According to an extensive investigation into a National Intelligence Estimate complied by various U.S. intelligence agencies last July, the New York Times is reporting that a key “finding” indicating that Russian President Vladimir Putin is highly interested in keeping Donald Trump in the Oval Office past 2020 was omitted by officials fearing the president’s wrath.
Under a headline, “Unwanted Truths: Inside Trump’s Battles with U.S. Intelligences Agencies,” the Times notes that the N.I.E. report was intended to document Russia’s efforts to meddle in both the 2020 presidential election as well as the one slated for 2024.
However one of the key findings, under the category of “key judgments,” listed “Key Judgment 2 was that in the 2020 election, Russia favored the current president: Donald Trump.”
That particular conclusion was subsequently altered over fears of how the president would receive it.
“The intelligence provided to the N.I.E.’s authors indicated that in the lead-up to 2020, Russia worked in support of the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as well,” the Times reports. “To allay any speculation that Putin’s interest in Trump had cooled, Key Judgment 2 was substantiated by current information from a highly sensitive foreign source described by someone who read the N.I.E. as ‘100 percent reliable.'”
The Times reports that the conclusion was not considered controversial by officials, but it ended up being changed down the line before it was presented to the president.
According to a former senior adviser to Trump, “You couldn’t have any conversation about Russia and the election without the president assuming you were calling his election into question. Everyone in the White House knew that, and so you just didn’t talk about that with him.”
The report notes that in September edits from an O.D.N.I. official to the N.I.E.’s reviewers were submitted with a note stating, “We have highlighted the major changes in yellow; they make some of the KJ language clearer and highlight … Russia’s motivation for its influence activities.”
As the Times reports, “No longer did Key Judgment 2 clearly state that Russia favored the current president, according to an individual who compared the two versions of the N.I.E. side by side. Instead, in the words of a written summary of the document that I [NYT journalist Robert Draper] obtained, the new version concluded that ‘Russian leaders probably assess that chances to improve relations with the U.S. will diminish under a different U.S. president.’ The National Intelligence Board approved the final version at a meeting on the afternoon of Sept. 26, 2019.”
Draper added, “Such a change, a former senior intelligence official said, would amount to “a distinction without a difference and a way to make sure [then director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Vice Adm. Joseph] Maguire doesn’t get fired.”
According to one official who spoke about life in the intelligence community under Donald Trump, “The problem is that when you’ve been treated the way the intelligence community has, they become afraid of their own shadow. The most dangerous thing now is the churn — the not knowing who’s going to be fired, and what it is you might say that could cost you your job. It’s trying to put out something and not get creamed for it.”
You can read a great deal more here.
Lindsey Graham ‘is in danger of an upset’ loss: top elections forecaster
Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) re-election campaign looks increasingly in peril, according to one of America's top elections forecasters.
The latest update from the University of Virginia's Center for Politics claims that Graham today "is in greater danger of an upset" than he was just weeks ago, which has led to a ratings change in Graham's race against Democratic rival Jamie Harrison from "likely R" to "leans R."
Among other things, the Center for Politics points to Harrison's gaudy fundraising numbers as too big to ignore.
Trump openly admits he’s fast-tracking SCOTUS nominee to rule on ‘fake ballots’ during contested election
President Donald Trump is openly admitting he's wasting no time, fast-tracking the replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to help him during a contested election.
Speaking on "Fox & Friends," Trump on Monday said because of "fake ballots," he does not want a 4-4 Supreme Court ruling on the election, should there be one. There is zero evidence of fake ballots.
Trump suggests though he wants a confirmation vote before the elections, citing election disputes and his baseless claim of “fake ballots” being filled out. We don’t want a 4-4 tie at the court, he said
Meet People of Praise: Here’s why this far-right cult shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Supreme Court
This week, President Donald Trump is scheduled to announce his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court—and one of the possible nominees is 48-year-old Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate judge. Trump has made it clear that he plans to nominate someone who is not only fiscally conservative, but a severe social conservative who would have no problem overturning the Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973. Barrett fits the bill, especially in light of her reported association with an extremist, predominantly Catholic group called People of Praise.