From pandering to Putin to abusing allies and ignoring his own advisers, Trump's phone calls alarm US officials
By Carl Bernstein, CNN
Updated 7:51 PM ET, Mon June 29, 2020
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.
Intercepted bank transfers show Russia poured money into Taliban-linked accounts after bounties revealed
American officials intercepted data that supported their conclusion that Russia had secretly offered bounties to Taliban forces for killing U.S. and coalition forces.
Three officials familiar with the intelligence told the New York Times that intercepted electronic data showed large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to an account linked to the Taliban
Next time someone argues that Trump supports the military show them this....
• Trump knew since Mar 2020 that Russia paid bounties to kill American troops, yet he has done nothing. NYT
• In May 2020, the White House wanted to ended National Guard deployments one day before they could claim benefits Forbes
• The Trump admin seized 5 million masks intended for VA hospitals. Kushner distributes these masks to private entities for a fee, who then sells the masks to the government Salon
• Trump fired the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after he warned superiors that COVID19 was spreading among his crew. The virus subsequently spread amongst the crew. WSJ
• After Iran's retaliatory strike, 109 US troops suffered brain injuries. Trump dismissed these as "headaches" Reuters
• On July 20, 2017, in room 2E924 of the Pentagon, Trump told a room full of Generals, "You’re a bunch of dopes and babies" MilitaryTimes
• Pardoned multiple war criminals, which stomped on long standing military values, discipline, and command. Trump has no military experience (May&Nov, 2019) MilitaryTimes
• Trump mocked Lt. Col. Vindman for his rank and uniform. He threatened said purple heart officer, resulting in the Army providing him protection Businessinsider
• Trump’s Chief of Staff worked—in secret—to deny comprehensive health coverage to Vietnam Vets who suffered from Agent Orange. MilitaryTimes
• There is a facility in Tijuana for US veterans that Trump deported. Wounded war vet, Sen Duckworth (D) marked Veterans Day 2019 by visiting this facility MilitaryTimes
• Russia took control of the main U.S. military facility in Syria abandoned on Trump’s orders. Russia now owns the airstrip we built Reuters
• On Oct 7, 2019, Trump abruptly withdrew support from America's allies in Syria after a phone call with Turkey's president (Erdogan). Turkey subsequently bombed US Special Forces. NYTimes
• Trump sent thousands of American troops to defend the oil assets of the country that perpetrated 9/11 NYTimes
• In Sept 2019, he made an Air Force cargo crew, flying from the U.S. to Kuwait stop in Scotland (where there's no U.S. base) to refuel at a commercial airport (where it costs more), so they could stay overnight at a Trump property (which isn't close to the airport). Trump’s golf courses are losing money, so he's forcing the military to pay for 5-star nights there. Political
• In Sept, 2019, Pentagon pulled funds for military schools, military housing funds, and daycare to pay for Trump's border wall. CNBC
• In Aug, 2019, emails revealed that three of Trump's Mar-a-Lago pals, who are now running Veterans Affairs, are rampant with meddling. "They had no experience in veterans affairs (none of them even served in the military) nor underwent any kind of approval process to serve as de facto managers. Yet, with Trump’s approval, they directed actions and criticized operations without any oversight. They wasted valuable staff time in hundreds of pages of communications and meetings, emails show. Emails reveal disdainful attitudes within the department to the trio’s meddling." Politico
• Children of deployed US troops are no longer guaranteed citizenship. This includes US troops posted abroad for years at a time (August 28, 2019) MilitaryTimes
• On Aug 2, 2019, Trump requisitioned military retirement funds towards border wall Newyorker
• On July 31, 2019, Trump ordered the Navy rescind medals to prosecutors who were prosecuted war criminals NYTimes
• Trump denied a U.S. Marine of 6 years entry into the United States for his citizenship interview (Reported July 17, 2019) Thehill
• Trump made the U.S. Navy Blue Angels violate ethics rules by having them fly at his July 4th political campaign event (July 4, 2019) MilitaryTimes
• Trump demanded US military chiefs stand next to him at 4th of July parade (reported July 2, 2019) MSN
• In June, 2019, Trump sent troops to the border to paint the fence for a better "aesthetic appearance" MilitaryTimes
• Trump used his D-Day interview at a cemetery commemorating fallen US soldiers to attack a Vietnam veteran (June 6, 2019) NYTimes
• Trump started his D-Day commemoration speech by attacking a private citizen (Bette Midler, of all people) (reported on June 4th, 2019) Rollingstone
• Trump made his 2nd wife, Marla Maples, sign a prenup that would have cut off all child support if Tiffany joined the military (reported June 4th, 2019) Newsweek
