A stranger to the ways of Washington, President Trump made some near fatal personnel decisions in the early days of his presidency. The appointment of Rod Rosenstein, for example, turned out to be disastrous. So did his decision to keep James Comey on as his FBI Director. These, and similar choices left him surrounded by individuals who worked to undermine, rather than faciliate the enactment of his agenda.
However, after more than three years of daily attacks, Trump has learned a thing or two. This week, after acting Director of National Security Joseph Maguire tasked a member of his staff to brief the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians were meddling in the 2020 election to re-elect Trump, he was out. U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell was chosen to take over as acting Director until a permanent replacement is named. This pick is right up there with his choice of William Barr as Attorney General.
Grenell has been a loyal ally to the President. They are like-minded and are said to share similar worldviews. The Federalist’s Ben Weingarten writes that, in his role as the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, “Grenell has been an outspoken and passionate advocate for the president’s policies,” and has been “singularly focused on achieving the administration’s objectives” including:
The maximum pressure campaign against Iran.
Lobbying against using Huawei infrastructure in developing the all-important fifth-generation (5G) networking technology.
Countering Russian efforts to increase leverage over European powers through delivering increased energy supplies, by firmly opposing Nord Stream 2, while helping successfully negotiate an agreement with Germany to open itself to U.S. liquefied natural gas, thereby creating competition for Russia in the energy market.
Demanding that North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies including Germany increase their commitments rather than free-riding on America’s dime.
Today, we’re hearing that Kash Patel, a National Security Council staffer and former aide to Devin Nunes, has been tapped as a senior advisor to Grenell. Patel has also been a loyal ally to the President and to Republicans. Patel wrote the famous February 2018 “Nunes memo,” a document which alleged that the FBI used the phony Steele dossier as the basis of their application to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. In his December 2019 report, Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed the accuracy of the entire document.
Last year, Patel became the senior counterterrorism director for the National Security Council. He soon became a target of the left. During the House Democrats’ impeachment investigation, he was wrongly accused of back channeling information about Ukraine to Trump in a Politico article. Patel has filed a $25 million libel lawsuit against them. My colleague, Streiff, posted about this here.
The importance of having two loyal and like-minded Trump allies in place at the helm of the DNI cannot be overstated.
CBS News’ Catherine Herridge reported that Grenell has been given a mandate which is to “#cleanhouse including a “top to bottom” review of DNI operations.”
This is good news indeed. It appears that President Trump is starting the clean sweep of the government agencies he hadn’t known was so crucial early on.
National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has been on a mission to downsize and depoliticize the National Security Council. He has already sent many Obama holdovers who had been detailed to the NSC back to their original positions. Many of these staffers, such as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, one of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s star witnesses during the impeachment inquiry hearings, were working to undermine President Trump’s agenda rather than to facilitate it. Going back even further to 2017, the alleged whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella, had been detailed to the NSC. He had been accused of leaking sensitive information and asked to leave.
The NSC has been notorious for leaks. Hopefully, the removal of these staffers who cannot be trusted will help.
This same process must take place at every important government agency.
Anyone who has not read the post about President Obama and Eric Holder’s scheme to systematically fill the Department of Justice with Democratic employees only by the end of Obama’s presidency, should read it now. It will shock you. Due to the strict, highly political hiring practices enacted by Holder and then Lynch, most, if not all, of the department’s employees were Democrats by the time President Trump took office. I posted on this here.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this occurred at most of the government agencies during the Obama years. Why would they restrict it to the DOJ?
The deep state can’t be too happy about this.
#BREAKING Source close to matter tells @CBSNews NSC staffer Kash Patel tapped to serve as senior adviser to Amb. Rick Grenell, acting Intel chief (DNI.) Source said mandate is to “#cleanhouse including “top to bottom” review DNI operations that expanded dramatically since 2005.
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) February 21, 2020
#Flashback ONLY TV interview Kash Patel @CBSNews on FISA, Durham denies allegations of role in “Ukraine back channel” Patel is republican house staffer who identified problems four FISA applications; later confirmed by IG Horowitz. https://t.co/9FwibnJeVt
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) February 21, 2020