"I believe Putin": Trump dismissed U.S. intel advice on N.Korea threat, former FBI acting chief says

13:20, 18 February 2019
World
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REUTERS

McCabe has alleged Donald Trump dismissed advice from his own intelligence community on the threat posed by North Korea’s missiles, saying “I don’t care. I believe Putin,” The Guardian reports, noting that McCabe made the claims in an interview with CBS News' 60 Minutes.

McCabe said Trump made the comments in a meeting about the weapons capability of North Korea. McCabe was not in the meeting with Trump and said his FBI colleague told him about it later.

“The president launched into several unrelated diatribes. One of those was commenting on the recent missile launches by the government of North Korea. And, essentially, the president said he did not believe that the North Koreans had the capability to hit us here with ballistic missiles in the United States. And he did not believe that because President Putin had told him they did not. President Putin had told him that the North Koreans don’t actually have those missiles,” said McCabe.

“Intelligence officials in the briefing responded that that was not consistent with any of the intelligence our government possesses,” said McCabe in the interview. “To which the president replied, ‘I don’t care. I believe Putin.’”

McCabe said he was shocked when he found about the president’s alleged comments. “It’s just an astounding thing to say,” said McCabe, who added he was surprised at the dismissal of the work of his intelligence community.

“To be confronted with an absolute disbelief in those efforts and an unwillingness to learn the true state of affairs that he has to deal with every day was just shocking,” said McCabe.

McCabe also alleged a “crime may have been committed” when Trump fired the head of the FBI and tried to publicly undermine an investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia.

Trump responded furiously on Twitter after parts of the episode were trailed late last week.

“Disgraced FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe pretends to be a “poor little Angel” when in fact he was a big part of the Crooked Hillary Scandal & the Russia Hoax - a puppet for Leakin’ James Comey. I.G. report on McCabe was devastating,” he wrote on Twitter. “McCabe is a disgrace to the FBI and a disgrace to our Country. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

McCabe also told 60 Minutes the FBI had good reason to open a counter-intelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia, and therefore a possible national security threat, following Comey’s dismissal in May 2017.

“And the idea is, if the president committed obstruction of justice, fired the director of the of the FBI to negatively impact or to shut down our investigation of Russia’s malign activity and possibly in support of his campaign, as a counterintelligence investigator you have to ask yourself, ‘Why would a president of the United States do that?’” McCabe said.

McCabe was fired in March 2018 by Jeff Sessions after McCabe released information to the media without authorisation, saying he had “lacked candour” when discussing it. His case was referred to the U.S. attorney’s office for possible prosecution, but no charges have been brought. McCabe has denied having intentionally lied and said Sunday that he believes his firing was politically motivated.

“I believe I was fired because I opened a case against the president of the United States,” he said.

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