Tags: Trump Administration | bernstein | trump | calls | whitehouse | presidency

Carl Bernstein, CNN: Trump's Calls With Foreign Leaders Posed Danger to US

president trump and president putin chat
 Donald Trump, President of the USA  meets Vladimir Putin, President of Russia during the G20 Summit on July 7, 2017(BPA via Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 29 June 2020 07:09 PM

President Donald Trump was so unprepared for his telephone conversations with foreign leaders, "outplayed" in his talks with leaders like Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's President Recep Erdogan, and dismissive with leaders of key United States allies that senior U.S. officials, including several who served directly with him, say he's often posed dangers to the security of the United States during his presidency, Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein reports in a new expose with CNN. 

The sources' identities, and their job titles, were not revealed to protect their anonymity, reports CNN, but they revealed in interviews by CNN over a four-month period extending into June that more than a dozen officials had either listened to Trump's phone calls in real-time or had been provided both rough-text printouts or detailed summaries of the conversations. 

They cited some instances in which Trump did act responsibly and in the national interest, reports Bernstein. One source said the calls were often "abominations" that were so dangerous to national security interests that, if released, would mean that even many senior Republicans would not remain confident in Trump. 

But in most cases, the calls caused former Trump deputies, including former national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as several intelligence officials, to conclude Trump was often "delusional, two sources reported. None of the former leaders would comment for the story, CNN noted.

Putin and Trump often spoke about the president's wish to pull troops out of Afghanistan, but sources did not mention if they had discussed claims that Russian operatives had paid Taliban fighters to assassinate U.S. soldiers. 

According to CNN's sources, Trump spoke the most with Erdogan, who had sometimes called the White House at least twice a week and who, on Trump's orders, was put directly through to him, including in some instances when he golfing. A high-placed source said there are conversation-readouts of their discussions that could reinforce Bolton's claims on the "Halkbank" case, about a bank with ties to Erdogan and his family, a subject that came up more than once. 

Bernstein noted that CNN's sources reported a picture consistent in places with the tenor of Bolton in his book, "The Room Where it Happened" but the calls covered a longer period than the time Bolton was in office. 

Meanwhile, the report says Trump often demeaned leaders of the country's main allies, especially women such as United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, who he told was weak and lacked courage, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who he called "stupid." Other allies' leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who next to Erdogan initiated the most calls with him; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison came under fire as well.

However, Trump often boasted to other heads of state, like North Korea's Kim Jong Un and Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about his own wealth and accomplishments as the nation's leader and the "idiocy" of former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, reports Bernstein. Further, he suggested to Erdogan and Putin that dealing with him directly would be more fruitful than with his predecessor. 

As of Monday afternoon, the White House had not responded to a request for comment on the report. 

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President Donald Trump was so unprepared for his telephone conversations with foreign leaders, "outplayed" in his talks with leaders like Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's President Recep Erdogan, and dismissive with leaders of key United States allies that...
bernstein, trump, calls, whitehouse, presidency
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2020-09-29
Monday, 29 June 2020 07:09 PM
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