Former Indiana GOP Senator Dan Coats and Donald Trump never hit it off.
Coats, a well-respected member of the Senate who also served as Ambassador to Germany, is, for a few more days, Trump’s Director of National Intelligence. The Director of DNI oversees our vast Intelligence Community, including the CIA and the NSA. Coats was probably recommended for the highly sensitive DNI job by Trump’s first (of several) Chiefs of Staff, former Wisconsin GOP operative Reince Priebus. As it turned out, Priebus was way too “establishment” for Trump.
Coats, a good public servant and a DNI Director of the highest integrity, famously said, after Trump pandered to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, that Russia was in full operational mode in 2017, in hacking into our election system (remember, folks, Putin and other dictators don’t believe in free and fair elections). And Trump didn’t like that at all. Trump may be the only man in Washington who doesn’t believe his own Intelligence Community, but for him, having Putin as his close personal friend is of the utmost importance, for business as well as political reasons.
Trump has very little political intelligence (except for the fact that he is very good at pandering to his constantly angry base at his mega-rallies). He’s picked a big big fight with Baltimore’s Congressman Elijah Cummings, the Chair of the House Oversight Committee, and with Rev. Al Sharpton.
He’s been at war with his own Intelligence Community ever since it became clear, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller found in the best-selling Mueller Report, that Trump’s advisers actively sought Russia’s help in getting him to where he very unexpectedly got on November 8, 2016 (after Hillary, who had lots of baggage, ran an uninspiring campaign, and forgot all about campaigning in Wisconsin (the key to the 2020 presidential election)).
So Coats resigned yesterday, after Trump had long made it clear to his (usually unhappy) advisers that he wanted Coats out.
Then he immediately announced that he wants Texas GOP Congressman John Ratcliffe to succeed Coats (https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/29/john-ratcliffe-russia-trump-1439536). Ratcliffe had been considered for the DNI job when Coats was being vetted. Ratcliffe is from Heath, Texas (populatiaon 8,000), and he’s been elected three times from a solidly Republican District in the northeast of the Lone Star State.
In the long-anticipated Mueller hearings last week, Ratcliffe proved himself to be what he’s always been: a mega-Trump loyalist.
In the hearing, Ratcliffe, a member of Congressman Adam Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, falsely claimed that the "Steele dossier" was what started the Russia probe, but the Committee had earlier found that it was information about felon George Papadopolous that started the FBI investigation into Russia’s meddling, in July 2016, around the time that candidate Trump very eagerly invited Russia to find out what happened with Hillary’s emails.
Associate solitary reporter Melissa Smith covers Congress for us. ASR Smith has diligently questioned all 54 Republican senators (including Trump loyalist Mitch McConnell, the most powerful GOP legislator in DC), and has asked each of them, in total confidence, to tell her whether any of them really believes that Trump has any intelligence, political or otherwise. Maine’s Susan Collins, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, and Utah’s Mitt Romney, all Republicans, told Smith, on the q t, that Trump is the least intelligent man ever to sit in the Oval Office.
Ratcliffe has no experience in running
any intelligence agencies, so it’s clear that his only qualification is his ability to grandstand in front of TV cameras, as he did last week, and his total loyalty to Trump, who prizes loyalty above all. At his confirmation hearing, he’s sure to be grilled extensively on Trump’s very low level of intelligence. Sens. Collins, Murkowski, and Romney are all sure to vote against Ratcliffe’s nomination. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who represents NYSE CEO Sydney Williams (Williams is also the Mayor of Essex, Connecticut, one of the Nutmeg State’s most impoverished towns) has already slammed Ratcliffe’s nomination, saying that Ratcliffe is likely to sweep all information about Russia’s collusion under the rug (https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/29/dem-senators-ratcliffe-nomination-intel-chief-1439110).
Elsewhere, once again, the NRA’s top gun, Wayne LaPierre, is ecstatic about a mass shooting. Yesterday, a 19-year old boy killed three people at a food festival in Gilroy, California, including a three-year old boy and a 13-year old girl, and wounded at least 12 others (www.cnn.com/2019/07/29/us/food-garlic-festival-shooting/index.html).
The gunman is dead. But LaPierre, interviewed by associate solitary reporter Susanna Sherman, brushed off Sherman’s inquiry about the epidemic of mass killings by saying, “Susanna, you are a total pest! That rifle that the kid used was purchased legally. Get out of here and never come back!"