Donald Trump went on a wild rant Tuesday morning about U.S. intelligence officials, in apparent reaction to a New York Times magazine article about Russian interference in U.S. elections or a recent interview with John Bolton in Business Insider.
The NYT article said Trump “never accepted” and “actively disputed” a “classified document known as a National Intelligence Estimate” which was put out in early July of last year.
The NYT reports: “According to multiple officials who saw it, the document discussed Russia’s ongoing efforts to influence U.S. elections: the 2020 presidential contest and 2024’s as well. It was compiled by a working group consisting of about a dozen senior analysts, led by Christopher Bort, a veteran national intelligence officer with nearly four decades of experience, principally focused on Russia and Eurasia. The N.I.E. began by enumerating the authors’ ‘key judgments.’ Key Judgment 2 was that in the 2020 election, Russia favored the current president: Donald Trump.”
“The intelligence provided to the N.I.E.’s authors indicated that in the lead-up to 2020, Russia worked in support of the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as well,” the article continued. “But Bort explained to his colleagues, according to notes taken by one participant in the process, that this reflected not a genuine preference for Sanders but rather an effort ‘to weaken that party and ultimately help the current U.S. president.’ To allay any speculation that Putin’s interest in Trump had cooled, Key Judgment 2 was substantiated by current information from a highly sensitive foreign source described by someone who read the N.I.E. as ‘100 percent reliable.'”
In Bolton’s interview, the former national security adviser described the moment in Helsinki when Trump refused to condemn Russia for election interference: “I was sitting in the audience with Chief of Staff John Kelly, and we were both frozen to our chairs. We couldn’t believe what we had heard. And we spent a good part of the flight on Air Force One back to Washington trying to explain to the president why he was getting such a negative reaction from the press back in Washington. The president didn’t seem to understand that people might be upset that he equated what Putin said with what our intelligence community said.”