Richard Grenell, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, recently made history by being appointed as the first openly gay Director of National Intelligence who wasn’t fawned over by the Left and the media for being openly gay. Of course, this historic moment is being ignored because racial minorities, women and LGBTQ people are only legitimately allowed to make history if they are Leftists.
Grenell is being appointed as Acting Director replacing Admiral Joseph Maguire, whom Trump made Acting Director in August of last year. Maguire is a Navy SEAL with some 36 years of active duty. He is a former VP of Booze Allen Hamilton and was CEO of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
On Friday the New York Times, citing anonymous sources, claimed that Maguire’s office had briefed Congressional leaders on an assessment that Russia intended to meddle in the 2020 elections in favor of President Trump. It was claimed that Trump was incensed that this assessment was given to Congress (to leak to the NY Times) before DNI Maguire briefed the White House. Based on this Trump angrily decided to boot Maguire and replace him with an unqualified loyalist, Amb Grenell. As one might expect, given the last three years, the Democrats have announced that the results of the 2020 elections are now invalid because of Russian meddling benefiting Trump.
Probably none of the media narrative described above is true or factual. Adm. Maguire, as an Acting Director, was required by law to step down in early March anyway, so his replacement was certainly about compliance with the statute on temporary cabinet replacements.
One could argue that Maquire should have been given the job as he is well qualified but he probably sank his own chances of that by appearing before Schiff’s House Intel Committee in September 2019 and saying of CIA employee Eric Ciaramella: “I think the whistleblower did the right thing. I think he followed the law every step of the way.” He said this while saying that he did know.
At the same time, he refused to release the report to Democrats who were making angry demands for it at the time. This was while Trump was denouncing the whistleblower as a partisan “hack” who had ties to VP Biden. It’s one thing to accuse Trump of only wanting loyalists working for him (not a new thing for Presidents), but Maguire broke with his boss in public. This is not going to get you a permanent position with this administration.
Ambassador Grenell is not a “walk-on” in this position with zero experience in intelligence matters. He has a Masters’s degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. For eight years, Grenell was the U.S. Spokesman at the United Nations and would certainly have access and dealings with classified information and contacts in the intelligence agencies. His Ambassadorship to Germany is an important one since Germany is a key strategic ally and NATO member. In this role, Grenell is actually part of the intelligence apparatus of this country.
Getting back to the Intel Committee briefing and the quickly unraveling NY Times story: The Administration has pushed back hard against claims that the intel assessment briefed to Schiff’s Intel Committee stated that Russia was actively intervening on behalf of Trump. The counterclaim is that the assessment was that Russia has a preference for dealing with Trump, that he is willing to negotiate and make deals. That hardly qualifies as Russian meddling in an election. Trump’s reaction was likely related to hearing about the briefing and the assessment from Congressman Nunces, rather than from Maguire, and the belief that Democrats on the committee would immediately spin it and leak it to the press — which they seemed to have wasted no time in doing.
If Putin watched the factional debacle of the Democratic Debates the other night, he would be right to conclude that Trump isn’t going to need Russia’s help in 2020. That being said, Russia has very good reasons to meddle (if it can) in 2020. The result of their meddling in 2016 was for the Democrats to declare the election invalid, and then do everything in their power to remove Trump from office. There were no consequences for Putin or Russia for their meddling, it all fell on President Trump. So Russia doesn’t actually have to influence an election in this country, it just has to appear to be doing so and the Democrats are willing to do the rest of the work for them.