Key Quotes from National Security Voices

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KENT AND TAYLOR TESTIMONY

Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (2005 – 2008) –  George Kent’s major point that deserves more attention:  Trump and Giuliani’s Ukraine policy contradicted all the U.S. has tried to do since 1991–ask Ukrainian leaders to observe the rule of law and not go after their political rivals. [Tweet, 11/13/19]

Joshua Geltzer, Senior Director for Counterterrorism (2015-2017) – What might have gotten lost in the day’s testimony is that these more ordinary officials were doing extraordinary things. Those included repeated threats to resign and repeated referrals to lawyers of possible violations of U.S. law by U.S. officials. This is not normal—not normal behavior by public servants, not normal disagreement within the policy-making process, not normal at all. To the contrary, this is a sign that inside the U.S. government, Trump’s improper bullying of Ukraine was setting off alarms—and the system was blinking red. Start with the multiple threats of resignation that Ambassador William Taylor, America’s top diplomat in Ukraine, indicated he’d made with utter sincerity (an indication confirmed by the written record). Threats of resignation by government officials—especially officials like Taylor, with decades of service to presidents of both political parties—are extremely rare. [The Atlantic, 11/13/19]

AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE

William Cohen, former Secretary of Defense and GOP Senator: I believe the effort to obtain damaging information from a foreign government on a potential presidential candidate and contemporaneously withholding needed military equipment would constitute an impeachable offense. [WGME, 9/26/2019]

Kori Schake, Deputy Director for Policy Planning, State Department (2007-2008) and senior advisor to John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign – Whistleblower’s account seems convincing that the President was using our foreign policy to blackmail a foreign country into assisting his re-election…I believe the President’s conduct merits impeachment [Tweet, 9/29/2019]

Kori Schake – “[Im]peachment is an inquiry and I think the president’s behavior merits it. American democracy really relies on a single set of rules that apply equally no matter which party is in power and the president’s behavior, I think, is cause for a legitimate concern and congressional oversight.” [CNN Interview, 10/3/2019]

SOLICITING FOREIGN INTERFERENCE AND ABUSE OF POWER

James Baker III, Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush – “They wanted us to contact the Russians or the British to seek information on Bill Clinton’s trip to Moscow…I said we absolutely could not do that.” [New York Times, 10/6/2019]

H.R. McMaster, former Trump administration National Security Adviser – Is it appropriate for the president of the United States to solicit foreign interference in our political process? “Of course no. No, it’s absolutely not. And of course, what has to happen here is seeing our democracy play out, our separation of powers play out. And for the American people, through their representatives in Congress, to make a judgment of whether that happened.” [Washington Examiner, 11/13/19]

Carrie Cordero, former Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Advisor to John Kasich’s 2016 campaign: “The president should not be using his authority to dig up political dirt on spurious claims against political opponents….But by the president’s statements and by this open admission that he thinks it’s OK to use his position to seek foreign assistance in elections, he just made the job of the U.S. intelligence community and the national security community exponentially harder by them trying to protect the country against foreign influence in our elections.” [PBS, 10/3/2019]

Asha Rangappa, former FBI Special Agent: “Ukrainian officials have confirmed there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either. But the goal, it seemed, was to use the law enforcement arm of a foreign country to go on a fishing expedition to dig up or manufacture the appearance of dirt, which could then potentially be used by Trump in his upcoming campaign. In other words, Trump appeared, based on his conversation with Zelensky, to be mainly interested in the fruits of a sham foreign investigation into the Bidens, which he could repurpose for his own benefit.” [Medium, 10/7/2019]

NATIONAL SECURITY IMPLICATIONS OF TRUMP’S WRONGDOING

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice – “What I see right now troubles me. I see a state of conflict between the foreign policy professionals and someone who says he’s acting on behalf of the president but frankly I don’t know if that is the case…It is deeply troubling…This is just not a good thing. The world shouldn’t get confusing messages from the United States of America…The call is murky, it is really murky. I don’t like for the president of the United States to mention an American citizen for investigation to a foreign leader. I think that is out of bounds.” [Reuters, 11/11/2019]

