Tag Archives: Dan Coats

Parlor game continues: Who wrote that op-ed?

Conservative commentator/gadfly/rabble rouser Ann Coulter believes she knows the author of that infamous op-ed published the other day in The New York Times.

She says it’s Jared Kushner, son-in-law of Donald John Trump. Why did Ivanka’s husband write it? She believes Jared and Ivanka think Daddy Trump will be kicked out of office and want to high-tail it to the Hamptons.

Fine. Whatever.

MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell, a liberal/progressive/gadfly/rabble rouser, posited a notion that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats did it. He said Coats has nothing to lose; he’s holding his final public office and is miffed that the president keeps undermining him at every turn regarding the Russian attack on our 2016 election.

There you go.

Op-ed mystery deepens

Others have suggested someone on Vice President Mike Pence’s staff wrote it, inserting the “lodestar” term that the VP is fond of using.

Hey, this is all nonsense. I am becoming less concerned with who wrote it than I am with the content of the essay. It’s a devastating critique of the way the president governs. It speaks to the “resistance” within the West Wing that seeks to protect the nation from Trump’s more dangerous impulses.

We’ll know eventually who wrote it. If the president’s team is allowed to ferret out the ID of the author, the name will come forward. Whoever wrote it will be canned, or he or she will resign.

Meanwhile, the parlor game continues. It does create grist for gossip. That’s all.

Language might give away author’s ID

MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell has posited an “educated guess” on who he thinks wrote the anonymously published op-ed column that talks about White House efforts to protect the nation against the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

O’Donnell thinks it’s Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who’s in his 70s and is occupying the final public service job in his career.

The more I think about it the more plausible O’Donnell’s guess appears to be.

Then I went back to the essay and found this passage: … United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior.

I zeroed in on a pair of terms: malign behavior.

I have heard that phrase used exactly once in my life. It was stated recently to discuss the Russian involvement in attacking our electoral system.

It came from, yep, DNI Dan Coats.

Coincidence that it appeared in this NY Times commentary? I think not. Read the essay here.

POTUS turns back on intelligence chiefs

The nation’s top intelligence and national security gurus stood before the nation this week at the White House and declared what many of knew already.

The Russians attacked our democratic system in 2016 and are engaging in a similar attack at this moment, trying to disrupt the 2018 midterm election.

All of them said the same thing. They sang in perfect harmony.

Then the president of the United States jetted off to a campaign rally in Pennsylvania. He rambled on for more than an hour. He trashed the “fake news” media. He railed against Democrats. The president called the Russian attack a “hoax.”

Do you think Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump Sr. would deign to offer some perspective or context about what the nation’s intelligence hierarchy had said just a little earlier in the day in the White House? Heavens no!

Trump was intent on whipping up the crowd that gathered to hear his campaign pitch. Mission accomplished, Mr. President.

He continues to dismiss this Russian attack. He continues to give short shrift to the need to protect our democratic process against future attacks. He ignores the “blinking red lights” that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said are warning us of impending peril at the hands of hostile-power cyber warriors.

As I listen to the president’s voice keep rising, and as I watch him rant and rail against his foes, my fear keeps getting reaffirmed.

The president is not living up to the sacred oath he took to protect the government and, thus, our nation, against our enemies.

WH trots out intelligence officials to state the obvious

If we only could hear this kind of language come out of the mouth of the president of the United States.

Five top U.S. intelligence officials today stood before the media and declared in virtually a single voice that Russia interfered in our 2016 election; the Russians acted alone; they sought to undermine our democratic process; they are engaging in such electoral interference at this moment.

Stunning, eh? Sure it is! They all are telling Americans what millions of us know already.

“The threat is not going away. Russia attempted to interfere in the last election and continues to do so to this day,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said.

One key White House source, though, remains oddly tepid. The president of the United States himself cannot yet bring himself to condemn in the strongest language possible the actions of Russian intelligence officials.

Donald J. Trump needs to step up. He needs to weigh in. He needs to tell the public that he has laid down the law to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and has told him — in no uncertain terms — that severe punishment will await the Russians if they persist in sabotaging our electoral process.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, moreover, still doesn’t know what Trump and Putin said behind closed doors in their summit in Helsinki, Finland. It’s been — what? — three weeks since the summit. The DNI, the nation’s top intelligence official, still doesn’t know what they said? That is unconscionable!

I am going to give credit where it is due. The intelligence chiefs are telling us the truth. They have confirmed what many of us have known all along.

The man at the top of the executive branch of government chain of command, though, needs to speak clearly and without equivocation about the things his top national security and intelligence advisers have declared.

Wishing DNI Coats had kept quiet about his reaction

Man, I wish Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats hadn’t issued an apology to Donald J. Trump.

The president reportedly was upset with Coats because of the DNI’s reaction to news that Trump had asked Russian strongman Vladimir Putin to visit Washington in the fall.

Coats, the nation’s top spook — and a valuable member of Trump’s national security team — learned about the invitation while being interviewed on national television.

His reaction was classic. It also was not a reason for him to apologize.

As Politico reported: Trump, according to two outside allies, has grown exasperated with Coats, whom he blindsided Thursday when White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced on Twitter that the administration was working to bring Putin to Washington this fall. The news landed while Coats was in the middle of a live interview with NBC in Aspen, Colorado.

Coats said he meant no “disrespect” to the president, who reportedly was angry. Good grief, he could have said as much privately in a phone call to the president.

