About six weeks ago, Donald Trump announced out of nowhere that he was ousting his own handpicked Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. Shortly thereafter, Coats’ Deputy, Sue Gordon, also headed for the exits. Trump made a point of trying to install one of his loyalists in the position, and when that failed, he simply left it empty. The whole thing made very little sense at the time. Suddenly it’s a very different story.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has subpoenaed a whistleblower complaint, which the Department of Justice has buried, which apparently exposes how Donald Trump or someone close to him leaked key classified information. Schiff is treating this like it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to taking Trump down. What’s fascinating is that Schiff is subpoenaing the report from the Director of National Intelligence – and of course we con’t currently have one of those.
The subpoena has been sent to the Acting Director of National Intelligence, which means it’s not going to be voluntarily complied with, and Schiff will have to go to court and have a judge order the Acting DNI to cough it up. If a comparatively forthright person like Dan Coats or Sue Gordon were still DNI, we can imagine this subpoena might have played out differently.
It helps explain – at least in general terms – why Donald Trump went from essentially ignoring the Director of National Intelligence position for the first two and a half years of his presidency, to suddenly treating it like it was a matter of crucial importance. He and Bill Barr must have known that House Democrats would eventually get word of this whistleblower complaint, and try to get it from the DNI. So now we have no DNI. Funny how that works.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report