Trump’s former spy chief has ‘deep suspicions’ that Putin has blackmail on Trump, according to Bob Woodward’s new book

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Dan Coats, the former top intelligence official under President Donald Trump, harbored the “secret belief” that Russian President Vladimir Putin had kompromat on Trump, according to veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, “Rage.”

The book is slated for release on September 15, but CNN obtained an early copy and published selected excerpts on Tuesday.

Coats served as the director of national intelligence from January 2017 until July 2019. In his book, Woodward wrote that Coats “continued to harbor the secret belief, one that had grown rather than lessened, although unsupported by intelligence proof, that Putin had something on Trump. How else to explain the president’s behavior? Coats could see no other explanation.”

Coats and senior staff in his office “examined the intelligence as carefully as possible,” Woodward wrote, according to CNN. But Coats was still uneasy about the relationship between Trump and Putin. He “saw how extraordinary it was for the president’s top intelligence official to harbor such deep suspicions about the president’s relationship with Putin. But he could not shake them.”

“Rage” is Woodward’s second book about the Trump administration. He also published the 2018 bestseller “Fear: Trump in the White House.” The president railed against the former and called it fake news, adding that Woodward had not conducted any interviews with him ahead of the book’s release.

For his second book about the administration, Woodward did 18 extensive interviews with the president from December 5, 2019 to July 21, 2020, according to CNN. Woodward recorded the interviews with Trump’s permission, and CNN obtained copies of some of the tapes. Still, Trump slammed the upcoming book in a tweet last month as “a FAKE, as always, just as many of the others have been.”

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Coats — who is a former Republican senator from Indiana — and other senior national security officials, like former Defense Secretary James Mattis, discussed whether they needed to take “collective action” to publicly speak out against Trump, Woodward wrote, according to CNN. Mattis resigned after Trump decided to pull US troops out of Syria, telling Woodward he decided to leave “when I was basically directed to do something that I thought went beyond stupid to felony stupid.”

The US intelligence community determined in early 2017 that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to propel Trump to the Oval Office. Coats and other intelligence officials testified to Congress last year that Russia was one of the biggest national security threats facing the US ahead of the 2020 election and that it would continue employing the tactics it used in 2016 and during the 2018 midterm elections.

The intelligence community also assessed last month that both Russia and China are attempting to interfere in this year’s election and that Russia wants the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, to lose, while China wants him to win.

“We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment,'” National …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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