Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia has been called into question. From secret business deals to build Trump Tower Moscow to taking the side of a former KGB agent over his own intelligence officials, Trump has brought controversy and speculation to his relationship with Russia and its president.
“As one intelligence veteran who occasionally briefed Trump told me: “On a visceral level, his view was, ‘You all are supposed to be helping me.’ But when you’d bring in evidence that Russia interfered, that’s what he’d refer to as not helpful.” /1 https://t.co/tqHZRDLzM8
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) August 8, 2020
Just 87 days ahead of the 2020 presidential election, new intelligence is being released saying that Russia is once again interfering in a U.S. election on behalf of Donald Trump. However, the intelligence isn’t as new as one would think, given the absence of reports about it so far. As it turns out, the intelligence community tried to warn in early 2019 that Russia was already interfering on behalf of Trump, but a document stating so was edited to read differently, according to anonymous sources who spoke with The New York Times.
‘According to multiple officials who saw it, the document discussed Russia’s ongoing efforts to influence U.S. elections: the 2020 presidential contest and 2024’s as well. It was compiled by a working group consisting of about a dozen senior analysts…principally focused on Russia and Eurasia. The N.I.E. began by enumerating the authors’ “key judgments.” Key Judgment 2 was that in the 2020 election, Russia favored the current president: Donald Trump.’
Russia continues to meddle in the U.S. presidential election to aid President Trump, using a range of measures to denigrate Joe Biden, intelligence officials saidhttps://t.co/vosOuaZr1s
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 8, 2020
In the summer of 2019, the first indications that Russia was interfering to help Donald Trump win in 2016 appeared in intelligence reports. The reports raised controversy among officials, who worried that Trump’s displeasure at being reminded about Russia’s assistance in 2016, which he feels calls into question his legitimacy as president. Worried that the reports would end in then-Director of National Intelligence Chief Dan Coats’ firing, officials say that wording was debated and that some pieces of intelligence were considered for deletion prior to being shown to the president.
‘The president’s displeasure with any suggestion that he was Putin’s favorite factored into the discussion over the N.I.E. that summer, in particular the “back and forth,” as Dan Coats, then the director of national intelligence, put it, over the assessment that Russia favored Trump in 2020. Eventually, this debate made it to Coats’s desk. “I can affirm that one of my staffers who was aware of the controversy requested that I modify that assessment,” Coats told me recently. “But I said, ‘No, we need to stick to what the analysts have said.’”’
China and Iran are saying mean things about Trump.
Russia is funneling dirt on Biden to Republicans, who are eagerly exploiting it.
Not the same thing. https://t.co/U1hGh7dIZf
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) August 7, 2020
Coats made that decision in July of 2019, just two months ahead of his planned departure from the National Intelligence Agency. Before the end of July, Coats was dismissed by Trump with no explanation as to why he was being told to leave early. Shortly afterward, the intelligence document that had caused so much controversy was amended.
‘No longer did Key Judgment 2 clearly state that Russia favored the current president, according to an individual who compared the two versions of the N.I.E. side by side. Instead, in the words of a written summary of the document that I obtained, the new version concluded that “Russian leaders probably assess that chances to improve relations with the U.S. will diminish under a different U.S. president.” The National Intelligence Board approved the final version at a meeting on the afternoon of Sept. 26, 2019.’
"That is perhaps because of both the classified material and to avoid potential fury from Mr. Trump, who has strongly dismissed reports of the intelligence and has tried to cultivate a friendship with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia."https://t.co/ctxNKenFug
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) August 8, 2020
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