John Ratcliffe and Accountability for a President Who Lives in a Fox News Bubble

Garrett Graff argues that, even given the list of indicted or otherwise disgraced former Trump officials, John Ratcliffe may be Trump’s most alarming personnel decision. I don’t disagree that the Ratcliffe decision is dangerous. But Graff’s argument made me realize something else about the pick. Ratcliffe is dangerous because he may render the entire intelligence apparatus useless, but useless for a purpose it is not currently supposed to serve.

Graff describes, accurately, what the purported function of the Intelligence Community is: to provide the President with the best possible information that he will use — the assumption goes — to make the best possible decisions for our country.

The biggest danger Ratcliffe poses is to the integrity of the job of director of national intelligence in the first place; the core principle of the intelligence professional is to speak truth to power.

The US spends $60 billion a year on the nation’s intelligence apparatus, a workforce of tens of thousands ranging from CIA officers and FBI agents to NSA cryptologists and hackers, NGA analysts, interpretation experts at the NRO, financial wizards at the Treasury Department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, and much more.

All of that money and all of those workers share a simple uniting goal: To ensure that the president of the United States is, in every conversation and decision, the most informed, knowledgeable, best-prepared person in the room. They enable the president and his advisors to anticipate problems and opportunities; understand the mind, decision-making, and internal pressures of foreign leaders far and wide; know from satellites overhead, cables underground, and agents in the field what’s happening the world over—and why.

It’s odd, when you think about it, that you can have this enormous bureaucracy and the sole justification for it all, in statute, is to make the President smart. That’s not even practically how it works anymore — so many people in and outside that bureaucracy make decisions based off their work, and Congress increasingly relies on it too, that that justification seems rather odd when laid out like that. But that is what the legal justification remains.

Having laid out that accurate justification, Graff argues, correctly, that Ratcliffe’s record as a toady for Trump means he won’t speak truth to power as Dan Coats has at key times.

With a president so divorced from daily reality as Trump, it’s all the more important to fill the role of DNI with someone whose first duty is to puncture the Fox News fever swamp bubble that surrounds the White House, and provide real facts, grounded analysis, and ensure—to whatever extent possible—that the information that flows into the Oval Office and the decisions that flow out of it are informed and strategic.’

This is, technically, the problem, at least if you buy all the arguments about the function of the IC. If Ratcliffe shades the intelligence and tells Trump what he wants to hear, rather than what the IC believes to be true, then Trump’s decisions won’t be as rigorous.

Except if all that’s true — if the most important role of the DNI is to accurately convey the true intelligence the IC has created — then it doesn’t much matter who Trump appoints. That’s because it doesn’t matter whether Trump hears the truth or not, he doesn’t use intelligence anyway. He’s going to do what his gut and Fox News tells him to do, regardless of whether it flies in the face of reality. Hell, much of the GOP will go along these days, including our Fox saturated Attorney General, who has in less obvious but no less dangerous ways lost his grip of a reality independent of the Fox bubble.

What Graff seems to suggest is that Coats currently serves as a signal to the rest of us, a siren letting us know what reality is and when the President is defying it with his policy choices. When Coats tells us North Korea will continue to pursue its nuclear program in spite of all the photo ops the President stages, it’s providing us a tool to say he’s wrong, but it’s doing little (outside of Congress) to force the President to adopt a policy on North Korea based on what Kim Jong Un will actually do.

Of course, Ratcliffe is a problem for a bunch of other reasons. It’s not just that he will brief the President with false claims the President wants to be true, but he will order up the entire bureaucracy to replicate the false claims the President wants to be true, in defiance of known facts. He will fire competent people and replace them with people willing to serve up the false claims the President wants to be true; indeed, both he and Trump have already said that’s what he wants to do. He will also probably sanction the misuse of intelligence (he has already called for investigations into Jim Comey and others that have already happened, with unknown conclusions, which suggests he wants the outcome of those investigations to be different than what they are).

Those are all dangerous things. But that they present the real threat to the Ratcliffe appointment, they signal that the IC doesn’t actually serve the purpose laid out in statute anymore and that — especially in the wake of the Iraq War debacle (in the wake of which the DNI position was created, as a way to avoid similar catastrophes in the future) — the public has grown to expect the IC to serve as a measure of whether the President has spun free of reality (Obama did this most notably on Syria and Afghanistan).