James Stavridis, Navy Admiral (Ret.) and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander –  Even a hint of the President using the power of his office to advance his personal interests in an upcoming domestic election will undermine the U.S. in diplomacy and military affairs significantly — especially with our NATO allies, who are following all of this closely with real concern. [AP, 10/4/2019]

Adm. James Stavridis (Ret.) – For all these reasons, events in Ukraine will stretch far beyond the borders of Europe. Trump’s decision to withhold military aid, for whatever reason, was a significant misstep because it undermined confidence in the U.S. and Western guarantees to all its allies, partners and friends. Trump’s phone call with Zelensky wasn’t just bad domestic politics, but terrible geopolitics as well. [Omaha World Herald, 10/7/2019]

Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs – “If the president is singularly putting forward his own political interests for 2020 ahead of our national interest…then the president has abused the power of this office.” [CNN Interview 10/1/2019]

Clint Watts, former FBI Special Agent on a Joint Terrorism Task Force – “soliciting foreign help in a U.S. election endangers and weakens alliances across the board, erodes trust between international partners, sours intelligence sharing, leads to countries pursuing countervailing strategies against U.S. in case we don’t hold up to our end…extorting Ukraine for political dirt puts Ukraine in a weaker position in their region, while we are still sending U.S. tax payer  $ to them, it’s self defeating to American actions…in conclusion, America just created disinformation nightmare for itself 1 yr out from election. There are entire organizations of foreign intelligence services dedicated to creating messes like this for our electoral processes.” [Tweet, 9/23/2019]

John Sipher, 28-year veteran of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service – “A reminder that Russia invaded, annexed Crimea and is killing Ukrainians in the east of Ukraine. And our President shows no interest, offers no help but wants a corrupt personal favor in an effort to screw an American.” [Tweet, 9/25/2019]

John Sipher – “This is about a President who doesn’t take his job seriously and uses the office for both personal gain and to smear his enemies. The most powerful job in the world shouldn’t be used to attack Americans but to protect them.” [Tweet, 9/28/2019]

THE US-UKRAINE RELATIONSHIP UNDER TRUMP

Andrea Kendall-Taylor, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council: What is happening currently is not normal…This represents a deviation from the way that these institutions regularly function. And when the institutions don’t work, that is a national security threat. [Washington Post, 10/8/2019]

Javed Ali, former Senior Director for Counterterrorism on the National Security Council: And one thing this Ukraine investigation seemed to show is how much of a deviation has occurred from the traditional National Security Council and decision-making process to what may have happened with Rudy Giuliani and Mick Mulvaney and Ambassador Sondland.  You had two parallel streams of foreign policy. [MSNBC, 11/8/2019]

THE FAILURE OF REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS TO CHECK TRUMP’S ABUSE OF POWER

Colin Powell, former Secretary of State (2001-2005), National Security Advisor (1987 – 1989), Joint Chiefs Chairman (1989 – 1993) – “The Republican party has got to get a grip on itself. Right now, Republican leaders and members of the Congress… are holding back because they’re terrified of what will happen [to] any one of them if they speak out…Our foreign policy is in shambles right now.” [CNN, 10/6/2019]

Gary R. Edson, former Deputy National-Security Adviser to President George W. Bush: The Ukrainian scandal has been marked by profiles in both courage and cowardice. A succession of career officials from the State Department and the Department of Defense—beginning with Bill Taylor, the chargé d’affaires at the embassy in Ukraine—have defied the Trump White House, testifying under oath to Congress about presidential abuses of power. In so doing, they have thrown a gauntlet at the feet of other administration officials and congressional Republicans, challenging them to take a similar public stand. Yet, apart from claiming a process foul, most Senate Republicans have chosen—once again—to be seen but not heard in the face of presidential misdeeds. [The Atlantic, 10/31/2019]

David J. Kramer, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in the George W. Bush administration: For too long, those who served this administration at the highest levels of government have shirked their responsibility to let the American people know whether they harbored concerns about the president’s fitness for office or his willingness to substitute his own personal interests for U.S. foreign policy and national security interests. [Washington Post, 8/10/2019]

