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Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell’s highly revealing declassification spree faces an imminent, premature end thanks to both Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats.
The only thing keeping Grenell stationed at his post is the delayed confirmation of to-be DNI Rep. John Ratcliffe, who was formally nominated to the post in late February.
The problem is that although Ratcliffe’s confirmation vote was originally scheduled for sometime after Memorial Day, which would have given Grenell more time to declassify additional materials, this week the Senate chose to expedite the process.
“The Senate is poised to vote Thursday on the nomination of Texas GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe to be Director of National Intelligence, potentially confirming him sooner than expected, as senators are eager to quickly fill the post,” the Associated Press confirmed.
“Democrats have been opposed to Ratcliffe’s nomination, and most are expected to vote against it. But they dropped their usual objections to holding a quick vote as members of both parties want a Senate-confirmed nominee in the job. Democrats usually force procedural votes that slow the nomination process, but are allowing a quick vote Thursday before the Senate leaves town for the next week.”
The vote was scheduled after the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee endorsed Ratcliffe’s confirmation on Tuesday.
The Senate Intelligence Committee just voted to confirm Rep. John Ratcliffe as the next Director of National Intelligence, according to a source familiar with the closed-door vote. The tally was 8-7 along party lines, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Dems opposing.
— Dustin Volz (@dnvolz) May 19, 2020
It’s not clear why Democrats are in an apparent hurry to push through Ratcliffe’s nomination. It makes no sense, unless you factor in Grenell’s intentions.
Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry reported last week that “there’s more intelligence coming” — that the Flynn unmasking list declassified by Grenell was just “the first piece of intelligence.”
“Rick Grenell is looking at trying to declassify others. A source told me that there are several buckets of several pieces of intelligence they want to get out there. … There’s other pieces here that are going to reveal that people in the Obama administration were trying to set a narrative,” he said.
Fox News reporter Ed Henry dishes on the secret source giving him the scoops on the declassification of #Obamagate documents. Says this insider told him tonight that Biden on the Flynn unmasking list was the “bombshell” and that there is more coming. pic.twitter.com/xBdylmglD8
— Daniel Chaitin (@danielchaitin7) May 14, 2020
But if Grenell is ousted from the position prematurely because of Ratcliffe’s confirmation, this information may never come to light, unless of course his successor is just as equally interested in exposing the truth. And unfortunately, it’s unclear if he is.
However, the Republican congressman has been fiercely defensive of President Donald Trump. After the White House released a transcript last September of the president’s infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ratcliffe quickly rushed to repudiate his Democrat colleagues for having made a fuss over nothing.
“The special counsel wrongfully flipped the legal burden of proof to require President Trump to conclusively determine his innocence. Now Democrats have done the same thing to our national security. The transcript conclusively determines, despite Democratic promises to the contrary, that there was no quid pro quo,” he said.
“No mention of military aid. No violation of the law. But to conclusively prove his innocence, a classified and privileged conversation between a foreign head of state and our president is now in the public view. In their desire to undo the 2016 election and destroy President Trump, Democrats have today unequivocally and irreparably harmed our national security and compromised an important ally. Instead of forming an impeachment line, Democrats should consider forming an apology line.”
Moreover, prior to Grenell’s declassification spree, Democrats were highly skeptical of Ratcliffe precisely because of his continued defense of the president.
“Most Republicans have praised Ratcliffe since his second nomination. But Democrats have been skeptical that he will serve with the independence they say is crucial for the job. At his hearing, Ratcliffe worked to separate himself from the president. … Democrats were not convinced,” the AP noted.
In fact, Ratcliffe’s confirmation was originally delayed because of them, though it quickly became apparent that delaying his confirmation was a big political mistake:
One of the biggest mistakes Democrats made was blocking Ratcliffe from being confirmed as DNI in 2019. It led to @RichardGrenell becoming Acting DNI and he’s shredded their narratives by simply being transparent and declassifying docs that should’ve been declassified long ago.
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 12, 2020
Democrats are holding up Ratcliffe for another 2 weeks?
That means DNI @RichardGrenell can keep declassifying documents
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) May 20, 2020
It was a political mistake that Democrats appear to now be trying to rectify. What’s unclear though is why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is allowing them to rectify it, when he could presumably easily delay Ratcliffe’s confirmation for just a little longer.
Note: As of roughly 12:45 pm EST Thursday, Ratcliffe had been confirmed.
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