There’s a hope, I think, that the IC can save us all from being forced to live in Trump and Ratcliffe and Bill Barr’s Fox News bubble, or at the very least, bringing Trump back from the bubble into reality.

If that’s really what purpose we expect it to serve, we need a dramatically different IC than we currently have.

62 replies
  1. SK says:

    I would suggest to both Graff and Ms. Wheeler that there’s a lesson from Whitaker here, though. The biggest problem isn’t the incompetent loyalist — I mean, Ratcliffe won’t “make the president smarter” but that wasn’t happening anyway, and he doesn’t know or have the relationships in the IC necessary to much control it from ODNI (Coats was pretty weak there, and he is a hundred times more competent than Ratcliffe). The harm he’ll do is mostly spreading disinformation and conspiracies that the Republicans can echo.
    I would argue that instead the model is Whitaker/Barr — the guy to fear isn’t the incompetent toady but the competent one you turn to in desperation after.

    • Americana says:

      Hahaha! The incompetent partisan Rat has been dropped from consideration for the DNI position. Democrats and Republicans voiced concerns about Ratcliffe. I’ve heard no one in the Democratic or Republican ranks or leadership thus far mention the possibility Ratcliffe ratted out the Justice Department’s investigation to Trump once Ratcliffe weaseled his way into those Trump-Russia briefings. The Republicans might never broach the realities of the reasons for Trump nominating this guy. Trump as usual is trying to save himself from the political implications of this desperation move by him by pretending the media is “treating John Ratcliffe so unfairly” (fave phrase). This smackdown of a self-serving Trump lackey, umm, nominee, couldn’t have happened at a better time.

        • bmaz says:

          Your comment was edited and shortened before being freed up. Both Rayne and I have warned you about run on comments. Maybe, someday, you will catch on.

          Long comments are never an issue when there is worthwhile discussion and conversation involved. There is pretty much nobody here that does not understand this, nor who violates the idea. And, when they do it is acceptable because it is important, and/or because they are people that have been here forever and we trust implicitly.

          It is, literally, at this point, only you. Try to work on this.

  2. Geoff says:

    …and thusly, the Idiocracy is complete.

    You will get your dramatically different IC. Unfortunately, it will be dramatically different in that the career people who are disgusted with the erosion of leadership will either be forced out, drubbed out via demoralization, or will just quit out of principle, so as not to be attached to the now rotting corpse that was “intelligence.” At this point, we don’t really have anything but a politicized shell of an organization. And as you said, it’s not that Trump needs the actual information, it’s there so that we can see clearly that he disregards any truth on intelligence that reaches his mind at all. More likely most of it goes right past him, or he waves his hand and bats it away. The real danger is that we will no longer know reality. This is how we are becoming “Gaslit Nation”.

    • PSWebster says:

      No me gusta! Trump knows reality and he is playing it for all he can: gaslighting his consolidation and concentration of power. Coming up to 71 I am aghast at what I am seeing. First the SJO now DNI…

      I dunno folks: I think I have been naively liberal believing everything will work out. It has been decades of change which, like the Climate Crisis, I missed almost completely except too lately recognizing this rock will probably revert to just a rock.

      Some will make it a little longer and then as Ted Turner said around 1988 “we will just resort to cannibalism for lack of food”…something like that. FOck.

  3. Marinela says:

    It looks like the institutions are not going to hold up in the end. As it was said numerous times, Trump is consolidating power, and soon will be a point of no return.
    Even with Mueller, he protected the DOJ institution, he didn’t step outside of his mandate, he didn’t discuss deliberations, etc, but for what? DOJ, under Bill Barr now, is not protected anyway. I wish Mueller was more forthcoming with the things he knew when he had the one chance.

    So people of really good intentions are powerless in this climate, bad players are being empowered, and soon who knows what is going to happen with almost everybody around Trump being a yes man.

    • vicks says:

      “So people of really good intentions are powerless in this climate”
      Generations of brave men and women have fought and died for the freedoms that this reality tv show star and his fans are trying to take away. Rolling over and taking it is not an option
      It took Puerto Rico 12 days to throw out their governor, and they are continuing to clean out the filth he surrounded himself with.
      Now it’s our turn.

