Erick Erickson: The intelligence community vs. Trump. We're watching a low level coup, America

Editor's note: The following column originally appeared on The

A lot of people who think Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning are American heroes are under the impression Donald Trump and members of his administration are traitors. Hollywood celebrities are openly calling for a military coup. Political commentators are comparing Donald Trump’s election to 9/11 or Pearl Harbor because, allegedly and with no evidence, Russia stole the election. I would encourage you to read John Podhoretz on just how bad this situation could get.

On the other side, more and more Trump supporters are treating the American intelligence community as the enemy. The president grows more suspicious of the intel community by the way and he has good reason to do so.

Right now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that intelligence agents are withholding information from Donald Trump because they fear it will be given to the bad guys. The New York Times is reporting Donald Trump is about to send in a friend to clean house. The intelligence community is concerned.

This is all going to end badly. Just about all of us were wrong about where 2016 would lead and now we can all see the worst case on the horizon.

The left is in a nonstop state of agitation calling for mass resistance. Trump supporters are looking to settle scores. Democrats have every incentive to play up unproven allegations that the Russians tampered with the election. Republicans have every reason to play up the theory that the intelligence community is out to get the President.

Both sides need to work to defuse this situation. It is escalating quickly and given antics on both sides, I concur with John Podhoretz that things could turn violent.

The wisest course of action is for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to name an independent counsel to examine two questions and for both sides to stand down on the matter while the investigation is ongoing.

First, did the Trump campaign collaborate with the Russians to affect the election?

Second, are some members of the intelligence community leaking to undermine the President?

We need answers to both. The first to satisfy the left and the second to satisfy the right.

What seems most plausible to me is that the Trump team individuals with known ties to Russia probably were in communication with the Russians about their other business dealings, not Trump. As the New York Times is reporting and everyone is ignoring, there is plenty of evidence of communications, but no evidence at all of coordination.

If both sides will not cooperate on defusing this situation, we are in for some seriously rocky times.

Concurrently to all of this, Mitch McConnell needs to hurry the hell up and get the rest of the cabinet and Neil Gorsuch confirmed. The executive departments need stability and we need someone on the Supreme Court who can break 4-4 decisions on controversial matters. The left is going to have to get over their phony “stolen seat” talking point. The right is going to have to concede the left has legitimate concerns about the Russian mess.

The constant inflaming of grievances by political organizations is going to do us all in. The president’s on twitter antics are part of that.

Lastly, I would add just one thing that some will not like, but should still be said. Some of us, myself included, have been raising the red flag about Donald Trump staffers and Russia since before he was even the Republican nominee. Many prominent media outlets chose to ignore the story entirely until Wikileaks started releasing information detrimental to the Clinton campaign. Since then, there have been more and more leaks from the intelligence community and greater, louder, and more prominent media coverage of the Trump-Russia story.

I have to wonder, though, why every story still has to note that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE AT ALL of Trump-Russian collaboration. Given the open hostility for the president that the intelligence community has, one would think they would have produced some actual proof of something other than innuendo by now, if there was something to produce. But they have not.