BREAKING NEWS : Tornado warning issued for parts of Allen, Whitley and Huntington counties Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne police investigate shooting on Sherman Boulevard Full Story

America's enemies are still rooting for Donald Trump

Article Image

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joined CNN's John Berman to discuss President Donald Trump's comments about his intelligence chiefs.

Posted: Jan 31, 2019 1:20 PM
Updated: Jan 31, 2019 1:20 PM

When the United States' intelligence services speak, the world listens. Some out of fear, others welcoming the insight.

Never has that been truer than today.

President Trump's lies, vacillations and inconsistencies have made him as much a predictor of the United States' enduring interests as a passing spring shower is likely to forecast tomorrow's weather.

So when Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Chief Gina Haspel, FBI boss Christopher Wray and other US intelligence heads were questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, America's allies paid close attention.

What they heard will have encouraged them to ignore much of what Trump may say in the remaining years as president.

Trump, for example, has been down on the EU, and up on Brexit; last summer advising Prime Minister Theresa May to sue the EU.

In a headline-grabbing interview with the UK's Sun newspaper, Trump said: "I would have done it much differently," saying he would have gone in harder on the negotiations.

Trump later refuted his criticism as "fake news."

Coats' assessment of US interests over Brexit offers a substantially more nuanced view that flies in the face of Trump's go-in-tough comments.

Coats told the Senate committee a no-deal Brexit remains a possibility and would "cause economic disruptions that would substantially weaken the UK and Europe. We anticipate that the evolving landscape in Europe will lead to additional challenges to US interests as Russia and China intensify their efforts to build influence there at the expense of the United States."

Where Trump goaded May, Coats highlights the pitfalls to which Trump's tactics would lead.

As Brexit teeters toward its divisive conclusion, the message received on this side of the Atlantic is a salutary one with implications lasting long beyond Trump's tenure.

Get caught in Trump's hyperbole at your nation's peril.

In his scathing attack on Coats and the other intelligence chiefs the following day, Trump tweeted: "the intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!"

He took issue with them on North Korea and ISIS too, although not on Brexit.

And therein lies the drama for any ally dealing with Trump: He blows hot one day and seems to lose interest the next.

Brexit is coming down to the wire. It is getting ugly to the point it could damage the peace agreement in Northern Ireland that Trump's predecessor Bill Clinton was instrumental in securing. But it doesn't seem to be on Trump's radar despite the implications Coats says it has for US power.

How much to trust Trump on any given day, and how much to ignore him over the longer term, seems an inescapable calculus facing many capitals.

In Tehran, Trump's differences with Coats must be encouraging.

While Coats said Iran continues to support terrorists and develop advanced missiles, it is not doing what Trump accuses it of doing -- breaking the terms of the 2015 international nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Both he and Haspel said Iran was in compliance, with Coats saying: "I do not believe Iran is currently undertaking the key activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device." Haspel said: "at the moment technically they are in compliance but we do see them debating amongst themselves as they fail to realize the economic benefits they hoped for from the deal."

On Thursday, Germany, France and the UK officially established a payment mechanism with Iran that dodges sanctions Trump has reimposed on Iran. It will be called INSTEX and will have the backing of the EU.

If ever there were a case of America's allies listening to its intelligence chiefs rather than its commander in chief, this must be it.

Trump's credibility with his allies seems spent; his enemies seem to have made the same judgment.

Coats, again, much to Trump's annoyance, diverged from his boss' read of Kim Jong Un, the North Korean, nuclear-armed dictator.

Trump, who met with Kim amid much hype in Singapore last summer, maintains the brutal leader is keeping his word to not develop more nuclear weapons.

After meeting Kim last June, Trump tweeted: "No more nuclear testing or rockets flying all over the place." It's a line he has stuck to since to prove Kim's given up his nuclear ambitions.

Coats disagrees, saying that while Pyongyang has halted its provocative behavior, "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 its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival."