RUDY GIULIANI

Angela Stent, National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia (2004 – 2006): “Clearly it should be the full-time diplomats who know Ukraine well who should be dealing with all these issues…The U.S. has been trying to tell Ukrainians for years that they have to deal with their own corrupt system and implement the rule of law, otherwise they won’t get U.S. or IMF funding. And having someone else coming and representing the president and giving them a different message which is ‘we want you to find as much dirt as you can on the vice president’s son’ sends a mixed message.” [Washington Post, 9/25/2019]

Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (2005 – 2008) – “How is it possible that a private citizen, Rudy Giuliani, essentially hijacked United States policy towards Ukraine?” [CNN Interview, 10/2/2019]

Jeffrey Harris, Deputy Associate Attorney General under Ronald Reagan: “I think the Giuliani that I know would prosecute the Giuliani of today” [NBC News, 9/27/2019]

SECRETARY POMPEO

James E. Wentz, Retired Navy Captain: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s refusal to support former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch against the slander of President Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani is akin to abandoning your wounded troops on the battlefield. Has Pompeo forgotten the U.S. Military Academy mantra of duty, honor, country? [Washington Post Letter to the Editor, 11/8/19]

David J. Kramer, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in the George W. Bush administration and Richard Kauzlarich, former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina: Pompeo has placed unquestioning fealty to President Trump ahead of his responsibility for those who work at the department. Accordingly, it’s time for him to go…Pompeo failed his team when he yielded to demands from Trump and Rudolph W. Giuliani that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, one of the finest diplomats in the Foreign Service, be removed…The Trump administration is not normal. The damage to one of our most precious government institutions must end. It is time for Pompeo to go. [Washington Post, 10/25/2019]

Kori Schake, Deputy Director for Policy Planning, State Department (2007-2008) and senior advisor to John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign – “And I am surprised that so few of my fellow Republicans are willing to actually publicly hold the president accountable to standards of behavior. For example, Sec. Pompeo set an excruciatingly high standard for his — one of his predecessors, Sec. Clinton, in terms of accountability to Congress. And he doesn’t appear, at the moment, to be holding himself to the same standard. And I think that’s bad for democracy in America.” [CNN Interview, 10/3/2019]

Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs – “This is an impeachment inquiry. This is as serious as it gets it’s simply not going to be tenable Don, for Secretary Pompeo to say ‘the State Department’s not going to cooperate with the Congress.’” [CNN Interview, 10/2/2019]

ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR

Asha Rangappa, former FBI Special Agent – “So basically, Barr’s way of determining whether the FBI did its investigation by the book is — to do an investigation totally off the books.” [Tweet, 9/30/2019]

Asha Rangappa, former FBI Special Agent – “If this is ostensibly an “audit” of the Mueller probe, there should be no “back channels” in trying to verify the predicate. Using Trump — the subject of that investigation — to make evidentiary requests is not only a COI, it’s an abuse of power and violation of DOJ independence…What using Trump *does* achieve for Barr is (in theory, if things had not unfolded the way they have) a “cone of secrecy” where Barr and Trump could hide behind an Art. II/executive privilege argument so this would never be discovered. It’s a disgrace.” [Tweet, 9/30/2019]

Susan Hennessey, former NSA attorney, Brookings Fellow in National Security Law – Barr’s continued complicity – “An attorney general with any integrity or self-respect would resign upon learning that the president held them out as a partisan hack open to subverting due process rights of Americans for his political gain. All Barr can muster is ‘surprised and angry.’” [Tweet, 9/28/2019]

THE CREDIBILITY OF THE WHISTLEBLOWER

John McLaughlin, former Deputy-Director of the CIA under George W. Bush: These are people who are doing their duty or responding to a higher call…This is the institution in the US government—with all of its flaws, and it makes mistakes—is institutionally committed to objectivity and telling the truth. [Real Clear Politics, 11/1/2019]

