Former Obama advisor Ben Rhodes warns Trump's new National Security Advisor "will spy on opponents"
Former Obama advisor Ben Rhodes Wednesday raised the prospect of President Trump spying on his political opponents in the 2020 campaign with his pick to oversee the Intelligence Community.
Some pundits pointed out the irony of a former Obama administration official accusing the president of doing precisely what it appears they did in the 2016 election lead-up.
Rhodes, who was deputy national security adviser under Obama, flung criticism at Richard Grenell on Wednesday after the U.S. ambassador to Germany was selected to be Trump's next acting director of national intelligence. He mentioned the 2020 campaign and the potential abuse of intelligence.
"Grenell in charge of our intelligence through the campaign is a truly terrifying thought," Rhodes tweeted.
His missive was in response to a tweet from Samantha Power, who was President Barack Obama's U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
"One by one, day by day, @realDonaldTrump is taking steps to destroy America’s fact-based institutions, at the same time he eviscerates rule of law. Appointing as @ODNIgov @RichardGrenell, who has politicized every issue he has touched & has contempt for facts, would be a travesty," she said.
It is difficult to miss the irony many noted. U.S. Attorney John Durham in Connecticut is working on what he has described as a three-pronged investigation into the Russia hoax that claimed Trump was a long-time asset of the Russian government. Among those probes are the alleged involvement of multiple former Obama officials, though Rhodes was not one of them.
"I am pleased to announce that our highly respected Ambassador to Germany, @RichardGrenell, will become the Acting Director of National Intelligence. Rick has represented our Country exceedingly well and I look forward to working with him," Trump said in a tweet Wednesday evening.
Democrats in Congress raised concerns about Grenell's new role as he becomes Trump's second acting spy chief, circumventing the need for Senate confirmation of a permanent holder of the position. Sen. Richard Blumenthal called Grenell "a political appointee with little or any background in intelligence."
Last month, Grenell, a staunch Trump ally, tweeted at Rhodes to say he was "duped" into believing Tehran was complying with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal abandoned by Trump.