US Intelligence Chiefs Contradict Trump on ISIS, North Korea & Russia

Intelligence directors break with Trump on threats posed by North Korea, Iran and ISIS.

They think pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan would be a debacle. They think North Korea cannot be trusted. They think the Islamic State is still a threat to America. They think Russia is bad and NATO is good.

The trouble is their president does not agree.

More than two years into his administration, the disconnect between President Trump and the Republican establishment on foreign policy has rarely been as stark. In recent days, the president’s own advisers and allies have been pushing back, challenging his view of the world and his prescription for its problems.

The growing discontent among Republican national security hawks was most evident on Tuesday when Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader and perhaps Mr. Trump’s most important partner in Congress, effectively rebuked the president by introducing a measure denouncing “a precipitous withdrawal” of American troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

The senator’s repudiation came on the same day that Mr. Trump’s own intelligence chiefs, led by Dan Coats, a former Republican senator, gave Congress a radically different assessment of international threats facing the United States from the president’s own. They warned about fresh Russian efforts to interfere in American elections, predicted that North Korea would never agree to give up its nuclear weapons and made clear that the Islamic State is still plotting attacks around the world. They made no mention of Mr. Trump’s top security priority of building a wall along the southwestern border.

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