Tag Archives: DNI

‘Political hacks’ strike back at Trump

Donald John Trump showed his stripes yet again over the weekend.

So help me, the president sickens me constantly.

He met with Vladimir Putin in Da Nang, Vietnam. They shook hands. Trump and Putin had a brief meeting. Putin said he didn’t interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump said that he accepted Putin’s denial on its face.

Then the idiot in chief called former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “political hacks” because they have asserted that the Russians did interfere with our electoral process.

Can you imagine how Republicans would react if, say, Barack Obama had called two distinguished American intelligence officers “political hacks”?

Brennan and Clapper, of course, weren’t taking the president’s disparagement lightly. They have scolded him seriously, suggesting that Putin is “playing” Trump like a fiddle.

Trump did attempt to walk back his comments about Putin’s phony denial, but he managed to botch that as well, saying he backs the U.S. intelligence community, while continuing to suggest that Putin is “sincere” in his denial of election interference.

Sigh.

Oh, so very sad.

Shut down the government … over a wall?

So much grist poured out of the president’s relentless and reckless rant in Phoenix …

Let’s take a nibble at this tidbit: Donald John Trump Sr. says he’s willing to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t approve money to pay for the wall to be built along our nation’s border with Mexico.

Yep, the guy who said this past summer that “I, alone” can solve the nation’s problems now is blackmailing congressional Democrats to provide money to build the wall. If they don’t, he said, the government shutdown is on their hands.

But wait!

Trump has vowed that Mexico is going to pay for the wall. Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto says “no … we won’t!” Trump reportedly has zero relationship with the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, who has declared there is “zero chance” the government is going to shut down; “We are not going to default,” said McConnell.

The president is insulting congressional Republicans as frequently as he insults Democrats. He is destroying — one insult at a time — any chance of getting anything done once Congress returns from its summer recess.

So now the guy who wants to “unify” the country, who declares it is time to “heal our divisions” is now threatening to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t do something he has promised never would happen.

I believe former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — a serious and sober man — has it right. Donald Trump is unfit for the job to which he was elected.

Ex-DNI: Evidence of hacking points to Moscow

James Clapper has contradicted the president of the United States, who says “others” might have hacked into the U.S. electoral system along with the Russians.

Not so, says the former director of national intelligence. The Russians did it. There’s no evidence of any other nation getting involved.

I’ll go with ex-DNI Clapper on this one.

Clapper is clear: It’s the Russians

Donald J. Trump keeps trying to blanket Russian government goons in political cover by suggesting that other nations might be involved. He famously alluded to some 400-pound guy lying in bed somewhere who might be hacking into our electoral process.

The president keeps demonstrating this outrageous reluctance to drop the hammer on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, the intelligence professionals — the folks who do that kind of work for a living — say something quite different.

I’m inclined to believe the career spooks’ assessment of what went down during the 2016 presidential election.

Trump makes sound national security move … finally!

I have been highly critical of Donald J. Trump’s assembling of his national security team.

But then — what do you know? — the president does something that makes eminent sense. He has removed his political hack/senior adviser Steve Bannon from the National Security Council and has elevated two men who should have been seated on the NSC’s principals committee in the first place.

Good call, Mr. President. May it be the first of many.

Bannon had no business serving on the principals committee. He is the former Breitbart News editor. He has the president’s ear on all matters political. His national security experience is next to zero.

Trump also demoted his homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, and elevated Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford. They now will be regular attendees of the principal committee.

Oh, there’s more. National security adviser H.R. McMaster has received full authority to set the agendas for meetings of the principals committee.

Someone got hold of the president’s ear and advised him in the strongest language possible of the folly of seeming to politicize the NSC’s principals committee — which is what Bannon’s presence on the committee did.

If there’s any aspect of a president’s duties that demands non-political consideration, it must be matters dealing with national security.

Donald Trump is entitled to have a top-drawer political hand giving him political advice. That adviser doesn’t need to be anywhere near where national security concerns are discussed.

Hey, what about Bannon and the NSC?

It’s almost impossible to keep up with all the stories that pass through the light of intense publicity only to disappear into the darkness … as it relates to Donald John Trump’s administration.

Remember the story about Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart.com executive, alleged white nationalist, political adviser becoming a member of the principals committee on the National Security Council?

Bannon is still on the NSC. He’s still getting the regular briefings, sitting in a chair that should be filled by the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and the director of national intelligence. Trump demoted those two military and intelligence leaders in favor of partisan political animals such as Bannon.

He’s a political hack who serves on one of the most ostensibly non-political bodies in our massive federal government.

Why is this guy still there? Why is the new national security adviser, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster sitting or standing still for this travesty?

Bannon doesn’t belong on the principals committee. He now serves as chief political adviser for the president. He fulfills an entirely different role, vastly separate from anything that the National Security Council does. The NSC’s role is to provide the president with keen, sharp and non-political analysis of national security threats. The national security adviser essentially is the chief administrative official of the NSC. From all that I’ve read and heard about Lt. Gen. McMaster, he appears to be a scholar with a superb military mind.

Bannon status as political hack in chief ought to disqualify him from such his posting as a member of the principals committee.

Yet this story stays hidden in the background.