90 former national security officials, including Chuck Hagel (former Secretary of Defense and U.S. Senator, R-NE) and Nicholas Rasmussen (former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center under Trump and Obama) – “We are former national security officials who proudly served in a wide array of roles throughout the U.S. Government. We are writing about the Intelligence Community whistleblower’s lawful disclosure, which was recently made public. While the identity of the whistleblower is not publicly known, we do know that he or she is an employee of the U.S. Government. As such, he or she has by law the right—and indeed the responsibility—to make known, through appropriate channels, indications of serious wrongdoing. That is precisely what this whistleblower did; and we applaud the whistleblower not only for living up to that responsibility but also for using precisely the channels made available by federal law for raising such concerns. A responsible whistleblower makes all Americans safer by ensuring that serious wrongdoing can be investigated and addressed, thus advancing the cause of national security to which we have devoted our careers. What’s more, being a responsible whistleblower means that, by law, one is protected from certain egregious forms of retaliation. Whatever one’s view of the matters discussed in the whistleblower’s complaint, all Americans should be united in demanding that all branches of our government and all outlets of our media protect this whistleblower and his or her identity. Simply put, he or she has done what our law demands; now he or she deserves our protection.”

Tom Nichols, Professor at the U.S. Navy War College and former defense staffer for Senator John Heinz (R-PA) – “The president must be called to account for his abuses of power sooner rather than later, but every decent American left in public life must immediately demand that he stop any further attacks on this whistleblower, before it’s too late and there’s another star on the wall at Langley.” [USA Today, 9/26/2019]

Tom Nichols, Professor at the U.S. Navy War College and former defense staffer for Senator John Heinz (R-PA) – “It might be acceptable for a rich kid from Queens to talk like a sociopathic mobster or beetle-browed junta enforcer when he’s trying to bully the local stonemasons and carpenters on his latest slapdash condo project, but it is utterly unacceptable in a president of the United States. The House Judiciary Committee should add this threat against a CIA officer to its list of impeachable offenses.” [USA Today, 9/26/2019]

Richard Haas, Director of Policy Planning at the State Department under George W. Bush – “Whistle-blowers are not spies or disloyal. They protect us from those who abuse their position and powers. To borrow a phrase, whistle-blowers drain the swamp. They often do so at considerable personal and professional risk. That is why they receive the protection of the law.” [Tweet, 9/27/2019]

THE SMEARS AGAINST VINDMAN AND OTHER PUBLIC SERVANTS

General Joseph Dunford (ret.), former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff: [Vindman] is a professional, competent, patriotic, and loyal officer. He has made an extraordinary contribution to the security of our Nation in both peacetime & combat [Twitter, 10/30/2019]

Matt Leonard, Army spokesperson: Lt. Col. Vindman, who has served this country honorably for 20+ years, is fully supported by the Army like every Soldier, having earned a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq in 2004. As his career assignments reflect, Lt. Col. Vindman has a long history of selfless service to his country, including combat. Lt. Col. Vindman is afforded all protections anyone would be provided in his circumstances. [Task and Purpose, 10/30/2019]

Brig. General Peter Zwack (ret.), former Senior Defense Attaché to the Russian Federation in Moscow: We worked together in an immensely sensitive time, where we all had to trust each other. I trusted him with my life then, I would now, and I find preposterous the innuendo that he somehow is a double agent. That was just fear and hate-mongering and I found it reprehensible. And I think it offended me enormously, including, I think a lot of other what you would call fair-minded people, especially that have known Alex as long as we have and have seen him serve our country so well and dedicatedly. [PRI, 10/29/2019]

Brig. General Peter Zwack (ret.), former Senior Defense Attaché to the Russian Federation in Moscow: Alex is a hardworking, dedicated person who had the courage of his convictions and was a true area specialist. And the key point is that when we were doing work within Russia, we trusted him entirely as vice versa…to slime and slander the good name, the career and the actions of a fine Army officer…it was out of bounds in my mind. It was absolutely over the top and wrong. [NPR, 10/30/2019]

