Not too long ago, John Ratcliffe was the mayor of Heath, Texas, a town of less than 8,000 people that was incorporated in 1959, largely because they were in the process of building Lake Ray Hubbard and every lake needs a town where folks can buy suntan oil and flip-flops and build a yacht club. I mention this because, unless god or common sense intervenes, John Ratcliffe, now a member of Congress, is going to be the new Director of National Intelligence.
Ratcliffe didn't get the gig because of the fine job he did as mayor of Heath. He got the job because he threw a nutty at Robert Mueller last week during the House Judiciary Committee hearing and El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago needed a noisy bobo in that job to replace Dan Coats, who had the audacity on several occasions to point out that the president* doesn't know anything about anything, and that he's more than half-a-crazy person as well. From The New York Times:
Mr. Coats, a former senator and longtime pillar of the Republican establishment who angered the president by providing unwelcome assessments of Russia, North Korea and other matters, told Mr. Trump last week that it was time to move on, officials said. His departure removes one of the most prominent national security officials willing to contradict the president. If Mr. Ratcliffe is confirmed by the Senate, he will offer a starkly different perspective in the Situation Room, one more in line with Mr. Trump’s thinking. Mr. Ratcliffe, a third-term Republican from Texas and a former prosecutor, has embraced Mr. Trump’s theories about the Russia investigation and was among the sharpest questioners of Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, at last week’s hearings.
Mr. Trump met with Mr. Ratcliffe on July 19 to discuss the job, but the hearings just five days later offered the congressman a chance to essentially audition for the president, who enjoyed watching him grill Mr. Mueller, according to people informed about the process.
The Times is being polite. Ratcliffe did more than embrace "Mr. Trump's theories about the Russia investigation." He went stark raving mad, via the Washington Post:
You wrote 180 pages, 180 pages about decisions that weren’t reached, about potential crimes that weren’t charged or decided. And respectfully -- respectfully, by doing that, you managed to violate every principle in the most sacred of traditions about prosecutors not offering extra-prosecutorial analysis about potential crimes that aren’t charged. So Americans need to know this, as they listen to the Democrats and socialists on the other side of the aisle, as they do dramatic readings from this report: that Volume 2 of this report was not authorized under the law to be written. It was written to a legal standard that does not exist at the Justice Department.
Perhaps Ratcliffe's bravura performance as a drive-time talk-radio host was the reason for White House lawn ornament Devin Nunes's dispirited performance that afternoon, when Mueller appeared before the House Intelligence Committee. Nunes ran through the whole litany of Deep State Paranoia but it was clear that his spleen wasn't in it. I think he realized that he'd lost the audition to be DNI. It's hard out there for a lackey.
That Ratcliffe should not be confirmed is overwhelmingly obvious. He has no experience. He is being appointed because a criminal presidency* needs a front man in intel. And, the most important reason of all, because Donald J. Trump is still President* of the United States. I guarantee you that, if he gets his puppet DNI in place there with consigliere William Barr installed at Justice, and Mike Pompeo essentially running foreign intelligence out of State, everybody who ever worked for Barack Obama and/or the DNC better lawyer up. If the president* gets this team fully in place, and if he gets elected to a second term, you are going to have investigations, covert and otherwise, that are going to make Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi! look like the appeal on a jaywalking citation. If the Republican Party regains control of the House, it will be many times worse.
(An aside: I didn't think there could be any more reasons to dread having Barr as Attorney General. Turns out I was wrong. Turns out he's a cradle Catholic like me, but that he's attached to the First Things wing of American RC triumphalism. This is how he squares his conscience about reinstating the federal death penalty, I guess.)
There is a fully formed counter-narrative on the right concerning the demonstrable malfeasance of this administration*, and it hasn't yet been fully unleashed on the country beyond the rightwing media terrarium. The pieces are now being arranged on the board so that the American intelligence community can put its full force behind selling that counter-narrative as we come into the 2020 election, and to continue to do so after the election, win or lose. John Ratcliffe, former mayor of Heath, is a big part of the strategy. Someone should kick over the board very soon.
Respond to this post on the Esquire Politics Facebook page here.
You Might Also Like