  4. Thomas H.A. says:

    If the Ratcliffe nomination makes it through Congress, trump will leave behind an actual “deep state” of toadies for his successor to clean up. (Sorry for posting under a different handle: I don’t remember my previous one, it’s been so long…not wishing to invoke the wrath of Rayne.)

  5. Tom says:

    If Ratcliffe becomes the DNI, he will be confronted every day with trained career intelligence professionals whose knowledge and experience of real world threats to America will be in direct contrast to the conspiratorial babble he’s been hearing from Fox News. I like to think that at some point the news bubble he’s been living in will be punctured and that the rational part of his brain will tell him that the Fox News view of things simply doesn’t make sense compared with what the IC is telling him.

    I could be wrong, but I imagine Ratcliffe might very well become tremendously stressed when he begins to feel the full responsibility of his position, especially if he reaches the point where he’s giving the President skewed or sanitized intelligence briefings based on information and conclusions that he, Ratcliffe, may have begun to suspect are not true. There’s also the fact that Ratcliffe has a wife and two daughters. Surely it won’t escape him that he’ll be placing them at risk, along with the rest of the country and its allies, if he insists on telling the President what he wants to hear rather than the unvarnished truth.

    • oldoilfieldhand says:

      If Ratcliffe’s DNA included even a scintilla of independent, cognitive capability, he most certainly would not be under consideration for a position that could interfere with the plans of Trumps’s handlers. Trump very obviously knows nothing about vetting or due diligence, or much else, other than how to brag, embarrass himself, shock people and control the message through outrage and hyperbole.
      Wake up!. The Presindebt is not picking these totally unqualified, immoral clowns in his cabinet. It’s the people holding his debt that are choosing the cabinet members currently dismantling the American government from within.

  6. MissingGeorgeCarlin says:

    Tom, I greatly appreciate your sentiments but this is the modern GOP we’re talking about.

    Hasn’t that ship sailed already?
    I’m 50 and grew up wondering if I’d ever live to see a national disaster in the USA.

    It seems like we’re in a huge crisis right now and hoping for people to ‘do the right thing’ is starting to feel almost naive.

    • Marinela says:

      Yes, it is naive to think Ratcliffe is anything but a disgusting enabler for Trump.
      Like Barr, like Mitch McConnell.
      He is nominated to help Trump go after Obama officials, or political hits, to stack the agency with Trump loyalists, so that after Trump is out of the office he stays “above the law”, to provide cover for the next war…

      But, if he doesn’t get confirmed, the next nominated person is probably worse.
      In the mean time, DNI will be leaded by an “acting”.

    • Tom says:

      MGC, yes, I know I sound naïve and as I said, I could be wrong, but I’m getting close to 70 and have found that in life the worst doesn’t always happen.

      • Tullalove says:

        I appreciate this, Tom, but at 44, I see the situation not as “the worst happening,” but as the slow-ish erosion of the value of truth, so the worst happens without our even realizing it as the worst.

        Ratcliffe would be another significant card in the deck stacked in favor of creating enough questions about what is readily apparent that those in power can create their own narratives.

        My generation has been complacent enough to have the worst creep up in small enough degrees to give GOP and certain Libs cover while the worst continues to creep up on us. Time is up: call out the racists, the xenophobes, and the ones who want to create a minority rule, using their theories of the law as a thin facade of legitimacy. It’s easier to sow chaos through lies than it is to do the hard work of trying to get the facts straight.

        As DNI, Ratcliffe will find it easier to sow that chaos than the good career people will be able to answer him with facts and good analysis.

      • Marinela says:

        Donald Trump being elected is my proof that in life worst did happen.
        What is worse than Donald Trump being elected? Are you saying that Hillary as president would be such a bad alternative, versus Trump. If this is what you meant, you sound like “Moscow Mitch” argument to defend Trump, it could be worse, Hillary could be president.
        Taking a lot from granted, if you, as a 70 years old, are not seeing the process of boiling frog slowly happening now. By the time you realize the danger, it is too late to react.

        • Tullalove says:

          Trump’s election isn’t even yet “the worst.” That’s why us frogs have to continue noting that the fucking pot is boiling!

