Last week Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsSeize the opportunity to make real intelligence reform Trump met with Nunes to discuss potential replacements for Dan Coats: report The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by JUUL Labs – Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke MORE, the Director of National Intelligence, said it was “frustrating” to hear “rumors” about being fired by President TrumpDonald John TrumpIlhan Omar defends Cummings after Trump attacks: He ‘wants to distract with his racism’ Donald Trump: ‘The Great Divider’ De Blasio: Democratic debates should address ‘why did we lose and what do we do differently’ MORE.

They were more than rumors.

On Sunday, Trump confirmed via Twitter that Coats is leaving his position on August 15.


Officially, Coats is resigning — but no-one really doubts that he has been pushed out by the president.

The president had already met with aides in late July to figure out a replacement, according to several news reports.

Coats fell out of favor with Trump for publicly confirming Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Trump appointee also raised eyebrows at a conference when he revealed Trump failed to consult with him before extending an invitation to the White House to Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinMulvaney: ‘We’re doing everything necessary’ on election security Baltimore Sun editorial board lashes out at Trump: ‘Better to have a few rats than to be one’ The mysterious Mister Mifsud and why no one wants to discuss him MORE.

Now Coats is on the way out, just for doing his job. That has got to be frustrating.

But it is Coats’s proposed replacement that takes this story beyond frustrating and straight to outrageous.

Trump will nominate Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeConservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by Farm Credit — Dems grapple with Mueller fallout Winners and losers from Robert Mueller’s testimony MORE (R-Texas) to fill the role. Ratcliffe is a pure political player.

He is a direct threat to the nonpartisan reputation of America’s intelligence agencies and to their ability to protect the country by producing unbiased, first-rate information.

He auditioned for the role last week, when he subjected Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: ‘I’d like to know’ if Mueller read his own report MORE to harsh questioning when the former special counsel appeared before Congress,

Ratcliffe absurdly accused Mueller of having failed to respect “the bedrock principle of our justice system…a presumption of innocence,” when it came to Trump.

At the second of two hearings that day, Ratcliffe pumped conspiracy theories and innuendo into the congressional record, as he quizzed Mueller about the Steele dossier and the FISA warrant against former Trump aide Carter Page.

These are two red herrings that Trump allies have consistently used to try to discredit Mueller — and to downplay the threat from Russia.

Yes, that John Ratcliffe is now the nominee to be Director of National Intelligence.

It could have been even worse. Another name reported to have been in the mix was Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHouse Republicans claim victory after Mueller hearings Winners and losers from Robert Mueller’s testimony Live coverage: Mueller testifies before Congress MORE (R-Calif.).

This is the mudslinger who lied by saying he had evidence to support Trump’s claim that President Obama “wiretapped” Trump during the 2016 election.

Nunes’s claim to fame comes from his eagerness to promote Trump’s “deep state” and “witch-hunt” narratives about the intelligence agencies. The goal is to undermine the credibility of their findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump win.

Ratcliffe and Nunes are enablers for Trump, allowing the White House to turn a blind eye to ongoing Russian interference.

Together, they and other allies of the president promoted baseless charges that Trump’s critics told lies that led to the U.S. counterintelligence probe into Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign.

Their goal remains distracting people from the reality that Russians repeatedly met with Trump aides and spent millions on social media to damage Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDonald Trump: ‘The Great Divider’ The mysterious Mister Mifsud and why no one wants to discuss him Hillicon Valley: DOJ approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Trump targets Google, Apple | Privacy groups seek to intervene in Facebook settlement | Democrats seize on Mueller hearings in election security push MORE.

Instead of facing that ugly truth, Ratcliffe, Nunes and Trump continue to feed conspiracy theories to right-wing websites and conservative talk radio.

Nunes came to Congress in 2003 — a time when Republicans hurled words like “treason” and “unpatriotic” at anyone who dared to criticize then-President George W. Bush’s administration over the Iraq War and its handling of the war on terror.

But after election interference in 2016, 2018 and going into 2020, we are now in a 21st century cyberwar with Russia.

Should we be calling Nunes’s patriotism into question?

“The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections,” FBI Director Christopher Wray testified to Congress the day before former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s asserted that the Russian interference is ongoing.

“It wasn’t a single attempt,” Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee last week. “They’re doing it as we sit here.”

Wray emphasized that the U.S. has — even now — not done enough to deter Russian interference.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisTrump gives boost to state drug import plans The Hill’s Latina Leaders to Watch 2019 Florida public schools will be required to provide mental health education for students MORE, a Republican, said in May Russian hackers had breached voting systems in two counties in his state. We still don’t know which counties were affected — or what, if anything, is being done to protect those systems.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff wishes Mueller had testified in ‘more narrative fashion’ Schiff: Mueller testimony about Russian interference was ‘chilling’ Mulvaney defends Trump’s ‘infested’ remarks in grilling from Chris Wallace MORE (D-Calif.) recently said he had been unaware that three Senate races had been attacked by Russia.

Earlier this year, former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenDemocrats seize on Mueller hearings in election security push Trump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report Trump’s family separation policy has taken US to ‘lowest depth possible,’ says former immigration lawyer MORE was reportedly told by White House Chief of Staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyWarner: ‘Common sense’ election security bills ‘would get 75 votes’ if brought to the Senate floor Mulvaney: ‘We’re doing everything necessary’ on election security Mulvaney defends Trump’s ‘infested’ remarks in grilling from Chris Wallace MORE not to mention Russian interference in front of Trump for fear it would upset him by calling into question the legitimacy of his presidency.

But wait, it gets worse.


Hours after Mueller’s impassioned plea, Senate Republicans led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWarner: ‘Common sense’ election security bills ‘would get 75 votes’ if brought to the Senate floor Mulvaney: ‘We’re doing everything necessary’ on election security ‘Mitch McConnell is a Russian’ trends after GOP senator blocks election security bills MORE (Ky.), blocked three bills passed by the House of Representatives to safeguard U.S. elections from foreign interference.

Should we be calling into question the patriotism of every Republican who last week voted against the election security bills?

McConnell dismissed the bills as “partisan” and its authors as promoters of a “conspiracy theory.”

“This is an issue of patriotism, of national security, of protecting the very integrity of American democracy, something so many of our forbears died for. And what do we hear from the Republican side? Nothing,” said Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell under fire for burying election bills in ‘legislative graveyard’ Washington Post columnist accuses McConnell of doing ‘Putin’s bidding’ Collins says she hasn’t decided on 2020 run, criticizes ‘dark money groups’ MORE (N.Y.), the top Democrat in the Senate.

“To this day, Mr. Trump refuses to acknowledge the seriousness of Russian intervention, and the Republican-controlled Senate is unwilling to consider legislation for enhanced election security — maybe because doing either could be seen as an admission that the election was tainted,” the New York Times editorial board correctly pointed out.

“Conceding the obvious might seem like a small price to pay. But the president appears more concerned with nursing his ego than safeguarding American democracy — and that puts us all, Republicans, Democrats and independents, at risk.”

Let history record that a delusional president, concerned only with his own ego, and a traitorous Republican Congress, concerned only with their own reelections, chose to ignore Mueller.

Instead, Ratcliffe is the president’s nominee to head national intelligence.

God save us.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

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