President Donald Trump has sent a clear message to America’s intelligence community: Providing an honest assessment of Russia’s election meddling to Congress can end your career. Just ask Joseph Maguire, the former director of national intelligence, fired days after permitting a subordinate to provide just such an honest assessment. Maguire was replaced with unqualified Trump sycophant Richard Grenell, a former ambassador whose first order of business has been to fill the ranks with others like him: those willing to say only what Trump wants to hear.
As congressional Republicans made clear during the impeachment hearings, they’re willing to rationalize almost any level of presidential misbehavior to avoid rebuking Trump. Then, it was the rule of law that was compromised. Now, it’s the very security of the United States. And yet the GOP continues to shield Trump — not just from accountability but from reality. Where does this end?
As the New York Times revealed, intelligence officials earlier this month warned House lawmakers that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaigns with an eye toward aiding Trump’s reelection. Republicans in the room reportedly were furious — not that America’s top geopolitical foe is again trying to undermine U.S. elections, but at intelligence officials’ conclusions that the meddling was designed to help Trump. Why would that be, they wanted to know, when Trump has been so tough on Russia? Only in their alternate universe can Trump be regarded as tough on Russia.