What kind of advice does Bannon give the president when, say, a Middle East nation moves on another one? What kind of advice does he offer when North Korea lobs a missile into Seoul, South Korea? Or when Hamas starts firing ordnance from Gaza into neighborhoods in southern Israel?

Bannon offers no national security credibility. There he is, though. He’s perched among the other “principals” offering advice to the president of the United States.

This guy frightens the crap out of me.

Are the wheels flying off Trump’s ‘fine-tuned machine’?

“A fine-tuned machine” does not experience the kind of malfunctions we are witnessing within Donald J. Trump’s administration.

For instance, it doesn’t produce an FBI director asking the Justice Department to dismiss an explosive allegation coming from the president of the United States against his immediate predecessor.

FBI Director James Comey wants the Justice Department to toss out Trump’s allegation — delivered this weekend in a tweet — that Barack Obama ordered spooks to wiretap Trump’s offices in Trump Tower.

Why would they do such a thing, which they have denied doing? It would be to look for evidence that Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russian officials to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.

Trump calls it a “fact” that such a thing occurred. Comey, in an apparent act of open rebellion against the president, says, um, no it isn’t. It didn’t happen. At this moment, DOJ officials haven’t done as Comey has asked.

Ladies and gents, we are witnessing perhaps the first shots of open warfare within the Trump administration. It might be Trump v. Comey in this fight.

Ex-DNI denies wiretap allegation.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on “Meet the Press” this morning that any such order to wiretap Trump’s office would have had to come from a federal judge, who would have determined probable cause to issue such an order. The DNI, said Clapper, would be made aware of it.

Clapper said it never occurred during his time as DNI.

Comey has taken up Clapper’s side in this fight.

The “fine-tuned machine” — which is how the president described his administration during that infamous press conference a couple of weeks ago — appears set to explode in flames.

What happens now? The president might fire Comey. What do you suppose would be the public reaction to such an event?

The president, moreover, is reportedly furious at Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from an investigation into Russia’s alleged effort to influence the presidential election.

Does that sound to you like a “fine-tuned machine” that is humming along on all cylinders? Me neither.

My … goodness.

***

Comey’s request of the DOJ to drop this wiretap nonsense is fascinating at another level as well. The FBI director heaved that political grenade into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign 11 days before Election Day informing her of a letter he had sent to Congress asking for a re-examination of that e-mail controversy that dogged her all along the way.

Clinton blames that letter for stopping her momentum and for giving Trump the ammo he needed to blast her presidential campaign to smithereens.

Now he turns on the individual he supposedly helped get elected?

Lock ‘n load!

‘No. 1 geopolitical threat’ cheers Trump victory

Let’s see how this has gone.

Four years ago, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Russia had emerged as the nation’s “No. 1 geopolitical threat.” Liberals scoffed at Mitt; I was one of them. What do you mean, Gov. Romney? Those Russians don’t pose any serious threat to the world’s most exceptional nation.

Then in 2016, Russians are now known to be cheering the election of the latest GOP nominee, Donald J. Trump.

CIA intercepts have captured information revealing that our former top geopolitical foe was acting mighty happy at the prospect of Trump would become president of the United States.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/us-intercepts-capture-senior-russian-officials-celebrating-trump-win/ar-BBxWUUL?li=BBnb7Kz

Senior Russian officials were simply thrilled that Americans had elected someone friendly to their world view.

What gives here? Are they are our friends or foes?

Oh, wait! The president-elect has dismissed allegations that the Russians hacked our election system; Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (pictured) has “no doubt” the Russians did as they have accused of doing. Trump has nominated ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state; Tillerson has a close personal and professional relationship with Russian President (and former KGB boss) Vladimir Putin, who once awarded Tillerson the Medal of Friendship.

This is just me, but I wouldn’t trust this so-called “friend” as far as I can throw him.

Trump is about to get an earful from U.S. spooks

My fondest wish at this very moment is to be a fly on the wall at the Trump Tower office where the president-elect of the United States is going to hear from the intelligence he has disparaged about what they know about Russian efforts to hack into our electoral process.

Donald Trump is playing host Friday to the director of national intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency director, the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. They’re going to tell them what they know about Russian efforts to influence the presidential election we just endured.

Will the president-elect disparage these intelligence professionals to their faces? Will he tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about? Will he stand by the assertions of the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who’s been hiding in a foreign embassy to avoid prosecution on criminal charges?

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/six-big-take-aways-from-the-extraordinary-congressional-hearing-on-russian-hacking/ar-BBxWytL?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

DNI Jim Clapper said there’s a line between honest skepticism and “disparagement.” Indeed, Trump has disparaged the intelligence community’s ability to do its job, which is to provide national security information that presidents need to protect Americans from foreign adversaries.

Clapper was one of the intelligence honchos who spoke today to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee about the Russian hacking story. It was an amazing hearing. It produced pointed questions about the doubts that Trump has cast on the intelligence community. It also produced amazing answers from the intelligence pros about whether they would believe Julian Assange’s assertions dismissing Russian involvement in these hacking efforts.

The hearing today was a preliminary event, a setup for the main event set for Friday at Trump Tower.

I need serious help as I seek to turn into that fly on the wall. Oh, to listen to what the spooks tell Trump the evidence they have about Russian hackers.