Many Republicans are crossing their fingers. After President Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he’s considering nominating Representative Doug Collins to be the next Director of National Intelligence, the benefits of such a move were not hard to calculate. It would be a huge win for the GOP on multiple fronts, not the least of which would be to put someone in the critical position the President could actually trust.
The President has already assigned Richard Grenell to be acting DNI, replacing Joseph Maguire who, as an acting DNI as well, was required to step down soon. There hasn’t been a permanent, Senate-confirmed Director since Dan Coats resigned last July. Grenell, who is also the Ambassador to Germany, is the first openly gay cabinet member in U.S. history, even if only in an acting role.
Collins represents three big wins for the President, the Republican Party, and the country if he were to accept the nomination and be confirmed.
A trusted ally in an important role
News that Grenell would be acting DNI stirred sighs of relief among Trump supporters. He is an outspoken proponent of the President who will make it more challenging for the “Deep State” to operate against the White House. Collins falls into the same category, having gone to political war on the President’s behalf on multiple occasions in his role as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. The military chaplain and lawyer has the knowledge necessary to meet the needs of the position and, while not an intelligence community insider, has demonstrated an understand of what needs to be done.
Considering how intensely anti-Trump many in the intelligence community appear to be, it will be good to have Grenell tighten up the ship in preparation for a Collins entry into the position.
Ending friction over a Georgia Senate seat
Collins wanted to be named Senator by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp following the retirement of Johnny Isakson. President Trump publicly supported Collins to take the seat. But Kemp chose Kelly Loeffler for the role. Disgruntled conservatives were concerned Loeffler would be a RINO (Republican In Name Only) following revelations she had supported Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012 heavily and had not contributed to the Trump campaign until recently. But so far, she has been acceptable in the short time she’s been in office, even chastising Romney for supporting the Democrats’ case in the Senate impeachment trial.
Nevertheless, Collins announced his candidacy to challenge Loeffler for the seat late last month. The announcement was met with cheers from many Trump supporters and groans from Establishment Republicans who thought his candidacy was drama that could cost the party the seat altogether.
If he’s tapped to be the DNI, he would almost certainly end his Senate bid, putting the Georgia GOP at ease so they could focus on making sure both Senate seats stay red. Personally, I would be rooting for Collins to defeat Loeffler, but DNI is a much more important role right now than Senator.
A skeptic at heart
One of the biggest complaints the President and other Republicans have had about both Coats’ and Maguire’s tenure in the role is that there was too much opposition to President Trump’s policies coming from the intelligence community. Outright objections to some of his moves echoed throughout the community and often found their way to the pages of progressive mainstream media sites. Leaks continue to be rampant, and following a briefing last week by so-called “Election Czar” Shelby Pierson before the House Intelligence Committee, it is clear there are still plenty of anti-Trump activities happening in places ranging from the CIA and NSA to the Intelligence Branch of the FBI.
Maguire could have prevented the briefing that will certainly be used as political fodder for Democrats, but chose not to. Collins would not be as apathetic towards something so clearly politically charged. He would know that such a briefing, which claims members of the intelligence community believe Russia is trying to help President Trump win the 2020 election, would not be used by House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff in any way other than for political gain. Neither the committee nor the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives will do anything to prevent Russian interference because they can use its specter as a way to scare voters away from the President.
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We need a skeptic as DNI. We need someone who wouldn’t listen to people like John Bolton swearing there are WMDs in Iraq. We need someone who will actually go after foreign election interference, unlike James Clapper who let it fly unabated. We need someone who will recognize when there are real threats and not fabricated political hit jobs like Spygate.
The next Director of National Intelligence must be someone who addresses the current needs of the country while securing our future as well. If President Trump nominates Doug Collins for the role, it would be a huge win for the United States.