It is now crystal clear to me that the United States intelligence agencies have decided to do what the GOP majorities in the House and Senate refuse to do: Hold Donald Trump and his inner circle accountable for their corruption.
Tonight the New York Times published a story with a blockbuster headline: “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.” This story is clearly a warning shot from the intelligence community. The Times cited four current and former officials from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Those sources refused to identify which Trump campaign aides were in contact with senior Russian intelligence officers. They also declined to name the Russian intelligence officers who were in contact with Trump aides.
But it’s obvious that those U.S. intel officials are ready to name those people are. And they are holding that bullet for now. They are trying to force Trump’s hand, because he clearly didn’t learn his lesson during the Mike Flynn debacle.
Just look at the trickle of new stories that gradually made it clear to the nation that Flynn had to go. Over the course of several days, various news outlets revealed that Flynn had lied about his potentially illegal communication with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. in the final weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency. The details emerged slowly as sources in the intelligence community leaked more and more information to the Times, the Washington Post, Reuters and other outlets. Democrats started calling for Flynn’s ouster as National Security Advisor, and even some Republicans expressed discomfort.
These were all warning shots by intelligence officials who had determined through their investigations that Flynn was at best a useful idiot and at worst a traitor to the republic. They were trying to put pressure on Trump to remove Flynn. But Trump refused to act. He played dumb, as this video makes clear.
And thus, several anonymous sources revealed to the Post that Trump was told about Flynn’s lies and his possible corruption by Russian intelligence weeks ago. He could no longer play dumb like he did on Air Force One. He had to remove Flynn.
Now the Times is the outlet for the next warning shot. Several Trump campaign officials had multiple contacts with several senior Russian officials over the course of the year leading up the the election. The intelligence community just fired across the bow of the S.S. Trump again. They have the names. Those names will come out. It could lead to impeachment. Trump must act now to save himself.
The only question that remains in my mind is how far this goes. Will the CIA, FBI, NSA, DIA and other agencies drive Trump out of the White House, or only force out his corrupt underlings?
If you have any doubts about how determined the intelligence community is about this issue, read The Observer’s story about the “spy revolt” in Washington. U.S. intelligence agencies are holding back their most sensitive intelligence from the Trump White house because they believe that it has been “penetrated” by the Kremlin, and that anything they share with Trump’s administration will end up right in the hands of Putin. This is a national security crisis, and Congress refuses to address it.
Instead, the shadow government is taking charge. In the short term this is a good thing because it could save the country from an inept and malignant presidency. In the long term, it could be a disaster for future presidents who will find an intelligence community more willing to interfere in national politics. If you thought the FBI’s sabotage of Hillary Clinton’s campaign was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet.