Carl Bernstein breaks down Trump's distressing phone calls

From complacency with Putin to misuse of the allies and his advisers’ neglect, Trump’s phone calls alert US officials

The calls called on former Trump senior lawmakers – including National Security Advisers HR McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials – to conclude that the president was often “deceptive”, As two sources said, in his dealings with foreign leaders. The sources said that there is little evidence that the president has become more skilled or competent in his phone conversations with most heads of state over time. Instead, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone, or bully almost any foreign leader to surrender to his will, often seeking to achieve goals more in line with his own agenda than what many of his top advisers considered the national interest.

By far, the largest number of Trump’s phone discussions was with an individual head of state with Erdogan, who sometimes called the White House at least twice a week and was transferred directly to the president on Trump’s standing orders, according to the sources. Meanwhile, the president has regularly harassed and insulted America’s key allies, especially two women: telling British Prime Minister Theresa May that she is weak and lacks courage. And inform German Chancellor Angela Merkel as “stupid.”

Trump has consistently bragged to fellow heads of state, including Saudi Arabia’s autocratic royal heir Muhammad bin Salman and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, about his own wealth, genius, and his “great” accomplishments as president, and the “folly” of his oval office. His predecessors, according to sources.

In his conversations with both Putin and Erdogan, Trump took advantage of a special joy to break former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and suggested that dealing with him directly – Trump – would be much more beneficial than he had been during previous administrations. He said of Bush and Obama: “They did not know the bachelor’s degree,” which is one of several cynical attempts that the sources said he preferred when discussing his predecessors with the Turkish and Russian leaders.

The full and detailed picture drawn by CNN sources of Trump’s phone calls to foreign leaders is consistent with the basic idea and some basic elements of a limited number of calls described by the former National Security Adviser John Bolton in his book“The room in which it happened.” But the calls described to CNN cover much longer than Bolton’s, and are much more extensive – and seemingly more terrifying – in their sweep.

Like Bolton, CNN sources said the president seemed to constantly confuse his personal interests – especially for reelection and revenge purposes of perceived critics and political enemies – with the national interest.

To protect the anonymity of those who describe this report’s calls, CNN will not disclose their jobs and will not immediately quote them directly. CNN sources said more than a dozen officials either listened to the president’s phone calls in real time or were provided with detailed summaries and printed copies of the calls shortly after they were completed. CNN has repeatedly interviewed the sources over a four-month period that runs through June.

The sources cited some cases in which he said that Trump acted responsibly and in the national interest during phone conversations with some foreign leaders. CNN contacted Kelly, McMaster and Tillerson to comment and received no response until Monday afternoon. Matisse did not comment.

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The White House did not respond to a request for comment before publishing this story. After the publication, White House press secretary Sarah Matthews said, “President Trump is a world-class negotiator that has continuously promoted America’s interests on the world stage. From negotiating the first-stage China deal and the USMCA to NATO allies who contribute more to defeating ISIS, President Trump has demonstrated his ability to advance America’s strategic interests. “

A person familiar with almost all conversations with the leaders of Russia, Turkey, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe has cumulatively called the “atrocities” so painful to US national security interests that even if members of Congress hear from actual witnesses or read contemporary texts and notes, even many of the senior members Republicans will no longer be able to maintain confidence in the president.

Attacking key Allied leaders – especially women

The wicked effect of the talks comes from Trump’s tone, his raging rushes to the allies as he jostles with the authoritarian forces, and his ignorance of history and lack of readiness as much as the troubling matter happens, according to the sources. While in office, National Intelligence Director Dan Coates expressed concern to subordinates that Trump’s phone conversations undermine the coherent behavior of foreign relations and US goals worldwide, according to a CNN source. In recent weeks, former Chief of Staff Kelly mentioned the detrimental effect of the president’s appeals on US national security to many individuals separately.

Two sources have compared many of the president’s conversations with foreign leaders with Trump’s recent “briefings” about the coronary virus epidemic: the free form, lacking facts, and imagination flows out of the wall based on his intuition, speculation, Fox News hosts opinions, and misinformation on Social media.

In addition to Merkel and May, the sources said, Trump was bullied and abusing other Western Alliance leaders during his phone conversations – including French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison – in the same hostile and aggressive manner, discussed the virus Coronary with some American rulers.

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron at a meeting in London in December 2019.

Besides Erdogan, the sources said, no foreign leader has made more calls to Trump than Macron, as the French president has often tried to persuade Trump to change course on environmental and security policy issues – including climate change and the US withdrawal from multilateral nuclear Iran. an agreement.

Macron usually does not get “anywhere” in matters of substance, while Trump is angry at the flow of French President requests and subjected him to correspondence and lectures that serve themselves and which one source described as personal verbal “clots”, especially about France and other countries not to meet the goals of NATO spending or Liberal immigration policies or trade imbalances with the United States.

The sources said that his most severe attacks targeted women in the presidency. In talks with May and Merkel, the president abused them and mutilated them in speeches that one source described as “semi-sadistic” and confirmed by others. “Some of the things Angela Merkel said are incredible: He described them as” stupid “and accused them of being in the pocket of the Russians … it is more difficult [in the phone calls] With those who are seen as weak and weak with those with whom they must be cruel. ”

A German official confirmed that the invitations were “very unusual”, as special measures were taken in Berlin to ensure that their contents remained secret. The official described Trump’s behavior with Merkel in the calls as “very aggressive” and said that the circle of German officials involved in monitoring Merkel’s calls with Trump has shrunk: “It is just a small circle of people involved and the main reason is, it’s problematic.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump speak at the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, in August 2019.
Trump talks with May The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom From 2016 to 2019, she was described as “humiliating and harassing,” as Trump attacked her as “stupid” and dangerous in her approach to Brexit, NATO and immigration issues.

“He was upset with something with Theresa May, and then he got bad with her in a phone call,” one source said. “It is the same reaction everywhere – the Corona virus or Britain’s exit from the European Union – with no filter applied.”

Merkel remained outwardly calm and helpless in the face of Trump’s attacks – “like water from a duck’s back,” as one source put it – and regularly responded to his threat with recitals from reality. The aforementioned German official said that during Merkel’s visit to the White House two years ago, Trump showed “a very suspicious behavior” that was “very aggressive … [T]The chancellor has really remained quiet, and that’s what she is doing on the phone. “

By contrast, “Prime Minister May” became “troubled and nervous” in her talks with the president. “He was clearly scared of him and he meant that,” said a CNN source. In response to a request to comment on Trump’s behavior in calls to May, British Downing Street referred CNN to its website. The site lists a brief description of the content of some calls and avoids any mention of tone or tension. The French embassy in Washington refused to comment, while the Russian and Turkish embassies did not respond to requests for comment.

Concerns about calls with Putin and Erdogan

The calls to Putin and Erdogan were especially terrible in that Trump was never prepared in almost substantive fashion, thus making him vulnerable to taking advantage of him in various ways, according to the sources – partly because these conversations (as with most heads of state)) were almost recorded It is confirmed by the security services and other agencies in their countries.

The sources said that the President spoke in his phone conversations with Putin about himself repeatedly, in excessive and vulgar terms: promoting his “unprecedented” success in building the American economy. Emphasizing in ironic language how much smarter and “stronger” than “idiot” and “weak” people who came before him in the presidency (especially Obama); He enjoys his experience running the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and looks out for Putin’s admiration and approval. A high-ranking administration official said that Putin “only surpasses him” and compares the Russian president, chess masters and Trump with the last checkers. This source said, while Putin “destabilizes the West”, the President of the United States “sits there and believes he is able to build himself enough as a businessman and a strongman so that Putin respects him.” “Sometimes, the Putin and Trump talks looked like” two men in a steam bath, “the source added.

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki in July 2018.

In many of the calls to Putin that were described to CNN, Trump left top national security aides and chiefs of staff in amazement, less because of the specific concessions he made than he was because of his style – largely inconvenient to impress Putin and seems to be seeking his approval – while ignoring Usually technical expertise in public policy and important issues on a permanent bilateral agenda, including human rights; CNN sources said that the arms control agreement, which was not dealt with at all in a way that achieved joint Russian and American goals, Putin and Trump announced their support.

Throughout his presidency, Trump has described the issue of “America first” as his northern star in foreign policy, introducing the view that America’s allies and opponents have benefited economically from the U.S. goodwill in trade. And America’s closest allies need to increase their share of collective defense spending. His apparent respect for Putin is often justified by saying that Russia is a major global player and that it is in the interests of the United States to have a constructive and friendly relationship – that requires her reappointment with Moscow through his personal dialogue with Putin.

Putin takes advantage of the coronary virus mess to play a direct role for Trump

In two separate interviews, two senior administration officials familiar with most of Trump and Putin’s calls said the president has naively raised Russia – a second-class totalitarian country with less than 4% of the world’s GDP – and its authoritarian leader almost par with the United States and its president by undermining the viewpoint The most strict and realistic of Russia expressed by the US Congress and US intelligence agencies and the long-standing consensus on postwar policy between the United States and its European allies. “he is [Trump] One official said he was giving the hard-won advantage of the Cold War, “in part by” giving Putin and Russia legitimacy they had never had. “He gave Russia the lifeline – because there is no doubt that they are a degraded force … He plays with something he does not understand and gives them the power they may use. [aggressively]”.

The two officials cited Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria – a move that has benefited Turkey as well as Russia – as the most dangerous example. Someone said, “He gave up the store.”

Repeated calls with Erdogan – in which the Turkish president has constantly pressed Trump to obtain political privileges and other benefits – were particularly worrying for McMaster, Bolton and Kelly, due to the ease with which Erdogan overlooked the National Security Council and two sources said protocols and procedures to reach the president.

President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are attending a White House press conference in November 2019.

Erdogan has become so adept at knowing when to arrive with the president directly that some White House aides have become convinced that Turkish security services in Washington are using Trump’s schedule and location to provide Erdogan with information about when the president will be available to make a call.

On some occasions, Erdoانan arrived at the golf course and Trump was delaying play while the two spoke at length.

Two sources described the president as unfortunately totally unaware of the history of the Syrian conflict and the Middle East in general, and said he was often in a precarious position, and lacked sufficient knowledge to engage on an equal footing in delicate policy discussion with Erdogan. “Erdogan took him to the cleaners,” one of the sources said.

The sources said that harmful US policy decisions on Syria – including directing the president to withdraw American forces from the country, which then allowed Turkey to attack the Kurds who helped the United States fight ISIS and weakened NATO’s role in the conflict – was directly linked to Erdogan’s ability to get his way. With Trump in the phone calls.

The United States is alone more than ever, only when the world needs to lead it

Trump has sometimes become angry with Erdogan – sometimes over demands for Turkey to be given preferential trading status, and because the Turkish leader will not release jailed American evangelical priest, Andrew Bronson, who is accused of “ aiding terrorism ” in a 2016 coup that tried to topple Erdogan. Bronson was finally released in October 2018.

The sources said that although there was no prior notice for many of Erdogan’s calls, there were complete sets of contemporary notes from bloggers appointed to the White House, as well as loud computer texts for the conversations.

According to one of the high-ranking sources, there are also summaries and conversational readings of the president’s discussions with Erdogan that may bolster Bolton’s allegations against Trump in the so-called “Halkbank affair”, which involves a large Turkish bank suspected of links to Erdogan and his family. This source said the issue was raised in more than one phone conversation between Erdogan and Trump.

Bolton wrote in his book that in December 2018, at the insistence of Erdogan, Trump offered to interfere in an investigation by then-US Attorney for the Southern District in New York, Jeffrey Berman at the Turkish Bank, who was accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

“Trump then told Erdogan that he would take care of things,” Bolton wrote: “Explaining that the southern district prosecutors are not from his own people, but they are from Obama, a problem that can be resolved when they are replaced by his people.” Berman’s office eventually filed an indictment against the bank in October 2019 for fraud, money laundering and other crimes related to participating in a multi-billion dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran. On June 20, Trump dismissed Berman – whose office is also investigating Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer – after the attorney general refused to resign at the direction of Attorney General William Barr.

Unlike Bolton, CNN sources have neither confirmed nor specifically suggested that Trump’s calls with Erdogan may have been a reason for his dismissal due to possible evidence of illegal behavior by the president. Instead, they described Trump’s calls to heads of state as a whole as evidence of Trump’s general “incompetence” to the presidency based on mood and incompetence, a confirmation that Bolton also made in an interview to publicize his book with ABC News last week: And Bolton said, “I don’t think he’s fit for the position.” I don’t think he has the ability to do the job. “

Family reactions and grievances fuel Trump’s approach

CNN has spoken to sources familiar with the president’s phone calls repeatedly for four months. In their interviews, the sources took great care not to disclose specific national security information and classified details – rather described the broad contents of many of the calls, the general content and methodology of Trump’s approach in his phone discussions with foreign leaders.

