By Donald Jeffries
Why Donald Trump inexplicably filled his administration with appointees known to be hostile to his campaign rhetoric is a mystery. A good number of them, like United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, had been vocal “Never Trumpers.” CIA Director Gina Haspel hardly seemed compatible with Trump’s admonitions against the constant “senseless wars” and his intent to bring the troops home.
According to Bob Woodward’s recent book Rage, Haspel thought the Justice Department reviewing the Russiagate nonsense would wind up becoming a “nightmare” for the agency. Woodward described how Haspel and then Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats believed that the Robert Mueller probe, “had already torn inconclusively through the intelligence agencies, they said. Why did this need to be done? It will be very disruptive to the agencies.” Haspel feared morale being negatively impacted and suggested that some at the CIA were thinking of hiring attorneys. William Barr, Trump’s Deep State “Hall of Famer” whom he named as attorney general, assured the pair, “Your people won’t need to be concerned,” according to Woodward.
Both Haspel and FBI director Christopher Wray, appointed by Trump but consistently hostile to him, were very reluctant to hand over any documents to the investigation being conducted by federal prosecutor John Durham. Sen. Charles Grassley bluntly declared in an interview that this kind of noncompliance could be the result of a conspiracy against the president. Wray stonewalled congressional investigators on the release of 300 pages of text messages between FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and his lawyer, Lisa Page. Haspel attempted to block numerous things that would have aided the president, including a 50-page 2018 report that revealed former CIA Director John Brennan had personally censored evidence that showed Russia actually favored Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
Haspel, in fact, was perhaps one of the oddest of all of Trump’s odd appointees. When Mike Pompeo left the CIA to become Trump’s secretary of state, many of the president’s supporters were left scratching their heads over his choice of Haspel to succeed him. Haspel was the London station chief when the phony dossier from Christopher Steele was concocted and was a noted devotee of the Russiagate conspiracy theory. Durham himself has a long history of damage control for the CIA. In 2008, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to “investigate” alleged crimes involving Haspel’s ties to the torture of prisoners. To no one’s surprise, Durham found no grounds to prosecute Haspel.
Wray refused to respond to a question from Fox News’s Bret Baier about whether he had hidden exculpatory evidence from Gen. Mike Flynn and Congress. Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell alleged, “This afternoon, the government produced to Mr. Flynn stunning Brady evidence that proves Mr. Flynn’s allegations of having been deliberately set up and framed by corrupt agents at the top of the FBI. . . . The government has deliberately suppressed this evidence from the inception of this prosecution—knowing there was no crime by Mr. Flynn.”
As recently as September, Wray was still touting the line that Russia was working to interfere in the presidential election, by trying to “denigrate” Joe Biden, in testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee. Wray’s public statements contradicted Trump’s views on not only Russian “collusion,” but Antifa and voting fraud. Donald Trump Jr. charged that Wray was working to “protect corrupt Democrats.” Trump, while tweeting that Wray was “not doing a very good job,” nevertheless has yet to fire him.
Last month, House Republicans sent Wray a letter regarding the bureau’s holding Hunter Biden’s laptop for nearly a year, when apparently it could have provided exculpatory evidence for Trump during the impeachment fiasco. “If the FBI was, in fact, in possession of this evidence and failed to alert the White House to its existence that would have given even more weight to the president’s legal defense, this was a gross error in judgment and a severe violation of trust,” the letter stated. In response to widespread calls for and predictions of his dismissal, Wray defiantly declared, “I am not going anywhere, Mr. President.”
President Trump did fire Secretary of Defense Mark Esper shortly after the 2020 election. Esper violated all protocol by holding a press conference this past summer, to strongly disagree with the president’s threats to deploy military troops to quell the nationwide riots. New Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller appears to be one of Trump’s rare solid choices. Miller instantly made his mark by proclaiming that America needed to bring the troops home and end all wars.
The baffling choices Donald Trump opted to surround himself with certainly contributed to dysfunction and a failure to transform his populist rhetoric into concrete policy initiatives.
Donald Jeffries is a highly respected author and researcher whose work on the JFK, RFK and MLK assassinations and other high crimes of the Deep State has been read by millions of people across the world. Jeffries is also the author of three books currently being sold by the AFP Online Store.