Trump has been spun, and Kim isn't the only one doing it.

China and Russia, both of whose leaders Trump likes to flatter, represent the biggest cyber threat to the US, according to the panel of intelligence chiefs.

But it is perhaps ISIS, a potentially more immediate threat to the US, who could score the biggest win.

The director of National Intelligence told the panel: "ISIS is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria."

ISIS remnants in Syria need America's foot to come off the gas in that conflict. Trump recently set that in motion, declaring: "We've defeated ISIS. ISIS is defeated in all of the areas that we fought ISIS" and withdrawing US forces.

Coats pointed out the danger of getting out too soon: "The group has returned to its guerrilla warfare roots while continuing to plot attacks and direct its supporters worldwide."

Trump's intelligence chiefs have offered a rare moment of clarity that allies will relish; the country's enemies will no doubt keep rooting for Trump.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74992

Reported Deaths: 3044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15963725
Lake7632275
Elkhart488385
Allen3937163
St. Joseph354682
Hamilton2803104
Vanderburgh199713
Hendricks1901108
Cass17969
Johnson1767118
Porter133839
Clark124447
Tippecanoe122111
Madison98765
LaPorte92130
Howard90565
Kosciusko86212
Bartholomew80147
Floyd79146
Marshall79022
Monroe75930
Delaware73852
Dubois70012
Noble68429
Boone68346
Hancock67038
Vigo66810
Jackson5885
Warrick58630
LaGrange55910
Shelby55827
Grant52830
Dearborn50828
Morgan48334
Clinton4403
Henry38520
Wayne37710
White37210
Montgomery35421
Lawrence35027
Harrison34123
Decatur33832
Putnam2908
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25134
Jasper2452
Franklin24314
DeKalb2354
Gibson2284
Jennings22612
Steuben2113
Ripley2087
Carroll1932
Fayette1907
Perry18612
Starke1787
Posey1770
Orange17324
Wells1712
Wabash1703
Fulton1692
Jefferson1652
Knox1590
Whitley1546
Tipton14311
Washington1421
Spencer1363
Sullivan1341
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1234
Newton11810
Adams1022
Jay920
Owen911
Pulaski831
Rush804
Brown741
Fountain742
Blackford652
Ohio655
Benton620
Pike560
Vermillion550
Parke521
Switzerland520
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren231
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 101731

Reported Deaths: 3673
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18483525
Cuyahoga13640500
Hamilton9689255
Lucas5377323
Montgomery439894
Summit3573223
Butler294463
Marion292945
Mahoning2566254
Pickaway238742
Stark1844139
Warren180339
Lorain180278
Columbiana166560
Trumbull1534107
Fairfield140032
Delaware131619
Licking129949
Clark115814
Lake112438
Wood105858
Clermont94111
Medina93035
Miami85338
Tuscarawas78814
Portage76561
Allen76044
Greene70312
Mercer62513
Belmont62126
Richland60812
Erie59227
Ashtabula57446
Geauga55844
Wayne54458
Ross4904
Darke40229
Huron4015
Ottawa39026
Madison38810
Sandusky38417
Hancock3793
Athens3591
Holmes3286
Lawrence2880
Auglaize2566
Union2541
Muskingum2391
Jefferson2342
Scioto2341
Seneca2223
Putnam20817
Knox2067
Washington20522
Preble2042
Shelby2004
Coshocton1946
Champaign1782
Crawford1745
Morrow1722
Hardin16912
Clinton1656
Highland1591
Logan1552
Ashland1493
Defiance1484
Wyandot1488
Fulton1471
Brown1382
Perry1363
Williams1353
Guernsey1187
Hocking1189
Henry1172
Fayette1150
Carroll1105
Monroe9318
Pike770
Jackson750
Van Wert721
Paulding700
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs500
Vinton312
Morgan280
Harrison261
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Angola
68° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 66°
Decatur
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Van Wert
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Isolated Showers Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events