Another week, other controversies for the President of the United States. Over the past few days, Donald Trump and the cream of his secret services have unearthed the hatchet while we learned that a lawyer from the White House is actively working on the Russian investigation. Back on a busy week.
The President’s decision on Thursday to remove the secret defense clearance of an ex-CIA chief, has heightened the gap between Donald Trump and senior executives of the United States.
In an open letter issued on Thursday, former FBI, CIA and Pentagon officials and half a dozen high-ranking spies reject the president’s ruling as a whole.
We feel compelled to respond to the unprecedented remarks and actions of the White House […] We have never seen the approval or removal of security clearances as a political tool, as this was done in this case.
Extract from open letter
The signatories of the open letter are red-hot on Donald Trump’s decision and praise John Brennan’s action. According to them, the action of the president has nothing to do with “who should or should not have security clearances and everything to do with an attempt to stifle freedom of expression”.
Generally, former intelligence officials retain their security clearances in case their expertise proves useful for their successors. The decision of the president is considered by legal experts as the first of its kind to override the typical revocation protocols.
For Timothy Naftali, a professor of history at New York University, Donald Trump chooses a revanchist system. “The American president keeps a list of names of those who criticize him. He is taking revenge against these people, “he says. According to him, by punishing John Brennan, he sends a signal to all US intelligence and threatens them.
John Brennan called Donald Trump’s behavior with Vladimir Putin treasonable at last summer’s Helsinki summit .
He has since announced that he will launch a lawsuit to cancel the withdrawal of his defense secret clearance.
Summon the ghost of Maccarthyism
The New York Times continues to publish, according to its motto, “All news that deserves to be printed.” One of them, written on Saturday, again aroused the wrath of the American president.
According to the paper, Don McGahn, a White House lawyer, has “largely cooperated” with the investigation by the Special Prosecutor’s Team Robert Mueller into suspicions of collusion between the Republican campaign team and Russia. Don McGahn reportedly spent nearly 30 hours with the investigators, delivering details known only to him, including a possible obstruction of the US president before the investigation.
An investigation that turns to “McCarthyism of the WORST species,” according to Donald Trump. A term that goes back to the cold war. During this period, Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy launched a campaign aimed at anyone suspected of being Communist or sympathetic to the regime embraced by Moscow.
“Study the late Joseph McCarthy because we are in a period now with Mueller and his gang making Joseph McCarthy a beginner. Tricked witch hunt, “tweeted the White House tenant.
To explain Don McGahn’s collaboration with the investigation, Donald Trump counter-attacks: “I have nothing to hide and I demanded transparency so that the Faked and Abominable Witches Hunt can end. ”
A maverick not necessarily isolated
For Rafael Jacob, a researcher in American politics at the Raoul-Dandurand Chair, the open letter and the latest revelations of the New York Times will not necessarily be the height of Donald Trump’s popularity.
For any normal presidency, it would be a special controversy. But this is not the case. On the contrary, it can strengthen Trump’s base, which thinks that a certain elite is continually targeting it.
Rafael Jacob, researcher
There is no evidence that Donald Trump is released from within the White House. According to him, it is possible that Donald Trump is right in saying that Don McGahn collaborated in the investigation of Robert Mueller because the American president had asked him.
Sarah Wilson is an associate editor for Reno Hotline, focused on viral/trending stories. Before joining our team, her print and digital work appeared in Vice, NPR the Gauntlet and many others. She has a master of journalism from the the University Of Nevada. She is based in Reno, and can be reached via her email or our contact form.