The Scheme to Take Down Trump

Exclusive: The U.S. intelligence community’s unprecedented assault on an incoming U.S. president – now including spreading salacious rumors – raises questions about how long Donald Trump can hold the White House, says Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare

Is a military coup in the works? Or are U.S. intelligence agencies laying the political groundwork for forcing Donald Trump from the presidency because they can’t abide his rejection of a new cold war with Russia? Not long ago, even asking such questions would have marked one as the sort of paranoid nut who believes that lizard people run the government. But no longer.

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. October 29, 2016. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

Thanks to the now-notorious 35-page dossier concerning Donald Trump’s alleged sexual improprieties in a Moscow luxury hotel, it’s clear that strange maneuverings are underway in Washington and that no one is quite sure how they will end.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper added to the mystery Wednesday evening by releasing a 200-word statement to the effect that he was shocked, shocked, that the dossier had found its way into the press. Such leaks, the statement said, “are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.”

Clapper added: “that this document is not a US Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC. The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions. However, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.”

Rather than vouching for the dossier’s contents, in other words, all Clapper says he did was inform Trump that it was making the rounds in Washington and that he should know what it said – and that he thus couldn’t have been more horrified than when Buzzfeed posted all 35 pages on its website.

But it doesn’t make sense. As The New York Times noted, “putting the summary in a…

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