        • Tom says:

          Please don’t misunderstand me. The only thing worse than Trump being elected is for him to be re-elected. And for Hillary to have won the Presidency in 2016 would have been INFINITELY better for America and the world than having Trump in the White House. And being old enough to remember Watergate, I realize the damage that Trump and his corrupt administration are doing is far worse than anything Nixon was guilty of. And I understand the boiling frog metaphor as well. Up here in Canada, Stephen Harper used to remind his staff that, “The longer I’m Prime Minister … the longer I’m Prime Minister.” In other words, with every day that goes by the harder it becomes for succeeding administrations to undo what has been done. Which is why I think the Democrats should move ahead on an impeachment enquiry NOW rather than trying to read the entrails of any polling results or waiting for the proper alignment of the stars.

          People hoped the office of the Presidency would somehow transform Trump. It didn’t happen, but I’m holding out some faint hope for Ratcliffe if he becomes DNI.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            People who ‘hoped’ the office of the Presidency would somehow transform Trump for the better were fools, who discredited themselves in the eyes of many of us. Their need to believe that Trump could become decent was a delusion obvious to anyone who has ever been cheated, lied to, or screwed. Trump is singularly strange, and their failure to assess his unusual characteristics and ‘will to power’ was downright dangerous and irresponsible. (FWIW, many in the MSM pooh-pooh the gossipy Michael Wolff, but his attention to detail and character is more insightful than ten tomes of academic scribblings and punditry. He has an absolutely uncanny ear for dialogue, and his sketches are ominous and revealing. Given Wolff’s descriptions, it was predictable that Trump would knife Coats in the back, and then bring in a willing toady; Trump’s ego can’t tolerate any form of dissent. And this appears to be increasingly problematic as he becomes more erratic.)

            As for Trump’s elevation to the Presidency (almost certainly a legalistic sham), as well as Hillary’s failure to win convincingly… it’s an extremely grim and dangerous situation, but it’s also increasingly apparent that there are multiple silver linings.

            For starters, a *lot* of hidden enemies are being revealed. We are seeing the outlines of forces that operate best in darkness, and that — like cockroaches scuttling for cover — are in danger if exposed. Whether it’s the GOP House members, mob influence in banking and legislation, tax havens, the National Enquirer’s shenanigans, or Flynn/Kushner/Trump ambitions to sell nuclear technologies to ME dictators, a lot of sinister things are now being revealed. Had Hillary been elected, we’d still be in the dark and these same forces would be undermining her from the shadows, continuing to corrode institutions and businesses in ways that we failed to understand.

            However, Sen Liz Warren — and others — are astute in pointing out that Trump is as much a symptom as he is a cause. It takes the focus off Trump and shifts it to the larger context, as EW does in this post. IMVHO, this approach can help us see far more clearly, and in that sense, it is quite productive and wonderfully diagnostic.

            Trump could not have perverted the federal government without the GOP enablers in the House, and then the Senate. Mitch McConnell, who had already shown himself a power monger of the most depraved nature when he refused to bring Merrick Garland up for hearing, is now being openly called #MoscowMitch even on ‘mainstream media’ by no less a media titan than Joe Scarborough. At this point, Joe Scarborough does as good a job of pointing to Trump’s disconnect from reality as anyone, and — having grown up in the South — with a fair amount of street cred.

            If the role of the IC is to inform the President, but the President refuses to be informed, then it calls the premise and functions of the IC into question. Clearly, this system needs a rethink. We’ll have Trump to perversely ‘thank’ for it.

            • Americana says:

              You’re onto something here, Tea, w/this idea that we’re uncovering a lot of horrendous machinations we might otherwise not have known about or understood if Hillary Clinton had become POTUS. I began to have an inkling of just how bad things were getting when the Koch brothers bailed nearly two years ago and said they’d work w/any Democrats who were sort of on board w/some of their policies. To have the Koch brothers recognizing they’ve poisoned the conservative well w/their propaganda to this extent was telling.

              Will we feel slightly more stability once IG Horowitz’s report has been released if it bolsters the remaining trustworthy individuals who are in place like FBI Director Christopher Wray? I hope so. To hear Fox talking heads like Lou Dobbs trying to raise the spectre of Trump firing Wray on the grounds Wray isn’t backing Trump over the Mueller report and viz the Trump-Russia probe was sickening.