Truth be told, it as Coats who was “disrespected” by the president who failed to consult with one of his chief national security advisers before issuing the invitation to the very man who attacked our nation’s electoral process in 2016.

The shoe, I’m tellin’ ya, was on the other foot.

Coats, though, felt compelled to set the record straight.

I just wish he hadn’t done it. There was no need.

Trump aides should ‘reevaluate’ their role? Do you think?

Trey Gowdy, the lame-duck South Carolina congressman who recently worked over FBI agent Peter Strzok over his conduct in the Russia interference investigation, has taken the gloves off — more or less — with members of the Trump administration.

Gowdy made an appearance today on “Fox News Sunday” and said that members of the administration should consider quitting if Donald Trump continues to ignore their best advice on how to handle Russia and other matters.

According to The Hill: “It can be proven beyond any evidentiary burden that Russia is not our friend and they tried to attack us in 2016,” Gowdy told host Bret Baier. “So the president either needs to rely on the people that he has chosen to advise him, or those advisers need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve in this administration. But the disconnect cannot continue.”

“Need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve … “?

I’d be willing to bet real American money that those advisers already are reevaluating their future with the Trump administration. They are likely doing it privately, swearing loved ones to secrecy.

The true shocker would occur if some of them actually turned in their West Wing security badges and walked out the door.

Indeed, the president has demonstrated an astonishing capacity to ignore the advice he gets from the “best people” who are equipped with the “best minds” with whom he has surrounded himself.

Moreover, he has shown a mind-boggling willingness to blindside those advisers with tweets and other pronouncements that one might expect to have been done only with close consultation with those experts.

Exhibit A: The amazing reaction from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to news that Trump had invited Vladimir Putin to the White House for a second summit later this year. “OK,” Coats said with a tone of exasperation. “That’s going to be special.”

How can someone as accomplished and serious as Coats — a two-time Republican U.S. senator from Indiana — actually avoid “reevaluating” whether he should remain as part of the Trump national security team?

Chaos and confusion continue to reign supreme in the Trump administration.

DNI Coats on the bubble?

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.

DNI emerges as new favorite among Trump team

Dan Coats today emerged as a new favorite of mine among those who serve on Donald J. Trump’s national security team.

The director of national intelligence sat down for a lengthy interview with NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell; he is attending that policy forum discussion in Aspen, Colo.

He spoke honestly with Mitchell about the president’s meeting this week in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin. He said he would “do things differently” in terms of setting up such a meeting. He is uncomfortable with the two leaders meeting privately with no senior staff aides present.

Mitchell then surprised the DNI with news that Trump had asked Putin to come to Washington in the fall for a second summit meeting.

The idea that the most indispensable intelligence official wouldn’t know about such a meeting is appalling on its face. Coats didn’t hold back on his surprise. “Say that again,” he said to Mitchell, who repeated the news. Coats raised his eyebrows, commenting finally on how interesting the meeting is going to be.

Coats served as a Republican member of Congress. He is a staunch and dedicated partisan. He also is a dedicated public servant who has given the public his candid appraisal of what the intelligence community has concluded: The Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Defense Secretary James Mattis is my previous favorite among Trump’s senior aides. He remains highly regarded by yours truly.

So, too, does Dan Coats.

Trump asks Putin to White House? Wow!

Donald J. Trump’s ignorance is on full display for all the world to see.

Think about this for a brief moment.

The president of the United States disgraces himself at that press conference in Helsinki. He disparages the intelligence agencies’ view that Russia meddled in our election. He takes Vladimir Putin’s side. The media go ballistic. So do politicians on both sides of the divide.

Then he tries to take some of it back. He does so clumsily at a Cabinet meeting, reading from some prepared text, only to ad lib that “others may have” interfered in our election. Politicians keep going nuts. Same for the media coverage.

With the president being pilloried and pounded, what does he do? He orders national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to the White House for another summit in the fall. White House press flack Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the world about that gem via Twitter.

Oh, and then there’s the surprise sprung on his director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, who found out about the invitation while being interviewed on TV. NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell told Coats about the invitation on live TV. Coats did not know about it. The nation’s top intelligence officer was left in the lurch.

I am left to wonder: Is the president operating in a hermetically sealed booth? Does he not hear anything … at all?

What in the name of electoral collusion is going to occur if Putin accepts this invitation, comes to the White House and meets — presumably in private yet again — with his presidential puppet?

Mr. POTUS … the spooks say the Russians are still at it

There he goes … again!

Donald John Trump has shoved a proverbial dagger into the back of the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats.

The DNI has declared that “red lights should be blinking” as the Russians prepare to interfere in our midterm election later this year. What does the president say this morning in advance of a Cabinet meeting?

He said Russia “is not targeting” the United States. The Russians aren’t attacking our national political process, he said.

So, the president’s chief spook — a one-time Republican U.S. senator from Indiana — says one thing. The president says another.

Who do you believe? I’ll stick with DNI Coats.

Good grief, dude!

The president said in Helsinki that he doubted the intelligence networks’ findings that Russia had attacked our system in 2016. Then he sought — more than 24 hours later! — to take it back. He said dropped a word — the contracted version of “not” — in explaining that he meant to say the Russians meddled in our election.

He has made a mess of this explanation, his backing away from his earlier remarks and his belief in the pros who seek to keep Americans safe from our foreign adversaries.

Now this. The DNI says the Russians are coming after us again. Trump says they aren’t.

How much more of this Oval Office idiocy can Dan Coats take?