Donald Trump and his people leaked to the media today that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is being forced out. This has sent up a number of red flags, as Coats is widely considered one of the few decent, competent, and non-corrupt people in the Trump regime. There’s a specific reason Trump is making this move right now, and it’s not what most pundits are saying.
Plenty of voices are speculating that Donald Trump is dumping Dan Coats because House Democrats are seeking the redacted portions of the Mueller report. But that’s neither here nor there. The Democrats have been seeking this information for some time, and the fate of these documents will be decided solely by the courts, not based on who’s holding what title in the Executive Branch. Further, Coats already clearly had zero power or influence over anything that Trump and his loyalists were doing. So what gives?
From a practical standpoint, Donald Trump gains nothing by forcing out the long-neutered Coats and replacing him with Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe. If you watched Ratcliffe during this past week’s Mueller testimony, then you already know that Ratcliffe is the kind of complete idiot who won’t be able to help Trump any, and will probably instead end up doing stupid things that will backfire on Trump. But Trump does gain one thing by making this move today: a huge distraction.
Donald Trump’s racist attack on Congressman Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore has backfired on him so badly, his surrogates couldn’t bail him out when they hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit this morning. So Trump is firing Dan Coats this afternoon in the hope of shifting the media narrative away from his racist meltdown. Trump has been planning the move for some time, if only because Coats annoys him. He’s choosing to do it now for distraction purposes. Based on cable news coverage right now, it’s working. But it’s an absolutely meaningless move beyond the distraction it creates.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report