  7. Mainmata says:

    What I’ve worried about throughout the Trump era is how much our critical intelligence is deliberately being sent to our enemies (Russia, KSA, others) by Trump and his cronies like Jared. Shouldn’t the IC take precautions by essentially providing “intelligence” to Ratcliffe (or whoever is confirmed) and Trump that doesn’t compromise our national security interests and assets?

    • viget says:


      But what also is worrisome? Ratcliffe might be a Barr for CI investigations. Meaning he could interfere with the ongoing investigations and either skew their information or shut them down completely. That would essentially wipe out the last hope we have for any of the truth coming to light and trying to stop the GOP/Russian/Middle East machine. It would be the end of the beginning of our slide to totalitarianism and Russian-style kleptocracy.

      Sort of OT, but has anyone been watching Years and Years on HBO? That show scares the everloving beejezus out of me, but I can’t help but think their timeline is actually too long. In a way, their scenario seems more optimistic than our current one, and that’s a hard pill to swallow.

  8. OldTulsaDude says:

    What is the eventual goal? It looks like the goal is an American version of the Russian oligarchy. Are we witnessing players positioning themselves to that end, accompanied by the erosion of any check against that tide?

    • JamesJoyce says:

      I’m thinking old dudes think alike…

      Trump is a corporate fascist. He is Eisenhower’s worst nightmare. This is a full-scale assault on a system of checks and balances designed to protect constitutional rights. No different than constitutional rights in Germany stripped under the guise of Nuremberg laws as a young man sits the “tank” for 26 days as an American citizen with proof positive of citizenship?

      How fascists does this get? Radcliffe is a vampire who just got staked and vaporized by the Sun.

      President Dwight David Eisenhower – January 17, 1961

      Ike’s Farewell Address (Excerpts)


      “Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.
      Now this conjunction of an ——————————————————–is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.”

      “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought,.”

      “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

      “We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”


      “Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.”

      “In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
      Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been over shadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.”

      “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”

      “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system-ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”


      “Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we-you and I, and our government-must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow”.

      “We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.”

      “We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”

      We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.”

      Trump is a social disease, when viewed through the lenses of a Farewell Address presented by a man charged with defeating fascists in Germany and Italy.

      Now we have a fascist in the White House.

      The executive discriminator is no King Midas. Everything he touches rots with time.

      Ike Vomits 🤮.

  9. Ruthie says:


    I wanted write this in response to a comment about potential IC whistleblowers on a thread earlier in the week but didn’t have the time.

    The idea that our only recourse to this shit show might rely on the moral conscience and integrity of (some part of) the IC makes me nauseous. While I wouldn’t argue for getting rid of it, there have been so many problematic elements within it – and so little accountability for same – I just don’t have the level of optimism to believe that’s realistic. The Iraq war debacle, and more recently, Gina Haspell’s appointment as CIA Director despite her involvement in torture, are illustrations of why that hope is so naive.

    • BobCon says:

      I wrote my screed in a separate thread, but this is breathtakingly bad thinking.

      Alex Pareene’s take is solid:

      >”John Lewis isn’t from the South” is peak
      >Times brain. Poor whites are both zoo
      >creatures and the Only True Americans
      > to them. They despise you, readers.

      Someone else pointed out that Weisman tweeted in 2016 “Defeated Dems could’ve tapped Rust Belt populist to head party. Instead, black, Muslim progressive from Minneapolis?”

      The guy he’s referring to, Keith Ellison, was since elected to *statewide* office in Minnesota, which presumably Weisman will now insist is not part of the Midwest.

      Times Washington editor! Their politics desk is broken beyond repair.

      • P J Evans says:

        I think of Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Dakotas as “Northern Tier”, not “Midwest”. I’m not sure that Ohio and Michigan are “Midwest”, either. (I suspect it depends on which coast you live near. For me, “Midwest” is Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska.)

        • BobCon says:

          I’m sure we’ll get scorching takes from the NY Times about how there is no way the regular Midwesterners in Illinois would ever support an “urban” guy with a Kenyan name….

      • Democritus says:

        I will go look for it! It’s just SUCH fucking bs. *Throws hands in air*

        Also sick of progressives vs pragmatist I just saw on MSNBC.

