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Former CIA Director Says Trump Is No Match For Putin
John McLaughlin, the former Acting Director of Central Intelligence, wrote an opinion piece for Politico in which he pans President Trump’s approach to dealing with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“When the Art of the Deal meets the KGB, the KGB will always win,” he wrote, chastising Trump for buying into Putin’s propaganda.
McLaughlin marveled at the fact that Trump seemed to accept of Putin’s claim that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election, despite the fact that this is disputed by every intelligence agency in the United States.
McLaughlin pointed out that Trump has dismissed the findings of former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, as well as former FBI Director James Comey. Trump went so far as to call these men “political hacks.”
McLaughlin attempted to unravel Trump’s mind. “Hard as it is to apply logic to Trumpisms, let’s try,” he wrote. “If the intelligence community assessment was produced under the leadership of ‘political hacks’ and if the president means it when he calls the Russia investigation a ‘hoax’ (his most frequent characterization of it), then it’s only logical that he doubts the intelligence assessment and finds Putin’s denial congenial.”
Basing his assessment on the manner in which Trump dealt with the Neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, McLaughlin feels Trump will soon come back fully to his initial skepticism regarding Russian meddling in the 2016 election. “It’s only a matter of time before he returns to his first instinct—that it’s all a ‘hoax,’” wrote McLaughlin.
Although McLaughlin sees Trump’s disagreement with U.S. intelligence as his right, he is perturbed by the manner in which Trump has chosen to make his disagreement known.
To McLaughlin’s knowledge “no president in the American intelligence community’s 70-year history has ever called its leaders ‘political hacks.’”
According to the former CIA head Trump’s refusal to blame Putin for election meddling leaves the U.S. vulnerable to future attacks.