In addition to the raw audio scripting, almost all of Trump’s phone conversations with Putin, Erdogan, and Western alliance leaders have been written and written with extensive contemporary (and often summarized) notes prepared by Fiona Hill, deputy assistant to the president and director of the National Security Council for Europe and Russia until her resignation last year. Hill listened to most of the president’s calls with Putin, Erdogan and European leaders, according to her testimony closed to the House Intelligence Committee last November.

Bolton broke the White House narrative in turmoil

The sources said that elements of Hill’s testimony, if reviewed by congressional investigators, may provide a detailed road map for the president’s widely documented talks. Knowledgeable White House and intelligence officials agreed on audiotapes and core documents that their contents could be damaging to the president’s position with members of Congress from both parties – and the public – if disclosed in great detail. (There is little doubt that Trump will cite an executive franchise to keep the conversations private. However, some former officials with detailed knowledge of many conversations may be willing to testify about them).

In one of the first calls between Putin and Trump, President Jared Kushner’s son-in-law and Ivanka Trump were in the room to listen – they joined McMaster, Tillerson, Hill and the assistant secretary of state to Tillerson.

قال أحد نواب مجلس الأمن القومي الذي قرأ ملخصًا تفصيليًا للمحادثة – حيث تحدث بوتين بشكل جوهري ومستفيض ، وكان ترامب يدعم نفسه في رشقات من السيرة الذاتية القصيرة للمفاخرة والتهنئة الذاتية والتملق تجاه: “كانت المكالمة في كل مكان”. ضعه في. كما هو موضح لـ CNN ، كان كوشنر وإيفانكا ترامب متفائلين على الفور في مديحهما لكيفية تعامل ترامب مع المكالمة – في حين كان تيلرسون (الذي كان يعرف بوتين جيدًا منذ سنواته في روسيا كمدير تنفيذي للنفط) ، هيل وماكماستر متشككين.

بدأت هيل – مؤلفة السيرة الذاتية النهائية لبوتين – في شرح بعض الفروق الدقيقة التي تراها من المكالمة ، وفقًا لمصادر CNN – تقدم نظرة ثاقبة في علم نفس بوتين ، ونهجه النموذجي “الحديث السلس” والنهج الخطي وماذا الزعيم الروسي كان يحاول تحقيقه في المكالمة. قطع ترامب هيل ، وواصل الرئيس مناقشة المكالمة مع جاريد وإيفانكا ، موضحا أنه يريد سماع تقييم تهنئة لابنته وزوجها ، بدلاً من كيف حكم هيل أو تيلرسون أو ماكماستر على المحادثة.

واعتبر ماكماستر أن المكالمة الهاتفية المبكرة مع بوتين تشير إلى سير العلاقة الكاملة بين روسيا وإدارة ترامب ، وفقًا للمصادر – وهو استنتاج لاحق لمستشاري الأمن القومي ورؤساء الأركان ، كما تم التوصل إلى العديد من كبار مسؤولي المخابرات رفيعي المستوى : على عكس الإدارات السابقة ، كان هناك عدد قليل نسبيًا من المعاملات الهادفة بين العسكريين والدبلوماسيين ، حتى على أعلى المستويات ، لأن ترامب – غير واثق من الخبراء ورفض محاولاتهم لإطلاعه – أجرى العلاقة بشكل كبير مع بوتين وبشكل كامل تقريبًا بنفسه. في نهاية المطاف ، علم بوتين والروس أنه “لا أحد لديه السلطة لفعل أي شيء” – وقد استخدم الزعيم الروسي هذه البصيرة لصالحه ، كما قال أحد مصادر شبكة سي إن إن.

كان كوشنرز حاضرين أيضًا لإجراء مكالمات مهمة أخرى مع القادة الأجانب وجعلوا أسبقيتهم واضحة ، بتشجيع من الرئيس حتى في مسائل السياسة الخارجية التي لم يكن لديها ابنته وزوجها خبرة. تقريبًا ، وفقًا لمصادر شبكة CNN ، سيقرأ ترامب المواد الموجزة التي أعدها له موظفو وكالة المخابرات المركزية ومجلس الأمن القومي قبل مكالماته مع رؤساء الدول.

وقال أحد المصادر ، الذي نقل عن بن سلمان السعودي قرب قمة قائمة القادة الذين يستقبلهم ترامب ويتصل بهم دون أن يستعد أي شخص “لن يستشيرهم ، ولن يحصل حتى على حكمتهم”. ، “وهو السيناريو الذي كثيرا ما واجهت NSC ومساعدي المخابرات. وأضاف المصدر أن رد فعل المساعدين العاجزين “سيكون في كثير من الأحيان ،” يا إلهي ، لا تجري مكالمة هاتفية “.

