Citing several White House sources, President Trump has a “general disappointment” in Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats — and there may be a “change of leadership” ahead, Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy told CNN Monday.
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Ruddy slammed the intel chief for recently “undercutting” Trump and “trying to make policy and not inform policy” before Congress.
“The intelligence chiefs… just went before an open session of Congress, and they openly said that they believe the president's policies and efforts in North Korea are going to fail based on the intelligence,” Ruddy said.
“I think you have a classic example here where Director Coats is trying to make policy and not inform policy,” he continued. “The purpose of intelligence is to give the president the facts, let him decide and make the decisions, not to publicly declare that his policies are going to fail a week before he goes over to North Korea on this very important summit.”
Noting he had not spoken with the president on the matter, Ruddy said, “There's just general disappointment of the president with Director Coats. There's a feeling that maybe there needs to be a change of leadership in that position coming up.”
Ruddy said Trump hasn’t divulged whether he’ll boot Coats, but believes “generally, there's a deep concern that on the eve of the North Korea summit, to have your Director of National Intelligence in open hearings undercutting your position was very bad form.”
A second summit between Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is expected in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Ruddy also pushed back on Trump’s reported trust in Russia’s President Vladimir Putin more than his own intelligence agency.
“I think that's a statement based on what [former acting FBI Director Andrew] McCabe said in a private conversation,” Ruddy said. “I think the president, from what I can see and my dealings with him, he has a lot of confidence, generally, in the agencies that work for him. He's been very tough on Putin.”
“You have to ask yourself if he's so pro-Putin, why are all of his actions against Putin — and very strongly against,” Ruddy added.
Ruddy pointed out that Trump is challenging Putin and his allies like Iran and Venezuela, supporting the Ukraine, enforcing sanctions against Moscow and pressing allies to stop Russia’s new Northstream gas pipeline to western Europe.
He said Trump should be commended for “doing the very smart thing of building up his leverage, his assets and his strengths and he's getting our allies to start doing the same.”
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