Preface: from The Washington Post Thursday 9PM EST “Intelligence officials were ‘misquoted’ after public hearing, Trump claims:”
Trump claimed the intelligence chiefs had told him their remarks had been taken out of context, and he asserted that there was no distance between him and his advisers.
“Just concluded a great meeting with my Intel team in the Oval Office,” Trump tweeted (image above), with a picture of CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and others seated around the Resolute Desk. The officials “told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media – and we are very much in agreement on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, etc.,” Trump wrote. “Their testimony was distorted press….”
“I would suggest you read the COMPLETE testimony from Tuesday,” the president added. “A false narrative is so bad for our Country. I value our intelligence community. Happily, we had a very good meeting, and we are all on the same page!”…. “They said that they were totally misquoted, and they were totally — it was taken out of context,” Trump said in an exchange with reporters. “I’d suggest that you call them. They said it was fake news, which frankly didn’t surprise me.” (Also at the meeting, Deputy Director of National Intelligence Edward Gistaro)
Trump, who is known not to read anthing that can’t be presented in bullet points is suggesting we read the complete testimony, as if he has, let alone even leafed through the 40+ page Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Should we laugh this off as silly or ironic, or just get blind drunk on 170 proof absinthe and hope it induces hallucinations less terrfying than having a deranged president.
The Post reports the CIA refused to comment and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not respond to a request for comment, and that not one of the agencies whose leaders testified issued retractions. Who are we to believe? What we heard the intelligence chiefs say about their 42 page report? What we saw of their testimony to Congress (which is also available in its entirety here)?
Do we believe what Jame Clapper, President Obama’s former Director of National Intelligence, told Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” after he said there was zero chance the intelligence directors would say their sworn testimony was fake news. He said ““So on a number of levels this is very disturbing and of course most people wait years to do revisionist history, President Trump, you know, does it the next day and this is a manifestation of him living in a no-fact zone reality-bubble all to himself.”
Or do we believe what the president who seems to hear what he wants to hear and whose reality testing is suspect claims about a meeting that the others who were present aren’t commenting about?
Reporter Kristen Welker, on MSNBC, this morning on what her White House sources are saying about this: “the president believes what he believes.” Enough psychological jargon from me, this is tin hat territory.
This is a story which should which send chills up and down the collective spines of every sane freedom loving American, indeed, among freedom loving people in the democratic community of nations. From The Washington Post:
“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” Trump wrote. He also wrote: “They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There [sic] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran.”
Trump added: “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”
In his tweets Wednesday, Trump also took issue with testimony about North Korea and the Islamic State terrorist group.
President Trump’s rage was triggered by the annual congressional hearing on global security threats because the intelligence agency heads testified that Iran is complying with an international agreement about not acquiring nuclear weapons. He ridiculed the assessment and our own intelligence leaders and, in effect the thousand of professionals who work to keep the country safe. A president who reacts in rage and lacks the ability to think rationally when expert advisors disagree with him is demonstrating his mental unfitness to hold office.
The measured pronouncements from some of those interviewed about this may merely show a reluctance to engage in hyperbole. However, I do not think they do the country a service when they normalize this most recent example of the president’s manifest unfitness and dangerousness. For example, from The New York Times “Trump pushes back against his ‘naive’ intelligence officers:”
“This is a consequence of narcissism, but it is a strong and inappropriate public political pressure to get the intelligence community leadership aligned with his political goals,” said Douglas H. Wise, a career C.I.A. official and former top deputy at the Defense Intelligence Agency. “The existential danger to the nation is when the policymaker corrupts the role of the intelligence agencies, which is to provide unbiased and apolitical intelligence to inform policy,” Mr. Wise said.
Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said it was dangerous for the president to dismiss the findings of his own intelligence agencies. “If you’re going to ignore that information, then you’re going to make poor decisions,” Mr. Schiff said in an interview on Wednesday. He added, “It means the country is fundamentally less safe.”
This is an indictment of the president as both unfit, incompetent, and because of his psychopathology, dangerous. Donald Trump has demonstrated that he is not a deep or complex thinker, but just as troubling, perhaps more troubling, is that he has sometimes showed indications he actually believes things that have no basis in reality, a sign of mental illness. The most recent glaring example is when he talked and tweeted about women being gagged and forced into vehicles by human traffickers, and Muslim prayer rugs being found in the Mexican desert near the border. These are scenes from the movie Sicario: Day of the Soldado and have no basis in reality.
Unfortunately all of this evidence of the president’s psychological and overall unfitness can cannot be put in an indictment a grand jury can issue. The former would need to be addressed if Vice President Pence and the Cabinet invoked the 25th Amendment. The later would be part of impeachment hearings. In a rational world all of this would be an indictment in the court of public opinion that President Trump should be removed from office.
In trying to figure out what is happening with Trump all I am left with is that what we are observing is an outburst of narcissistic rage which happens when a malignant narcissist is thwarted or it’s either that or kompromat.
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