وقال أحد مصادر شبكة سي إن إن: “رأي ترامب هو أنه أفضل قاض في الشخصية من أي شخص آخر”. رفض الرئيس باستمرار مشورة رؤساء الدفاع والاستخبارات والأمن القومي الأمريكيين بأن يتم الاتصال بالرئيس الروسي بحزم أكبر وبثقة أقل. أشارت مصادر CNN إلى أبرز مثال علني على أنه “رمزي”: ترامب ، الذي يقف إلى جانب الرئيس الروسي في اجتماعهم في هلسنكي ، فنلندا ، في يونيو 2018 ، قائلاً إنه “لم ير أي سبب يجعل روسيا تتدخل في الانتخابات الرئاسية لعام 2016 – على الرغم من النتائج التي توصلت إليها أجهزة الاستخبارات الأمريكية بأكملها التي كانت لدى موسكو. وقال ترامب إن “الرئيس بوتين كان قويا للغاية وقويا في إنكاره اليوم”.

إن الديناميكية المشتركة الساحقة التي تميز محادثات ترامب مع كل من الديكتاتوريين الاستبداديين وقادة أعظم الديمقراطيات في العالم هي تأكيده الثابت على نفسه باعتباره الموضوع المحدد والنص الفرعي للمكالمات – تقريبًا الولايات المتحدة ومكانها التاريخي وقيادتها في العالم ، وفقًا لمصادر مطلعة على المكالمات.

في مكالمات عديدة مع قادة المملكة المتحدة ، وفرنسا ، وألمانيا ، وأستراليا ، وكندا – أقرب حلفاء أمريكا في السنوات الـ 75 الماضية ، حقبة ما بعد الحرب بأكملها – أنشأ ترامب عادة شكوى كإجراء افتراضي تقريبًا أو مهيب للمحادثة ، أيا كان جدول الأعمال المفترض ، وفقا لتلك المصادر.

قال أحدهم: “كان كل شيء مخصصًا دائمًا ، حيث كان الجميع يفعلون أشياء رهيبة لسرعنا – مما يعني تمزيق” أنا “- ترامب – قبالة. لم يستطع – أو لا – رؤية أو التركيز على الصورة الأكبر” ، قال أحدهم مسؤول أمريكي.

واستشهد المصدر بمثال يمكن إثباته بشكل واضح حيث قاوم ترامب مطالبة أنجيلا ميركل (بناء على إلحاح المملكة المتحدة) بمساءلة روسيا علنًا عما يسمى بالتسمم الإشعاعي “ساليسبري” لجاسوس روسي سابق وابنته ، حيث نفى بوتين أي التدخل الروسي على الرغم من الأدلة الضخمة على عكس ذلك. وقال أحد المصادر: “لقد تطلب الأمر الكثير من الجهد” لجعل ترامب يطرح الموضوع. بدلاً من معالجة مسؤولية روسيا عن حالات التسمم ومحاسبتها على حساب دولي ، ركز ترامب على المكالمة – بعبارات مهينة شخصيًا – نهج ألمانيا وميركل المزعج في المشاركة في تحمل الأعباء. في نهاية المطاف ، قالت المصادر ، كما حث موظفو مجلس الأمن القومي التابع له ، إن ترامب عالج أخيرًا مسألة التسمم ، على مضض تقريبًا.

“مع كل مشكلة تقريبا ، كل ما يتطلبه الأمر [in his phone calls] هو شخص يطلب منه القيام بشيء ما كرئيس نيابة عن الولايات المتحدة ولا يرى الأمر بهذه الطريقة ؛ يذهب إلى سرقة. أنه غير مهتم بقضايا التعاون أو يعمل عليها معًا ؛ وقال بدلا من ذلك إنه يحرف الأشياء أو يدفع القضايا الحقيقية إلى الزاوية “.

وقال المسؤول: “لم يكن هناك إحساس بـ” فريق أمريكا “في المحادثات” أو الولايات المتحدة كقوة تاريخية ذات مبادئ ديمقراطية معينة وقيادة للعالم الحر. “العكس. كان الأمر كما لو أن الولايات المتحدة اختفت. لقد كانت دائما” أنا فقط “.

حدث: تم تحديث هذه القصة بتعليق من البيت الأبيض.

ساهمت نيكول جاويت من CNN في هذا التقرير.

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