        FFS Progressive can be, I would argue ARE, pragmatic. It’s just they are pragmatic for everyone, not just what’s pragmatic rich whites who already have power.

        It’s like they never heard of Keynes, or old fashioned New Del programs… it’s just… grumbles in frustration.

        (Guess who should NOT have turned on cable news a few minutes ago? ;-)

      • Democritus says:

        Fucking coward, someone also posted some bs he, NYT Weissman, pulled in 2016. I skim through so much I sometimes can’t remember where I read something.

        Our media landscape is fucked.

        I was reading Charles Pierce and enjoyed his caustic take on the theatrics on CNN trying to start a dem food fight.

        Subtitled “Kill this debate format with god’s own holy fire. Do it now.” 😂 there needs to be a dark humor laughter emoji. We all needs this for this dystopian hellscape.

        Also been reading Cambridge Analytica emails showing they had something to do with Brexit.

        It’s like that old Russian geopolitical strategic book all started to came to fruition within a few years.

      • harpie says:

        1] Here’s Weisman on deleting the tweet:
        7:26 AM – 31 Jul 2019

        Earlier this morning I tried to make a point about regional differences in politics between urban and rural areas. I deleted the tweets because I realize I did not adequately make my point.

        2] This is a response from Nate Silver:
        9:19 AM – 31 Jul 2019

        That’s not accurate. You made a different point. Using several members of Congress as examples, 3 of 4 of whom are nonwhite, you said people from major cities in the Midwest aren’t really from the Midwest, and people from major cities in the South aren’t really from the South.
        [screenshot of tweet]
        p.s. I’ve never shied away from criticism of NYT, but also said it should be directed at editors and not reporters/writers.
        This guy @jonathanweisman is their Deputy Washington Editor. That should tell you something. He bears direct responsibility for problems w/ their coverage

        3] The following is the Weisman tweet before the one quoted above:
        6:49 PM – 30 Jul 2019

        Admit it, you’re in love with Marianne Williamson — or at least her dusky voice.

        • Democritus says:

          Oh seriously? Let’s sexualize the women candidates.😑

          Just saw this in re Brett-twat Stephens,

          (my standard disclaimer when using twat, mind you a vagina is wonderful, beautiful, life giving part of the body. My problem is solely with twats of the full grown human kind)

          He snarked in the follow up tweet with:

          “Multi-national corporations have no loyalty to America.”

          “Ma’am, you’re insulting the troops.”

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Note to the Guardian: The “fierce challenges” that Democratic progressives faced last night was not from the weak field of so-called moderates. It was from CNN and its odd assortment of “moderators.”

    Those moderators appeared to be happily using questions ginned up by Republican bots that were designed to generate a sense of chaos and a leadership adrift from reality.

    CNN’s debater forum of the absurd desperately tried to steer the opposition party into a rightward course. I thought that was supposed to be the GOP’s job and a choice to be left to American voters. Has Lachlan Murdoch made an acquisition he hasn’t announced?


  11. rip says:

    I don’t know much about the chain of command anymore in the IC but if the DNI is really at the pinnacle of the intelligence branches, and if the IC has some operational capabilities, couldn’t these capabilities be used in nefarious ways by the pResident?

    I do agree with Mainmata and others that just having these weasels in charge of the hen house will leak lots of sensitive information to our erstwhile adversaries. Information that could be used to purge and disable our foreign intelligence gathering.

    • Mongoose says:

      The IC will know the real state of affairs when our Russian “sources” begin to “disappear.” Ratcliffe, as the newly installed conduit for info passed by Trump to Putin will then find himself in an untenable position. (It may be safe to assume that Coats has been preventing such info from reaching Trump/Barr.) Trump has already said indirectly that any foreign sources related to the “Russia investigation” must be unmasked.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The hits just keep on coming. Donald Trump appears to be ready to appoint Kashyap “Kash” Patel as the National Security Council’s Senior Director for Counterterrorism. To paraphrase Churchill, Kash Patel is a modest man, who has much to be modest about.

