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.
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?
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?
Donald J. Trump has called previous intelligence chiefs all sorts of bad names: liar, loser … you name it.
Dan Coats, though, is the current director of national intelligence. He once was a U.S. senator from Indiana. He’s a Republican. He’s a solid public servant. He said in a tweet that the “Russians are actively seeking to divide our Alliance, and we must not allow that to happen.”
He is a Trump appointee.
What has been the president’s response to his DNI’s assessment? Nothing. He’s not paying attention. He is instead denigrating our allies in Canada, Mexico, Germany, the UK, the European Union, Japan because — according to Trump — their trade policies pose a “national security threat” to the United States of America.
C’mon, Mr. President. DNI Coats has it right. You, sir, have it wrong!
The Russians want to break up the EU. They still fear the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, set up after World War II as a hedge against expansion from the Soviet Union and its bloc of Eastern European nations.
Coats has joined other intelligence officials in declaring that without a shred of doubt the Russians meddled in our 2016 presidential election. They all have declared, in one figure of speech or another, that the interference constituted a “direct attack” on our government and our electoral process.
Trump’s response? He keeps giving the Russians a pass all the while talking harshly about our trading partners and our military allies.