Why Donald Trump sacked the intelligence boss

The president attacked Mr. Maguire during a meeting in the Oval office last week, lambasting him for the "disloyalty" of his staff.
The president attacked Mr. Maguire during a meeting in the Oval office last week, lambasting him for the "disloyalty" of his staff. CHIP SOMODEVILLA / AFP

Donald Trump continues to clean up those around him. He has just appointed Richard Grenell, the Ambassador to Berlin, to the post of Acting Director of American Intelligence (DNI), the agency that oversees the 17 intelligence services, replacing Joseph Maguire.

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According to Washington Post and the New york times, the president let his anger explode against Joe Maguire, who had held this post since August 2019, when he was informed of a briefing dated February 13 before the Intelligence Committee of the House of Representatives during which his services have reported Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election campaign.

It is not immediately clear whether Mr. Trump objected to any part of this briefing, during which Mr. Maguire's advisor, Shelby Pierson, allegedly told elected officials that Russia was back again interfering in the US election to promote Trump's candidacy.

Donald Trump has regularly disagreed with the intelligence community, particularly around the issue of suspicions of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Adam Schiff, enemy of Donald Trump

But, according to the New york times, the president was particularly angry at the presence of Adam Schiff, the Democrat who led the parliamentary inquiry after which the Republican billionaire was charged with abuse of power and obstructing the work of Congress.

Joseph Maguire was one of the favorites to become permanent director of intelligence, but, according to Washington Post, Mr. Trump is said to have backfired when he learned of this top secret briefing.

The president then attacked Mr. Maguire during a meeting in the Oval office last week, castigating him for the "Lack of loyalty" of its staff, according to Washington Post. What would have been "Catalyst" of Joe Maguire's dismissal, the newspaper said.

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A fixed-term position for Richard Grenell

The New york times notes that Richard Grenell will only hold office for a few weeks until the White House finds a candidate to propose to the Senate for confirmation. On Twitter, Mr. Grenell confirmed that he was just passing: "The president will soon announce the name of the candidate (it's not me). "

Read also Diplomacy in the wrong direction from Richard Grenell, Ambassador of the United States in Berlin

Since being acquitted by the Senate, dominated by Republicans, during his impeachment trial, Mr. Trump has dismissed several people, including in the justice department, the National Security Council or the Pentagon, finding them unfair .

Among them are Lieutenant-Colonel Alex Vindman and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, two key witnesses in the impeachment investigation, and John Rood, number 3 in the Pentagon.


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