Former Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell reportedly may stage a run for California governor after meeting with former president Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort. If he does run, the public deserves to know the full extent of Grenell’s highly questionable conduct within the Trump administration.
Grenell made no attempt to hide his extreme bias in favor of President Trump. As DNI, Grenell acted as Trump’s “warrior” against the “deep state,” firing several career Intelligence officials, including independent watchdog Michael Atkinson, who had alerted Congress to the Ukraine whistleblower complaint which led to Trump’s first impeachment, as well as Russ Travers and Peter Hall, who had led the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The Senate Intelligence Committee sent Grenell a letter urging him to “avoid making significant changes” at the agency, which he ignored. Grenell also attempted to delegitimize the Russia investigation by declassifying the names of Obama-era officials who “unmasked” Michael Flynn and sharing the information with the Department of Justice, apparently in an effort to show his allegiance to Trump.
Throughout his time in the administration, Grenell kept a posse of shady associates. Grenell is a member of Donald Trump Jr.’s inner circle along with Republican congressmen and political operatives. Through phone calls and text chains, the group helped Trump Jr. plan his political moves and sent unsavory information about journalists they felt had smeared Trump. Grenell has met with members of his group at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which has become a hub for Republican politicians and political operatives. According to CREW’s conflicts tracker, Grenell has made 19 visits to Trump properties, not including his recent trip to Mar-a-Lago.
CREW has requested all of Grenell and his staff’s communications related to Michael Flynn, Michael Aktinson, Russ Travers, and Peter Hall. Additionally, CREW requested communications between Grenell and Donald Trump Jr., Arthur Schwartz, Andy Surabin, Michael Flynn, and Sidney Powell. Finally, CREW requested Grenell and his staff’s communications relating to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and related prosecutions, including the prosecution of Michael Flynn.
Records could reveal whether Trump Jr. and his group had undue political influence on the Intelligence community through Grenell. If Grenell is preparing to once again enter the political arena, then the public deserves to know the depth of his politicization of and damage to the Intelligence community.