    Patel is a mouse of a rat-fucker. The one-time DoJ lawyer and Nunes staffer was named not long ago to a more junior position on the NSC staff. To describe him as hapless would be an insult to Barney Fife. He was once “benchslapped” for appearing at a federal immigration proceeding in Texas, unannounced, with no preparation and no role, looking like he’d just come off the beach at South Padre Island.

    He’s also the guy Nunes put on a plane to London without telling the US embassy or coordinating his mission with the British government. Patel was there to blindside Christopher Steele for an adversarial interview. Steele, a former MI-6 Russia desk officer, told him to fuck off.

    That pretty much sums up Patel’s resume. Now he’ll be “coordinating” the NSC’s responses to global counterterrorism.



  13. Molly Pitcher says:

    Well, Ratcliffe’s nomination is toast now, boy. None other then that major defender of Democracy and Freedom, Joe Manchin, just gave him a thumbs down on NPR for Ratcliffe’s abysmal and aggressive ‘performance’ during the Mueller hearing.

    • Geoff says:

      Now you’ve got your token blue dog dissenter…cue up that stupid old fart Susan Collins from Maine, and then the NYTimes can talk about moderate she is. Cant wait to see her run out of office. Yeah, Ratcliffe is toast. And we aren’t. Sure. ;-) ( you are being sarcastic, are you not??)

  14. jonb says:

    could these changes in the Ic. personnel be connected to the potential release of information from the ic investigation into trump and his campaign..Then these minions would be in place to put out the counter narrative…the coverup must continue.

  15. dwfreeman says:


    As Marcy correctly points out, there are many reasons to hate the John Ratcliffe appointment, not the least of which is because it signals the influence that Trump flunkies and its propaganda network are demonstrating through irresponsible predilections that now threaten to seep their way into the intelligence community and damage its effectiveness.

    We continue to witness the ongoing regulatory damage through vigilantly willful incompetence taking place throughout federal government, hollowing out agencies, randomly moving career people out in favor of political and industry partisans whose only mission is to run their offices into Potomac swampland based on some secret Koch agenda.

    Meantime, Nunes has become the Joe McCarthy of the Trump era with Barr as his new Roy Cohn. He apparently sees his job as Trump’s chief investigator uncovering all the FBI and CIA mischief leading to the Mueller probe.

    I can almost hear him proclaiming, ‘I hold in my hand the names of dozens of agents who illegally spied on the Trump campaign in 2016’ and came up with suspicious information leaked by Christopher Steels and the Clinton campaign eventually leading to illegal surveillance, Nunes keeps telling anyone at Fox who will listen.

    A Mueller rant ought not be the defining reason why the former mayor of Heath, Texas or anyone gets nominated to become the coordinating official of any US intelligence job, let alone presentation to the White House, whether its occupied by a Russian-influenced dolt or not.

    Besides the dangers outlined above, there is the real possibility that the IC might balk at the prospect of working with someone like Ratcliffe and begin withholding information to prevent the kinds of problems illustrated by a partisan agent acting on Trump’s behalf. That in itself would secure the kind of discord the Russians successfully unleashed in helping elect a compromised US president in 2016.

    In any case, Nunes sees his role as undermining history and the work of the Mueller probe to help a deeply insecure Trump get over a political complex that began with a baleful IC assessment of Russia’s help in supporting his White House run while also sharing the Steele dossier claim of golden showers kompromat.

    Before his first day in office, Michael Wolff reported in his first Trump White House tell-all, “Fire and Fury, about a conversation between a national Republican official and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Don’t ever poke the deep state bear, he warned. “If you fuck with the intel community, they will figure a way to get back at you, and you’ll have two or three years of a Russia investigation, and every day something else will leak out.”

    • Rugger9 says:

      “I have here in my hand…” is pure McCarthyism from Joseph, and just like Joseph the GOP Congresscritter the evidence proved to be far less than the advertised 25 leaks directly from the OSC (nope, they were all from other DOJ offices and/or the Palace at the behest of Kaiser Quisling). It was one of the signature achievements by Mueller, to run a leak-free shop as opposed to Ken Starr’s OSC that leaked like a sieve. This board documented that repeatedly in almost-real time.

      However, the point made about the fact that KQ won’t listen anyhow to the DNI (nor will Pompeo or Bolton or Jarvanka) is important. That should be enough for RATcliffe to decline the job. Maybe Lindsey would go for it.

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