During a Wednesday morning panel discussion on CNN, former CIA officer Phil Mudd argued the reason President Donald Trump congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin even after his security briefing told him not to has nothing to do with defiance.
Mudd doesn’t think it’s an issue of Trump not listening, not paying attention or flying in the face of the intelligence community. Rather, he argued, Trump simply doesn’t know the information.
“I don’t think he ignored the advice,” Mudd began. “Let me couple this with the conversation that he had with Justin Trudeau. It is clear the president didn’t have a knowledge of what the trade relationship was with the Canadians because he told us he made it up. I served in the National Security Council. When you have a meeting between the president of the United States and foreign official, the president gets background about Canadian trade or what happened during the Russian elections, including ballot box stuffing.”
Mudd explained that each president gets talking points, instructions for what to say, and a background on every possibly ounce of information he could need.
“Based on those two experiences, the Canadian prime minister and the fact that he didn’t appear to know what the package was, what the materials were provided by his staff, I don’t think he reads any of this stuff,” Mudd continued. “As a National Security Council staffer, you want to bang your head against the wall.”
He went on to detail that briefings are not half of a page of information saying, “Tell the Russian president you won but it was a little bit of an ugly election. Tell him you don’t like him meddling in the elections.” And saying, “Our closest ally is the UK, we stand with them on the attempted murder of a former spy on UK soil.”
“He didn’t read any of that stuff,” Mudd closed. “Just as he didn’t read it when he was talking with Justin Trudeau.”
See the full discussion below: