On Monday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein discussed his new report that members of President Donald Trump's own administration considered his phone calls with world leaders a threat to national security — and suggested that even Senate Republicans, if they saw the transcripts, would agree.
"It seemed like [administration officials] were concerned he essentially was kind of a chump to these autocrats, and gave away the story that a lot of people were stunned how terrible he was and how much he thought he was able to just kind of charm and bully people, but in fact, he was just didn't know what he was talking about," said Cooper.
"Well, as one of the sources said, a very high-level source in his administration said that in dealing with Putin, Putin is like a grandmaster in chess and Trump was like a weekend checkers player, and the result is back to what you had a moment ago in the segment," said Bernstein. "Trump would not take briefings before the calls which is traditional. Putin was well-briefed, knew what he wanted to get in these phone calls, and Trump would sit there in the calls, would build himself up, talk about what a great businessman he was. He would trash Obama and George W. Bush, his predecessors, and said they were B.S., and Putin could deal directly with him."
"His national security advisors came away horrified, and there are voice-generated transcripts of these calls," said Bernstein. "I'm told if particularly Republican senators were ever to see or read or hear these conversations in real time and talk to those who have heard them, very doubtful he could retain the confidence of Republican senators, because they are so extreme in their negligence and his lack of competence, his lack of preparation, and his concern for nothing except his own goals, including re-election."