Sue Gordon, the former deputy director of national intelligence under President Donald Trump, finally spoke out about her ex-boss this week.
At a meeting of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, Gordon — who left the administration over the summer so that Trump could install an ally at the top of the U.S. intelligence apparatus — revealed that the president had little grasp of intelligence gathering when she began briefing him, CNN reported.
An official who has briefed presidents since Ronald Reagan was in office, Gordon said Trump was the first president with “no foundation or framework to understand what the limits of intelligence are, what the purpose of it was and the way that we discuss it.” It’s a jarring description of the top official in the federal government — even if it’s one we’ve come to accept as the status quo.
She said Trump asked different questions than are typically asked in briefings and that “he had different trusts.”
She also seemed to suggest at one point — as anyone who even casually follows the president’s Twitter feed or the news can assume — that Trump gets much of his information from TV and news pundits. He doesn’t, it seems, understand the differences between those kinds of claims and intelligence gathering.
“Because he is probably the first president that arrived with no framework and a world that has massively available information with infinite people offering opinion that oft-times sound the same, but in fact are grittier because they are —they don’t have to have the same standard,” she said.
Trump, she said, would often flat-out deny findings that she brought to him or indicate that he wasn’t inclined to believe them.
The comments seem to be a perfect encapsulation of the core problem at the heart of the Ukraine scandal currently driving the House’s impeachment inquiry of the president. At the center of that scandal is Trump decision to take outside advisers’ views of Ukraine as more valid than the administration’s assessment of the country. This led him to pursue bogus conspiracy theories about the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden — a pursuit that Democrats argue led him to grossly abuse his office.
Read the full report at CNN.