On Wednesday, just before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the formal vote to open an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, a former CIA boss praised the “whistleblower” behind the impeachment push. Adopting President Donald Trump’s language, former acting CIA Director John E. McLaughlin declared, “Thank God for the ‘deep state.'”
CBS News’s Margaret Brennan asked an incisive question about the impeachment inquiry — which Pelosi announced last month before she led the House in formalizing it on Thursday.
“Now the impeachment inquiry is underway, sparked by a complaint from someone within the intelligence community. It feeds the president’s concern — and often-used term — about a ‘deep state’ being there to take him out,” Brennan suggested.
To this, McLaughlin somewhat ironically responded, “Thank God for the ‘deep state.'”
While the audience laughed, it does not seem McLaughlin was merely telling a joke. He may reject Trump’s language about the deep state, but he seemed to express genuine appreciation for members of the intelligence community who really did aim to take down the president.
Responding to the question about taking Trump out, McLaughlin insisted that the people in the intelligence community “are doing their duty or responding to a higher call.” He noted that many of the Trump administration staff knew about the July 25 call between Trump and the president of Ukraine, but only a former and current CIA analyst went to Democrats in Congress with the story.
“With all of the people who knew what was going on here, it took an intelligence officer to step forward and say something about it, which was the trigger that unleashed everything else,” McLaughlin said. “This is the institution in the U.S. government, that with all of its flaws — and it makes mistakes — is institutionally committed to objectivity and to telling the truth … Its whole job is to speak the truth. It’s engraved in marble in the lobby.”
With all due respect, the intelligence community’s record is not something to brag about at the current time, with John Durham’s investigation into the roots of the Trump-Russia investigation and after the release of Andrew McCarthy’s important book Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency.
That book reveals how the Obama administration used the power of the state to prosecute its political opponents — including many arms of the intelligence community. The oft-shifting story about the origins of the Russia probe — was it focused on Carter Page or George Papadopoulos? — along with the Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier and the scandalous tale of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page give the lie to McLaughlin’s naive trust in the intelligence community.
As for the whistleblower — McLaughlin’s paragon of virtue and truth-telling — he has connections to the Joe Biden campaign. He went to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for advice before filing the whistleblower report! According to a speculative piece at RealClearInvestigations, it seems the whistleblower has a history of working with DNC opposition researchers as well.
Trump may peddle in conspiracy theories, and the term “deep state” is questionable, but this whistleblower is a government operative working to undermine a duly-elected president. If there is such a thing as a deep state, the whistleblower foots the bill — and McLaughlin was cheering him on from the sidelines.
Former CIA director John McLaughlin on Trump’s impeachment: “Thank God for the deep state” pic.twitter.com/t4pQhFOBuj
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 31, 2019
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.