On Thursday, The New York Times detonated a bombshell on its front page–just weeks before being sworn in, Donald Trump was shown highly classified intelligence showing that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin personally ordered the hacking of the 2016 election campaign.
On that morning’s edition of CNN’s “New Day,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed that Trump had indeed been briefed on Putin’s role in the hacking campaign. Oh, how the wingnut fringe howled!
Jordan Schachtel, the national security correspondent for Mark Levin’s Conservative Review, started in on Clapper.
Schachtel was referring to Clapper’s muddled testimony in the spring of 2013 about the National Security Agency collecting data on Americans. Clapper subsequently admitted that he believed Senator Ron Wyden was asking about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; indeed, Clapper’s staff told Wyden’s staff about the error soon after the hearing. Nonetheless, Trumpkins have seized on that testimony as “evidence” that Clapper is willing to lie in order to stop Trump from making America great again.
Clapper’s revelation proved beyond any doubt that Trump has been gaslighting us when he rails about any talk about Russian hacking is fake news. But former White House counterterrorism adviser and current Fox News contributor Sebastian Gorka saw it differently.
Really, Sebastian? Are you saying that Clapper’s clearance should be yanked even though he was merely confirming what we already knew?
In case you missed it, just days before Trump took office, we learned that the Intelligence Community fingered Putin as the mastermind of the hacking. Trump was briefed about the report two days before it was declassified and released. He claimed that the hacking had no impact on the outcome of the election, even though the report stressed that the Intelligence Community was not in a position to draw such a conclusion. So if it were up to Gorka, Clapper would lose his clearance for doing his job–briefing the president-elect about a major national security threat.
And even without this report, has it occurred to Gorka that maybe, just maybe, this is a situation where the normal rules don’t apply? It cannot be overstated–the Russian hacking amounted to an attack on the very foundations of our democracy. The only greater intelligence crisis would be if the president himself were potentially compromised.
In such a situation, if you’re a senior intelligence officer, protecting sources takes a back seat to your oath to defend this country “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” In this case, it would mean telling the American people that you told the president-elect that a hostile foreign power tried to hack the election.
One has to wonder–are Trump diehards like Schachtel, Gorka and others so fixated on stopping the “deep state” from derailing Trump that they’re willing to shoot the messenger? And are they willing to do so even when the messenger is not only telling the truth, but buttressing what we already know to be true?
Oh, silly us. In Trumpland, any even remotely critical coverage of Trump is fake news. Therefore, it must be snuffed out at all costs–even when someone is turning the hot lights on an attack on democracy itself.
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