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Trump's Presidency

The Creepy Bungling Inspector Clouseau-like Relationship between Trump and the US Spy Agencies

Emanuel L. Paparella, Ph.D.

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] S [/yt_dropcap]en. Lindsey Graham, Rep. South Carolina, has dubbed the relationship of President Trump to the US spy agencies to a Dr. Clouseau investigating himself. He is probably on to something considering the various bungling self-defeating and incompetent ways by which the House has so far been conducting the Russia dealings investigation.

It remains an entertainingly funny reality show controlled by the White House but it feels as if it could change on a dime and turn into a sad ugly tragedy. The question arises: is control slipping away from Trump prompting him to challenge agencies’ integrity and alleging that (in collusion with former president Obama) they monitored his presidential campaign?

It is well known that counter-allegations have surfaced of Trump’s White House funneling secret intelligence reports to top Republicans investigating its ties to Russian officials as well as the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. These investigations, if proven, will seriously threaten his presidency. They also may reflect a deepening distrust of the intelligence community among Trump’s political advisers who remain bungling amateurs when it comes to classified information and covert programs. Michael Hayden, former CIA head and the National Security Agency has quipped lately that those bunglings “reveal a chasm of ignorance about how stuff is done.

It is also well known that Trump, with the backing of political advisers Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, initially sought to put Wall Street billionaire Stephen Feinberg in charge of a review of the intelligence agencies. An early assessment of the review suggested the elimination of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, (the umbrella agency created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks) in order to better streamline and coordinate intelligence. At least that was the official rationale. The oversight agency was simply an unnecessary bureaucracy that ended up manipulating and distorting information. Now, however, the operative words are no longer “dismantle” the intelligence agencies, but “trim and optimize” to better make them manageable. The question arises: manageable by whom?

The White House has expressed an interest in having more raw intelligence sent to it rather than analysis. They do no seem to need analysis, expert or otherwise. What they want is control about the assessment given and the ability to sideline conclusions they don’t particularly like. This is particularly advocated by Steve Bannon who is still in charge of the Flynn holdovers. They run to Bannon when the new NSC, H.R. McMaster, threatens them with removal. They have access to a full range of classified information, including covert programs and can request intelligence products from intelligence agencies.

One of those Flynn holdovers, Cohen-Watnick, has been identified as one of the two White House staffers who helped House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes view secret reports in the WH. Another is Michael Ellis who has been fingered by Cohen-Watnick as being the operative who showed the secret documents to Nunes and responsible for various leaks about which the WH is furious. Of course those finger-pointing are always anonymous, since the material is classified.

The main clown, Nunes, is already on record saying that the material he viewed with information about Trump and his associates was spread around by the Obama administration as it left the White House. This came days after Trump officials privately suggested to the media that they focus on the same topic. The idea seemed to be to validate Trump’s unproven claim that President Obama wiretapped his New York residence. As the saying goes: it’s a circus out there, and any intelligence incompetent clown, with or without much intelligence to speak of, can play in it.

All of the above is going on while intelligence operative reassure the public that normally intelligence agencies do not spy on American citizens and have no incentive to gather reports that become fodder in partisan political disputes. So, what Nunes may have picked up at the WH could well be communications between foreign governments discussing the incoming administration. The names of US citizens naturally would come up. So that information was not for the Obama administration but for the benefit of the American government, with the full understanding that whatever was being recorded would eventually be accessible to whomever was the president at the time, even to a president-elect.

All of this may clarify things somewhat, but the suspicion remains that there is much more than meets the eyes here; that there may be a cover-up, especially of the Russia dealings, and that the best is still to come.

Professor Paparella has earned a Ph.D. in Italian Humanism, with a dissertation on the philosopher of history Giambattista Vico, from Yale University. He is a scholar interested in current relevant philosophical, political and cultural issues; the author of numerous essays and books on the EU cultural identity among which A New Europe in search of its Soul, and Europa: An Idea and a Journey. Presently he teaches philosophy and humanities at Barry University, Miami, Florida. He is a prolific writer and has written hundreds of essays for both traditional academic and on-line magazines among which Metanexus and Ovi. One of his current works in progress is a book dealing with the issue of cultural identity within the phenomenon of “the neo-immigrant” exhibited by an international global economy strong on positivism and utilitarianism and weak on humanism and ideals.

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Trump's Presidency

Comey treated in Thuggish Mafia Style by the White House

Emanuel L. Paparella, Ph.D.

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Former FBI Director James Comey is furious at the lack of respect the White House has showed him by the way he was fired, worthy of a Mafia operation, sources confirm.

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Trump's Presidency

Trump’s Dumb Ideas for Economic Growth

Emanuel L. Paparella, Ph.D.

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] I [/yt_dropcap]f there’s an economic idea that Donald Trump and his economic advisers continually reiterate it is that slashing taxes inevitably leads to economic growth. Let’s see how true this idea is.

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Trump's Presidency

The Demeaning of the Office of the President

Emanuel L. Paparella, Ph.D.

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] C [/yt_dropcap]NN has recetnly reported that President Trump’s latest anti-media attacks “are beneath the dignity of the office of the President.” In an interview with Time magazine, Trump insulted CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon and criticized MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. He also called CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert a “no-talent guy.”

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