Is U.S. Intelligence Treating Trump Like a Foreign Spy?

Trump Maladministration

In Charles Pierce’s words, last night “The New York Times took a 40-pound dunghammer to everything the president* has said on the subject of Russian ratfcking since election night in November of 2016 and left nothing but rubble behind.”

From the NY Times:

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.

About the top-secret source close to Putin:

Ultimately, several human sources had confirmed Mr. Putin’s own role. That included one particularly valuable source, who was considered so sensitive that Mr. Brennan had declined to refer to it in any way in the Presidential Daily Brief during the final months of the Obama administration, as the Russia investigation intensified. Instead, to keep the information from being shared widely, Mr. Brennan sent reports from the source to Mr. Obama and a small group of top national security aides in a separate, white envelope to assure its security.

And the next question is, why make this public now? The answer is, as Kevin Drum says, it’s likely Trump burned those sources a long time ago.

The American intelligence community has been on edge over Trump practically from the start. But after Helsinki their hair must be on fire. This is basically a declaration of war against Trump, a public accusation that he’s known all along Putin ordered the election interference. One way or another, this is not going to end well.

Some people are alarmed.

Roll Call noted that the president’s intelligence briefings somehow dropped off the White House schedule for a couple of days.

For the second consecutive day since he broke with America’s spy agencies over Russia’s election meddling, President Donald Trump on Wednesday will not get an intelligence briefing.

The daily presidential guidance email sent out each evening by the White House initially featured only one item, an 11:30 a.m. Cabinet meeting. It was was updated Wednesday morning to include a 2 p.m. press briefing with Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump’s public schedule typically begins with a late-morning intelligence briefing in the Oval Office after his “executive time” in the White House residence, during which he tweets while watching cable news. He also uses that time to call lawmakers and friends, aides say.

The official guidance for Tuesday also did not include an intelligence briefing. Those sessions typically include senior intelligence leaders briefing Trump — and previous commanders in chief — on the top threats and developments from around the world, which can change in important ways from day to day.

There is an intelligence briefing on his schedule for today, and maybe there is an innocent explanation for the skipped briefings. But at this point it’s hard to believe anything can be innocent about the Trump White House.

Oh, and the punch line? House GOP refuses to renew election security funding as Democrats fume over Russian interference. Seriously. See also House Republicans defeat attempt to subpoena Trump interpreter.

Also, Washington is still trying to figure out what “agreements” were made at the surrender summit.

Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow yesterday that “important verbal agreements” were reached on a series of national security issues when the two leaders met one-on-one in Helsinki for more than two hours, joined only by translators. He mentioned the preservation of the New Start and INF arms control treaties and said Putin made “specific and interesting proposals” related to Syria.

“But officials at the most senior levels across the U.S. military … had little to no information Wednesday,”Karen DeYoung, Missy Ryan and Anton Troianovski report. “At the Pentagon, as press officers remained unable to answer media questions about how the summit might impact the military, the paucity of information exposed an awkward gap in internal administration communications. … Defense Secretary Jim Mattis did not attend Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting with Trump and has not appeared in public this week or commented on the summit. …

The uncertainty surrounding Moscow’s suggestion of some sort of new arrangement or proposal regarding Syria, in particular, was striking because Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, is scheduled to brief reporters on Syria and other matters Thursday. … Nonmilitary officials who were provided minimal, indirect readouts expressed confidence that no agreement had been struck with Putin on Syria, and that Trump — who early this year expressed a desire to withdraw all U.S. troops from that country — made clear to Putin that no American departure was imminent.

We’ll see. I want to link to a post written by Marcy Wheeler before the surrender summit.  “I believe Trump is cornered — has allowed himself to be cornered. And in spite of everything, Trump is prepared to go alone into a meeting on Monday with Vladimir Putin — the guy wielding both carrots and sticks against Trump — and make a deal.” And that deal probably involves Syria and Trump stepping aside to allow Russia to compromise U.S. intelligence. See also “At Helsinki Summit, Putin Re-enacts the June 9 Trump Tower Meeting.”

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Tom_b  •  Jul 19, 2018 @6:07 pm

    We’d better hope intelligence is watching and standing ready to bust him; Congress is asleep at the wheel. Foreign agent Nunes (sadly, in one of the rare super-red districts in California) actually muzzled an attempt to subpoena the translator. Hopefully, the Senate will step in, or, perhaps, an individual legislator will personally bring one of the witnesses in to testify.

  2. Bonnie  •  Jul 19, 2018 @6:34 pm

    Take names of all Republics who support Trump's treason.  Then, use it in all upcoming elections.  Put a scarlet T on the chest of  every Congressperson who goes along with the treasonous bastard in the White House, which is going to need fumigating when he leaves (if he leaves).

  3. KC  •  Jul 19, 2018 @7:13 pm

    This whole situation is disconcerting, especially as far as the upcoming election is concerned.  We have a party that’s already doing all it can to shrink the electorate, but now with the full support of fossil fuel oligarchs. I’m really crossing my fingers, I can’t imagine the outcome if at least one house of Congress does not flip. 

  4. uncledad  •  Jul 19, 2018 @7:31 pm

    Rather than treat Trump like a foreign spy they should treat him like a 3rd grader!

    http://johnmenadue.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/WhatsApp-Image-2018-07-18-at-9.11.48-PM-2.jpeg

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 19, 2018 @10:11 pm

    If I was the POTUS, I might be a bit more circumspect when I deal with our national security agencies and their agents.

    I mean, after all, these are the same agencies which assassinat… which 'eliminated with extreme prejudice,' hundreds of political leaders across the globe in order to propel the interests of American corporations and eliminate competition.  Oh, in and the interests of our country, too.  (But mostly businesses).

