Donald Trump on Intelligence Assessments

Quotes by Donald Trump on National Intelligence Assessments


Sept 7, 2016
Oct 2016 - 2020

Donald Trump  on Intelligence Assessments Then
Donald Trump on Intelligence Assessments Now

#Trump 9/7/16: "That shocked me…Obama did not follow…what our experts said." » #Trump 7/26/18: "I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but…Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial." Click To Tweet

Quotes by Donald Trump on National Intelligence Assessments


Sept 7, 2016

Donald Trump on Intelligence Assessments Then
“There was one thing that shocked me… our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts and our truly — when they call it intelligence, it’s there for a reason — what our experts said to do… And I was very, very surprised… I could tell they were not happy. Our leaders did not follow what they were recommending.”
- Sept 7, 2016

Time, Sept 7, 2016
Read Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's Remarks at a Military Forum

(retrieved 1/30/19)
starts at 10:30


Oct 2016 - 2020

Donald Trump  on Intelligence Assessments Now

“I think [the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia interfered in our election is] public relations, frankly

“Hacking is very hard to determine who did what. OK? You know that. People are hacking all over the place and nobody knows. They don’t know if it’s Russia. They can’t guarantee it’s Russia. And it may be. I mean, it may be Russia…

“I haven’t seen the [U.S. intelligence agencies’] conclusion. But you know what, hacking I understand. And you really– it’s very hard to determine who’s doing the hacking. What I have seen though is I have seen WikiLeaks. And where they came from, I don’t know.”
Oct 27, 2016 -

“I don’t believe it. I don’t believe [the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia] interfered [in the election]… I think [the intelligence community’s conclusion was politically motivated].”
Dec 7, 2016 -

Time (via Politico), Dec 7, 2016
Trump: I don't believe Russia interfered with the election

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“No, I don’t believe that [intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the election] at all. I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it. I don’t know why, and I think it’s just — you know, they talked about all sorts of things. Every week it’s another excuse. We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College.”
Dec 11, 2016 -

Fox News (via Politico), Dec 11, 2016
Trump: Reports of Russian hacking 'ridiculous'

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”
“[With respect to Russia sanctions over election interference] I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole, you know, age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure we have the kind the security that we need.”
Dec 28, 2016 -

NBC News, Dec 28, 2016
Trump on Russia Sanctions: 'We Ought to Get on With Our Lives'

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“I just want [our intelligence agencies] to be sure [Russia hacked the election] because it’s a pretty serious charge. [With respect to the Iraq War] if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong. So I want them to be sure. I think it’s unfair if they don’t know. And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”
Dec 31, 2016 -

New York Times, Dec 28, 2016
Trump Promises a Revelation on Hacking

(retrieved 7/12/18)
“The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange”
“Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”
“@FoxNews ‘Outgoing CIA Chief, John Brennan, blasts Pres-Elect Trump on Russia threat. Does not fully understand.’ Oh really, couldn’t do much worse – just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes. Not good!”
“Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?). Just like Russia.”
“The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy. Very un-American!”
“[Putin told me] ‘If we did [hack the US election], we wouldn’t have gotten caught because we’re professionals.’ I thought that was a good point because they are some of the best in the world.”
July 8, 2017 -

Per an unnamed New York Times reporter, who said Trump argued that the Russians were falsely accused of election interference.

New York Times, Jan 15, 2019
Trump and Putin Have Met Five Times. What Was Said Is a Mystery.

