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Trump makes shocking comments about trusting Putin over US ‘intelligence lowlifes’

Trump famously took Putin’s word on 2016 election interference during joint presser with Russian leader

John Bowden
Washington DC
Tuesday 31 January 2023 22:54 GMT
Trump says ‘Twitter can never be Twitter’ unless he goes back on
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Donald Trump has repeated claims that he trusts Russia’s president Vladimir Putin over his own director of national intelligence.

The former president was denounced by both Republicans and Democrats when he originally made the claim at a 2018 joint press conference with Vladimir Putin. Now, he has repeated them on his Truth Social platform.

His post described members of the intelligence community, presumably including the CIA, NSA, FBI and cybersecurity agencies, as “lowlifes”.

“Remember in Helsinki when a 3rd rate reporter asked me, essentially, who I trusted more, President Putin of Russia, or our ‘Intelligence’ lowlifes[?]” wrote the former president in a Monday morning post.

He continued: “My instinct at the time was that we had really bad people in the form of James Comey, McCabe (whose wife was being helped out by Crooked Hillary while Crooked was under investigation!), Brennan, Peter Strzok (whose wife is at the SEC) & his lover, Lisa Page. Now add McGonigal & other slime to the list. Who would you choose, Putin or these Misfits?”

The post refers to the infamous moment during his one and only joint appearance with Mr Putin during which the US president, prompted by a reporter, indicated that he took the word of his Russian counterpart over the findings of several US intelligence agencies in the wake of the 2016 election.

It’s an example of the kind of comment that will gin up excitement and agreement from Mr Trump’s hardcore base of supporters but will alienate potential allies in Washington as he pursues a third bid for the presidency.

Mr Trump is likely to face a cadre of Republican rivals for the 2024 GOP nomination including, potentially, former CIA director Mike Pompeo who could very well take issue with his former boss’s words during the campaign.

The former president was loathe to acknowledge the conclusion of US intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 election — apparently on his behalf, or to Hillary Clinton’s detriment — throughout his four years in the White House.

The involvement of Russia in the election sparked a years-long and politically damaging investigation into Donald Trump and his inner circle, headed up by special counsel Robert Mueller of the Justice Department, which eventually resulted in no criminal charges for the president (though others were convicted of unrelated charges in the course of the probe).

Mr Trump has long held a grudge against the FBI and Justice Department for that reason, a feud which spilled back into vocal maligning of the agency’s personnel and mission last year after FBI agents raided his residence and resort at Mar-a-Lago and seized documents including materials marked classified which he had retained without permission.

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