Trump abuses enabled by Congress: Darcy cartoon

August 19, 2018 GMT

Trump abuses enabled by Congress: Darcy cartoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- President Trump’s revoking John Brennan’s security clearance, and threatening to revoke the security clearances of more of his critics, is a  politically motivated abuse of power.    In response to that blatant abuse of power, too many  Republicans in Congress have abdicated their power and duty to act as a check against abuse of power by the executive branch. 

Fifteen veteran intelligence officers signed a letter condemning President Trump’s retaliatory move against Brennan.  They served Republican and Democrat presidents dating back to the Reagan administration.  The following day, 60 lower ranking intelligence officers signed another letter condemning Trump’s order.

Those signing the first letter included former CIA Directors Robert Gates, William Webster, George Tenet, David Petraeus, Leon Panetta and General Michael Hayden.

The letters followed the Admiral who led the mission that hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden, requesting that Trump revoke his clearance too, in protest.

“We feel compelled to respond in the wake of the ill-considered and unprecedented remarks and actions by the White House.  We Know John to be an enormously talented, capable and patriotic individual who devoted his entire adult life to the service of the nation,” said the letter from the senior intelligence officials.

In contrast, Sen John Kennedy of Louisiana responded by calling former CIA Director John Brennan a “butthead.”

Kennedy was one of several Republican members of Congress who either shrugged at Trump’s decision or outright approved of it.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn actually said he didn’t see why any retired CIA Director or intelligence officer should keep their security clearance.    It’s stunning that any U.S. Senator, let alone the second ranking Republican member of the Senate would be that ignorant about the ways the intelligence agencies operate to keep the nation safe.

Former intelligence officers, especially CIA Directors keep their security clearances to ensure continuity, institutional memory, provide advice and information to their successors when needed.

Sen Lindsey Graham said Brennan has himself to blame for the way he exercised his free speech.

“I think Mr. Brennan brought this upon himself by being so outrageous in his comments, making conclusions that I don’t think are supported by the evidence, ” said Graham.    Graham ignores not only Trump’s outrageous conduct but also the fact that Brennan’s statements are supported by the First Amendment.

The protest letter from the senior intelligence officials stated, “We all agree that the president’s action has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances - and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech.   You don’t have to agree with what John Brennan says (and...not all of us do ) to agree with his right to say it, subject to his obligation to protect classified information.”

In their letter, the former CIA Directors called the allegations of wrongdoing against Brennan “Baseless.”

There is no evidence that Brennan divulged classified information.  But it is known that Trump divulged classified information to two Russian diplomats in the Oval Office that compromised the United States and Israel.  

Flynn still has security clearance he tried to monetize.

There is no evidence Brennan attempted to monetize his security clearance.   But Michael Flynn still has his security clearance despite taking a plea deal in the Russian investigation where he has been under scrutiny for attempting to monetize his position in the Trump campaign and as National Security adviser, with the Russians and Turkey.  

Does Kennedy think Flynn is a “butthead” too?  Is Graham fine with Flynn and Jared Kushner having security clearances?

Republicans ignoring Brennan’s Red warning flag.

Republicans approving silencing the alarm Brennan has been ringing is alarming.  Brennan was still CIA Director when the Russian investigations began.   Trump has now admitted he pulled Brennan’s clearance in retribution for his involvement in the Russian investigation.

When Brennan calls Trump’s collusion “Hogwash” that should get the attention of every member of Congress.  Brennan is speaking with the authority and background knowledge that they don’t have.   Brennan is in a better position than anyone in Congress to know if Trump’s involved with collusion and treasonous behavior.

The only people who would know more about it than the former CIA Director who was on the job when the investigation began, are Trump, Putin, Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Chris Wray  and the Mueller team. 

Republicans in Congress burying their heads in the sand about Trump conduct that debases the presidency has been par for the course.   If they continue to do so, the blue wave will bury them entirely in the sand and it will take years to dig themselves out

If the current Republican Congress was in office during the Nixon presidency, Nixon would never had to resigned, because this Republican Congress has revoked it principals and spine.