President Donald Trump went after former U.S. intelligence chiefs James Clapper, John Brennan, and James Comey in belligerent remarks offered in the middle of his presently unfolding Asia trip — and this Sunday, Clapper and Brennan appeared on CNN’s State of the Union to fire back at him.
Trump’s remarks against Clapper and his colleagues came in connection with his continued insistence that Russia should not be viewed with the level of suspicion that it’s presently viewed with in the U.S.
Trump told reporters this week that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
At the same time, he called past U.S. intelligence chiefs, including Clapper, “political hacks” for their reporting that Russia did, in fact, meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
Brennan and Clapper appeared this Sunday on CNN, and besides covering the topic of Trump’s attacks on their credibility, Clapper also lambasted Trump for suckering up to Russia.
As Clapper put it, mentioning Russia’s continued modernization of their national nuclear weapons arsenal:
‘The Russians do not harbor good intentions toward the United States, and there should’t be any illusions or any ambiguity about that. And our President fosters that ambiguity.’
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: “The Russians do not harbor good intentions toward the United States, and there should’t be any illusions or any ambiguity about that. And our President fosters that ambiguity” #CNNSOTU https://t.co/blrDOOHioO
— CNN (@CNN) November 12, 2017
Trump “fostered that ambiguity” most recently though a tweet he posted from Vietnam asserting that his continued sucking up to Russia is not a bad thing.
‘When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. There always playing politics – bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, terrorism, and Russia can greatly help!’
Trump’s assertion in the above tweet — that Russia can help us pursue our interests in the cases of the ongoing Syrian Civil War, the ongoing instability in the Ukraine, and the seemingly ever-growing threat from North Korea’s nuclear arsenal — isn’t new, but Clapper says that it’s “naive.”
He told Jake Tapper:
‘The likelihood that the Russians are going to pursue like interests with us are slim and none. And I think it’s very naive, and again, in fact, perilous to this country, to make an assumption that Russia is going to behave with the best interests of the world or the United States in mind. They’re not.’
Clapper on Trump saying Putin could help the US on North Korea and Syria: “The likelihood that the Russians are going to pursue like interests with us are slim and none” #CNNSOTU https://t.co/vkbmkYl6Wp
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 12, 2017
Trump has good reason to attempt to downplay the seriousness of Russia’s continued aggression, both in the case of their meddling in the U.S. elections and in other cases.
He’s facing increasing scrutiny from the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller over he and his team’s connections to Russia. There’s no way to say when the next round of charges may arrive, but Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and longtime Manafort and Trump associate Rick Gates were indicted recently on charges of money laundering. Their trial is tentatively set for next spring.
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