• On May 27, 2019, Trump turned away US military from his Memorial Day speech because they were from the destroyer USS John S. McCain Businessinsider
• Trump ordered the USS John McCain out of sight during his visit to Japan (May 15, 2019). The ship's name was subsequently covered. (May 27, 2019) WSJ
• Trump purged 200,000 vets' healthcare applications (due to known administrative errors within VA’s enrollment system) (reported on May 13, 2019) MilitaryTimes
• Trump deported a spouse of fallen Army soldier killed in Afghanistan, leaving their daughter parentless (April 16, 2019) AZcentral
• On March 20, 2019, Trump complained that a deceased war hero didn't thank him for his funeral BBC
• Between 12/22/2018, and 1/25/2019, Trump refused to sign his party's funding bill, which shut down the government, forcing the Coast Guard to go without pay, which made service members rely on food pantries. However, his appointees got a $10,000 pay raise CNBC
• He banned service members from serving based on gender identity (1/22/2019) Vox
• He denied female troops access to birth control to limit sexual activity (on-going. Published Jan 18, 2019) Businessinsider
• He tried to deport a marine vet who is a U.S.-born citizen (Jan 16, 2019) usatoday
• When a man was caught swindling veterans pensions for high-interest “cash advances," Trump's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined him $1 (Jan 26, 2019) Veteranstoday
• He called a retired general a 'dog' with a 'big, dumb mouth' (Jan 1, 2019) CNN
• He increased privatization of the VA, leading to longer waits and higher taxpayer cost (2018) psmag
• He finally visited troops 2 years after taking office, but only after 154 vacation days at his properties (Dec 26, 2018) NYTimes
• He revealed a covert Seal Team 5 deployment, including names and faces, on Twitter during his visit to Iraq (Dec 26, 2018) Newsweek
• Trump lied to deployed troops that he gave them a 10% raise (12/26/2018). He tried giving the military a raise that was lower than the standard living adjustment. Congress told him that idea wasn't going to work. Then after giving them the raise that Congress made him, he lied about it pretending that it was larger than Obama's. It wasn't. Militarytimes
• He fired service members living with HIV just before the 2018 holidays time.com
• He tried to slash disability and unemployment benefits for Veterans to $0, and eliminate the unemployability extrascheduler rating (Dec 17, 2018) Stripes.com
• He called troops on Thanksgiving and told them he's most thankful for himself (Thanksgiving, 2018) newsweek
• He urged Florida to not count deployed military votes (Nov 12, 2018) huffpost
• He canceled an Arlington Cemetery visit on Veterans Day due to light rain (Nov 12, 2018) MilitaryTimes
• While in Europe commemorating the end of WWI, he didn't attend the ceremony at a US cemetery due to the rain -- other world leaders went anyway (Nov 10, 2018) BBC
• He used troops as a political prop by sending them on a phantom mission to the border and made them miss Thanksgiving with their families (Oct-Dec, 2018) Militarytimes
• He stopped using troops as a political prop immediately after the election. However, the troops remained in muddy camps on the border (Nov 7, 2018) NYTimes
• Trump changed the GI Bill through his Forever GI Act, causing the VA to miss veteran benefits, including housing allowances. This caused many vets to run out of food and rent. (reported October 7, 2018) vox
• Trump doubled the rejection rate for veterans requesting family deportation protections (July 5, 2018) newsweek
• Trump wants to deported active-duty spouses (11,800 military families face this problem as of April 2018) NPR
• He said he knows more about ISIS than American generals (Oct 2016) washingtonpost
• On Oct 3, 2016, Trump said vets get PTSD because they aren't strong (note: yes, he said it's 'because they aren't strong.' He didn't say it's 'because they're weak.' This distinction is important because of Snopes) snopes
• Trump accepted a Purple Heart from a fan at one of his rallies and said: “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” (Aug 2, 2016) apnews
• Trump attacks Gold Star families: Myeshia Johnson (gold star widow), Khan family (gold star parents) etc. (2016-present) NPR
• Trump said he has "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military" because he went to a military-style academy (2015 biography) NYTimes
• Trump said he doesn't consider POWs heroes because they were caught. He said he prefers people who were not caught (July 18, 2015) Politico
• Trump said having unprotected sex was his own personal Vietnam (1998) youtube
• For a decade, Trump sought to kick veterans off of Fifth Avenue because he found them unsightly nuisances outside of Trump Tower. 1991 theweek
• Trump dodged the draft 5 times by having a doctor diagnose him with bone spurs. businessinsider
EDIT TO UPDATE: New from NYT: American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account, which was among the evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan
Last night, the AP reported that the White House was aware of Russia offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans in early 2019.
