This report is so devastating that I am going to keep my own comments to a minimum.
Courtesy of CNN:
In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America’s principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials — including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff — that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.
The calls caused former top Trump deputies — including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials — to conclude that the President was often “delusional,” as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders. The sources said there was little evidence that the President became more skillful or competent in his telephone conversations with most heads of state over time. Rather, he continued to believe that he could either charm, jawbone or bully almost any foreign leader into capitulating to his will, and often pursued goals more attuned to his own agenda than what many of his senior advisers considered the national interest.
These officials’ concerns about the calls, and particularly Trump’s deference to Putin, take on new resonance with reports the President may have learned in March that Russia had offered the Taliban bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan — and yet took no action. CNN’s sources said there were calls between Putin and Trump about Trump’s desire to end the American military presence in Afghanistan but they mentioned no discussion of the supposed Taliban bounties.
By far the greatest number of Trump’s telephone discussions with an individual head of state were with Erdogan, who sometimes phoned the White House at least twice a week and was put through directly to the President on standing orders from Trump, according to the sources. Meanwhile, the President regularly bullied and demeaned the leaders of America’s principal allies, especially two women: telling Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom she was weak and lacked courage; and telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she was “stupid.”
Trump incessantly boasted to his fellow heads of state, including Saudi Arabia’s autocratic royal heir Mohammed bin Salman and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, about his own wealth, genius, “great” accomplishments as President, and the “idiocy” of his Oval Office predecessors, according to the sources.
In his conversations with both Putin and Erdogan, Trump took special delight in trashing former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and suggested that dealing directly with him — Trump — would be far more fruitful than during previous administrations. “They didn’t know BS,” he said of Bush and Obama — one of several derisive tropes the sources said he favored when discussing his predecessors with the Turkish and Russian leaders.
The response to this by Trump and his flunkies is guaranteed to be to call it fake news, but it so closely resembles every other article and book written by White House insiders that there is no doubt to its veracity.
Later in the article, it is revealed that Trump was not only rude and dismissive to May and Merkel, but also to French President Macron, Candian Prime Minister Trudeau, and Australian Prime Minister Morrison.
His phone calls to Merkel became so problematic, so “near sadistic,” that great pains were taken to keep them secret, and the number of German officials that monitored the calls was reduced to limit the possibility of leaks.
However, while talking to dictators like Putin and Erdogan Trump would relax, as if talking to old friends from the neighborhood.
During those phone calls Trump talked mostly about himself, frequently in over-the-top, self-aggrandizing terms: touting his “unprecedented” success in building the US economy; asserting in derisive language how much smarter and “stronger” he is than “the imbeciles” and “weaklings” who came before him in the presidency.
Much of this seemed part of a desperate ploy on Trump’s part to gain approval from powerful dictators whom he admired.
That is especially true when it comes to Vladimir Putin who Trump talks with far more frequently than we have been led to believe, and who Trump sees as a peer despite the fact that Russia is a second-rate totalitarian state with less than 4% of the world’s GDP.
By treating Putin as an equal Trump has managed to provide him with far more prestige and power than he had before Trump took office.
In other words, Putin has been repaid a hundred times over for what he did to help Trump win that election in 2016.