The amount of turmoil and general hullabaloo emanating from the White House is so overwhelmingly unwieldly that reporters from the Washington Post are unable to keep up with the demand, said Greg Miller, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner at the newspaper.
“A lot of stories we would ordinarily cover, we just have to leave there,” he said.
Nonetheless, the longtime national security reporter managed to organize the disorder enough to produce a book describing the events and, significantly, their consequences. The book, “The Apprentice: Trump, Russia, and the Subversion of American Democracy,” and the state of American democracy were the topics of a Monday night discussion with Schar School of Policy and Government Distinguished Visiting Professor Michael V. Hayden at Dewberry Hall on the Fairfax Campus of George Mason University.
More than 100 audience members attended the conversation in which Miller described important timelines of how events at the federal level were (and are) unfolding and detailed the effect of their resulting consequences. Once he assembled a chronology, the evidence of how Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election manifested, to his mind, beyond a reasonable doubt.
“When you look at the chronology of the sequence of events, [the conclusions] leap out at you,” he said.
The 90-minute conversation, hosted by the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security at the Schar School of Policy and Government, included a series of character sketches of the principal players in the ongoing investigation of Russia’s possible involvement, including James Comey, Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, and Michael Flynn. As for Flynn, the former Trump national security advisor who is awaiting sentencing for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials, Miller admitted “it gave me no pleasure” to have had a hand in the fall of a career Army general “who sacrificed so much for his country.”
At one point in the talk Miller reported on a 2016 conversation Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had with then CIA Director John Brennan in which Brennan provided evidence of significant and ongoing election tampering by Russia.
Not only did McConnell refuse to believe the dire warning derived by U.S. intelligence agencies, but he also threatened Brennan to not pursue the issue or to act against it.
“[Brennan] never envisioned a leader that put his party’s interests over his country,” Miller said. “I think when history looks over this period, that’s when they’ll see that something was broken.”