Let's Fix This Country

What the Intelligence Chiefs Said. What Trump Thinks

In the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings at the end of January, the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, had this to say:

"The composition of the current threats we face is a toxic mix of strategic competitors, regional powers, weak or failed states and non-state actors using a variety of tools in overt and subtle ways to achieve their goals.

President Trump often has a more benign view. Below are some of his statements, each followed by what one or another of the intelligence chiefs had to say in the hearing.

Toe to toe

July 18, 2018: Reporter: "Is Russia still targeting the U.S. Mr. President?" Donald Trump answered: "Thank you very much. No."

January 29, 2019: Coats: "We expect Russia to continue to wage its information war against democracies."

January 12, 2019: Trump: On Fox News with Jeanine Pirro: "The whole Russia thing, it's a hoax. It's a terrible hoax."

July 2018: Trump at Helsinki: "I have President Putin . He just said it's not Russia. I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be".

January 29, 2019: Christopher Wray, FBI Chief: "Not only have the Russians continued to do it in 2018 We've seen indications that they are continuing to adapt their model and that other countries are taking a very interested eye in that approach."

January 15, 2018: Trump : "The agreement says there will be total denuclearization. Nobody says, wants to report that."

January 29, 2019: Coats: "We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain WMD capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons."

January 19, 2019: Trump on the White House Lawn: "We have made a lot of progress as far as denuclearization is concerned. Things are going very well with North Korea. We've made a lot of progress that has not been reported by the media."

January 29, 2019: Coats about North Korea: "It is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities."

January 17, 2019: Trump: "I ended the horrible weak Iran nuclear deal".

January 29, 2019: Sen. Angus King: "Is Iran currently abiding by the terms of the JCPOA in terms of their nuclear activities?"

CIA Director Gina Haskell: "They're making some preparations that would increase their ability to take a step back if they make that decision, so at the moment, technically, they're in compliance."

December 19, 2018: Trump on White House lawn: "We have won against ISIS. We've beaten them and we've beaten them badly".

January 29, 2019: Coats: "While ISIS is nearing territorial defeat in Iraq and Syria, the group has returned to its guerrilla warfare roots".

January 11, 2019: Trump at cabinet meeting: "…working out very well. Knocking the hell out of ISIS".

January 29, 2019: Coats: "ISIS is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria".

There was no mention by anyone of the southern border, which trump has portrayed as the singlemost threat facing the country.

The president met with his intelligence agency heads a day after the hearings. He said he challenged them for saying "Iran is a wonderful place", which they did not say. "It's not a wonderful place", Trump claims he said, "it's a bad place, and they're doing bad things". According to Trump the agencies came around to his view, saying that in the hearings they had been mischaracterized. It could only be a Trump invention that they said that. The hearings were televised making moot the possibility of mischaracterization. Anyone watching the hearings knows exactly what was said.

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