GOP senator: 'Imperative' for Trump to listen to intel chiefs

GOP senator: 'Imperative' for Trump to listen to intel chiefs
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senator: Buying Treasury bonds 'foolish' amid standoff over debt ceiling, taxes Internal poll shows Barnes with 29-point lead in Wisconsin Democratic Senate primary Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate facing 4 felony charges MORE (R-Wis.) said Sunday that it's "imperative" for President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE to heed the advice of the U.S. intelligence community.

"There’s an awful lot, there’s so much tradition, and history and complexity to some of these foreign policy issues, you have to rely on people who have been working these issues for decades," Johnson said on "Fox News Sunday." 

"It's just imperative that you actually listen to, for example, the CIA chief, the director of national intelligence," he continued. "These people have the real knowledge and you have to listen to them."

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Trump last week publicly rebuked his intelligence chiefs after they delivered testimony that contradicted the president's assessment of current affairs in Iran, North Korea and Syria.

CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race Cyber preparedness could save America's 'unsinkable aircraft carrier' MORE testified before Congress that North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons, Iran is complying with the Obama-era nuclear deal and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria still poses a grave threat.

The president blasted the leaders as "passive and naive," said "time will prove" he was correct, and later said Haspel and Coats indicated the media had mischaracterized their comments.

"I have intel people, but that doesn't mean I have to agree," Trump said in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on "Face the Nation."

Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, argued on "Fox News Sunday" that Haspel and Coats had testified Iran was currently in compliance, but he noted that Tehran still poses a risk to the Middle East and the U.S.

The difference between the intelligence community's assessment and Trump's was "blown way out of proportion," Johnson said.