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Mon Jun 29, 2020, 05:08 PM

From pandering to Putin, abusing allies, ignoring his own advisers, Trump's phone calls alarm staff [View all]

Last edited Mon Jun 29, 2020, 06:31 PM - Edit history (1)

https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/29/politics/trump-phone-calls-national-security-concerns/index.html

By Carl Bernstein, CNN

Updated 5:48 PM ET, Mon June 29, 2020

(CNN)In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America's principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials -- including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff -- that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.

The calls caused former top Trump deputies -- including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials -- to conclude that the President was often "delusional," as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders. The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.

These officials' concerns about the calls, and particularly Trump's deference to Putin, take on new resonance with reports the President may have learned in March that Russia had offered the Taliban bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan -- and yet took no action. CNN's sources said there were calls between Putin and Trump about Trump's desire to end the American military presence in Afghanistan but they mentioned no discussion of the supposed Taliban bounties.

By far the greatest number of Trump's telephone discussions with an individual head of state were with Erdogan, who sometimes phoned the White House at least twice a week and was put through directly to the President on standing orders from Trump, according to the sources. Meanwhile, the President regularly bullied and demeaned the leaders of America's principal allies, especially two women: telling Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom she was weak and lacked courage; and telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she was "stupid."

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Reply From pandering to Putin, abusing allies, ignoring his own advisers, Trump's phone calls alarm staff [View all]
Dennis Donovan Jun 2020 OP
tblue37 Jun 2020 #1
dewsgirl Jun 2020 #2
CountAllVotes Jun 2020 #3
lpbk2713 Jun 2020 #4
Mike 03 Jun 2020 #5
soothsayer Jun 2020 #8
soothsayer Jun 2020 #6
FirstLight Jun 2020 #7
smirkymonkey Jun 2020 #9
Cha Jun 2020 #12
underpants Jun 2020 #10
Cha Jun 2020 #11
Dennis Donovan Jun 2020 #13
tanyev Jun 2020 #14
Skittles Jun 2020 #15
underpants Jun 2020 #16
onecaliberal Jun 2020 #17