Dan Coats is leaving his post as Director of National Intelligence August 15. Trump has nominated “Secret Society” conspiracy theorist John Ratcliffe to succeed Coats, but it’s well known that Ratcliffe faces an extended and contentious confirmation process. That is due to the fact that Ratcliffe, like Trump, is a baldfaced liar. He claims that he was appointed as a “special prosecutor” in 2008 to take down Hamas, by kneecapping their sources of funding. Right. Daily Beast:
Ratcliffe was also accused Tuesday of embellishing his record in an anti-terrorism case. ABC News reports that he has repeatedly misrepresented his role in the high-profile case, claiming he had been appointed as a “special prosecutor” in 2008 to help secure convictions for funneling money to Hamas, which is a designated terrorist organization.
The congressman, who did serve as a terrorism prosecutor and U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Texas, has used the Holy Land Foundation conviction to boost his anti-terror credentials, but court records and lawyers involved in the case suggest he had no direct role in the prosecution.
A spokesperson for Ratcliffe told ABC News that his involvement in the case was actually in conducting an investigation outside of the court proceedings, but said she could provide no further details “because the investigation did not result in any charges.”
Puffery on a resume is never a good sign and certainly not in a case where the job to be filled is one of great sensitivity like Director of National Intelligence. In any event, Rat Boy faces an uphill climb to get confirmed, although he probably will, with the current Senate a bunch of Trump enablers hell bent on political survival no matter what the cost to the nation and it’s institutions. But in the meantime, somebody has to fill Coat’s shoes as placeholder. That would normally fall to the Principle Deputy Director of Intelligence, in this case Sue Gordon, who is greatly respected in the intelligence community, and on Capital Hill, based upon her decades of service. However, she has one fatal flaw, insofar as this administration is concerned: she’s not a MAGAt, and so Trump is looking to do an end run around the professional and install one of his own yes men, per usual. Daily Beast:
That may not be as easy as it sounds. As Bobby Chesney of the University of Texas School of Law detailed at Lawfare, the law indicates that if both the DNI post and the post Gordon currently holds are vacant, then the president could choose from a fairly wide pool of people to take Gordon’s post and, therefore, become acting DNI. [Gordan is not stepping down.] That includes any senate-confirmed officials in the executive branch, and any senior employee who’s been at ODNI for 90 days or more—in other words, anyone on the list the White House just requested from ODNI. […]
This disquiet is the latest episode of the president’s long-simmering feud with the Intelligence Community. During Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, he often fumed on Twitter about the so-called “Deep State.” And he even singled out his own officials. On Jan. 29 of this year, Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel told Congress in an open hearing that Iran was complying with the nuclear deal and that North Korea was still running its nuclear program—two statements that contradicted the president’s rhetoric on those countries. The morning after the hearing, the White House abruptly canceled the president’s daily intelligence briefing with Haspel and Coats, a move that raised eyebrows.
The hearing incensed the president, and he took to Twitter to lambaste them.
“Perhaps intelligence should go back to school!” he wrote.
Well, at least they went to school to begin with, which is more than can be said about Trump. Trump has been at odds with the intelligence community since before he even took office, when he compared the CIA to Nazis. If that debacle has slipped your mind, this is when Trump and John Brennan first locked horns and here’s the moronic tweet that started it.
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
The fake news in question here was the Steele Dossier. Here’s what John Brennan said to Trump. Washington Post:
“Tell the families of those 117 CIA officers who are forever memorialized on our wall of honor that their loved ones who gave their lives were akin to Nazis,” Brennan told the Journal. “Tell the CIA officers who are serving in harm’s way right now and their families who are worried about them that they are akin to Nazi Germany. I found that to be very repugnant, and I will forever stand up for the integrity and patriotism of my officers who have done much over the years to sacrifice for their fellow citizens.”
Bottom line: Trump wants to undermine the intelligence community, while Barr compromises the Department of Justice and McConnell is busy stacking the courts. Politics in the age of Trump has become the feral jungle that all politicians know that it has the capacity to be, but which was never realized before to this extent because of the innate decency and civility of the American people. Now, all bets are off, because we have a man completely without honor in the Oval Office. All he seeks to do is protect himself and his spawn from prosecution and fatten his coffers by pillaging ours. Every appointee is chosen with this agenda in mind. We are in dark and treacherous waters.