Installing loyalists to run national intelligence

So Trump and the trumpies knew the intelligence professionals were alarmed, so they (apparently) made haste to try to get rid of them. That’s not at all sinister or incriminating.

Three days after his now infamous phone conversation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Donald Trump abruptly fired his director of national intelligence in favour of an inexperienced political loyalist.

According to a New York Times report, the White House learned within days that the unorthodox call on 25 July with Zelenskiy had raised red flags among intelligence professionals and was likely to trigger an official complaint.

That timeline has raised new questions over the timing of the Trump’s dismissal by tweet of the director of national intelligence (DNI), Dan Coats, on 28 July and his insistence that the deputy DNI, Sue Gordon, a career intelligence professional, did [must] not step into the role, even in an acting capacity.

The only thing to do is get a rank amateur into the job, one who wouldn’t notice if Trump invited Putin to attend intelligence briefings.

Instead, Trump tried to install a Republican congressman, John Ratcliffe, who had minimal national security credentials but had been a fierce defender of the president in Congress. Trump had to drop the nomination after it emerged that Ratcliffe had exaggerated his national security credentials in his biography, wrongly claiming he had conducted prosecutions in terrorist financing cases.

Well it’s sad, because a guy like that would clearly be no threat to Trump.

Gordon was forced out anyway. She was holding a meeting on election security – uh oh! – when Coats interrupted it to tell her she had to resign.

The Office of the DNI (ODNI) and its inspector general has the authority to receive whistleblower complaints from across all US intelligence agencies and determine whether they should be referred to Congress.

“We all knew Coats’ departure was coming because he had clashed with the president on several issues. What was weird was the president’s forcefulness in not wanting Sue Gordon to take over as acting director,” said Katrina Mulligan, a former official who worked in the ODNI, the national security council, and the justice department.

“I was hearing at the time that Sue was getting actively excluded from things by the president that she would ordinarily have taken part in, and she was being made to feel uncomfortable,” said Mulligan, now managing director for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress.

“And then the president tried to install someone who was clearly unqualified,” she added. “Now the timeline of the whistleblower in the White House raises a lot of questions about the Sue Gordon piece of this.”

Or it answers them, and not in a good way.

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