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Trump ‘hitman’ Richard Grenell tipped to take over as US intelligence boss

Trump ‘hitman’ Richard Grenell tipped to take over as US intelligence boss
Word that Richard Grenell will be taking over the US intelligence community has raised alarm among the Resistance and divided MAGA-land, with some praising him as Trump’s trusted envoy while others worried about his hawkish views.

Trump announced the appointment on Thursday evening, calling Grenell a “highly respected” ambassador who has represented the US “exceedingly well.”

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.

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.

“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.

“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.

That reaction was not long in coming. “Crazy,” declared NeverTrumper Tom Nichols, while a liberal Georgetown lecturer Joe Cinricione denounced it as “a national disgrace.”

“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.”

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.”

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.

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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