UPDATE: Appointment Confirmed
Lots to unpack here. Maggie Haberman is warning resistance allies in the Senate to prepare all defensive weapons against a possible Trump appointment of Ric Grenell as Director of the Office of National Intelligence (ODNI).
Grenell currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Germany. He can serve as “acting” ODNI, but to become permanent ODNI he would need to survive confirmation railroading by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chair Mark Warner. The SSCI is deep swamp and and participated in the coup effort against the office of the president. The SSCI has a vested interest in controlling the ODNI position; hence their prior blocking of Representative John Ratcliffe.
[Via New York Times] … Mr. Grenell, whose outspokenness throughout his career as a political operative and then as ambassador has prompted criticism, is a vocal Trump loyalist who will lead a group of national security agencies often viewed skeptically by the White House.
He would take over from Joseph Maguire, who has served as the acting director of national intelligence since the resignation last summer of Dan Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana. Mr. Grenell, who has pushed to advance gay rights in his current post, would apparently also be the first openly gay cabinet member.
Mr. Grenell did not respond to a request for comment, nor did a White House spokesman. The people familiar with the move cautioned that the president had a history of changing his mind on personnel decisions after they were revealed in the news media.
[…] Under American law, Mr. Maguire had to give up his temporary role before March 12. He could return to his old job as director of the National Counterterrorism Center, but he might choose to step down from government.
Mr. Trump can choose any Senate-confirmed official to replace Mr. Maguire as the acting head of the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies.
[…] [Grenell’s] confirmation by the Senate is not assured, one reason the president intents to name him acting director, rather than formally nominating him for the job. (read more)
On May 23, 2019, President Trump granted current U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr with essentially the same intelligence review capabilities as the ODNI in an effort to empower the AG to bring sunlight upon intelligence community corruption. Unfortunately, AG Barr did nothing with the power granted by the president.
The appointment of Grenell can be looked at as President Trump trying to cut the Gordian knot that exists due to a myriad of self-interests deep inside the intelligence apparatus.
The SSCI will not allow any ODNI office member to expose their corrupt intelligence operations. Recently Oklahoma Senator James Lankford quietly quit the SSCI. It has been speculated that Lankford left the committee due to rank corruption and their ongoing plans to hide prior abuses. Mitch McConnell selected Senator Ben Sasse to replace Lankford to retain and achieve the continued objectives of the committee.
The *tell* will be to watch how members of the SSCI respond to the Grenell appointment.
This could become ugly.