On the 19th of July 2018, the (DNI) Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was in the middle of a TV interview with the MSNBC Host Andrea Mitchell who shared with him, the breaking news that the republican President Donald Trump had plans in the works for a follow-up summit in the Fall of 2018, with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Director Coats acted completely surprised by this news item. He also openly admitted that he had yet to be fully informed as to what President Trump shared with President Putin at their 7/16/18 Helsinki summit.
Most of us are still in shock over what we observed at the 7/16/18 Helsinki summit between the US president and the Russian leader. It was a sad spectacle to watch President Trump act like a weakling on the world’s stage. His normal bluffing and posturing demeanor where he likes to exhibit the appearance of strength, was missing. He threw the US Intelligence agencies, all of his foreign policy experts and the American peoples under the bus as he equivocated on the question of whether the USA was attacked by Russia, as it interfered with the 2016 US elections infrastructure.
Since then, his backtracking has been less than convincing for most of us, with the exception of those republicans in the US congress who continue to abet and provide him aid.
See: GOP Talking Points That President Trump Has Been Tough On Putin Is A Lie /GrondaMorin
As per a 7/13/16 New York Times report by Julian E. Barnes, “The nation’s top intelligence officer said on Friday that the persistent danger of Russian cyberattacks today was akin to the warnings the United States had of stepped-up terror threats ahead of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”
“That note of alarm sounded by Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, came on the same day that 12 Russian agents were indicted on charges of hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Mr. Coats said those indictments illustrated Moscow’s continuing strategy to undermine the United States’ democracy and erode its institutions.”
“The warning lights are blinking red again,” Mr. Coats said as he cautioned of cyberthreats. “Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.”
“Coming just days ahead of President Trump’s meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Mr. Coats’s comments demonstrate the persistent divisions within the administration on Russia — and on how hard a line senior administration officials should take with Moscow on its cyberspace activities.”
Link to entire article: ‘Warning Lights Are Blinking Red,’ Top Intelligence Officer Says
Who is this Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats who has no doubt infuriated President Trump beyond all reason, for having openly revealed that President Trump acted counter to all the advice and briefings shared with him by the US Intelligence Community prior to the 2018 Trump-Putin Helsinki summit?
Here is the rest of the story on Dan Coats…
As per 3/16/18 Fox News by Madeline Farber, “As Director of National Intelligence (3/16/17), the 74-year-old “leads the United States Intelligence Community (IC) and serves as the principal intelligence advisor to the President,” according to his White House biography.”
Here are three things to know about Coats.
“He was once the U.S. ambassador to Germany”
“Coats is a former diplomat, serving during former President George W. Bush’s presidency as the U.S. ambassador to Germany from 2001 to 2005.”
“Coats arrived in Germany just days before the September 11 attacks, according to his biography.”
“Ambassador Coats found himself thrown into a role he couldn’t have foreseen a day earlier, a role in which he would excel but one that would forever change him,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., once said of Coats.”
“As ambassador, Coats played “a critical role in establishing robust relations and in the construction of a new US Embassy in the heart of Berlin,” according to his biography.”
Coats is a two-time senator from Indiana
“Coats is a two-time Republican senator from Indiana.”
“He succeeded former Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle after he became VP to George H.W. Bush in 1988.”
“Coats, who served in the Senate until 1999, also served on the Senate Armed Services Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence, according to his White House biography.”
“After a number of years away from the Senate, he returned in 2011 until his retirement in 2017.”
“Prior to to becoming a senator, Coats was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Indiana’s 4th district from 1981 to 1989.”
He’s worked a lot with Big Brothers Big Sisters
“Coats has worked extensively with the organization Big Brothers Big Sisters, first volunteering with the youth mentoring program when he was 29 years old.”
“In 1978, he joined the organization’s Northeast Indiana board of directors. In 1993, he was elected to the national Big Brothers Big Sisters board.”
“Coats received the organization’s highest national honor in 2012 for his work with the nonprofit.”
The above cliff notes biography of the DNI head Dan Coats tells me that he is competent, a man of integrity, and nobody’s fool.
After observing Mr. Coats being so at ease in speaking truth to power to his boss, President Trump, I am 100% convinced that the US Intelligence Community also has a complete copy of a transcript based on a secret recording of the 2 hour plus one on one meet between the Presidents Trump and Putin at their 7/16/18 Helsinki Summit with only their interpreters present. I had taken it for granted that Russia would have a transcript but now I know that the US has one, as well.