The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.
...The AP reported Sunday that concerns about Russian bounties were also included in a second written presidential daily briefing earlier this year and that current national security adviser Robert O’Brien had discussed the matter with Trump.
This morning, Bolton suggested that he left info about Russian bounties out of his book because it is classified. “I'm in the position where, whatever may have happened with respect to this issue during the time I was at the NSC, is not in the book.”
This morning, Trump retweeted Geraldo Rivera asserting that the NYT article that broke this story was based on "conflicting" intelligence, adding that is was just "wishful thinking."
After enjoying big splash from sensational #RussianBounty expose, #NYT retreating to shore-admitting "the underlying intelligence was conflicting." In 3 years of @realDonaldTrump all NYT/Russia reporting has been based on "conflicting" intelligence -Also known as wishful thinking
Trump also retweeted a statement from the ODNI John Ratcliffe threatening legal action for "selective leaking of any classified information," like the Russian bounty story. Ratcliffe says the leak is under investigation. Briefings
The White House briefed eight House Republicans on the situation last night, raising questions about what they were told separately from Democrats. The Republican-only attendees of Monday's briefing immediately began characterizing the intelligence and defending Trump over allegations he let the bounty allegations languish for months without action.
“It’s hard to say the Trump Administration isn’t politicizing the military when only members of their party get invited to the briefing,” tweeted Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).
Reminder: Republicans have been skipping House Intelligence meetings for months. GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee have skipped all but one of the panel's proceedings, public and private, since before Congress went into its coronavirus-lockdown in early March. Press conference
A group of House Democrats received a White House briefing this morning (video). The No. 2 House Democrat, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, led a press conference after. Here are some highlights: Hoyer
Hoyer says the intel briefing was not led by intel personnel and says he wants a briefing from the CIA or NSA. Hoyer says the briefing gave lawmakers the "White House perspective," and says he wants to get the "intelligence perspective" at a briefing before the full House.
He said officials described "different judgments as to the level of credibility." None agreed with Trump assessment of a "hoax" he said.
"The president called this a hoax publicly. Nothing in the briefing that we have just received led me to believe it is a hoax."
“We did not receive any new substantive information” from the briefing on Russian bounties this morning
“I find it inexplicable that the president hasn’t come in front of the country to reassure the country”
On Putin: "Many of us do not understand [Trump's] affinity for that autocratic ruler who wishes our nation ill."
Schiff says he expressed a concern at the White House about a "reluctance to brief the President on things he doesn’t want to hear."
Points out “if you’re inviting Russia back into the G8, this is something you ought to know If the IC had this intel, and the president is getting on the phone with Putin time after time, and welcoming Putin into the G8, this is information that would be negligent to keep from him.”
Dems' primary message coming out of the White House briefing: Why isn't Trump assuring America he'll get to the bottom of the Russian bounty intelligence rather than claiming ignorance?