Report: Trump Blew Up At Briefers Who Warned About Russia, So Officials Gave Up

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead / Public Domain

PMH

Multiple former officials told CNN that the President would become angry when intelligence cast Russia in a bad light.

Business Insider reports that former administration officials have told CNN that President Donald J. Trump would consistently get angry whenever staffers presented him with intelligence about Russia’s behavior toward the United States.

  • One former national security staffer said, “The president has created an environment that dissuades, if not prohibits, the mentioning of any intelligence that isn't favorable to Russia.”
  • John Ratcliffe, who has been director of National Intelligence since May, and former national security advisor Robert O’Brien denied the allegations, calling them “totally false” and “ridiculous” respectively.
  • However, Insider notes that the claims “have renewed the relevance of a New York Times report, published last week, that said Taliban-linked bounty killings sponsored by Russia targeted US troops.”
  • According to another Insider report, three separate Taliban sources corroborated the claims.
  • Three anonymous White House officials along with John Bolton, former national security advisor, told the Associated Press that intelligence officials briefed Trump on the matter as early as March 2019.

Citing multiple former officials who have spoken to CNN anonymously, Trump “often flew into a rage” when briefers would “attempt to tell him about hostile Russian activity,” Insider describes.

  • Insider explains that briefers “soon learned not to highlight Russia in their briefings, according to the report.”
  • CNN’s report describes an environment in which oral briefings on Russia were avoided altogether while Trump would often not read written briefings.
  • A former senior intelligence official said their policy became “save it for when it matters.”
  • This turned into what a former senior National Security Council official called a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Insider explains, “The less Trump heard of Russian activity, the less he believed that President Vladimir Putin could mean… harm” to the United States.

When Trump Tweeted that the news about Russian bounties on American soldiers “probably does not even exist,” Michael McFaul, a former American ambassador to Russia, replied in a Tweet,

Trump said the exact same thing about the overwhelming U.S. intelligence that documented Putin's interference in our 2016 presidential election. He always sides with Putin; never with his own intelligence officers or soldiers.

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