In addition, I am certain that Mr. Coats wasn’t a bit surprised about President Trump’s future plans for a repeat summit but he put on a great act that would normally, have made his boss, proud.
Caveat Emptor: The presidents Trump of the USA and Putin of Russia continue down this path, at their own peril.
I was reading about Coats this morning and his comments … I like what I see of him and he seems to be, as you noted, a man of integrity. Speculation is that he may not last long in his position as DNI, but I hope they are wrong. Of course, Trump will listen to no advice that doesn’t agree with what he wants anyway. If the U.S. does have a transcript of their private conversation, I hope somebody leaks it to the press — I really, really want to know what was said.
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DNI Coats can’t afford to leak the transcript. His job is to protect the USA. He has to keep his priorities straight.
But think about this. He made public his criticisms within minutes after President Trump’s missteps at the 7/13/18 Helsinki summit. What would give him the comfort to do this?
Remember, he was an Ambassador to Germany. He knows about things like clandestine recordings of conversations
I could literally argue the point that he wouldn’t have been doing his job if he didn’t figure out how to take care of this situation..
He is the former Senator of Indiana, home of VP Mike Pence. Firing him would not be an easy task. After all the president would be firing the #1 US spy. President Trump would not fare well with that idea!
But this would not be the first time that I’m proven to be wrong.
No, Coats couldn’t leak the information, but there are others. The republicans in Congress shot down the idea of issuing a subpoena to the translators … wouldn’t it be lovely if one of the translators leaked some information, anonymously, to the WaPo or NYT?
Ordinarily I would agree that it would be hard to fire Coats, but it seems that all the norms have flown out the window, so I hesitate to predict. I hope he stays … time will tell. Sigh.
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Gronda, several former White House communication people who served other Presidents made similar observations about communications. Everyone who faced the press had consistent messaging strategy overall, but over the next month, week and day. In other words, this is the White House position on various topics.
With a President who changes positions frequently and sometimes daily, he leaves everyone in a state of chaos. They do not know the White House position.
Specific to Coats who seems to be a good director, Trump does not think it is important that others know what he did. He, alone, can solve our problems. My guess is White House personnel go to work every day thinking what mess will I have to clean up today? Keith
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The problem with a narcissist like President Trump, anyone who isn’t on board with his thinking on any given subject is not worth a second thought. But in some cases, President Trump’s discards can cause him a lot of pain and they may even be smarter than he is.
I find it hard to believe the DNI head Dan Coats would sit back and not take pro-active measures, when he suspects that the president may be acting to compromise the US national security interests, defies logic..
The IC community is going to be like fly paper on President Trump and the Russian leader Putin.
With the 7/16/18 Helsinki summit, they both went too far.
Gronda, I saw an interesting take on the Trump Helsinki performance. The conservative columnist noted the President did so poorly in his sycophancy and fawning over Putin, that it may backfire on Putin, as Congress, intelligence community and saner folks in the White House will be even tougher on Russia. He did add that what Trump did was unforgivable to his country and as a global leader, but I thought his take was interesting.
By the way, it is being reported morale is so low in the WH, more than a few staffers may not wait until the midterms to bolt. Nothing like a boss throwing his staff under the bus to galvanize disunity. Keith
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I do agree with that take. Those in the foreign policy/ intelligence gathering business (whether republican or democrat) would have been horrified at what they witnessed at the 7/16/18 Helsinki Trump-Russia summit where President Trump discarded/ discounted all the prepping and briefing, they had provided him.
Frankly, what they saw was a Russian asset on the stage claiming to be President Trump. From now on, they are going to be on him like fly paper. He will no longer get the benefit of the doubt. And they will not give an inch on Russia.
This was a losing proposition for both leaders.
Dear Mz. Gronda,
I find it strangely amusing (in a perverted sense) that no one has mentioned that the tRump has invited his boss Putin to the USA at the same time as tRumps grand N. Korea style of military parade is scheduled… What a strange coincidence, right? 😉
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I haven’t read about the dates for the 2nd Fall Trump-Putin Summit having been set, yet. The military parade is scheduled for November 10, 2018 at a cost of about $30 million dollars.. It only makes sense that President Trump would want him to arrive around that time. He wants to be able to show off. How sick is that.
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