Asha Rangappa, former FBI Special Agent: The idea that Ukraine would be engaging in some intelligence operation by calling an official channel of the White House makes absolutely no sense…You don’t just drop the word espionage lightly when you know what that word means. He should have never sent that.  [CNN, 10/30/2019]

Mark Hertling, former Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army: it’s despicable that people who clearly know very little about Vindman’s background, his history, and the skills and attributes that elevated him to his position would disparage his service to further and support their opinion-based narrative. But commentators, politicians and partisan troublemakers have been doing just that across the media…Vindman states his devotion to the Constitution in his published opening statement to the committee. It put me in mind of a discussion I once had with another of the immigrant FAOs on the USAREUR staff when I promoted her to Lieutenant Colonel and she reaffirmed her oath. She reminded me that of all the countries the US had as partners or were allied with as part of NATO, only one took an oath to defend a piece of paper…the Constitution. That’s what makes us different, she said, because we don’t vow to defend land or the head of state, we vow to protect and defend ideas. That is what Lt. Col. Vindman is doing right now. [CNN, 10/29/2019]

Mark Hertling, former Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army: This is disgusting, and @RepSeanDuffy (and others doing the same) know better. Soldiers with skills and cultural backgrounds like LTC Vindman are specifically recruited for Foreign Area Officer (FAO) duties to benefit the US. And they are passionate about their patriotism. [Tweet, 10/29/2019]

John McLaughlin, former Deputy-Director of the CIA under George W. Bush: Jonathan Alter on MSNBC just used a phrase that captures what we’re seeing now: it’s a “patriotic surge”:  the original whistle blower, Amb Taylor, Amb Yovanovich, Fiona Hill, now LTC Vindman.  Can Trump’s allies keep looking away – even when a Purple Heart patriot steps forward? [Tweet, 10/28/2019]

Clint Watts, former FBI Special Agent on a Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF): The GOP disparagement Army Lt. Col. Vindman this morning demonstrates how far America has fallen. Times like this I wish John McCain were still here with us. Would like to see a GOP elected official step up and counter this nonsense, any takers? [Tweet, 10/29/2019]

Eliot Cohen, former Counselor of the State Department (2007 – 2009): The Ukraine quid pro quo crisis, in which it becomes increasingly clear that the president attempted to withhold desperately needed military aid from Kiev in order to extract political hit jobs on his opponents, shows why character matters…In recent weeks, we have seen diplomats—the former ambassador and acting ambassador to Ukraine, most notably—take the uncomfortable road of telling truths that are mortifying to the administration. It is not surprising. They know what happens abroad when the most powerful country in the world, the one that has done most to create international norms that keep the peace, behaves duplicitously, dishonestly, and purely out of a shortsighted conception of self-interest. They know, too, that the American alliance system is the country’s greatest international asset, and that the system rests above all on American reliability, predictability, and honesty. [The Atlantic, 10/24/2019]

Nancy McEldowney, former career Foreign Service Officer and U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria: The fact that so many public servants have agreed to testify says to me that they are going forward because they believe they need to speak the truth as they see it, to put the facts on the table and then to let the process go forward in whatever way is deemed appropriate consistent with the Constitution. [NPR, 10/25/2019]

THE DAMAGE FROM TRUMP’S ‘DEEP STATE’ ATTACKS

Andrea Kendall-Taylor, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council: I served my career in the intelligence community for almost a decade, and I can say when you have a president in the White House who doesn’t take seriously the intelligence community, who doesn’t value the intelligence, it runs the risk of shutting down really the innovative thinking that the intelligence community does that keep Americans safe.  It has a very chilling effect, and I think that’s something that all Americans should be worried about. […]  I’ve spent a lot of time studying authoritarian regimes and how democracies break down, and I can tell you when you look across the globe, this deep state, this effort by the president to create or inflate a sense of threat is something that you see authoritarian leaders use across the globe. It creates justification for leaders to dismantle institutions and I’m concerned that’s what we see at this point. [MSNBC, 10/24/2019]

