President Trump reportedly alarmed senior US officials due to his highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state.
According to a CNN report on Monday, citing White House and intelligence officials familiar with the contents of the conversations, Trump was often unprepared for discussion of serious issues during his calls with foreign leaders — which include those with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan — and abusive to leaders of America’s principal allies that some senior US officials felt that he posed a danger to national security.
Two sources who spoke to CNN said that the former top Trump deputies concluded that the President was “delusional” in light of his dealings with foreign leaders. The former senior US officials who reportedly took issue over the President’s calls with foreign leaders include national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials.
The same sources also told CNN that there was little evidence proving that the President became more skillful or competent during his highly classified calls with foreign leaders over time. According to CNN, the sources said that Trump believed that he could “either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will” and “often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.”
CNN’s report comes amid reports that Trump possibly learned in March that Russia offered the Taliban bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan, but failed to take action. According to CNN, Putin and Trump discussed the President’s desire to end the American military presence in Afghanistan over the phone, but without mentioning any discussion of the supposed Taliban bounties.
CNN also reported that Trump hopped on the phone with Erdogan the most.
Sources told CNN that the President “regularly bullied and demeaned the leaders of America’s principal allies” such as UK Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Trump would reportedly brag about his own wealth, genius, “great” accomplishments as President and the “idiocy” of his Oval Office predecessors to Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, according to CNN.
One person familiar with almost all the conversations with the leaders of Russia, Turkey, Canada, Australia and western Europe characterized Trump’s calls with them to be “abominations” so grievous to US national security interests, according to CNN. The source told CNN that if congressional members of Congress “heard from witnesses to the actual conversations or read the texts and contemporaneous notes,” they believe that many senior Republican members would no longer retain confidence in the President.
When pressed for comment on CNN’s report, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews told TPM in a statement that the President is “a world class negotiator who has consistently furthered America’s interests on the world stage.”
“From negotiating the phase one China deal and the USMCA to NATO allies contributing more and defeating ISIS, President Trump has shown his ability to advance America’s strategic interests,” Matthews told TPM in a statement.