Mattis, Pompeo, Kelly, Bolton, Coats: Resign Now

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump (Wikimedia Commons)Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump (Wikimedia Commons)

by Diana Ohlbaum

Every elected and appointed U.S. official, other than the president, must take the following oath:

I, ____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

It is no longer possible for any senior official in the Trump administration to uphold that obligation.

There is no question that Russia attacked the most sacred institution of American democracy: the system of free and fair elections. In 2017 the intelligence community issued, with “high confidence,” its unified assessment that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election” in order “to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.” Such activities “demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.”

Earlier this month the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Republican Senator Richard Burr, affirmed that the intelligence community’s findings were “accurate and on point” and that “Russian cyber operations were more extensive than the hack of the Democratic National Committee and continued well through the 2016 election.”

On July 13, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers, acting in their official capacity, for engaging in “large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

In many ways, this attack is far more serious than the type of military aggression the United States has spent trillions of dollars over the past 70 years to deter and repel. Rather than seizing U.S. territory, Russia has stolen the integrity of the constitutional system that our soldiers and diplomats risk their lives to protect.

Yet President Trump has not condemned the ongoing assault or punished the man who directed it. Instead, he held a friendly meeting with Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin, announcing afterwards that he believes Putin’s denials over the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies. Trump not only declined to confront Putin over Russia’s cyber invasion of America, but blamed the special counsel, not Russian meddling, for keeping the two countries apart.

There is nothing wrong with holding talks with an adversary. There is nothing wrong with critically assessing the judgments of U.S. intelligence agencies. And there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that the United States, too, has a long history of secretly interfering in democratic elections (see: Chile, Congo, Guatemala, Iran).

Where Trump crosses the line is in failing to perform his sworn duty to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States. By acquiescing to the Russian attack—whether or not he and his campaign actually had a hand in its direction and execution—he is now, in effect, the agent of a foreign power.

Americans of all political persuasions have hoped or assumed that senior national security officials would keep the president from acting on his worst instincts, as former Secretary of State Tillerson and former National Security Advisor McMaster did when Trump proposed invading Venezuela. But none of them was in the room with Trump and Putin.

Since the secretary of defense, secretary of state, White House chief of staff, national security advisor, and director of national intelligence have been unwilling or unable to convince President Trump to faithfully defend the interests of the United States, they are in violation of their own oaths. It is time for them all to resign.

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Diana Ohlbaum

Diana Ohlbaum is the owner of DLO Global LLC (https://www.dloglobal.com/), an independent consulting firm providing legislative and political strategy for sustainable human security, and a board member of the Center for International Policy. In addition to conducting oversight of U.S. foreign assistance on Capitol Hill for nearly 20 years as a senior professional staff member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she has managed post-conflict programs at USAID and directed policy and advocacy at InterAction. Dr. Ohlbaum holds a Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Russian studies from Amherst College. Follow her on Twitter: @dohlbaum

SHOW 8 COMMENTS

8 Comments

  1. What about our support for the NAZI State of Israel, that’s also treason.

  2. drop the God phrase. Religion is personal and has nothing to do with govt

  3. How was Trump ‘acquiescing’, was he supposed to show up to the summit with a rolled up newspaper and smack Putin in the nose?

    He has already levied sanctions, ransacked at least two Russian embassies in the U.S., killed Russians in Syria, expanded NATO, and increased both troop deployment as well as NATO logistics on Russia’s border. Oh, and just for fun, given the Ukronazis lethal toys to kill ethnic Russian for the crime of living in eastern Ukraine.

    All countries gather intel on other countries, the only active measure they are accused of doing is putting some of that intel into the public domain which is a misdemeanor, not Pearl Harbor.

  4. V V Putin is an accomplished Judo / Aikido (also known as “The Art of Peace.”) practitioner
    Google benjamin-wittes-underestimating-vladimir-putins-martial-arts-skills

    At Helsinki he demonstrated the diplomatic equivalent. Not behind closed doors, or in smoke filled room, but in front of a collection of reporters. Reporters who you would think were aware of Seymour Hersh, I F Stone or Robert Parry.

    For instance, we can bring up Mr. Browder, in this particular case. Business associates of Mr. Browder have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia and never paid any taxes neither in Russia or the United States and yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent [a] huge amount of money, $400,000,000, as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well that’s their personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself but the way the money was earned was illegal. So we have solid reason to believe that some [US] intelligence officers accompanied and guided these transactions. So we have an interest in questioning them.

    So here is an opening for the big SCOOP, and a chance for ‘The Establishment’ to Front Up. Or shut up.
    The resulting hysteria shows which choice they made

    There is a detailed / cross referenced (204page) account of the machinations of William Browder at various places around the net.
    Google TheKillingOfWilliamBrowder The section on US actions in the 90s is relevant
    The writer is hedge fund manager Alex Krainer, and it the result of three years of careful research.

    If you feel the need to be well informed, this book is a good place to start :-). Naomi Klein makes similar points in ‘Shock Doctrine’ but why add to the fortune of that compassionate employer J Bezos??

    “Krainer’s book is an indispensable contribution to understanding the connection between the looting of Russia during the disastrous shock therapy of the Yeltsin years, and the dangerous anti-Russian provocations of today. His insight into the duplicitous role of Bill Browder provides compelling evidence of how unscrupulous greed can lead to much larger crimes.” –Harley Schlanger, Schiller Institute

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