Daniel Fried, former career diplomat and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs from 2005 to 2009: The fact is Foreign Service people – the culture of the Foreign Service is loyalty [to the United States]. And they worked for Condi Rice, they worked for Hillary Clinton… the notion they`re disloyal is some weird political, you know, mythology. [MSNBC, 10/24/2019]

CAREER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS

Andrew Weiss, former Director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs on the National Security Council staff: “It was clear in the late spring that the right-wing media machinery was ginning up a series of totally false and baseless accusations about career people working on U.S. policy.” [NPR, 10/18/2019]

Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs – “One of the first casualties of President Trump’s murky dealings with Ukraine has been the United States Foreign Service, the group of nonpartisan career professionals who serve as America’s primary point of contact with the world beyond our borders. While the House impeachment inquiry has rightly become a top priority, Congress must also act to repair the substantial damage Mr. Trump has caused to the effectiveness and morale of our diplomats and other State Department employees…Morale at the State Department has plummeted following this barrage of attacks. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo owes it to the men and women of the department to stand up for their nonpartisan service and defend them from the president’s bullying and persecution. Unfortunately, Mr. Pompeo seems unlikely to do this. His heated criticism on Tuesday of three congressional committees that are looking to depose diplomats involved in our Ukraine policy is not the sort of “support” our diplomats need right now.” (New York Times, 10/3/2019]

Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs – “The president sidelined the State Department, he fired a highly respected career ambassador, Masha Yovanovitch….he listened to Rudy Giuliani, he pursued this wild theory that somehow the Ukrainians were involved in hacking Democratic National Committee in the 2016 presidential election which no one, even on the president’s staff believes, he’s didn’t listen to our career diplomats, and he’s disparaged our career foreign service routinely.” [CNN Interview, 10/2/2019]

Thomas Pickering (Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under Bill Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under George H.W. Bush) and Ronald Neumann (former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan and Bahrain under George W. Bush) –  “The Administration removed Ambassador Yovanovitch from her post in Ukraine prematurely. Now, we note with great concern the statement by President Donald Trump in the recently released memorandum of conversation with Ukraine’s president, in which the President said of Ambassador Yovanovitch, ‘Well, she’s going to go through some things.’ The threatening tone of this statement is deeply troubling… Whatever views the Administration has of Ambassador Yovanovitch’s performance, we call on the Administration to make clear that retaliation for political reasons will not be tolerated.” [Press Release, 9/26/2019]

American Foreign Service Association – Rejecting the politicization of their work – “At this time of great stress and rancor in our national political life, the American Foreign Service Association calls on all Americans to honor and respect the non-partisan, non-political work of the dedicated public servants of the U.S. Foreign Service. Our members have taken an oath to the U.S. Constitution, and do their utmost to support the foreign policy of the United States under the leadership of the elected leaders of our democracy. We urge that their service, which at times is under the most serious hardship conditions and security risks, not be politicized, and that they not be dragged into partisan political battles. Our country needs and deserves a professional, non-partisan Foreign Service. Our members pledge their lives to service to their country and its interests. Any attack on their integrity and commitment to non-partisan service does a great disservice to them, to their families and to our country.” [AFSA, 9/26/2019]

TRUMP’S DAMAGE TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT

Bill Burns, U.S. Ambassador to Russia (2005-2008), President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: In my three and a half decades as a U.S. Foreign Service officer, proudly serving five presidents and ten secretaries of state from both parties, I’ve never seen an attack on diplomacy as damaging, to both the State Department as an institution and our international influence, as the one now underway. The contemptible mistreatment of Marie Yovanovitch—the ambassador to Ukraine who was dismissed for getting in the way of the president’s scheme to solicit foreign interference in U.S. elections—is just the latest example of President Donald Trump’s dangerous brand of diplomatic malpractice. His is a diplomacy of narcissism, bent on advancing private interests at the expense of our national interests. [Foreign Affairs 10/14/2019]

Thomas Pickering, former U.S. ambassador to the UN and Russia under President George H.W. Bush: This is only the latest in a large number of very damaging things that have been done to the State Department…It represents a new low in basically ignoring and indeed punishing the people who have made a professional commitment to the country and Constitution. [AP, 10/4/2019]

