As a rule, President Donald Trump continues to seem convinced that even just his perceived opposition is part of some broad, secret conspiracy. Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn this Tuesday, he claimed that the United States intelligence agencies had “run amok,” adding that his nominee for Director of National Intelligence could supposedly clean up the mess. Trump offered little immediate hard evidence for his claims of a mess in the halls of intel, but from his past commentary, his implications are clear. Is the United States system really out of line just because they decided to look into mountains of evidence that had accumulated implicating Trump’s team? What should they do — look the other way? Are these really questions we should be even thinking about asking in response to the president of the United States?
In a rambling diatribe, he told reporters:
‘I think that John Ratcliffe is going to do an incredible job if he gets approved. But I think he’ll do a great job. I hope he gets approved. I think we need somebody like that there. We need somebody strong that can really rein it in because, as I think you’ve all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok.’
Check it out:
TRUMP on why he thinks John Ratcliffe will make a good DNI: “We need somebody strong that can really rein it in. Because as I think you’ve all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok. They’ve run amok.” 😳 pic.twitter.com/TkRe75vKLA
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 30, 2019
Trump left his threat that the Republican Texas Congressman he named will “rein in” U.S. intelligence agencies pretty open-ended. Ratcliffe has been a front and center voice in the GOP’s campaign against the intelligence community already, participating in efforts to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation and tearing into former Special Counsel Robert Mueller about that probe he led last week.
Trump has railed against the Mueller probe on his own time plenty already. He has contended that those engaged in it and in the broader effort to get to the bottom of the Russia scandal have been just out to get him, freely bending facts in his attempt to make that point. For instance, he recently claimed that the Russia investigation had begun essentially at the point that he initially announced his 2016 run for the presidency. That is false — although the notion definitely supports his assertion that the Russia probe was just some plot to get him.
Other lies along these lines include the claim Trump paraded at one point that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower. They conducted legally permitted surveillance on at least a couple of individuals in the eventual president’s circle, but there was no “spying” as Trump has claimed. Still — these lies are no doubt lined up to direct the apparent restructuring of the U.S. intelligence system that Trump has in mind here. He’s already proven an attachment to the idea many times before, all the way back to the point of his abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey, who at the time was himself leading the Russia investigation.
Trump has responded to concern about his behavior and assertions like the one he offered this Tuesday by ambiguously pointing to provisions like Article 2 of the Constitution as if it gives him some kind of blank check to do what he wants.
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