Dec 4, 2019

Former intelligence official: Trump often didn't believe our findings

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Former Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon said in a speech to the Women's Foreign Policy Group Tuesday that President Trump often didn't believe intelligence officials' findings during briefings, citing his most common responses, CNN reports.

"One, 'I don't think that's true.' ... one is 'I'm not sure I believe that,' and the other is the second order and third order effects. 'Why is that true? Why are we there? Why is this what you believe? Why do we do that?' Those sorts of things."
— Gordon quoting Trump to Women's Foreign Policy Group, per CNN

Why it matters: Trump has had a fraught relationship with intelligence agencies. This appears to be another example of his skepticism of the intelligence community.

  • In July, the president said he thought loyalist Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) would be an "incredible" replacement for outgoing National Intelligence Director Dan Coats because "we need somebody like that that's strong and can really rein it in," per CNN. "As you've all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok," he said.

The big picture: Gordon is widely respected in the intelligence community and was supposed to assume automatically under federal statute the role of acting director of national intelligence upon Coats' departure.

  • But sources told Axios' Jonathan Swan that Trump never intended to pick her, and she resigned in August. That enabled Trump to appoint counterterrorism official Joseph Maguire to the acting role after Ratcliffe withdrew himself from consideration.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.