In a bizarre continuation of President Trump’s belief in Russian President Vladimir Putin over the findings of the FBI and CIA, Trump ranted about these beliefs aboard Air Force One today on his way from Da Nang to Hanoi, Vietnam.
Trump indicated he believes President Putin’s denials of Russian involvement in meddling in the 2016 elections in order to sway the vote in Trump’s favor and he further added that he thinks Putin is insulted by these accusations. Trump went on to blame the Democrats for inventing conspiracies by Russia and between the Trump campaign and Russia.
While believing Putin, Trump does not believe former FBI director James Comey, former CIA director John Brennan, or former director of national intelligence James Clapper, calling the trio “hacks”. According to CNN, Trump today said, “I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks. So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker. So you look at that and you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with them.”
Comey, Brennan and Clapper are of course not the only officials to assert that evidence already shows that there was Russian meddling in the 2016 election. President Trump picked Mike Pompeo to head the CIA and even Pompeo says he stands by the CIA’s assessment that there was indeed Russian meddling in the election.
President Trump says he believes Putin’s denials because Trump has directly asked Putin about his involvement on multiple occasions and each time Putin has denied it. This of course is an irrational basis for belief.
Just because someone gives you the same answer every time you ask them a question does not necessarily mean that this answer is the truth. It is not hard evidence, unlike the evidence accumulated by the CIA and the FBI, which is held to the standard of being able to stand up to scrutiny in a court of law.
This is another example of Trump condemning anyone who criticizes him or disagrees with him. And how strange is it that amid Trump’s near-paranoid disbelief in the findings of his own country’s intelligence community, he accepts on face value the denials of a dictator?
Trump’s affinity for the leaders of totalitarian regimes, both Russian President Putin and now Chinese President Xi, is a disturbing trend.
Trump seems far more comfortable with these leaders than with the leaders of democratic countries, where pesky things like a free press and freedom of speech conflict with Trump’s need for constant, blind and unquestioning approval.