TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: It’s hard to believe now, but the CIA wasn’t always like this. When President Harry Truman founded the agency after the Second World War, he envisioned it as a kind of a daily newspaper with a readership of one. The CIA would collect intelligence from a variety of sources, so that the president could make wise and informed decisions. Not a bad idea but the bureaucracy quickly metastasized. Within a few years, Truman himself regretted creating the agency. In a 1963 op-ed, he complained that, quote, “the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government.” Truman called for scaling back the agency’s power, dramatically. That never happened. Just the opposite. It got more powerful. Today, the CIA isn’t simply a policy-making arm of government. At times it clearly wants to be the government.
That’s the main lesson of Donald Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president. We learned today that the official who filed the so-called whistleblower complaint against the president is a career CIA officer detailed for work at the White House. The official didn’t agree with the elected president’s foreign policy views. So he felt entitled to veto them, and bring the U.S. government to a standstill. That’s the meat of it. We know that because the complaint was released today to the public. It tells us nothing we didn’t already know. Trump talked about a variety of issues with Ukraine’s president, including possible corruption involving Joe Biden and his son. He never mentioned military aid, or offered any kind of quid pro quo. You may not like what Trump said, but it’s hard to see how it’s a crime or an impeachable offense. Yet the same people who spent two years writing Russia collusion fanfiction are outraged again. They’re now telling us the Trump presidency is The Godfather, Part 4:
REP SCHIFF: Like any mafia boss the president didn't need to say that's a nice country you have it be a shame if something happened to it.
ANDERSON COOPER: - To people who see this kind of stuff in movies - you see mob bosses doing it – is this something presidents do?
REP KATIE HILL: You’re right we see this from mob bosses. We do not see this from presidents.
WATERGATE PROSECUTOR NICK ACKERMAN: If you gave this to me I’d say it’s a typical transcript that I’d put into evidence in a mob boss trial. It is right out of Don Corleone.
ANDREA MITCHELL: People have analogized this kind of conversation to when a godfather would say, you know, 'I want you to do something,' everyone knows what is involved here.
NICOLLE WALLACE: Donald Trump sought to run foreign policy the way Tony Soprano ran his crime family, except less elegantly.
Speaking as chairman of the House Intelligence committee, Congressman Adam Schiff of Burbank went into a kind of trance. He’s his own prophetic vision of what happened between President Trump and Ukraine’s president:
SCHIFF: This is the essence of what the president communicates. “We've been very good to your country. Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what, I don't see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though and I'm gonna say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it.
Keep in mind this isn’t some guy babbling in the men’s room at Starbucks. This is the man who chairs the mighty House Intelligence Committee. We trust him with the country’s most sensitive information. Yet he is clearly and demonstrably mentally ill. Schiff’s position is that President Trump should be impeached for asking why Joe Biden’s son was paid $600,000 a year by a foreign company, and why the prosecutor who investigated that company was fired after a threat from Biden. Remarkably, for the moment anyway, the rest of Schiff’s party seems to agree with him. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are of course thrilled:
AOC: We’re talking about the president using the full power of the United States government in order to pursue and manufacture a politically motivated investigation against a political opponent... I think it’s an allegation that frankly has united more members of the party on impeachment than any other. So for that I think it’s an understandable decision that we make.
OMAR: The fact is that this president is corrupt... A corrupt president who violates his oath in office must and will be impeached.
Got that? Issues are now irrelevant. Impeachment is all that matters. Whatever happened to the Democratic Party? It used to be the party of working people, the fabled big tent. But increasingly the party looks like an alliance between the women’s studies department at Oberlin and a group of unscrupulous retired intel officials. It’s both flaky and authoritarian. That’s a rotten combination, both for the party and for the country. For two hundred and thirty years, America has been a republic with an elected president. Over time, it’s worked pretty well. But now, without a single vote being held, bureaucrats in Washington are changing that. They want a new system of government, where America’s real rulers are unelected hacks in the intelligence agencies. They’ve been fighting for this openly, since before the Trump presidency even began. In summer 2016, the FBI justified opening the Russia investigation based on Trump’s campaign rhetoric. They didn’t like his publicly-stated positions on Russia, so they tried to destroy him. Then, two weeks after taking office, somebody leaked the president’s phone calls with the leaders of Australia and Mexico. Leaks have been pouring out ever since.
This is what an administrative coup d’etat looks like. If it succeeds, our democracy won’t recover. The president will be a figurehead, beholden to a Praetorian Guard of intelligence officials. If he defies the Washington consensus on any issue, they’ll sabotage his efforts. They already are. Washington clearly wants to pretend the 2016 election never happened. But they also want to make sure no future election matters either.