Trump makes U-turn on US intelligence, says they’re 'in agreement'
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Trump makes U-turn on US intelligence, says they’re 'in agreement'

Trump claimed Thursday that testimony by the country's top spies had been "distorted" by journalists -- one of his favorite targets for attack. The president on Wednesday had described US intelligence chiefs as "extremely passive and naive" on Iran and dismissed their assessments of the threat posed by North Korea. "Just concluded a great meeting with my Intel team in the Oval Office who told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media - and we are very much in agreement on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, etc.," Trump tweeted. "I would suggest you read the COMPLETE testimony from Tuesday," he added. During a hearing at the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, America’s top intelligence chiefs contradicted some of Trump's most fundamental foreign policy claims. The intelligence officials told the congressional committee that Iran was not developing nuclear weapons and that the nuclear threat from North Korea persisted, contrary to what Trump has claimed. Trump last year pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran, saying Tehran was “not living up to the spirit” of the agreement, and reimposed sanctions. Meanwhile, Trump has invested heavily in improving relations with North Korea in hopes of getting Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear arms program. He broke with decades of US policy when he agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June and plans another summit in February. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel told senators that North Korea viewed its nuclear weapons program as vital to its survival and was unlikely to give it up. The assessment of US intelligence agencies also contradicted other claims by Trump, including on the threat posed by Russia to US elections and the threat presented by the Daesh terrorist group, also known as ISIL or ISIS. The US spy chiefs said Daesh would continue to launch attacks from Syria and Iraq against regional and Western adversaries, including the United States. “The President has a dangerous habit of undermining the intelligence community to fit his alternate reality,” Senator Mark Warner, the Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, wrote on Twitter. “People risk their lives for the intelligence he just tosses aside on Twitter.” During their Senate testimony, the US intelligence officials also said China and Russia pose the biggest risks to the United States, and are more aligned than they have been in decades as they target the 2020 presidential election and American institutions to expand their global reach.

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