President Trump's May 10 meeting with the Russians is shaping up to be the worst chapter of his still-young presidency.
There was a great deal of chaos, confusion and criticism when he unveiled his poorly implemented executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries. There was more of the same when the White House rolled out an amended version of that order, which reduced the number of affected countries by one.
The White House's first crack at passing the American Health Care Act, the Republican version of the Democratic Party's Affordable Care Act, was also an embarrassing moment for this administration.
None of this compares to the president's meeting with the Russians.
Nearly every single detail reported out of that closed-door summit, which definitely included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, has been disastrous for the White House.
From alleged security failings, to the president reportedly disclosing classified intelligence, the meeting has been a massive, days-long nightmare for the administration.
It became clear there would be problems the moment the White House revealed, rather suddenly, that the president would be meeting with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.
Given that federal investigators are still exploring the extent to which the Russians interfered in the U.S. presidential election, the announced meeting generated a good amount of buzz in media and political circles. White House staffers assured the press everything was on the up-and-up.
Then came the day of the summit, and the first big problem for the White House.
American journalists were barred from covering the meeting, leaving critics apoplectic and White House spokespersons struggling to explain the decision.
Russian and American press photographers were permitted into the room, but that's not nearly the same as having journalists there to document the event. Further, critics charge that the Russian media photographer should never have been allowed into the room. The TASS Russian news agency employee, they argue, could have easily snuck recording devices into the White House.
Asked whether it was a wise decision to allow a photographer for a Russian state-owned newsroom into the Oval office, former deputy CIA director David S. Cohen said, "No it was not."
The White House, for its part, defended the decision by saying it was unaware that the photojournalist worked for Russian state-run media.
"We were not informed by the Russians that their official photographer was dual-hatted and would be releasing the photographs on the state news agency," one administration official said.
Then came the leaks.
Though journalists weren't allowed to attend the meeting, newsrooms have feasted nonetheless on a steady diet of leaks from alleged federal officials who say the conversation was a disaster. Unfortunately for the Trump administration, some of these leaks appear to be true.
On Friday, for example, the New York Times reported that the president told the Russians that firing former FBI director James B. Comey had relieved a "great pressure" on him. The president also reportedly referred to the recently ousted director as a "nut job" and "crazy."
White House press secretary Sean Spicer essentially confirmed the story later in an official statement.
"By grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with Russia," he said.
"The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations," Spicer added.
Given that Comey was investigating the election that put Trump in the White House, the president's reported boast to the Russians could have major legal ramifications.
"If Donald Trump gets impeached, he will have one person to blame: Donald Trump," one administration official told the Daily Beast Friday.
Earlier, on May 15, the Washington Post reported that the president had disclosed "highly classified" intelligence to the Russians regarding the Islamic State and its efforts to convert laptops into weapons to be used on airplanes. The ally that reportedly supplied the U.S. with the information, Israel, did so on the condition it would not be shared, according to officials.
The White House's response has been to stress that the president didn't disclose intelligence sources, methods or military operations. The problem here is that the Washington Post report never stated otherwise. The White House has also argued the president "is not even aware of where intelligence was from."
Trump, in his usual helpful fashion, went on Twitter after his spokesmen had already denied the story to defend his right to share information with foreign agents.
Security breaches, leaked information, possibly bragging about obstruction of justice – and all this from a single meeting!
Trump's immigration executive order has been messy, and the first attempt to pass a GOP-written health care law left the White House with egg on its face. None of this compares, however, to the nine solid days of chaos that that the Russian meeting has created.
And this is likely only the beginning.