“I don’t care. I believe Putin.”
That’s what President Trump is alleged to have said in a discussion with U.S. intelligence regarding information he was given about North Korean intercontinental missiles and whether they could reach the United States.
It’s a claim made by former FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe, who told Scott Pelley he learned about the alleged comment from an FBI colleague who attended the meeting with Mr. Trump. McCabe was not at the meeting.
“The president launched into several unrelated diatribes. One of those was commenting on the recent missile launches by the government of North Korea. And, essentially, the president said he did not believe that the North Koreans had the capability to hit us here with ballistic missiles in the United States. And he did not believe that because President Putin had told him they did not. President Putin had told him that the North Koreans don’t actually have those missiles,” McCabe said his colleague told him.
McCabe said U.S. intelligence officials at the briefing tried to tell the president otherwise.
“Intelligence officials in the briefing responded that that was not consistent with any of the intelligence our government possesses,” McCabe said. “To which the president replied, ‘I don’t care. I believe Putin.'”
When asked what he thought of the president’s comments, McCabe said he was shocked.
“It’s just an astounding thing to say,” McCabe told Pelley. “To spend the time and effort and energy that we all do in the intelligence community to produce products that will help decision-makers and the ultimate decision maker — the president of the United States — make policy decisions. And to be confronted with an absolute disbelief in those efforts and an unwillingness to learn the true state of affairs that he has to deal with every day was just shocking.”
In the interview, McCabe also describes efforts he made to ensure FBI investigations into the president would not be ended “were I removed quickly of reassigned or fired.” And he also recounts discussions he said he had with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein during “incredibly turbulent, incredibly stressful” times after President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey.