We love it when people say nice things about us, but when we’re the President of the United States it can jeopardize national security.
In 2001, President George Bush issued a truly astounding appraisal of Vladimir Putin, the former KGB agent. “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.” Yes, that’s what he could tell, by simply looking Putin in the eye.
Today, Trump said that he believed Putin was sincere in his denials of interference in the 2016 Presidential election. There was no evidence by Putin or any asked for. He has since ‘walked back’ (A phrase meaning he didn’t know what he was saying in the first place since it wasn’t written out for him by intelligent aides) that statement after a torrent of criticism by everyone who has a brain.
“He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election”
The US justice department is investigating the scale and nature of Russian interference in the election of 2016 (and any links to the Trump campaign), and the entire American intelligence community has already long determined that Russia did, indeed, interfere.
Yet Mr Trump suggested this story was not only entirely fabricated by his political opponents, it might even be costing lives in Syria, because it is getting in the way of his relationship with the Russian president and hampering their ability to help solve the conflict together. I call bullshit.
Even Reagan, that political touchstone for today’s movement which has veered far right said of Putin and his ilk, “Trust but verify”. Trump has refused to acknowledge that report even though he won. What does he have to hide?
When in the history of the United States of America did a President take the word, and only the word, of a foreign dictator over the domestic assessment by the CIA and 16 other intelligence agencies that Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in the run-up to last year’s presidential election.
Former CIA director John Brennan said “By not confronting the issue directly and not acknowledging to Putin that we know you’re responsible for this, I think he’s giving Putin a pass, I think it demonstrates to Mr. Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and try to play upon his insecurities, which is very, very worrisome from a national security standpoint.”
To sum up: In general, CIA directors do not appear on the Sunday news programs to warn that a sitting president’s abject disinterest in a foreign power’s espionage and propaganda campaigns against our nation is a “peril to this country.”