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 braces for Trump's emergency declaration GOP wants to pit Ocasio-Cortez against Democrats in the Senate USCIS child marriage report: Laws that do not value girls are baked into our system MORE (R-Wis.) said Sunday that it's "imperative" for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery 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 CoatsEx-Trump official says intel community's testimony interfered in US-North Korea talks Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? Intel agencies' threat assessment matters more than tiff with Trump 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.