President Donald Trump’s dismissive remarks about the chiefs of his intelligence agencies were “troubling,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Sunday.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee pushed back on the president’s criticism after the intel pros told Congress that North Korea is unlikely to dismantle its nuclear arsenal and that the Iran nuclear deal is working.
“It's troubling to all of us,” Shelby said. “And I think there's got to be real good communications between the president and the director of the CIA and the director of national intelligence. These are professional people.”
“The president's briefed every day on it,” he continued. “He's not an intelligence officer. None of us are. But the people on the front lines, the people who analyze who gather and disseminate intelligence information to our higher-ups, we should respect them. Most of the time they are pretty much on point.”
Shelby also warned that as long as Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. are feuding over border wall security and funding, the odds of a compromise to avoid another partial government shutdown are “slim.”
“We've got a chance this week to move things. Will we? We don't know,” he said. “The president could be right — we could be wasting our time. On the other hand, we could come up to a solution. But as long as the Speaker and the President are at odds, the chances of us reaching an agreement are slim.”
Shelby said the discussions will have to move beyond politics.
“It's not what I need or what the Speaker needs or even the President needs,” he said. “It's what we need to secure our borders. If we get this information from the experts, it could move us off the dime… how do we get off the politics and to the substance? If we can do that, we'll get the job done.”
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