A National Security Threat
(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
On Tuesday the leaders of the US intelligence community, all appointed by Trump, testified in Congress about their annual ‘Worldwide Threat Assessment,’ and the president didn’t like it. In summary, the testimony came down to: Iran is still in compliance with the agreement that Trump pulled out of, North Korea has no intention whatsoever to denuclearize, ISIS has not only not been defeated but has morphed into an international terrorist organization, and Russia interfered in the 2016 elections and is preparing to do it again. Since Trump has pretty much an opposite view on all four issues he tweeted that the assessment was ‘wrong’ and that the Directors of National Intelligence, the CIA and the FBI should go ‘back to school,’ because apparently they had not been taught ‘intelligence.’ A public rift like that between a president and his intelligence professionals has never occurred before, and what was already suspected after Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki became apparent: Donald Trump is Putin’s instrument in lowering moral and integrity in the US intelligence forces, which makes his presidency America’s number one national security threat.
Adopting Putin’s worldview of course implies that sanctions on Russian enterprises should be lifted, which is why companies controlled by oligarch Oleg Deripaska are free to do business in the US again after some window dressing with the ownership, creating a windfall for Deripaska and for a Russian shareholder who had a previous business relationship with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, the official who lifted the sanctions. It makes Democrats wonder if Putin has ‘kompromat’ on more members of the administration than just Trump, and in that context Robert Mueller’s indictment of Roger Stone is relevant. Stone is doing his usual song and dance routine, but the expectation is that he’ll start singing about the president when he’s looking at potentially spending the rest of his life in prison. Acting AG Whitaker meanwhile, in one of his last acts in that position, screwed up by announcing that Mueller would soon issue his final report, violating the rule that the Department of Justice doesn’t talk about ongoing investigations. And Chris Christie speculated that Trump has much more to fear from the investigations by the Southern District of New York than from Mueller.
In a response to Trump’s criticism of the intelligence leaders Chuck Schumer urged them to ‘educate the president,’ knowing quite well that that is an impossible mission. Completely missing in their assessment is a reference to a crisis on the southern border and the need for a wall. The Democrats will never give the president money for that vanity project and at least twenty GOP senators won’t tolerate another shutdown, so that declaring a national emergency becomes Trump’s only option. He is then guaranteed to lose a legal challenge, after which everybody can move on.
Having demonstrated his profound knowledge of international affairs the president turned to the issue of climate change, and in reference to the current polar temperatures in most of the US tweeted that ‘we could use some global warming,’ redundantly making clear that he doesn’t understand the difference between ‘weather’ and ‘climate.’ We may hear more, similar wisdom from Trump when he finally delivers his State of the Union address to Congress next Tuesday.
In one of his spontaneous erratic conversations with reporters yesterday Trump said that the DNI and the CIA Director had told him they were ‘totally misquoted.’ Since their testimony was on live TV they must have misquoted themselves, but that detail eluded the president. He also called the negotiations in Congress about border security a ‘waste of time,’ and declared that the wall is already being built.
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