But Her Emails...
And so, Trump lets his tortured ego get in the way of protecting the country and revokes the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan because he's been a harsh critic of the administration. Make no mistake, this doesn't hurt Brennan. He's not in the CIA any more, after all. However former CIA directors keep their security clearances so that current CIA officials can use them as heavy resources based on their knowledge and experience. So, once again, Trump actually puts us all at risk.
Oh, and no, as much as he may hope otherwise for this to be a distraction, the Omarosa tapes didn't go away. And the Manafort trial still went to the jury.
And of course this was all intended as merely a distraction. It's even documented. The presidential directive revoking Brennan's security clearance was dated July 26, three weeks ago -- which means Trump kept it in the drawer waiting for the moment he wanted to use it.
Gee, some distraction -- getting public attention away from whether there is a tape of you using the "n" word by taking an action that is being slammed by experts for its risks to national security.
(Side note: we don't need a tape of Trump saying anything to know he's a racist. He's well-passed racist. No, we're now at the white supremacist level. Still, yes, a tape would be damning.)
Know too that there is a process for revoking someone's securing clearance if you think they've done something actually wrong -- you suspend them, they have a hearing, and if justified, their clearance is revoked. Trump did none of that. He didn't even consult the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates. He just...revoked the security clearance of the former CIA director.
Daniel Dale, Washington reporter for the Toronto Star noted the list of Trump's "accusations" about John Brennan. It dances between ludicrous and bizarre, given how closely it reads like Trump projecting himself. Indeed, if you didn't know the subject, you'd likely swear that this was a description of Trump himself: "Erratic conduct and behavior" -- "Frenzied commentary" -- "Wild outbursts on the internet and television" -- "Monetizing his official position" -- "Told lies."
No, honest, that is not a description of Trump from one of his critics. It was a list from Trump himself supposedly describing the former CIA director. Really.
This is John Brennan's initial response upon learning of the action, which he posted on Twitter.
Later, on MSNBC, Brennan spoke with Nicolle Wallace, making clear that having his security clearance revoked has virtually no impact on him, but just serves to hurt the country, noting -- "And believe me, if Mr. Trump believes this will make me be quiet and go away, he's very much mistaken."
Aside for the increased risk this gives the United States, when you remove a former CIA director from being an asset to current national intelligence (not to mention all the other important intelligence sources who the White House announced Trump is considering revoking clearances for, as well, all of whom it just happens are critics of the dangers Trump poses with his handling of Russia attacking the U.S.), this action was deeply problematic for Trump personally. No, there's nothing illegal about what he did -- unless it's determined to have violated the First Amendment, given that Trump heads the government -- but when the Special Counsel investigates Obstruction of Justice and Abuse of Power, as he is doing, the most critical factor in determining that is the frame of mind behind a person's actions. And trying to silence your critics is a powerful determination to that end. It didn't work well for Richard Nixon...
But to be clear -- disturbing as this all is, it is NOT about Trump. Once again, as has been the case for the past year... this is about the elected officials of the GOP. They not only enable a fascist leader trying to weaken the country, but they themselves have largely remained silent on the revocation of the former CIA director's security clearance. And on the "Enemy List" of Trump. A few have expressed being perhaps a bit "unsettled" by it, but most haven't said a word. Worse, for those who have spoken, you have someone like Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) who was perfectly fine with Trump's actions, saying that he considered John Brennan -- the man who oversaw the operation to kill Osama Bin Laden, among other things -- to be "a butthead."
Yes, to be clear, he was referring to the former CIA director.
So, cool, it seems that Melania Trump's ace "Be Best" campaign is going gangbusters...
We know who Trump is -- of course he did something reprehensible that actually puts the country at risk. This is all about someone else: the elected officials of the Republican Party. The people who sit back and let him.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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