President Trump told reporters on Thursday that he spoke to his intelligence officials about their public testimonies before Congress, in which they contradicted him on Iran, ISIS and North Korea.
Trump claimed that his intelligence chiefs told him their Senate testimony on global threats were “totally misquoted” and “taken out of context” despite that testimony airing live on every major cable news network.
“They said they were totally misquoted and they were totally — it was taken out of context,” Trump said. “So what I’d do is — I’d suggest that you call them. They said it was fake news, which frankly didn’t surprise me.”
“Well, we just ran exactly what they said to Congress,” a reporter interrupted, noting that the officials testified before Congress and were recorded on television saying something contrary.
“Excuse me, excuse me!” Trump interrupted, growing irritated.
“It didn’t surprise me at all,” he said before telling reporters he was there to talk about China.
JUST IN: Pres. Trump just told reporters that his intelligence chiefs told him their Senate testimony on global threats were "totally misquoted" and "taken out of context" — despite that testimony airing live on TV. https://t.co/yxejVrJSPs #11MSNBC #11thHour pic.twitter.com/nIkY7dVQxW
— 11th Hour (@11thHour) January 31, 2019
In testimony before Congress a day earlier, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group still commands thousands of fighters and is not totally defeated — as Trump recently declared.
CIA Director Gina Haspel said Iran is still technically complying with an international agreement it made with the United States and other powers — even though the president withdrew from the pact.
CNN on Wednesday morning aired a montage of other contradictions between the president and his intel chiefs:
President Trump contradicting intel chiefs “harms our ability to defend ourselves because he’s telling the American people we have nothing to worry about, when in reality we have a lot to worry about,” @SenAngusKing says. https://t.co/OkofXDFWaO pic.twitter.com/tmIgLGL1PG
— New Day (@NewDay) January 30, 2019
Trump rejected their findings in a string of tweets on Wednesday, writing that the intelligence community was “passive and naive” and they should “go back to school!”
Mother Jones reporter David Corn urged Trump’s intel chiefs to speak up after his remarks: “[email protected] just claimed his intel chiefs support everything he says. Is it now their responsibility to tell the public that he is delusional–or just lying?”
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) January 31, 2019
UPDATE: Trump tweeted shortly after his comments to reporters:
….I would suggest you read the COMPLETE testimony from Tuesday. A false narrative is so bad for our Country. I value our intelligence community. Happily, we had a very good meeting, and we are all on the same page!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2019