in a just-posted New York Times op ed titled John Brennan: President Trump’s Claims of No Collusion Are Hogwash. It is subtitled with these words:
That’s why the president revoked my security clearance: to try to silence anyone who would dare challenge him.
It is well worth your read.
After beginning with several paragraphs where he recounts his July 2016 conversation with Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia’s internal security service, where the Russian denied interference in US elections, Brennan offers these worsd:
Russian denials are, in a word, hogwash.
Before, during and after its now infamous meddling in our last presidential election, Russia practiced the art of shaping political events abroad through its well-honed active measures program, which employs an array of technical capabilities, information operations and old-fashioned human intelligence spycraft. Electoral politics in Western democracies presents an especially inviting target, as a variety of politicians, political parties, media outlets, think tanks and influencers are readily manipulated, wittingly and unwittingly, or even bought outright by Russian intelligence operatives. The very freedoms and liberties that liberal Western democracies cherish and that autocracies fear have been exploited by Russian intelligence services not only to collect sensitive information but also to distribute propaganda and disinformation, increasingly via the growing number of social media platforms.
This is a rich and thorough column. It is worth noting that it is based on information readily available to all of us, in the public domain.
We note that the President himself told the Wall Street Journal that he stripped Brennan’s clearance because of the former CIA director’s involvement with the Russia probe, thus giving away this “game” the same way he did the firing of Comey on Lester Holt. Simply put, the man cannot help himself.
And yes, that makes this a possible additional item to add to impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
Returning to Brennan’s piece, letting me offer one more section of several paragraphs, offered after he discusses his cooperation with Comey as head of FBI and also with then NSA Director of the NSA Mike Rogers their public statement on Russian meddling in our 2016 election
The already challenging work of the American intelligence and law enforcement communities was made more difficult in late July 2016, however, when Mr. Trump, then a presidential candidate, publicly called upon Russia to find the missing emails of Mrs. Clinton. By issuing such a statement, Mr. Trump was not only encouraging a foreign nation to collect intelligence against a United States citizen, but also openly authorizing his followers to work with our primary global adversary against his political opponent.
Such a public clarion call certainly makes one wonder what Mr. Trump privately encouraged his advisers to do — and what they actually did — to win the election. While I had deep insight into Russian activities during the 2016 election, I now am aware — thanks to the reporting of an open and free press — of many more of the highly suspicious dalliances of some American citizens with people affiliated with the Russian intelligence services.
Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash.
Brennan goes on to make the point that the only real issue is whether the efforts at collusion rise to the level of criminality, whether attempting to cover up the collusion rises to obstruction of justice, and
how many members of “Trump Incorporated” attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets
Yes, that last snip is about Manafort and Gates, and folks need to remember that Manafort was trying to get loans to which he should not have been entitled by offering a job in return to Steve Calk. We do not yet necessarily know all of the similar examples, but we do know that Trump profited merely in running by charging his campaign and the Secret Service for office space at Trump Tower and the latter for rental of golf carts to “protect” him, and that since he was elected he doubled memberships at Mar-A-Lago and has seen political rentals and rentals by foreign governments explode at his properties, the latter clearly in violation of the emoluments clause of the U S Constitution.
Brennan ends this strong piece with an even stronger statement in support of Mueller’s efforts to get to the bottom of what happened during the campaign and the attempts to cover it up since then, including the efforts of the President (? and Republicans on the Hill?) to obstruct justice by interfering with the investigation.
Pass it on
UPDATE two other points to make
1. Last night James Clapper, former DNI, said that Trump might try to end the Mueller probe by lifting his (Mueller’s) security clearance.
2. Noah Rothman, on Morning Joe, just made a cogent point. Forget the public figures like Clapper, Susan Rice, etc., whose clearances have already been threatened by Trump. What about all those folks whose livelihoods outside the government depend upon having security clearances. Might the Trump administration start scouring anyone publicly critical of them and lifting their security clearances.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.