Trump doubted intelligence, ignored advisers

A report from Washington Post that describes how Donald Trump was urged by close advisers to publicly acknowledge that there had been real Russian interference in the 2016 US election after being presented by the findings of country’ spy chiefs.

Trump did once publicly state “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. We also get hacked by other countries and other people.”

But Trump was so intent on being given the credit for his win he “scoffed at the suggestion that his candidacy had been propelled by forces other than his own strategy, message and charisma”.

In other words, his ego overruled high level advice from his own team and from the intelligence community.

Washington Post: Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked

In the final days before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, members of his inner circle pleaded with him to acknowledge publicly what U.S. intelligence agencies had already concluded — that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was real.

Holding impromptu interventions in Trump’s 26th-floor corner office at Trump Tower, advisers — including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and designated chief of staff, Reince Priebus — prodded the president-elect to accept the findings that the nation’s spy chiefs had personally presented to him on Jan. 6.

They sought to convince Trump that he could affirm the validity of the intelligence without diminishing his electoral win, according to three officials involved in the sessions. More important, they said that doing so was the only way to put the matter behind him politically and free him to pursue his goal of closer ties with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.

…as aides persisted, Trump became agitated. He railed that the intelligence couldn’t be trusted and scoffed at the suggestion that his candidacy had been propelled by forces other than his own strategy, message and charisma.

Told that members of his incoming Cabinet had already publicly backed the intelligence report on Russia, Trump shot back, “So what?” Admitting that the Kremlin had hacked Democratic Party emails, he said, was a “trap.”

As Trump addressed journalists on Jan. 11 in the lobby of Trump Tower, he came as close as he ever would to grudging acceptance. “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” he said, adding that “we also get hacked by other countries and other people.”

Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House.

The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president — and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality — have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government.

Trump’s stance on the election is part of a broader entanglement with Moscow that has defined the first year of his presidency. He continues to pursue an elusive bond with Putin, which he sees as critical to dealing with North Korea, Iran and other issues. “Having Russia in a friendly posture,” he said last month, “is an asset to the world and an asset to our country.”

His position has alienated close American allies and often undercut members of his Cabinet — all against the backdrop of a criminal probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Later in a lengthy article:

Putin expressed his own exasperation in early September, responding to a question about Trump with a quip that mocked the idea of a Trump-Putin bond while aiming a gender-related taunt at the American president. Trump “is not my bride,” Putin said, “and I am not his groom.”

The remark underscored the frustration and disenchantment that have taken hold on both sides amid the failure to achieve the breakthrough in U.S.-Russian relations that Trump and Putin both envisioned a year ago.

As a result, rather than shaping U.S. policy toward Russia, Trump at times appears to function as an outlier in his own administration, unable to pursue the relationship with Putin he envisioned but unwilling to embrace tougher policies favored by some in his Cabinet.

A Pentagon proposal that would pose a direct challenge to Moscow — a plan to deliver lethal arms to Ukrainian forces battling Russia-backed separatists — has languished in internal debates for months.

The plan is backed by senior members of Trump’s Cabinet, including Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who voiced support for arming Ukrainian forces in meetings with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in August. Mattis “believes that you should help people who are fighting our potential adversaries,” said a senior U.S. official involved in the deliberations.

A decision to send arms has to be made by the president, and officials said Trump has been reluctant even to engage.

“Every conversation I’ve had with people on this subject has been logical,” the senior U.S. official said. “But there’s no logical conclusion to the process, and that tells me the bottleneck is in the White House.”

It concludes:

Trump was forced to grapple with these complexities in September, when he met with Poroshenko at the United Nations. Volker met with Trump to prepare him for the encounter. Tillerson, McMaster and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, who had replaced Priebus, were also on hand.

Trump pressed Volker on why it was in the United States’ interests to support Ukraine and why U.S. taxpayers’ money should be spent doing so, Volker said in an interview. “Why is it worth it?” Volker said Trump asked. As Volker outlined the rationale for U.S. involvement, Trump seemed satisfied.

“I believe that what he wants is to settle the issue, he wants a better, more constructive U.S.-Russia relationship,” Volker said. “I think he would like [the Ukraine conflict] to be solved . . . get this fixed so we can get to a better place.”

The conversation was about Ukraine but seemed to capture Trump’s frustration on so many Russia-related fronts — the election, the investigations, the complications that had undermined his relationship with Putin.

Volker said that the president repeated a single phrase at least five times, saying, “I want peace.”

A great aim, but it won’t just happen for Trump.

Those who can influence him (if anyone can) and foreign policy need to find a way to make progress towards peace, with Trump able to claim the praise.

5 Comments

  1. wackAmole

     /  December 15, 2017

    “I believe that what he wants is to settle the issue, he wants a better, more constructive U.S.-Russia relationship ”

    But the DC swamp creatures want Cold War 2.0 with Russia, Obama had obediently walked the US Russia relationship a long way in that direction.

    Then along comes a populist gun slinger riding a wave of white anger who is ruining everything for the Globalist schemers and therefore must be terminated with extreme prejudice.

    Drain The Washington Post.

    • Gezza

       /  December 15, 2017

      Vladimir is streets ahead of The Donald in the art of cunning manipulation of the US’s ignorant & narcissistic leader. So is Jinping.

      • wackAmole

         /  December 15, 2017

        Its the Hillary Billies who were up to their ball sacks in kick backs and bribes by Putin via their Clinton Foundation, to secure the Russians a 20% stake in US uranium production.

        The whole “Russian Collusion” narrative fantasized by Hillary within 24hrs of the 2016 election aftermath is pure psychological projection of the degenerate’s own collusion with Russian operatives.

        • Gezza

           /  December 15, 2017

          Yep, I believe the Russian collusion stuff is bullshit. Vladimir didn’t need to collude with Trump or his team. He knew how to completely outwit Obama at every turn & he also knows how to exploit Trump’s collossal ignorance & narcissism without needing to complicate matters by colluding with him.

  2. wackAmole

     /  December 15, 2017

    “A Pentagon proposal…”

    WaPo is a CIA infiltrated Globalist propaganda sheet.

    Trump has every reason to treat the CIA and FBI as the Creep State enemies of the American people that they are. Take a look at these two pussy hat “I’m With Her” FBI agents, Low T on the left, Horse Face on the right:

    These two FBI love birds were texting each other like a couple of teenage Mean Girls:

    ” Strzok – Omg. You listening to npr? Apparently Melania’s speech had passages lifted from Michelle Obama’s…Unbelievable

    Page – NO WAY!

    Page – God, it’s just a two-bit organization. I do so hope his disorganization comes to bite him hard in November.

    Strzok – It HAS to, right? Right?!? Panicked”

    Strzol is of course the Globalist rodent in the FBI Clinton investigation who rephrased the conclusion of Hillary Clinton’s “gross negligence” as “extreme carelessness” so she could avoid the clanger she should be rotting away in.

    Drain the FBI, CIA.