The likelihood that President Donald Trump personally owes unknown creditors hundreds of millions of dollars has raised concerns about how the President's financial entanglements could influence his national security decisions, former officials and experts say.
It also highlights how if were Trump not the President, a role that grants him access to the country's most sensitive secrets, he would almost certainly have a difficult time gaining the security clearance that so many of those who work for him are required to have, according to legal experts familiar with the vetting process.
Trump is personally liable for debts and loans totaling $421 million, The New York Times reported on Sunday evening, and most of it comes due in the next four years -- an amount that former intelligence officials, Democratic lawmakers and legal experts warn could be used as leverage against him, and in turn, the US itself.
"A vulnerability could be exploited by an adversary," Robert Cardillo -- a former top intelligence official in both the Obama and Trump administrations -- told CNN on Monday. "If we as an intelligence community were assessing a foreign leader, and trying to understand his or her stability, and knew of outsized debts to a foreign or even to a national entity, we would see that as a risk,"
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told MSNBC she also saw the stunning revelations about Trump's chaotic finances as a national security problem.