(retrieved 1/26/19)
“I want the attorney general to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before at a very important level. These are intelligence agencies. We cannot have that happen.… I think that’s one of the very important things that they have to get on with.”
July 25, 2017 -

Real Clear Politics, July 25, 2017
Trump: 'Very Disappointed' With Sessions, Want Him To Be 'Tougher' On Intel Leaks

(retrieved 12/5/19)
quote starts at beginning
“[Putin] said he didn’t meddle — I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did. Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”
Nov 11, 2017 -

New York Times, Nov 11, 2017
Trump Says Putin ‘Means It’ About Not Meddling

(retrieved 7/16/18)
“I believe that [Putin] feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it, I’m with our agencies. As currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.”
Nov 12, 2017 -

Associated Press, Nov 11, 2017
Trump: ‘I’m with our agencies’ on Russian election meddling

(retrieved 7/16/18)
“All I can do is ask the question [did Russia interfere in the 2016 election]. My people came to me — Dan Coats came to me and some others — they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be… But I have — I have confidence in both parties… I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
July 16, 2018 -

Trump-Putin Helsinki Summit

White House, July 16, 2018
Remarks by President Trump and President Putin of the Russian Federation in Joint Press Conference

(retrieved 7/17/18)
starts at 39:39

King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t! That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Nov 20, 2018 -

White House, Nov 20, 2018
Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Standing with Saudi Arabia

(retrieved 1/30/19)
“[The CIA] didn’t conclude [with confidence that Mohammad bin Salman was responsible]… They did not come to a conclusion… Nobody has concluded. I don’t know if anybody is going to be able to conclude that the Crown Prince did it… I don’t know. But whether he did or whether he didn’t, he denies it vehemently. His father denies it — the King — vehemently… They’re vehemently denying it.”
Nov 22, 2018 -

White House, Nov 22, 2018
Thanksgiving Teleconference with Members of the Military

(retrieved 1/30/19)
“If you look at my statement, it’s maybe [Mohammad bin Salman] did [order the murder of Jamal Khashoggi] and maybe he didn’t. But he denies it. And people around him deny it… And the CIA did not say affirmatively he did it, either, by the way. I’m not saying that they’re saying he didn’t do it, but they didn’t say it affirmatively.”
Nov 27, 2018 -

Washington Post, Nov 27, 2018
Trump stands by Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing

(retrieved 1/30/19)
“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! … Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”

“I disagree with [my intelligence chiefs about Iran abiding by the nuclear deal]…

“I have intel people, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree. President Bush had intel people that said Saddam Hussein in Iraq had nuclear weapons — had all sorts of weapons of mass destruction. Guess what? Those intel people didn’t know what the hell they were doing, and they got us tied up in a war that we should have never been in… When my intelligence people tell me how wonderful Iran is — if you don’t mind, I’m going to just go by my own counsel

“[Regarding Dan Coats testifying that Kim Jong-un is still very unlikely to give up his nuclear weapons program] that’s what the intelligence chief thinks, and I think there’s a good possibility of that too. But there’s also a very good chance that we will make a deal.”
Feb 3, 2019 -

“The FBI director [Chris Wray] is wrong [when he said you should call the FBI if Russia says they have information on a political opponent], because frankly it doesn’t happen like that in life.”
June 16, 2019 -

ABC News, June 16, 2019
Transcript: ABC News' George Stephanopoulos' exclusive interview with President Trump

(retrieved June 18, 2019)
starts at 3:34

“Yes, of course I will [tell Russia to not meddle in the 2020 election]. [In mock seriousness:] Don’t meddle in the election, President [Putin]. Don’t meddle in the election.”
June 28, 2019 -

New York Times, June 28, 2019
Trump and Putin Share Joke About Election Meddling, Sparking New Furor

(retrieved 7/1/19)
starts at 0:09

“As you’ve all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok. They’ve run amok.”
July 30, 2019 -

CNN, July 30, 2019
Trump says Ratcliffe will 'rein in' US intelligence agencies as spy chief

