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Michael Hayden: Trump Tower Meeting Gave Russia Advantage

Michael Hayden: Trump Tower Meeting Gave Russia Advantage
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By    |   Wednesday, 02 May 2018 10:13 AM

Russia got several advantages over President Donald Trump and his campaign through a meeting in Trump Tower in June of 2016 with Donald Trump Jr. and campaign officials, and that resulted in several long-term consequences, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden said Wednesday.

"They learned the campaign was willing to deal, which is a really big thing," Hayden, the author of the new book "The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies" told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." 

"They were willing to accept information on Hillary Clinton, with the providence of the Russian government on it."

The Russians also learned, through what Hayden called a "Russian soft approach," that the Trump campaign would "not go to the feds" over the meeting, "because they didn't see any increase in counterintelligence activity around them," said Hayden.

"I've said it before, even as a little congressman, if there were Russians that approached me for something I would talk to my chief of staff, who would immediately say we need to call the FBI," show co-host Joe Scarborough commented. "That's just basic."

The Kremlin also got a "little down payment on kompromat," said Hayden, referring to the Russian term describing obtaining damaging information on a politician or other public figure that can be used to ensure loyalty or for blackmail. "You've taken the meeting and you didn't report it."

Hayden said that the decision to hold the meeting can be blamed on "naivete, inexperience," as the Trump campaign was not "surrounded by anybody whose antennas would go, 'woah, this can't happen.'"

Based on his experience, rather than describing the meeting at Trump Tower as collusion, Hayden said he would refer to it as "convergence," a term he uses often in his book.

That describes, he said, not "where you may not be actually going this way, in terms of 'hey, will you do this now? I'll do that.'"

Instead, it means that each party is doing something for its own purposes, but their activities are "mutually reinforcing," Hayden continued.

"Remember the take a knee thing?" he explained. "So the president gives a speech, he feeds his base. Okay, before he gets back to Washington, the Russian bots are all over it. Take a knee, both sides, all right? The patriotic side and the constitutional side. Alt-right media picks it up and mirrors the Russian bots.

"They inject a powerful racial content into it, then it gets to the major networks, mostly to the one down the street and we have this cycle. Everyone for their own interests. The president, the base."

Hayden said his book is about the United States and the lack of discourse and distrust.

"We've gone to our corner, we've pledged allegiance to our tribes, and data doesn't matter much," said Hayden. "The second layer, the presidency, who quite intelligently saw it, exploited it and now in office use it is and frankly, I think worsens it.

"You don't hear fact-based arguments, you don't hear data-rich answers to questions from the president. What you get is an appeal to the base, an appeal to emotion and identification of the other, the bad other, the ones responsible for your problems."

The "third layer," he said, is "you've got the Russians coming through the perimeter wire and seeing phase 1, phase 2, and now they're manipulating both for their own advantage, fundamentally, to make us disabled, distracted and not a meaningful player in places where they want to go and play."

The Russians tried the same kind of thing in Norway, but it didn't take, because "the Norwegian society isn't in the same state as American society."

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Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden said Russia got several advantages over President Donald Trump and his campaign through a meeting in Trump Tower in June of 2016.
michael hayden, trump, meeting, russia, advantage
Wednesday, 02 May 2018 10:13 AM
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