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Donald Trump is being 'played' by Vladimir Putin,

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    Posted: November 12 2017 at 11:22am

Donald Trump is being 'played' by Vladimir Putin, say ex-US intel officials say

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Washington: Two top former US intelligence officials said Sunday that President Donald Trump is being "played" by President Vladimir Putin on Russia's interference in the 2016 election and accused him of being susceptible to foreign leaders who stroke his ego.

"By not confronting the issue directly and not acknowledging to Putin that we know you're responsible for this, I think he's giving Putin a pass," former CIA director John Brennan said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Trump trusts Putin's denials of election meddling

US President Donald Trump said he believed President Vladimir Putin when he denied accusations that Russia meddled in last year's U.S. election after the two met briefly at a summit in Vietnam.

"I think it demonstrates to Mr Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and try to play upon his insecurities, which is very, very worrisome from a national security standpoint."

Appearing on the same program, former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said he agrees with that assessment.

"He seems very susceptible to rolling out the red carpet and honour guards and all the trappings and pomp and circumstance that come with the office, and I think that appeals to him, and I think it plays to his insecurities," Clapper said.

Trump told reporters travelling with him in Asia that Putin had assured him at a conference in Danang, Vietnam, on Saturday that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 US presidential campaign, and he indicated that he believed Putin was sincere.

Later, in a news conference Sunday in Hanoi with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, Trump appeared to be trying to parse his earlier remarks, saying, "What I said is that I believe (Putin) believes that."

In his earlier remarks to reporters, Trump also referred to Brennan and Clapper as "political hacks." Brennan said Sunday that he considers Trump's characterisation "a badge of honor."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and US President Donald Trump talk as they arrive for the family photo session during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Danang, Vietnam. Photo: AP

Both men were highly critical of Trump for not saying more definitively that Putin was behind the Russian interference in the US election, a conclusion strongly endorsed by the US intelligence community.

"I don't know why the ambiguity about this," Brennan said. "Putin is committed to undermining our system, our democracy and our whole process. And to try paint it in any other way is, I think, astounding, and, in fact, poses a peril to this country."

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during a photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam. Photo: Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Clapper said, "It's very clear that the Russians interfered in the election, and it's still puzzling as to why Mr. Trump does not acknowledge that and embrace it and also push hard against Mr. Putin."

Appearing later on CNN, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin came to Trump's defense, brushing aside the comments of Brennan and Clapper.

"Those were the most ridiculous statements," Mnuchin said. "President Trump is not getting played by anybody."

Mnuchin said Trump wants to focus on thorny issues posed by North Korea and Syria and is trying to get Russia on board with the US strategy.

"I think the country is ready to move on off of this and focus on important issues," he said.

Marc Short, Trump's director of legislative affairs, said Sunday that the president does concur with a January 2017 assessment by the intelligence community about Russian meddling.

"But let's be careful and be straight about what it is the president believes right now," Short said during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"He believes that after a year of investigations of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, there is zero evidence of any ballot being impacted by Russian interference," Short said.

"What the president is trying to do right now is recognise the gravest threat that America faces is North Korea developing nuclear weapons. And nuclear weapons in North Korea is a greater threat than Russia buying Facebook ads in America."

Washington Post

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 12 2017 at 11:40am
and from the BBC

Trump Russia: US 'in peril over president's stance'

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump talk during an economic summitImage copyrightSPUTNIK/REUTERSImage captionVladimir Putin and Donald Trump met recently at a summit

Two former US intelligence chiefs say Donald Trump's stance on Russian meddling in last year's presidential election is putting the US at risk.

The US president sparked uproar by suggesting he believed Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin when he said there had been no interference.

The two leaders briefly discussed the allegations at an Asia-Pacific summit.

US intelligence has long concluded Russia tried to sway the vote in Mr Trump's favour.

"Every time he [Putin] sees me he says I didn't do that, and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it," Mr Trump told reporters.

"I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country."

Mr Trump also disparaged key figures in the US intelligence community who concluded in January that Russian meddling had taken place, including former national intelligence chief James Clapper, ex-CIA director John Brennan and sacked FBI chief James Comey, whom he called "political hacks".

Mr Trump has since sought to mollify critics of his comments following uproar at his apparent defence of Mr Putin.

Ex-intelligence chiefs go on the attack

Mr Clapper said he was alarmed by the president's comments.

"Putin is committed to undermining our system, our democracy and our whole process," he told CNN.

"To try to paint it in any other way is, I think, astounding and in fact poses a peril to this country."


Mr Putin stood up to greet Mr Trump

Exit player
Media captionMr Putin stood up to greet Mr Trump

Appearing alongside him, Mr Brennan, said he found it "puzzling" why Mr Trump was not more explicit in condemning the Russian president when it represented a "national security problem"

Referring to Mr Trumps criticism of him, Mr Brennan said: "Considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honour."

Soon after, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected suggestions from both men that Mr Trump was being "played", saying he was focused on tackling difficult issues like North Korea and Syria.

Why the row matters

Questions surrounding Russia's role in last year's US elections and allegations of collusion involving Donald Trump's campaign team have dogged his presidency.

US intelligence agencies believe Russia tried to help Mr Trump win the presidency by hacking and releasing emails damaging to his opponent Hillary Clinton.

While Russian hackers are widely suspected of involvement, there has been no conclusive link to the Kremlin.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is currently investigating whether there were any links between Russia and the Trump campaign. Both deny there was any collusion.

Last month, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to having lied to the FBI about the timing of meetings with alleged go-betweens for Russia.

Mr Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and an associate were also placed under house arrest on charges of money laundering as a result of the Mueller inquiry, but the charges do not relate to the election.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 12 2017 at 1:17pm
Yeah, it is so obvious!!  How sad!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Satori Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 12 2017 at 1:57pm
Meanwhile, a Russian Spy Who Worked with Putin is Now In Charge of US Embassy Security!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 12 2017 at 1:59pm
I am sure Trump is just playing along.  He is far to canny to fall for Putin's soft soap.  But, pretinding he is swayed makes him look more innocent of collusion so of course he agrees.

Trump was never stupid, but he is a huge and accomplished liar.  The rest is simple deduction.
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