When will Admiral Mike Rogers say publicly what he told his agency’s workforce?
President Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey, the FBI director, three weeks ago continues to reverberate in the KremlinGate scandal which threatens to consume the Trump administration. By abruptly removing Comey, then mangling his excuses for why he did so, Trump created a needless crisis for the White House which shows no signs of abating.
It was immediately obvious that Trump fired Comey because he feared what the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the president’s contacts with Russia might reveal – as the commander-in-chief has essentially admitted. Moreover, Trump’s inappropriate efforts to secure Comey’s personal “loyalty” had fallen flat – the FBI director rightly assured the president of his honesty but abjured any fealty to Trump personally – after which the president is reported to have developed a palpable fear of the incorruptible Bureau boss. To protect Team Trump, Comey had to go.
However, cashiering Comey was insufficient. True to form, Trump wanted to take the offensive against the FBI. According to multiple reports, the president approached top intelligence bosses to coax them into joining Trump’s personal war with Comey. In particular, Trump asked Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and Admiral Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, to go public in denying that Team Trump had any ties to Russia during the 2016 election campaign.
The president’s take on the FBI investigation is well known, thanks to his frequent tweets castigating it as “fake news,” a “hoax” and even a “witch hunt.” However, asking top intelligence officials to publicly attack the FBI and its director isn’t just unusual, it’s unprecedented. Even President Nixon, in the depths of the Watergate scandal which ultimately unraveled his administration, never went quite so far as to drag NSA into his public mess.
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