Donald Trump’s own handpicked Director of National Intelligence has officially has enough of Trump’s open loyalty to Vladimir Putin, and now it’s anyone’s guess what happens next. Coats is literally laughing at Trump’s increasingly absurd allegiance to Russia, and Trump is dropping subtle hints that he may or may not try to fire Coats, as everything threatens to hit the fan.
It all began when Donald Trump sided with Putin against the United States during the joint press conference on Monday. Trump went so far as to mention Dan Coats by name while taking Putin’s side, prompting Coats to put out a statement reasserting that Putin did in fact meddle in the 2016 U.S. election. Coats then appeared today at the Aspen Security Forum. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell was interviewing Coats in front of the cameras when she stopped to announce what she referred to as breaking news: “The White House has announced on Twitter that Vladimir Putin is coming to the White House in the fall.” In the middle of Mitchell’s sentence, Coats made a horrible face and laughed.
Coats seemed stunned, reeling with “Say that again? Did I hear you right?” Then he laughed some more and said, “That’s gonna be special.” In response, Trump’s loyalists in the White House told the Washington Post that “Coats has gone rogue.” They’re correct in the sense that Coats is patriotically going “rogue” against Donald Trump’s treasonous behavior. So now what?
Under the circumstances, with the Republican Senate already trying to distance itself from Donald Trump’s treason, we don’t think Trump has the political muscle to fire Dan Coats without serious repercussions. We’ll see if he’s brazen enough to try. In the past, Trump has generally not fired advisers for calling him a “moron” and worse, and instead he’s only forced out people like Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster for criticizing Putin.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report