accounts! He also retweeted these Kremlin-inspired accounts several times in the lead up to Election Day, amplifying the Russian propaganda, adding comments on top like “Yup, this is a great add… needs to be RT’d frequently.”

A president and national security adviser with criminally negligent understanding of doorknobs would have never gotten this far, or lasted this long.