While Trump and Attorney General William Barr were intervening in the sentencing of Roger Stone and hollowing out the Department of Justice in various other ways, US intelligence officials were warning senior members of the House Intelligence Committee that Russia is, once again, interfering in a US presidential election to help Trump win. Among their efforts is supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Democratic primary.
When Trump learned about the House briefing, was he outraged?
Yes, but not at Putin for yet another round of election interference. Trump was furious that an aide to Trump’s acting director of national intelligence (ODNI) Joseph Maguire had briefed Congress on Russia’s ongoing efforts to help Trump win re-election. Six days later, Trump fired Maguire and appointed a new acting ODNI — Richard Grenell. He’s a Trump loyalist who has no real intelligence experience at all.
But Grenell has an important qualification that Trump values more highly than competence: Grenell still expresses skepticism about Russian interference in 2016. Now he heads an entire US intelligence apparatus that — based on facts and evidence — disagrees with him.
Trump also replaced Maguire’s deputy. Grenell’s new senior adviser is Kash Patel — formerly a close aide to Rep. Devin Nunes. Patel and Nunes worked together in an effort to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Go to the Timeline, click on Nunes’ name, and take a look at the July 2017 entry featuring Patel. Here’s the first sentence:
“Seeking to contact Christopher Steele, two members of the House Intelligence Committee staff — one of whom is Kashyap Patel — visit the offices of Steele’s lawyers.”
By the way, Nunes — the ranking Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee — was the person who told Trump about the classified briefing on Feb. 13, 2020.
At the Justice Department and throughout the US intelligence community, Trump is placing people in high places who will do his bidding and tell him only what he wants to hear. As Trump continues his war on the truth, he is protecting his friends and attacking his enemies. If you’re not alarmed by what is happening, then you’re not paying attention.
Here is a list of the latest updates to the Trump-Russia Timeline at Dan Rather’s News & Guts and Just Security:
REVISED: AUG. 16, 2017: Rohrabacher Echoes Assange: Russia Didn’t Hack Election; Assange’s Attorney Later Claims Rohrabacher Offered Pardon from Trump
DEC. 10, 2019: Trump Announces New US Attorney for DC
JAN. 17, 2020: Deputy Attorney General Sends Internal Notice: All Ukraine-related Investigations Will Be Supervised by US Attorney for Eastern District of New York
FEB. 9-10, 2020: Flynn Sentencing Postponed Again
FEB. 10-11, 2020: Prosecutors Seek Seven- to Nine-Year Sentence for Stone; Trump Tweets That It’s ‘Excessive’; DOJ Retreats; Stone’s Prosecutors Resign
FEB. 11-13, 2020: Trump Withdraws Liu’s Nomination and She Resigns
FEB. 11, 2020: Senate Republicans Block Election Security Bills Again
FEB. 11, 2020: Spicer and Priebus Return to White House
FEB. 12, 2020: Trump Praises Barr for ‘Taking Charge’ of Stone Case
FEB. 13, 2020: Hicks to Return as Kushner Aide
FEB. 13, 2020: Barr Criticizes Trump’s Tweets
FEB. 13, 2020: Trump Admits Sending Giuliani to Ukraine for Damaging Information on Political Opponents
FEB. 13, 2020: Trump Attacks Foreperson on Stone Jury
FEB. 13-20, 2020: Aide to Acting DNI Maguire Gives Briefing to Congress on Election Security; Trump is Furious, Replaces Maguire with Loyalist Grenell; Another High-Ranking ODNI Official Departs
FEB. 14, 2020: Barr Assigns Outside Prosecutors to Review Flynn and Other ‘Politically Sensitive National-Security Cases’ in DC Office
FEB. 14, 2020: DOJ Says It Won’t Pursue Charges Against McCabe; Transcript of Sept. 2019 Hearing Released, Reveals Judge Blasted Trump
FEB. 14, 2020: Stone Asks for New Trial
FEB. 18, 2020: Trump Issues Pardons and Commutations, Incorrectly Blames Comey for Blagojevich’s Conviction
FEB. 19, 2020: Rood Resigns
FEB. 20, 2020: Stone Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison
FEB. 21, 2020: Trump Tries to Block Bolton’s Book