Thursday, February 20, 2020

Trump Names Richard Grenell Acting Director of National Intelligence

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening is expected to name Ambassador Richard Grenell as his new acting director of national intelligence, making Grenell the first openly gay cabinet member in a GOP administration in the history of the country.
Trump’s decision to name an effective loyalist to the position of acting director of national intelligence is likely to rankle powerful intelligence community officials, especially in the wake of the president’s acquittal by the U.S. Senate on the highly partisan articles of impeachment that the U.S. House brought against him. When Trump had previously put Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) up for the director of national intelligence position, deep state-aligned Democrats freaked out claiming Ratcliffe was not experienced enough for the job—despite the fact he’s served on the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and has been focused on intelligence community issues during his several years in Congress. Under scrutiny on these fronts, Ratcliffe eventually withdrew from the appointment before the U.S. Senate took up his confirmation process—leaving the position open until now, where Trump is subbing Grenell into the role in an acting capacity.
Immediately upon the news breaking that Trump is turning to Grenell for the job, several top supporters of the president weighed in praising the selection:
An amazing choice!!! @realDonaldTrump deserves someone he can trust and someone who knows how to get things done in this position.

Congrats @RichardGrenell go get em.

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 19, 2020
Serving as acting director of national intelligence will not require Grenell to be Senate-confirmed—if he were being appointed into the role permanently he would need Senate confirmation—but he can only serve for three months in the position. Many sources close to the Trump reelection campaign expect Grenell, an outspoken supporter of the president, to eventually make his way to the campaign trail in some capacity as Trump seeks reelection. But this posting as acting director of national intelligence will serve as an at least three-month-long stop along the way in a key position for the president post-impeachment, as he seeks to rein in an unruly and restless deep state.
Given Trump’s political battles with the intelligence community, Grenell’s appointment this week is surely going to rile that same ire that Ratcliffe’s previous appointment did as deep state apologists are likely going to make the factually inaccurate case that Grenell lacks the experience to lead the intelligence community. One figure from the intelligence community, the so-called “whistleblower” whose complaint led to Trump’s impeachment and then acquittal, is perhaps the most egregious example of Trump’s war with the spooks, but the president has long been battling the entrenched and powerful spies that comprise that deep state on everything from major policy decisions to fabricated scandals hurting the administration. Leaks, too, have plagued Trump from the beginning, many of them coming from the intelligence community—not to mention the president’s ongoing battles for policy control with people from this world, as evidenced perhaps most sharply by some of the Democrats’ impeachment witnesses’ disagreements with the president on Ukraine policy. Grenell, in his new capacity, will be tasked with solving all of these problems and more—a daunting and bold mission for one of the president’s closest and most effective allies. ---->
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