Annual appearance of intelligence chiefs confirms: No intelligence allowed in the White House

In their annual appearance before the Senate, the heads of the nation’s intelligence agencies made it clear that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, is continuing to interfere in American politics now, and intends to interfere more forcefully in the 2018 midterms.

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” said Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.

But of course, there is one person who doesn’t believe any of this—because he heard it from the best possible source.

President Trump said on Saturday that he believed President Vladimir V. Putin was sincere in his denials of interference in the 2016 presidential elections, calling questions about Moscow’s meddling a politically motivated “hit job” that was hindering cooperation with Russia on life-or-death issues. …

President Trump said, “Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.”

Donald Trump’s willingness to believe Vladimir Putin over the intelligence heads that Trump appointed isn’t the only conflict between what the Trump White House is saying and what the intelligence community is reporting. The other differences are … everything else.

Senator Kamala Harris: Should the president recuse himself from reviewing and declassifying sensitive material related to this investigation?

Wray: He should discuss recusal with White House counsel.

In other questioning Wray disputed Trump’s claims of politicization within the FBI, refuted the White House timeline on Rob Porter, and reluctantly agreed that there was no plan to deal with Russian interference going forward.