Trump ‘hitman’ Richard Grenell tipped to take over as US intelligence boss
Trump announced the appointment on Thursday evening, calling Grenell a “highly respected” ambassador who has represented the US “exceedingly well.”
....for the wonderful job he has done, and we look forward to working with him closely, perhaps in another capacity within the Administration!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2020
Grenell, 53, has served as US ambassador to Germany since April 2018. He has been instrumental in browbeating Berlin into raising its military spending, imposing sanctions against Iran and Hezbollah, and shutting down the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
He is not very diplomatic about it, either. Earlier this week, he tweeted that US President Donald Trump personally instructed him to “make clear that any nation who chooses to use an untrustworthy 5G vendor will jeopardize our ability to share Intelligence and information at the highest level” – a thinly veiled threat to the UK over reports it would working with Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
. @realDonaldTrump just called me from AF1 and instructed me to make clear that any nation who chooses to use an untrustworthy 5G vendor will jeopardize our ability to share Intelligence and information at the highest level.— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) February 16, 2020
This is somewhat surprising, given that Grenell spent eight years as spokesman for the US mission to the UN during the George W. Bush administration, serving four different ambassadors – including John Bolton, the recently sacked national security adviser to Trump. He also worked as a spokesman for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.
It seems that Trump trusts him, however, and has relied on him for matters beyond Germany – from mediating between Serbia and its breakaway province of Kosovo last month, to reportedly securing the arrest of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in the UK last year.
That last part, as well as Grenell’s Boltonesque belligerence towards Iran, have caused some Trump supporters to question the appointment, even as others cheered it on.
Who cares that he's gay?On foreign policy, he's as bad as his former boss, John Bolton. That's what we should care about. https://t.co/mrFWow9vcQ— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) February 19, 2020
“Amazing choice!”tweeted the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, adding that his father “deserves someone he can trust and someone who knows how to get things done in this position.”
The main reason for jubilation among the MAGA crowd appears to be the belief that Grenell will purge the US intelligence community of the elements involved in the ‘Russiagate’ and ‘Ukrainegate’ plots to stop Trump’s election and have him impeached.
Clapper lied to Congress & was one of the IC chiefs that launched the Russia hoax campaign against a duly elected POTUS.Grenell, who indeed has an extensive history of gov't service, has no history of aforementioned illegal acts committed by Clapper.https://t.co/CDCrj6E7Uz— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) February 19, 2020
“The so-called intelligence community is a rats’ nest of incompetence and corruption, and I can’t wait for their hysterical reaction to Grenell’s appointment,” wrote Federalist publisher Sean Davis.
The so-called intelligence community is a rats’ nest of incompetence and corruption, and I can’t wait for their hysterical reaction to Grenell’s appointment. If they thought they’d win after what they pulled with John Ratcliffe, they were sorely mistaken. https://t.co/DkaIOxxzlH— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) February 19, 2020
“Another slap in the face to my former intel colleagues,” lamented Ned Price, spokesman for President Barack Obama’s National Security Council, calling Grenell “a partisan bombthrower whose only skill is defending Trump.”
Another slap in the face to my former intel colleagues. Grenell is a partisan bombthrower whose only skill is defending Trump. Trump’s decision not to nominate a permanent DNI underscores that he has no use for intel and no regard for national security. https://t.co/JDk83yBq3j— Ned Price (@nedprice) February 19, 2020
Former UN ambassador under Obama, Samantha Power, called Grenell’s appointment “a travesty” and said that Trump was “taking steps to destroy America’s fact-based institutions.”
One by one, day by day, @realDonaldTrump is taking steps to destroy America’s fact-based institutions, at the same time he eviscerates rule of law. Appointing as @ODNIgov@RichardGrenell, who has politicized every issue he has touched & has contempt for facts, would be a travesty— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) February 19, 2020
Meanwhile, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow posted a series of tweets quoting the Daily Beast about how Grenell had conspired with “Kremlin-connected oligarch” Dmitry Firtash.
NYT says Trump is poised to name Richard Grenell as Director of National Intelligence.Here's Lev Parnas telling the Daily Beast that Grenell agreed to give a "heads up" to Kremlin-connected oligarch Dmitry Firtash if DOJ was about to move to extradite him to face trial here:— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) February 19, 2020
According to the conservative outlet Breitbart, which was first to report the rumor of Grenell’s impending nomination, he can stay in the post for up to three months, but would need Senate confirmation to remain DNI.
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