This interview is really something. Jonathan Swan aggressively pursues a response to Putin's offering bounties in Afghanistan against American troops, and Trump simply dismisses, equivocates, and denies. Which is really nothing new, but over something so important? Truly disturbing. As seen on Morning Joe:
"It's been widely reported that the U.S. has intelligence indicating that Russia paid bounties, or offered to pay bounties, to Taliban fighters to kill American soldiers. You had a phone call with Vladimir Putin on July 23rd. Did you bring up this issue?" Swan asked.
"No, that was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly, that's an issue that many people said was fake news."
"Who said it was fake news?"
"I think a lot of people. If you look at some of the wonderful folks from the Bush administration, some of them, not any friends of mine, were saying that it's a fake issue, but a lot of people said it's a fake issue." (Of course. Because he carries "a lot of people" in his pocket for just these occasions!)
Trump said they talked about nuclear proliferation, but not the bounties. In fact, he has never discussed it with him.
Then he blames it on the fact that it "never reached my desk," so how important could it be?
(Too bad Swan didn't bring up the internal leaks that say Trump freaks out so much if they try to brief him on anything negative about Russia that they have, in essence, been trained not to tell him anything.)
"Do you read your written brief?" Swan said.
"Yeah, I read a lot. They like to say I don't read. I read a lot. I comprehend extraordinarily well, probably better than anybody that you've interviewed in a long time. I read a lot. I spend a lot of time at meetings. Usually it's once a day or at least two or three times a week, intelligence briefings, spoken about India, talking about with the problems with China, talking about so many different elements of the world," Trump said.
"The world is a very angry place, if you look, all over the world. We call up, I get -- I see 22 soldiers were killed in India, with China, fighting over the border. It's been raging for many, many decades, and they've been fighting and back and forth. I have so many briefings on so many different countries. but this one didn't reach my desk."
Swan pointed out that John Nicholson, former head of forces in Afghanistan said, "when he was working for you, that Russia is supplying weapons to the Taliban. Isn't that enough to challenge Putin over the killings of U.S. soldiers?"
"Well, we supplied weapons when they were fighting Russia, too. You know, when they were fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan," Trump replied. His go-to response!
And so on. Swan told Mika Brzezinski, "Honestly, it was one of the most shocking -- I've covered President Trump for five years. I think it's one of the most shocking exchanges I've ever had with him."