Heather Conley, senior policy adviser at the State Department under President George W. Bush: This has just been a devastating three years for the Department of State…You can just feel there is a sense of disbelief. They don’t know who will be subpoenaed next.” [AP, 10/4/2019]

THE JULY 25 CALL

Kori Schake, Deputy Director for Policy Planning, State Department (2007-2008) and senior advisor to John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign – “It is clear that the President of the United States was attempting to encourage a foreign head of state to come up with information that could be damaging to a potential political rival. And that’s terrible conduct. It’s disgraceful conduct and it’s possibly even unconstitutional conduct by the President of the United States.” [CNN Interview, 10/3/2019]

Bill McRaven, retired Navy Admiral – Consequences of Trump’s Ukraine call: “I do think he should be in trouble…I mean, I think this is, again, this is a violation of kind of the fundamentals of the office. You know, never use a foreign country to affect the political outcome of our nation.” [Yahoo News, 9/30/2019]

Bill McRaven, retired Navy Admiral – Concerned by Trump Call – “You would have hoped through the process somebody would have told him time and time again, ‘Mr. President, you can’t do this. It is against ethics. It is against the law. And it is against, you know, our moral position to be able to ask a fellow president, head of state, to intervene on something that is clearly part of our American electoral process.” [Yahoo News, 9/30/2019]

Tom Bossert, Former Trump Homeland Security Advisor – Disturbed by Trump Call: “Yes, I’m deeply disturbed by it as well and this entire mess has me frustrated, George. […] That said, it is a bad day and a bad week for this president and for this country if he is asking for political dirt on an opponent. [ABC This Week, 9/29/19]

John McLaughlin, former Deputy-Director of the CIA under George W. Bush – Trump’s apologists reject a clear reality – “the transcript the White House released of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, followed by exposure of the whistleblower report that mirrored that account, makes it near impossible to deny that Trump was cajoling a foreign leader to find dirt on his most likely challenger. To not see this requires a willful refusal to do so.” [Ozy, 10/1/2019]

John McLaughlin, former Deputy-Director of the CIA under George W. Bush – Trump’s call with Ukraine harms national security – “Other nations reading the transcript of Trump’s Ukraine call will skip the hairsplitting in our domestic debate and have no trouble interpreting it — and the tactics will stiffen them against U.S. attempts to build coalitions for other purposes. Most importantly, it will further muddle Ukrainian attempts to deal with the country’s endemic corruption.” [Ozy, 10/1/2019]

Richard Haas, Director of Policy Planning at the State Department under George W. Bush – Disturbed by Trump call – “In 2016 @realDonaldTrump as private citizen could only ask Russia for help. Now he can use the powers of presidency to back his request of Ukraine, employing national security tools to back his political aims. This is basic difference betw 2016 and now & why this is more serious.” [Tweet, 9/25/2019]

Richard Haas, Director of Policy Planning at the State Department under George W. Bush – Trump conduct hurts our democracy – “Democracy in both UK & US being tested. UK Supreme Ct rules PM Boris Johnson had no right to suspend parliament to advance Brexit, & growing sense @realDonaldTrump crossed a line when he suspended aid to Ukraine in order to coerce its govt into probing VP Biden. Decisive moments.” [Tweet, 9/25/2019]

THE DEBUNKED CROWDSTRIKE CONSPIRACY THEORY

Tom Bossert, Former Trump Homeland Security Advisor – Crowdstrike theory has no validity: “I did. It’s not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked […] And for clarity here, George, let me just again repeat that it has no validity. United States government reached its conclusion on attributing to Russia the DNC hack in 2016 before it even communicated it to the FBI, long before the FBI ever knocked on the door at the DNC. So a server inside the DNC was not relevant to our determination to the attribution. It was made up front and beforehand. And so while servers can be important in some of the investigations that followed, it has nothing to do with the U.S. government’s attribution of Russia of the DNC hack.” [ABC This Week, 9/29/19]

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