Trump knocks his intel chiefs again: 'Time will prove me right'
President Donald Trump continued to disparage his intelligence officials on Thursday and insisted "time will prove me right" on sensitive foreign policy matters like North Korea and the Islamic State.
When asked if he has confidence in CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to give him good advice, Trump replied: "No. I disagree with certain things that they said. I think I'm right. Time will prove me right, probably."
The comments come after Trump spurned findings by his intelligence community that were at odds with his political messaging. During a hearing Tuesday, Haspel and Coats testified that North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons, Iran is largely in compliance with the nuclear deal Trump abandoned and ISIS remains a formidable threat in the Middle East.
In the past, Trump has touted his thawing rapport with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, as a sign that he has made significant headway in denuclearizing the peninsula — a feat he has suggested could beeline him to the Nobel Peace Prize. The president also withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal brokered under the Obama administration, unleashing new sanctions on Iran and denouncing the deal for allowing the country to stockpile nuclear weapons. He has also declared victory over ISIS and announced a removal of U.S. troops from Syria, prompting consternation from both sides of the aisle.\
Trump publicly chafed at the divergences from his foreign policy talking points, writing in a tweet on Wednesday: "Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!"
Though Trump continued to reject his intelligence leaders' views on Thursday, the president used more tempered language during an Oval Office gathering, sparing them any personal insults.
"I have great respect for a lot of people, but I don't always agree with everybody. OK?" Trump said.
Trump has set a precedent for publicly denouncing his own intelligence community. Trump also broke away from his intelligence officers during a Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin last summer, when he demurred from U.S. findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and sided with Putin's word that Russia was uninvolved. Trump's comments in Helsinki were met with fierce criticism from both parties as kowtowing to a foreign adversary.
"That's how a press conference sounds when an Asset stands next to his Handler," former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele tweeted at the time.