Saturday, February 22, 2020

the last book I ever read (A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America, excerpt thirteen)

from A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig:

On July 16, Trump and Putin spent two hours meeting alone, joined only by their interpreters, inside Finland’s neoclassical Presidential Palace along Helsinki’s glistening waterfront. Unlike in most foreign leader meetings, there was no note taker to compile an official record of what was said or what promises were made. What came next was historically unprecedented. As he held forth with Putin for a forty-six-minute joint news conference, Trump refused to endorse the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that the Russian government had tried to sabotage the U.S. election to help him win. In fact, he said he took the word of Putin over the collective assessment of his own intelligence agencies. Trump demurred when Jonathan Lemire of the Associated Press asked, “Would you now, with the whole world watching, tell President Putin—would you denounce what happened in 2016? And would you warn him never to do it again?”

“All I can do is ask the question,” Trump replied. Referring to his director of national intelligence, the president continued, “My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others and said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Trump then raised a series of questions about Hillary Clinton’s emals before adding, “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

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