Tag Archives: Dan Coats

DNI Dan Coats on his way out? That, too, is a shame

Donald Trump reportedly is preparing to rid his administration of yet another seasoned political professional, someone with experience, knowledge and credibility in the job he is doing on our behalf.

That would be Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, one of the remaining adults working within the Trump administration.

I understand the president hasn’t gotten over the way Coats reacted to the surprise announcement that Trump was going to meet with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin in 2018. Coats was being interviewed by a network TV reporter when he got the news via Twitter that the president and Putin would meet.

“Isn’t that special?” Coats told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

Trump is seeking a DNI successor

Trump is supposedly conducting informal interviews with individuals who might succeed Coats as DNI, which I guess means that Trump has spilled the proverbial beans regarding Coats’ future.

I hate to see this happening. Dan Coats has done a credible and competent job as DNI, seeking to bring some semblance of order and discipline to the nation’s intelligence-gathering network. He has stood with other intelligence executives to declare, for instance, that the Russians indeed did attack our electoral system in 2016, a declaration that the president continues to dismiss.

The CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff all have said the same thing: The Russians did it! Trump’s response? He has sided with Putin, who told him he didn’t do it.

I don’t want Dan Coats to leave his post. He is a solid public servant with many years of service behind him. Donald Trump needs more — not fewer — men and women of Coats’ caliber around him.

Of course, none of that matters to the man with the self-described “big brain.”

DNI Coats might be fired for . . . telling the truth?

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats reportedly is about to be canned by the president of the United States.

Donald Trump supposedly is angry because Coats isn’t a “team player”; he doesn’t display outward “loyalty” to the president.

Good grief! DNI Coats is telling the truth. His truth-telling runs counter to the messages that the president delivers.

Trump said the Islamic State is “defeated”; Coats said ISIS is still recruiting members and is still capable of inflicting damage on targets; Trump said North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat; Coats said North Korea is continuing to develop nukes; Trump said Iran is a direct threat to the Middle East and is working toward developing a nuclear bomb; Coats said Iran is following the terms of the nuclear deal that bans the Islamic Republic from developing nuclear weapons.

Is there a pattern here? Sure there is. Trump is lying about national security matters; Coats is telling the truth.

As we know about the president, he has barely a passing acquaintance with the truth.

Coats and Trump reportedly never have clicked. Coats is a veteran Republican politician: a former GOP member of the House and a senator from Indiana, as well as a former U.S. ambassador to Germany. He knows the ropes in Washington. He has friends and allies on both sides of the widening political chasm.

He also is prone — as they say — to speak truth to power. So he has done that. Coats’ penchant for honesty now is reportedly going to cost him his job. It also would cost the nation another grownup in a presidential administration that is sorely lacking in them.

Trump was asked this week if he is about to fire Coats. He responded that he hasn’t “even thought about it.”

Do you believe him? Neither do I.

New ‘grownups’ emerge in Trump administration

I was mistaken when I wondered whether former Defense Secretary James Mattis would be the “last” grownup who could serve in the Donald Trump administration.

Mattis quit as defense chief, citing Trump’s impulsiveness and the profound differences the president and the defense secretary had on their view of the world. He planned to stay until the end of February; but then Trump showed him out at the end of 2018, declaring that he “essentially” fired Mattis.

More of grownups have emerged. They are FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

These three counter terrorism experts have contradicted the president on the threats posed to the world by the Islamic State and the North Koreans.

And yet the president insulted all of them collectively. He insulted the agencies they run. The president hurled insults at the professional men and women who work day and night protecting us from forces that seek to do us harm.

Wray, Haspel and Coats need to stay put. They need to protect us not just against foreign forces and enemies of the state, but also against the ignoramus who masquerades as the president of the United States.

Trump has denigrated Wray, Haspel and Coats in their assessment of the threats posed to this country. The president said ISIS has been defeated. He said North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat. He is wrong on both counts. The three intelligence experts said so, but Trump responded by calling them “naïve” and said they need to be “educated.”

No, they do not. The president of the United States has demonstrated yet again that he is unfit to hold the office to which he was elected.

Intelligence chiefs do it again: they’re contradicting Trump

Those pesky intelligence professionals are at it once more.

Donald Trump says “ISIS is defeated.” The intelligence community says “not so fast.” The Islamic State is still planning terror attacks. They’re still recruiting members. Their ranks still number in the thousands.

Yet the president would have us believe that ISIS in Syria has been dealt a mortal blow. They’re gone. Destroyed. Wiped out.

ISIS isn’t defeated

CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told members of Congress today that they are not willing to buy into the commander in chief’s seat-of-the-pants “assessment” that ISIS is done for as a national security threat.

Who do we believe? I’ll stick with the intelligence pros any day of the week. Trump, as I’ve noted before on this blog, doesn’t know what he’s doing, what he’s talking, nor does he know to whom he is talking. He thinks the nation comprises hundreds of millions of rubes who buy into every single lie that flies out of his mouth.

Haspel and Coats did say today that ISIS has been “weakened” by sustained U.S. and allied attacks. For that I am grateful. The organization isn’t defeated, they said. ISIS is still capable of inflicting serious damage, causing significant misery. ISIS keeps taking responsibility for terror attacks against Muslims, which of course belies the notion that our war against terror is in fact a war against Islam; as Presidents Bush and Obama have declared, it is no such thing, that the terrorists aren’t “religious leaders,” but merely are religious perverts.

I am now wondering how the president is going to react to this contradictory testimony. Might there be more firings in store?

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.