President Trump admitted a direct connection between the Russia investigation into possible collusion by his campaign and his revoking of the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan in an interview with the Wall Street Journal late Wednesday night.
That’s not even hype or inference.
“President Trump drew a direct connection between the special counsel investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and his decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and review the clearances of several other former officials,” the WSJ (Sub required) opens.
“Trump cited Brennan as among those he held responsible for the investigation,” and was “one of those who presented evidence to Mr. Trump shortly before his inauguration that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election.”
This is reading a bit like King Henry the VIII’s reaction to facts that didn’t feed his ego and current mood, where the person who presents them has to pay with their life. (You’re in favor, oops you’re out because you couldn’t/wouldn’t twist religion to justify yet another marriage – off with your head!)
“I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with Peter Nicholas and Michael C. Bender. “And these people led it! So I think it’s something that had to be done.”
On Wednesday, Trump publicly confessed that he fired McCabe, Comey, et al to stop an investigation into his possible conspiracy against the United States, with a hostile foreign power:
The Rigged Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on as the “originators and founders” of this scam continue to be fired and demoted for their corrupt and illegal activity. All credibility is gone from this terrible Hoax, and much more will be lost as it proceeds. No Collusion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2018
Trump is also considering revoking access to classified information by former FBI Director Comey, former Intelligence Director Clapper and others. That is to say, people whose knowledge of things is not helpful for Trump as he lies to the American people.
The collection of people who are being fired/demoted/punished with revoking of security clearances in unprecedented ways and for unprecedented and possibly illegal reasons Comey, McCabe, et al.
Former deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin said that Trump’s revoking of John Brennan’s security clearance is a signal that he is trying to move the country toward authoritarianism.
You might be having a sense of Déjà vu, because in May of 2017 Trump told Lester Holt that he fired James Comey because the Russia and Trump story was “made up” — that is, in part in the Russian investigation, contradicting the neat reasons he had already presented to the press:
“And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story; it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”
Indeed, Wednesday Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the press that Brennan’s security clearance was being revoked because of his behavior and lack of credibility (neither of these is anywhere near accurate criticism of Brennan, who is a highly respected professional by sane, innocent people).
But by Wednesday night, Trump was once again careening out of control and telling the world his real feelings. But when you’re a star, you see, they let you do it- and when you’re a corrupt Republican President, you can violate the law and ethics and tradition and principle and the Republican Congress that is charged with a Constitutional duty of oversight can and will let you do it, do anything.
So Trup’s confession of revoking Brennan’s security clearance because of a direct relationship to the Russia investigation might not be problematic for him the way it would for a principled, legal president whose party wasn’t as corrupt as he or she.
But at the very least, what it says is this president will violate any norms and even laws in order to silence critics. This Republican Congress will let him do it.
And even more to the point, an innocent person would not go to these lengths to silence people who brought news of a problem with Russia. Russia did interfere in our election and they are interfering in the 2018 election. Why is Trump punishing those who speak of this fact? Why is this Republican-led Congress letting him do this instead of protecting our country from this attack?
There is nothing to do but to vote them out of office, for they are derelict in their duties to their country and at this point, the word ‘traitors’ should be in play for the entire lot of them: These are not things that are done in a democracy.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.