(retrieved Aug 1, 2019)
quote starts at beginning
“In a letter to me sent by Kim Jong Un, he stated, very nicely, that he would like to meet and start negotiations as soon as the joint U.S./South Korea joint exercise are over. It was a long letter, much of it complaining about the ridiculous and expensive exercises. It was also a small apology for testing the short range missiles, and that this testing would stop when the exercises end.”
“Being scolded by failed former ‘Intelligence’ officials, like James Clapper, on my condolences to Iran on their failed Rocket launch. Sadly for the United States, guys like him, Comey, and the even dumber John Brennan, don’t have a clue. They really set our Country back, but now we are moving forward like never before. We are winning again, and we are respected again!”
“The truth is that we have a nation that is disgusted with the FBI. We have a crisis of confidence in the number one law enforcement agency in this country (thanks Comey!).”
“When we use our intelligence correctly, what we can do is incredible. When we waste our time with intelligence that hurts our country, because we had poor leadership at the top, that’s not good.”
Oct 28, 2019 -

Washington Post, Oct 28, 2019
Trump’s news conference on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death, annotated

(retrieved 11/1/19)
starts at 42:48

John Bolton…states often that I respected, and even trusted, Vladimir Putin of Russia more than those in our Intelligence Agencies. While of course that is not true, if the first people you met from so called American Intelligence were Dirty Cops who have now proven to be sleazebags at the highest level like James Comey, proven liar James Clapper, & perhaps the lowest of them all, Wacko John Brennan who headed the CIA, you could perhaps understand my reluctance to embrace!”

#DonaldTrump 9/7/16: "That shocked me…Obama did not follow…what our experts said." » #Trump 10/28/19: "When we waste our time with intelligence that hurts our country, because we had poor leadership at the top, that’s not good." Click To Tweet


The U.S. intelligence community has consistently maintained since during the 2016 election that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

On October 7, 2016, the Department Of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence release a joint statement on behalf of the U.S. Intelligence Community that included this excerpt1The Department Of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Oct 7, 2016
Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security
retrieved 1/31/19

“The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

On January 7, 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released an intelligence assessment by the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA that included this excerpt2Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Jan 6, 2017
Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution (pdf)
retrieved 1/31/19

“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

“We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him…

“We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes.”

On November 16, 2018, the CIA reportedly concluded with “high confidence” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, contradicting claims by the Saudi government that he was not involved.3Washington Post, Nov 16, 2018
CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination
retrieved 1/30/19

On November 27, 2018, the Washington Post reported that the CIA has presented intelligence to Trump Administration officials and to Republican and Democratic lawmakers their analysis pointing to Mohammad bin Salman’s direct involvement in Khashoggi‘s murder.4Washington Post, Nov 27, 2018
Trump stands by Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing
retrieved 1/30/19

On January 27, 2019, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment Report of the National Intelligence Community.” The report includes assessments that contradict claims repeatedly made by Trump, including that Iran has not been taking steps necessary to make a bomb, that ISIS will continue “to stoke violence” in Syria, and that North Korea is unlikely to give up its nuclear stockpiles. The report did not mention building a wall along the US/Mexico border as a national security priority.5New York Times, Jan 29, 2019
On North Korea and Iran, Intelligence Chiefs Contradict Trump
retrieved 1/31/19

On January 28, 2019, Director of U.S. National Intelligence Dan Coats, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on national security threats. Here are excerpts6Time, Jan 29, 2019
Trump’s Own Intelligence Chief Contradicted Him Several Times
retrieved 3/2/19

“Even as Russia faces a weakening economy the Kremlin is stepping up its campaign to divide Western political and security institutions and undermine the post-World War II international order. We expect Russia will continue to wage its information war against democracies and to use social media to attempt to divide our societies

“We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities because it’s leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival. Our assessment is bolstered by our observations of some activity that is inconsistent with full denuclearization…

“While ISIS is nearing territorial defeat in Iraq and Syria, the group has returned to its guerrilla warfare roots while continuing to plot attacks and direct its supporters worldwide. ISIS is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria.”

#DonaldTrump 9/7/16: "That shocked me…Obama did not follow…what our experts said to do." » #Trump 1/1/17: "Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this…Are we living in Nazi Germany?" Click To Tweet