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Trump’s Intel Nominee Ratcliffe Promoted Conspiracy Theories

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), President Donald Trump’s newly announced pick to be the next director of National Intelligence overseeing the 17 U.S. intelligence services, doesn’t have much experience in intelligence. Previous occupants of the position have had long careers serving in the U.S. Senate, military, foreign service, or intelligence agencies. By contrast, Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney and small town mayor, is a third-term congressman who joined the House Intelligence Committee a scant six months ago.

What Ratcliffe really brings to the table is a willingness to protect Trump from the implications of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election by parroting the fantasies of the president’s most ardent Fox News defenders.

A few days after interviewing for the job, the congressman benefited from the opportunity to “essentially audition for the president” during Mueller’s Wednesday hearings, The New York Times reported. If those hearings were Ratcliffe’s audition, then callbacks came Thursday when he used an interview on Fox & Friends, one of the president’s favorite programs, to play the network’s anti-Mueller hits to the audience of one.

On Fox, Ratcliffe claimed that the Mueller Report was written by “a bunch of lawyers that didn’t like Donald Trump.” He suggested that the way “Russia really did interfere” with the election was with a “fake dossier” provided to Democrats. And he accused former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey of violating the Espionage Act, adding that the Justice Department probe that Attorney General William Barr has ordered could provide “accountability.”

“The big winner yesterday,” he added at one point, “was Donald Trump, because impeachment is dead.”

Trump is trying to replace someone who refused to operate in his personal interest with someone who will. Outgoing National Intelligence Director Dan Coats lost the president’s favor by loudly defending the U.S. intelligence service’s conclusion that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election to benefit Trump, and he has sounded the alarm that the Kremlin will target the 2020 elections as well. Ratcliffe, meanwhile, has adopted Fox host Sean Hannity’s moronic position that the “real collusion” during the 2016 election was between Russia and the Democrats.

Such a personnel shift can have profound consequences. Trump forced out former Attorney General Jeff Sessions because Sessions was unwilling to use the Justice Department to defend the president and punish his enemies. His replacement, Barr, had publicly indicated that he was willing to do so; as attorney general, Barr opened the investigation into the inception of the Mueller probe that Fox hosts had demanded.

Trump wants a National Intelligence director who will similarly parrot Fox conspiracy theories and use the office to the president’s benefit. In Ratcliffe, he believes he’s found his man.

Trump Wants To Fire Intel Chief Coats ‘Sooner Rather Than Later’

Trump is reportedly interested in purging Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Previous public statements from the intelligence chief have undermined Trump’s self-aggrandizing rhetoric.

“President Trump has told confidants he’s eager to remove Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, according to five sources who have discussed the matter directly with the president,” Axios reported on Friday.

Trump has reportedly been plotting Coats’ removal “for months” the outlet noted, quoting a source who said the action will happen “sooner rather than later.”

Trump has repeatedly purged the government of officials as part of his chaotic and unpopular leadership style. Most notoriously he fired then-FBI director James Comey after Comey would not vouch for him while the Mueller investigation was underway.

By removing Coats, Trump would get rid of someone who has shown the American public and the world the corrupt underbelly of Trump’s approach to foreign affairs, along with the impotence of his diplomacy.

Last year in Helsinki, Trump stood next to Russia’s Vladimir Putin and attacked U.S. law enforcement for investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

After Trump’s broadside, Coats told reporter Andrea Mitchell that he “needed to correct the record” and said he wished Trump had “made a different statement.” Coats noted that Russia was “taking a lead on this,” as Trump took their side in the diplomatic dispute.

Coats also said the Oval Office meeting in which Trump shared classified information with Russia’s ambassador and foreign minister was “probably not the best thing to do.”

When it comes to North Korea and Kim Jong Un, Trump has repeatedly made up stories about the rogue nation denuclearizing. The blatant falsehoods have emerged alongside Trump’s embarrassing praise for the dictator.

In January, Coats testified before Congress and let the air out of Trump’s case.

North Korea “will seek to retain its WMD capability and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capability,” he testified, showing that Trump’s efforts have not made the world safe.

After embarrassing Trump, it isn’t too surprising that, instead of correcting course and getting back on track with these key issues, Trump simply wants to get rid of the official.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Trump’s Own Intelligence Chief Rebukes Him Harshly

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

The president is in open warfare with the U.S. intelligence community.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates issued a stunning rebuke of President Donald Trump following his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During the conference, Trump sided with Putin over his own intelligence agencies on the now-settled question of Russian election interference.

“The role of the Intelligence Community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the President and policymakers,” Coates wrote. “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”

An unnamed official added that the statement was “not cleared by the White House.”