For approximately five days, Texas Republican (and man who enjoys bullying 70-year-old war heroes) John Ratcliffe, thought he was going to be Donald Trump’s new intelligence chief.
See, the US needs a new director of national intelligence because the old director of national intelligence spent too much time gathering intelligence.
Now, you might think that’s what intelligence chiefs should be doing with their time, and you’d be right, unless of course that intelligence implicates the Kremlin in election interference. In that case, the director of national intelligence is committing a mild form of treason by implicitly suggesting the man in the Oval Office might be a Russian intelligence asset.
In addition to his steadfast refusal to back off the whole “Russia interfered in the 2016 election” thing, Dan Coats had a pernicious habit of doing his job correctly, which entailed warning about likely future efforts on the part of Moscow to interfere with America’s democratic process.
You can understand why Dan had to go. Better to bring in Ratcliffe, who spent his allotted Mueller time accusing a legendary lawman and decorated veteran of being unfair to a legendary grifter and failed mail-order steak salesman.
As it turns out, Ratcliffe is just like a lot of other Trump nominees and officials. That is, he’s a liar and a conspiracy theorist who probably shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near Capitol Hill, let alone sensitive intelligence.
“One of Ratcliffe’s biggest contributions to the Republican pushback on the [Russia] investigation came in January 2018, when he claimed he had seen text messages between [Lisa] Page and [Peter] Strzok that suggested the existence of a ‘secret society’ working against Trump, but Ratcliffe’s claims, which were subsequently amplified by pro-Trump media outlets, fell apart when the fuller text exchanges became public”, the Daily Beast reminds you.
And that’s not all. Ratcliffe also stands accused of “embellishing” (i.e., lying about) his anti-terrorism record. “Ratcliffe has misrepresented his role in an anti-terrorism case that he’s repeatedly cited among his credentials related to national security issues”, ABC reported this week. Although Ratcliffe has repeatedly referred to himself as a “special appointment prosecutor” in US v. Holy Land Foundation, ABC couldn’t find any public court records connecting Ratcliffe to either of the two trials for the case.
As the network reported Tuesday, “former officials directly involved in the decade-long Holy Land Foundation investigation could not recall Ratcliffe having any role, and four former defense attorneys who served on the cases [said] they had no recollection of Ratcliffe being involved with any of the proceedings that resulted in the convictions of their clients”.
Ratcliffe lied about his bonafides! Imagine that!
If you’re wondering whether that was a one-off embellishment, the answer is “no”. Here’s The Washington Post:
“As a U.S. Attorney, I arrested over 300 illegal immigrants on a single day,” Ratcliffe says on his congressional website.
But a closer look at the case shows that Ratcliffe’s claims conflict with the court record and the recollections of others who participated in the operation — at a time when he is under fire for embellishing his record.
Ratcliffe played a supporting role in the 2008 sweep, which involved U.S. attorneys’ offices in five states and was led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, according to a Justice Department news release. The effort targeted workers at poultry processor Pilgrim’s Pride who were suspected of using stolen Social Security numbers.
Only 45 workers were charged by prosecutors in Ratcliffe’s office, court documents show. Six of those cases were dismissed, two of them because the suspects turned out to be American citizens. One of those citizens, a 19-year-old woman, was awakened in her home and hauled away by immigration agents, the woman said in an interview.
We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Ok, so he’s a liar and that makes him a perfect fit to be Trump’s intelligence chief!”
And you’d be right. But thanks to the media’s persistence in reporting real facts (as opposed to fake lies), poor John is withdrawing from consideration.
“Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media”, Trump tweeted on Friday.
“Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people”, the president continued. “John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country”.
As Corey Lewandowski (who is now considering a Senate run) would say, “Womp, womp”.