After the sudden revocation of former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance without notice to his top security officials yesterday, Donald Trump’s behavior is looking quite a bit like it did right around the time that he fired former FBI Director James Comey: Kind of Obstruction-y.
That is to say, in the moments leading up to his firing of Comey, he was panicky at having only very recently found out just how far the FBI had gotten in an investigation into his ties to Russia, which even way back then were well-documented, despite a number of public denials. Of course, those denials came from Trump himself or people who are no longer considered credible. For example, the most strenuous denial was perhaps from a name you will likely recognize:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you or your campaign and Putin and his regime?
MANAFORT: No, there are not. That’s absurd. And, you know, there’s no basis to it.”
That’s from the night of the Democratic Convention, July 24th, 2016. When Paul Manafort, the man Trump has now tried to distance himself from, that guy who’s probably going to prison for the rest of his life here in a few days, was still very much his campaign chairman.
But the other important aspect is that Trump didn’t consult with his intelligence officials prior to firing Comey, and he went on television and — you’ll have to pardon the phrase here — he kind of flapped his lips about the fact that he fired Comey over the Russia investigation. We all saw it because it was during a live interview with Lester Holt. Jaws dropped.
Back to today: Without talking to his Director of National Intelligence, or really going through any of the proper procedures at all, Trump unceremoniously severed a career intelligence official’s ties to the community. Then he told the Wall Street Journal that the revocation was about the Mueller investigation.
It’s Comey all over again.
And through it all he’s been cheered on by, you guessed it, Russians. Here’s a young Russian billionaire who for some reason seemed to know three days before the original statement from the White House about revoking the clearances of Brennan, Clapper, Yates et. al. that such a thing might happen. He seems happy:
Those, of course, are translated tweets. They’re still up. You can get there from the link above the image.
But like Comey, Brennan has things to say, and Trump will not be happy about it. If you wondered why it took so long for Brennan, an active and outspoken opponent of the President, so long to respond to the revocation of his clearance, perhaps it’s because he was preparing this op-ed that ran in the New York Times this morning. From the piece:
While I had deep insight into Russian activities during the 2016 election, I now am aware — thanks to the reporting of an open and free press — of many more of the highly suspicious dalliances of some American citizens with people affiliated with the Russian intelligence services.
The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of ‘Trump Incorporated’ attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets.”
We all know what happened. Artem Klyushin, 30-something Russian billionaire who was in attendance at the signing of the Trump Tower Moscow contract in 2013, knows what happened.
Trump knows what happened. And now it’s time to pay the piper. The funny thing about that saying — pay the piper — is how men like Donald Trump take the moral of the “Pied Piper” story to be “don’t trust strangers,” when really, the moral is “always pay freelancers.” Trump’s own greed and illusion that he’s invincible will do him in.
Featured image via screen capture