    I don't know if these same agencies which "got" JFK, RFK, and MLK. Jr.  

    But if they are, they owe us st least these three back.

    They can start with tRUMP.

    (All said in jest – 😁

    😅

    🤐

    😣

    😲

    😢

    😭

    😨

    – see?).

      

     

     

  6. Dan  •  Jul 20, 2018 @9:59 am

    There is precedence for treating the Presidency as less than trustworthy: Truman was kept entirely out of the loop on the Manhattan Project until such time as he was needed to make a decision.

  7. maha  •  Jul 20, 2018 @10:54 am

    Dan — not much of a precedent. FDR died on April 12, 1945, and Truman was briefed on the A-bomb on April 24. The decision to use the bomb was made in mid-July. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/truman-is-briefed-on-manhattan-project

  8. csm  •  Jul 20, 2018 @11:22 am

    I hope for our own security they are treating Trump like a foreign agent; for all intent and purpose, he sure is acting and delivering to his handlers like one.   Trump is clearly working towards, if he hasn’t already provided deliverables that support EVERY GOAL Putin has had for the West – disruption of the western alliance, blowing up democratic governments, fomenting right wing nationalism, as well as Crimea, Ukraine, etc. 

    Now, let us assume as some on Fox and some of his most deluded followers in the House and in his base claim, that Trump is playing some form of multi-dimensional chess.  Then he is outclassed as player, because the US has gotten zilch out of any of these deals that we’ve been able to determine, only because Putin is announcing the outlines of them.  Moreover, the only deal where it is known that Putin offered something explicitly in return – allowing Mueller to interview the 12 indicted Russian officers, but in exchange for them being able to intimidate, er, “interview” McFaul and Browder, who are not credibly charged with anything is not in any sense a “deal” and any layman would know that this is really a slap in the face.  Yet, our “stable genius” crows from the dais standing next to Putin how great a deal this is.

    Trump is, without question, a traitor out for himself, or he is the dumbest man on the damned planet.  My money is on, its both.

  9. csm  •  Jul 20, 2018 @11:25 am

    I hope they are treating Trump like a foreign agent; for all intent and purpose, he sure is acting and delivering to his handlers like one.   Trump is clearly working towards, if he hasn’t already provided deliverables that support EVERY GOAL Putin has had for the West – disruption of the western alliance, blowing up democratic governments, fomenting right wing nationalism, as well as Crimea, Ukraine, etc. 

    Now, let us assume as some on Fox and some of his most deluded followers in the House and in his base claim, that Trump is playing some form of multi-dimensional chess.  Then he is outclassed as player, because the US has gotten zilch out of any of these deals that we’ve been able to determine, only because Putin is announcing the outlines of them.  Moreover, the only deal where it is known that Putin offered something explicitly in return – allowing Mueller to interview the 12 indicted Russian officers, but in exchange for them being able to intimidate, er, “interview” McFaul and Browder, who are not credibly charged with anything is not in any sense a “deal” and any layman would know that this is really a slap in the face.  Yet, our “stable genius” crows from the dais standing next to Putin how great a deal this is.

    Trump is, without question, a traitor out for himself, or he is the dumbest man on the damned planet.  My money is on, its both.

  10. Ed  •  Jul 20, 2018 @12:56 pm

    Never fear; there is no danger that Trump has any form of allegiance to a hostile foreign power.

    That would entail having allegiance to something other than himself. 

    Don't you feel better now?

  11. Swami  •  Jul 20, 2018 @1:57 pm

    That would entail having allegiance to something other than himself. 

    Yeah, narcissism can be a cruel and demanding master because narcissism doesn't share it's glory.

     Have you heard the latest news that Cohen has a recording of Trump discussing hush payments to Karen McDougal? I wonder how Melania feels about that? I can see succumbing to a temptation of the flesh that presents itself in a moment of weakness, but 10 MONTHS of sustained infidelity and deception seems to me that it would have a negative effect to some degree on any marriage. 

  12. Eric  •  Jul 20, 2018 @2:22 pm

    Ed – I agree with your second sentence, but I believe that the president thinks that an allegiance to Putin is going to make him more rich and powerful.  I don't think he even knows that he's being blackmailed.  I think that he's probably up to his neck in some kind of deal with Putin, collaborating to achieve those goals.  

    I don't think he consciously has put together that for an American president to do that, is to put himself in a lot of danger, and that Putin could out him at any time, without Putin being in any danger at all.  Which means he's susceptible to blackmail, but not yet having the screws tightened yet. I think that subconsciously he knows this though.

    If the Helsinki bromance meeting had been Putin ordering him around, Trump would not have been able to hide his anger, he never is.  He thinks they are on the same team.

  13. Procopius  •  Jul 22, 2018 @7:13 am

    And the next question is, why make this public now? The answer is, as Kevin Drum says, it’s likely Trump burned those sources a long time ago.

    It's not being made public now. John Brennan announced it publicly in January 2017. Don't you remember? It scared the sh*t out of me at the time. To me, Brennan, for some reason, was revealing the existence of a source as valuable as breaking the Japanese diplomatic code in 1941. Even if it was a lie, which I have always suspected, this was not the kind of thing an intelligence agency is supposed to do. If it was true, then Brennan signed the poor schlub's death warrant. Of course, it's possible, too, that Trump or some member of Trump's team burned the asset before that, which is why Brennan felt justified in announcing it, but real intelligence agencies never verify past exploits. There are so many things wrong with what has been going on since November, 2016.

  14. maha  •  Jul 22, 2018 @12:24 pm

    “John Brennan announced it publicly in January 2017.” Do you have a link?