00:16 GMT28 February 2021
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    Key officials in the US intelligence community weighed the question of removing US President Donald Trump from office in 2017. This is what former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told CBS on Thursday.

    Sputnik discussed the statement with Larry Johnson, a retired CIA intelligence officer and State Department official.

    Sputnik: This is really sensational stuff: a plan to remove Donald Trump from office. Do you believe this?

    Larry Johnson: Well, it's not new information, it's been out there for a while; it's just that McCabe is out talking about a book at this point and sensationalizing it a little bit. I don't think anybody who has followed this over the last two years would have any doubt that the FBI, along with some other members of the intelligence community, like James Clapper and John Brennan, who are intent on conducting what could only be called a "peaceful coup" against Donald Trump, trying to force him from office and trying to thwart what was the decision of the American people with respect to the election.

    Sputnik: Do you think that they would've actually done this? What methods do you think they would have resorted to?

    Larry Johnson: Well they were wanting to invoke the 25th Amendment, which was originally enacted in response to the debilitated state of President Woodrow Wilson and the fact that his wife was the de facto president after he suffered some major health crises; but they never succeeded in getting enough members of the cabinet to sign on to this. I think this is sort of their own private fantasy that they were indulging, but it never really came to fruition, thankfully.

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    But nonetheless, they took the additional step of launching these various investigations and accusing Donald Trump of obstruction of justice and then, along with obstruction of justice, claiming that he was in the pocket of Vladimir Putin; that Putin was calling the shots with respect to what was going on in the United States.

    Sputnik: So what stopped the US intelligence community from ousting Donald Trump?

    Larry Johnson: They don't have the means to do so; that would really provoke a very dramatic pushback on the part of the American people. They were hoping that they could create enough of a public uproar, if you will, that would say, "Donald Trump must go because he is so bad". They've engaged in just a dramatic and relentless propaganda campaign to destroy Trump, and the real irony here is that after more than two years of just hitting him time, after time, after time, his popularity has actually gone up, not down.

    Sputnik: Why does the US intelligence community dislike Donald Trump so much?

    Larry Johnson: In part because he is unconventional and represents a threat to the stated policies. I think the policy, specifically with respect to Syria, claiming he's going to withdraw from Syria and withdraw from NATO, we're seeing sort of I think, let's just call it "institutional threats, threats to the status quo", and added into this is an almost childish belief that because Donald Trump has had some business dealings with individuals who are Russian that, therefore, he's engaged with money laundering and [been] involved with criminal activity.

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    One of the most bizarre things is [that] he is claimed to be associated with a guy who is described as a Russian mobster by the name of Semion Mogilovich. The problem with Mogilovich is that he's Ukrainian, he's Jewish and he's a citizen of Israel. I don't quite understand how you get to be a Russian mobster when you're Ukrainian and Israeli.

    Sputnik: Trump faced lots of criticism even before he was sworn in. Why do you think that it was Comey's firing that became the turning point when the FBI started thinking of getting rid of him?

    Larry Johnson: They were looking for a pretext. Comey deserved to be fired. He conducted himself in both an unprofessional way the day that he came out and spoke out against Hillary Clinton, I think it was 4 July 2016, when he went off and read out a litany of things that she was accused of doing, they believed she had done, but then said that they weren't going to indict her; that's not the job of the FBI. He clearly crossed the line in doing that and so he deserved to be fired. But because Trump was firing him, they saw this as a pretext that people like Andrew McCabe and others at DOJ, if you will, to trump up the charge, that he was out of control, that he was doing this to thwart an investigation and therefore needed to be removed from office.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Larry Johnson and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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