#Nev­erTrumpers fight back

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - MERCEDES SCHLAPP Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News con­trib­u­tor, co-founder of Cove Strate­gies and former White House di­rec­tor of spe­cialty me­dia un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

The #Nev­erTrumpers are at it again, cheer­ing on the “deep state” in the bu­reau­cracy and politi­cized mem­bers in the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity as they try to un­der­mine and dele­git­imize Pres­i­dent Trump. Their ac­tions are dis­turb­ing, de­struc­tive and — as the pres­i­dent him­self cor­rectly tweeted — deeply “un-Amer­i­can.”

Former third-party pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and de­voted #Nev­erTrumper Evan McMullin went so far as to lec­ture Mr. Trump on Twit­ter: “By oath, in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials’ first duty is to ‘de­fend the Con­sti­tu­tion of the United States against all en­e­mies, for­eign and do­mes­tic,’” all but ac­cus­ing Mr. Trump of be­ing one of those do­mes­tic en­e­mies. Mr. McMullin, a former CIA oper­a­tions of­fi­cer him­self, called on fel­low Repub­li­cans to “dump this guy.” His at­tacks re­flect the mind­set of those on a cru­sade to de­stroy the le­git­i­macy of the Trump pres­i­dency at all cost.

Some in the Washington es­tab­lish­ment’s “deep state” have leaked clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion and tran­scripts of sen­si­tive con­ver­sa­tions to the me­dia, a crim­i­nal act. The re­venge of the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity has shifted into high gear. Some in the deep state may see this cam­paign as a moral obli­ga­tion, but the cost to our na­tional se­cu­rity from un­der­min­ing a demo­crat­i­cally elected pres­i­dent is too high. The down­fall of former Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Michael Flynn is just the be­gin­ning if Mr. Trump can­not get a han­dle on the sit­u­a­tion.

Pres­i­dent Trump and his na­tional se­cu­rity team need to fig­ure out how to clean house in Washington, D.C., but the task might be more dif­fi­cult than they think. There are en­trenched bu­reau­crats and Obama holdovers in key po­si­tions within the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity will­ing to leak to the news me­dia in com­plete de­fi­ance of the pres­i­dent. In the first weeks of Mr. Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, they have re­leased tran­scripts about the pres­i­dent’s calls with for­eign gov­ern­ment lead­ers, an un­prece­dented and harm­ful be­trayal and a blow to our in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion.

Mr. Trump tweeted that “the spot­light has fi­nally been put on the low-life leak­ers! They will be caught.” And dur­ing Thurs­day’s press con­fer­ence, he said that those who gave the in­for­ma­tion “should be ashamed of them­selves,” while re­veal­ing that he has spo­ken with the Jus­tice Depart­ment about fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the leaks. The pres­i­dent can claim the high moral ground in his prom­ise to en­sure that clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion is not il­le­gally distributed.

To many lib­er­als these leak­ers are he­roes in an end­less bat­tle, whistle­blow­ers will­ing to take on and, ul­ti­mately, take down a pres­i­dent. But in the long run, their ac­tions desta­bi­lize our gov­ern­ment and hurt our democ­racy. The in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity and the ex­ec­u­tive branch need to be work­ing to­gether, not un­der­min­ing each other, so they can fo­cus on the real threats fac­ing our na­tion such as rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ism.

Around the globe, po­lit­i­cally un­sta­ble na­tions have been vul­ner­a­ble to pow­er­ful mil­i­tary or in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers who can’t re­sist the temp­ta­tion to seize power. We should not fall into this trap, mired in in­sta­bil­ity fo­mented by un­elected bu­reau­crats. There are ways for dis­grun­tled gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees to air their griev­ances, and if they can’t hon­or­ably serve a given pres­i­dent, they should sim­ply re­sign. What is un­ac­cept­able is to de­lib­er­ately at­tempt to bring down a pres­i­dent and his team through il­le­git­i­mate means.

The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported Thurs­day that some in the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity are al­ready un­will­ing to pro­vide sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion to the pres­i­dent. If this is the case, those leak­ers have de­cided to put pol­i­tics over coun­try. If they sup­port the no­tion that Mr. Trump is a “do­mes­tic en­emy,” then those work­ing for his down­fall un­der­mine not only this ad­min­is­tra­tion but the very essence of our democ­racy.

Evan McMullin

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