CIA director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December, as President Trump set up loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California), as deputy, according to three senior administration officials Hastily planned. Direct knowledge of matter.
Why it matters: The revelation shocked national security officials and nearly blew away the leadership of the world’s most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences – and the last-minute intervention of Vice President Mike Pence and White House attorney Pat Sipholon – stopped it.
Behind the scenes: Trump spent his last year in office with Haspel. Some of the president’s staunch allies, including Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, were publicly raising doubts about Haspel.
- He grew to disbelieve her, and instead wanted a loyal ally at the top of the CIA. But she was not the only national security officer the president wanted out. Six days after the election, he fired Secretary of Defense Mark Osho.
- He teamed up with renovation chief Chris Miller to replace Noah – and then held national security hands for a long time by establishing Patel as Miller’s chief of staff. Patel had no military experience, and was widely seen as a political mercenary to punish the president’s alleged “Deep State” enemies.
- But Trump told confidants that he had big plans for Patel: he would oust CIA deputy director Von Bishop, replace him with Patel, and if Haspel left in protest, Patel or another loyalist Will lead the CIA.
Favored patel Trump is playing a central role in Republican efforts to counter the Russia investigation of Special Counsel Robert Muller. He was the lead author of a memorandum in which Nunes accused the Justice Department and the FBI of misusing surveillance laws under a politically motivated effort to take down Trump. An inspector general later validated some Republican criticisms of the Russia investigation.
- Trump was also convinced that all kinds of classified documents still lay inside the CIA that would harm his enemies – Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, former CIA director John Brennan and others.
- Trump regarded Patel as someone he could trust to do whatever he could without challenging, going slow, questioning his decision, or asking too many annoying questions.
- Patel served as the head of National Intelligence acting director Rick Grenell for four months, was a counterterrorism prosecutor at the DOJ, served on Trump’s National Security Council, served in the Joint Special Operations Command and was a senior officer in the House Intelligence Committee Served as.
Patel was traveling in Asia With Secretary of Defense Miller, when suddenly on December 8, Trump called him back to Washington.
- At the time of Patel’s recall, the Pentagon refused to answer questions. But given the tensions running through the building after Trump replaced top officials with loyalists, it set off feverish speculation among senior Pentagon employees.
- Patel had to link via several commercial flights to get back in a hurry. Meanwhile, Trump instructed White House Chief Mark Meadows to tell Haspel that he was expelling Bishop and replacing him with Patel.
Trump plans to name On December 11, the CIA’s Patel Deputy Director – in fact, a draft paperwork had already been prepared to formalize Patel’s appointment. On the same day, Haspel decided for the first time in weeks to attend the president’s daily intelligence briefing.
- Reports that he was on the ropes had been rotating for weeks and she was making clear about the West Wing – a COVID hotzone. During the briefing that day, Haspel reminded Trump what Trump had initially influenced him about: as Trump often said, he was tough, and good at killing terrorists.
- After the briefing ended and Haspel exited the room, Trump asked a small group of his senior colleagues what they thought of Haspel. Pence called the CIA director a patriot, praising his work performance and trying to reassure Trump that he patted his back, making a complete defense. Cipollon also repeatedly defended Haspal from the President.
Trump suddenly switched course, Decision to discontinue plans to install Patel. But there was a glitch: In the main hall of the employees’ office, Meadows had already told Haspel that Patel would take the bishop’s job.
- Haspel responded with the sheer aggression for which she was famous. She said that she would not stand for it, and that she would resign before allowing Patel to assume a position as deputy.
- Meadows offered it as a nature, but it was not decided that Haspel would lie down. And now Trump had changed his mind. Meadows had to swallow his pride and overturn the order.
Driving news: On Friday, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a prominent electoral-conspirator theorist and lawyer Sidney Powell, visited Trump on his last Friday afternoon in the Oval Office.
- Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford caught a picture of Lindell’s notes before entering the West Wing.
- The pillow entrepreneur’s prescription for the president had the eye-catching line: “Transfer Kash Patel to CIA Acting”.
What they are saying Patel declined to comment on the president’s December-December plan, but told Axios, “I want to say on the record that I never met, talked to, watched, texted, or communicated with Mike Lindell . “