A former chief of staff for the Department of Defense and the CIA said President Donald Trump has done “precisely nothing” to respond to Russia’s escalating provocations.
Jeremy Bash, who served a senior advisor to Leon Panetta in both roles, disputed the president’s claim that his administration was “working very hard” to counter Russian attacks on American democracy.
“They have done precisely nothing to secure our election systems,” Bash said.
The director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, warned Tuesday that Russia had launched a “cyber attack” against the U.S., but Bash said the president was still claiming that other nations or individuals may be to blame.
“We’re talking about the 400-pound guy in the basement,” Bash said. “He’s minimizing Russia’s role, notwithstanding the intelligence assessments I’ve received.”
“What do they have on him?” co-host Mika Brzezinski asked.
The Trump administration has refused to enact the Russia sanctions passed by Congress, and the State Department hasn’t spent any of the $120 million budgeted to fight foreign election interference.
“Presidential leadership — I mean, it really comes from the top,” Bash said. “If the president doesn’t convene his national security team and say this is a top priority, it simply won’t get done — and I think that’s exactly what’s happening. The president is sending mixed signals, and his team doesn’t know whether they have the running room to take on Russia.”
The Kremlin and president Vladimir Putin have grown increasingly bold in just the past week, Bash said, with the announcement of two new nuclear weapons and the suspected poisoning of a Russian spy in London.
“Putin has crossed every red line and our government, our president, is doing nothing about it,” Bash said.