This just in: Donald J. Trump is so angry at Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats that he wants to fire him.
Coats sat through that extraordinary interview Thursday with NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell in which he challenged the way the president handled Vladimir Putin and the allegation that the Russians attacked the U.S. electoral system in 2016.
Trump reportedly is furious. He is outraged. He doesn’t like being criticized, let alone in public.
He’d fire Coats except for this tidbit: Coats, a two-time U.S. Republican senator from Indiana, is a good friend of Vice President Mike Pence, who’s also from Indiana; were the president to fire Coats, White House chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis likely would follow him out the door.
Message to the president? It’s nice to have friends in high places.