Opinion

Trump would have less trouble now if he hadn’t kept so many Obama staffers

The consequences of that neglect are now playing out in the Senate impeachment trial.
Wed Jan 29, 2020 - 8:14 pm EST
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President Trump Frame from CNN video report

January 29, 2020 (American Thinker) — There were literally thousands of qualified Trump-supporters eager to join his administration, yet those responsible for personnel decisions decided to retain Obama employees or hire NeverTrumps, who, collectively, either resisted or actively undermined Trump and his America First agenda.

The consequences of that neglect are now playing out in the Senate impeachment trial.

In his shocking article "Whistleblower Was Overheard in '17 Discussing With Ally How to Remove Trump," Paul Sperry describes a plot hatched by Obama holdovers and Democrat partisans in the White House National Security Council (NSC) to remove President Trump from office.

According to Sperry, after a staff-wide meeting called by then–national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, NSC co-workers Eric Ciaramella and Sean Misko, both Obama holdovers, were overheard talking about toppling Flynn and Trump.

Ciaramella said, "We need to take him out," and Misko replied, "Yeah, we need to do everything we can to take out the president."

That incident wasn't the only time the pair exhibited open hostility toward the president. During the following months, both were accused of leaking negative information about Trump to the media.

Ciaramella has been unofficially identified as the "whistleblower" of the leaked Trump July 25, 2019 conversation with Ukraine's president that provided the pretext for impeachment.

Sperry states that former NSC co-workers and congressional sources identified Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who held Ciaramella's old position at the NSC, as the Democrat partisan who leaked the information to Ciaramella on July 26.

The same day, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff hired Misko to head up the investigation of Trump.

Sperry also identifies another Schiff recruit believed to be part of the clandestine political operation against Trump. It is Abby Grace, who also worked closely with Ciaramella at the NSC, both before and after Trump was elected. During the Obama administration, Grace was an assistant to Obama national security aide Ben Rhodes.

It is disturbing to say the least that such opponents of the administration remained in high positions well into Trump's tenure.

What is far more disturbing is that no action was taken against Ciaramella and Misko when their comments at the Flynn meeting were reported, or the fact that many possessing questionable loyalty remain in the Trump administration.

For example, why is James H. Baker, an Obama appointee, still director of the Office of Net Assessment at the Pentagon?

The October 24, 2019 court filing by the defense attorneys for General Flynn alleges that Baker leaked to the press copies of the transcripts from Flynn's December 2016 telephone calls to then–Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Baker had regularly scheduled lunches with The Washington Post's David Ignatius, who published an article about the calls in January 2017.

Over four years, the Office of Net Assessment paid alleged FBI informant Stefan Halper, linked both to the Flynn case and the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, over $1 million for research papers of dubious value.

Trump-supporters have every right to be angry, both those who applied to serve in his administration but were ignored and those who see the agenda for which they voted sabotaged by partisan moles.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel; trained in Arabic and Kurdish; an I.T. command and control and cyber-security subject matter expert; and a veteran of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa. He receives email at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter at @LawrenceSellin.

Thomas Lifson adds:

In an ideal world, yes, the Trump administration would have been able to vet the thousands of willing applicants and replace nearly everyone held over from the previous administration. But who would carry out the vetting before Trump took office? The incoming administration's personnel office would be entirely dependent on the existing Obama carryover staff — the very people who would be deemed unreliable by the categorical replacement policy advocated here. Before inauguration, there would be no access to information resources (including classified information) other than through the incumbent Obama administration officials.

Keep in mind that there is every possibility that hostile actors, including both domestic political opponents and foreign governments, would seek to insert covert agents into the new administration, and that in the future they could wreak havoc. The incoming Trump administration would be raked over the coals for an "ideological purge" that inserted "unqualified hacks," and the "loss of expertise" would be blamed for anything bad that happened.

Keep in mind, also, that many people in important positions enjoy Civil Service protections and cannot be fired.

All in all, it was a serious challenge, and more probably should have been done. There is no excuse for ignoring the report of Ciaramella's and Misko's conversation, though I wonder who it was that received the complaint. Another Obama holdover?

The sad fact is that the federal bureaucracy as a whole has been weaponized, and replacing it is not possible on a mass basis. In particular, those parts of it where a security clearance is necessary cannot be quickly re-staffed.

Trump faced the same sort of problems that any corporate turnaround artist does — for instance, Mitt Romney's Bain Capital. But in the corporate world, you can fire people without the Civil Service limitations and do not face the time-consuming, complex process of obtaining or renewing security clearances.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.


  2020 presidential election, barack obama, donald trump, impeachment

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