'Putin had told him so': New book suggests a disturbing reason Trump was willing to risk war with North Korea

A new book review of former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe's "The Threat" reveals a stunning incident recounted by the author about President Donald Trump's baffling relationship with the leader of Russia.


"Inevitably, the book includes disturbing new detail about Trump’s subservience to Russian President Vladimir Putin," reviewer Greg Miller wrote in the Washington Post.

According to McCabe, Trump didn't believe the intelligence community's assessment that North Korea was capable of firing an intercontinental ballistic missile in July 2017, which it could use to launch a nuclear weapon at the United States. He reportedly said a test launch was a "hoax."

“He thought that North Korea did not have the capability to launch such missiles," McCabe wrote, according to the review. "He said he knew this because Vladimir Putin had told him so.”

It's a deeply disturbing story on multiple levels. That Trump would dismiss the intelligence community's assessment on something of such dire importance — Kim Jong-un's nuclear capabilities — means the entire world was literally at risk of nuclear war over the president's impoverished ability to assess of facts, if McCabe's account is correct. Around this time, Trump was in an escalating war with words with Kim, including his famous "fire and fury" threat.

It also provides another example of Trump taking Putin's word over that of his own advisers for no discernible reason. In Helsinki, Trump showed deference to Putin's claim that he didn't interfere in the 2016 election and didn't plan to interfere in the 2018 election, despite the decisive view of the intelligence community that this was false. Other times, Trump has appeared to parrot Russian propaganda for with no basis in fact on topics including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the recent invasion of Crimea.

We still don't know for sure why Trump treats Putin's word like gospel — we can only hope that Robert Mueller will find out.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.