Trump slams former intelligence officials to explain ‘reluctance to embrace’ agencies
President Trump on Tuesday defended his “reluctance to embrace” United States intelligence agencies as he continues to question the latest reports that Russia is meddling in the 2020 election.
Trump, in a pair of tweets, said it is “not true” that he trusts Russian President Vladimir Putin more than American intelligence officials, but offered an explanation for why that might be acceptable, slamming a number of former intelligence officials.
“[I]f the first people you met from so called American Intelligence were Dirty Cops who have now proven to be sleazebags at the highest level like James Comey, proven liar James Clapper, & perhaps the lowest of them all, Wacko John Brennan who headed the CIA, you could perhaps understand my reluctance to embrace!” Trump tweeted.
..so called American Intelligence were Dirty Cops who have now proven to be sleazebags at the highest level like James Comey, proven liar James Clapper, & perhaps the lowest of them all, Wacko John Brennan who headed the CIA, you could perhaps understand my reluctance to embrace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2020
Trump has faced criticism throughout his first term for casting doubt on the U.S. intelligence community, specifically its findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. The president drew intense bipartisan backlash for questioning those findings during a 2018 joint press conference with Putin.
It’s no surprise that @realDonaldTrump shares Putin’s deep disdain for Americans who served their country & countered Russian efforts to undermine U.S. national security,” Brennan responded on Twitter. “Trump continues to do neither.”
The president’s distrust of the intelligence community has been put back in the spotlight after the top U.S. counterintelligence official announced last week a series of foreign threats facing the 2020 presidential election, including that Russia is using a range of measures to “primarily denigrate” former Vice President Joe Biden in his campaign for the White House.
The report also found that China prefers that Trump fail in his reelection bid and that Iran is seeking to sow chaos.
Asked about the report over the weekend, Trump claimed Russia would prefer to see Biden in office, contradicting the intelligence report.
When a reporter asked Monday if he’d brought up election meddling directly with Putin, Trump again dodged.
“You know what I’m telling you? I’ll tell you who’s meddling in our elections. The Democrats are meddling by wanting and insisting on sending mail-in ballots where there’s corruption all over the place,” Trump said, repeating his inaccurate claims about mail voting.
Updated at 12:21 p.m.
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