During an interview with Face the Nation on Sunday morning, President Donald Trump was asked about earlier statements he made about his intelligence officials. After first criticizing their testimony in front of the Senate as “naive” and saying that “intelligence needs to go back to school,” interviewer Margaret Brennan asked Trump what criticisms he has of the intelligence report and testimony on the dangers of pulling troops from Syria.
Trump’s answer was jaw-droppingly ignorant and factually incorrect.
‘I think- let me just say it wasn’t so much a report. It was the questions and answers as the report was submitted and they were asked questions and answers. We’ve done an incredible job with Syria. When I took over Syria it was infested with ISIS. It was all over the place. And now you have very little ISIS and you have the caliphate almost knocked out. We will be announcing in the not too distant future 100 percent of the caliphate which is the area- the land- the area- 100. We’re at 99 percent right now, we’ll be at 100.’
The report offered by Trump’s intelligence officials directly disputes that claim. Some of those who prepare Trump’s briefings say that this is typical when any evidence contradicts what Trump likes to say to the public.
More than once, the question of whether or not the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which allows Congress to impeach a president for not being mentally capable of doing his job has been asked. The latest report from Time magazine shows that the question has been answered for some time now.
'Willful ignorance.' Inside President Trump's troubled intelligence briefingshttps://t.co/XURlzuy64Z
— TIME (@TIME) February 2, 2019
Several intelligence officials spoke with reporters from Time magazine as a result of their fear of Trump’s utter refusal to accept facts and data that disagree with his own beliefs, citing numerous incidents in discussions on China, North Korea, and Iran.
Time magazine reports that:
‘Citing multiple in-person episodes, these intelligence officials say Trump displays what one called “willful ignorance” when presented with analyses generated by America’s $81 billion-a-year intelligence services. The officials, who include analysts who prepare Trump’s briefs and the briefers themselves, describe futile attempts to keep his attention by using visual aids, confining some briefing points to two or three sentences, and repeating his name and title as frequently as possible.’
Top US Intel stunningly testified Trump is wrong on Iran, ISIS,N Korea.
Trump trash-tweeted them & said they’re naive.
Now he claims they agree w/him & were misquoted.
Trump thinks he can change Truth to suit his purpose. He can’t. https://t.co/JUm7aebHSk
— The Loyal Opposition ?? (@TheLoyalO) February 1, 2019
Intelligence briefing officials say that they are limited in what they are allowed to say to Trump in his daily briefings. Any actual evidence that proves Trump wrong on topics he’s discussed in public is prohibited. Intelligence officials are concerned that the effect on Trump’s foreign policy stances are harming the country.
‘What is most troubling, say these officials and others in government and on Capitol Hill who have been briefed on the episodes, are Trump’s angry reactions when he is given information that contradicts positions he has taken or beliefs he holds. Two intelligence officers even reported that they have been warned to avoid giving the President intelligence assessments that contradict stances he has taken in public.’
Just concluded a great meeting with my Intel team in the Oval Office who told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media – and we are very much in agreement on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, etc. Their testimony was distorted press…. pic.twitter.com/Zl5aqBmpjF
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2019
….I would suggest you read the COMPLETE testimony from Tuesday. A false narrative is so bad for our Country. I value our intelligence community. Happily, we had a very good meeting, and we are all on the same page!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2019
After Trump’s own appointed intelligence chiefs testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee that Trump is wrong on pulling the Iran Deal since they had not violated it, on North Korea and Kim Jong Un because the dictator does not appear to be interested in taking steps toward denuclearization, and on China because his trade deals do not address cybersecurity concerns, Trump openly criticized them. Later, he said that their statements had been mischaracterized by the media although their testimony was live-streamed to the country.
‘The intelligence officials criticizing Trump requested anonymity because the briefings they described, including the President’s Daily Brief, or PDB, are classified. The PDB is one of the most highly restricted products produced by U.S. intelligence analysts. A select group of intelligence officials is involved in preparing these briefings. A small number of senior officials, often including the Director of Central Intelligence, Director of National Intelligence or the heads of other agencies depending on the topic, usually deliver it.’
Q: "Did you talk to your intelligence chiefs today about the displeasure you had with their…"
President Trump: "I did. They said that they were totally misquoted, and they were totally – it was taken out of context…The said it was fake news." pic.twitter.com/odd6tVSxfY
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 31, 2019
Featured image screenshot via CBS video